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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have an outlet. There are two switches (3 way) that switch half of it.

I was using voltage detector with one of those orange tubes. When plugged into the outlet, it will glow dim when the switch is off, and bright when the switch is on. I'm thinking this is wrong (with a capital W).

I pulled the outlet out of the wall, and it's wired with three wires. The white goes to the neutral side; the red and the black each feed one half of the outlet, and the tab on that side is broken out.

What steps should I follow to find the problem?
 

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Can you measure the actual voltage with a multi meter from black to ground and red to ground with the switch on and off? Are you having problems with this outlet?
 

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So what's wrong with the wiring :whistling2:? Your tester is somewhat dim probably because your so close to the outlet that is constant fed that it is reading it. I never trust those testers anyways they can pick up phantom voltage. But plug a lamp into the outlet and if it turns on and off with the switch on one outlet and if the other outlet your constant on your fine.
 

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Does one switch control each half of the outlet or is one half always on and the other half controlled in 3 way fashion?
 

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I'm thinking the OP is suspecting something wrong with the voltage tester, when in fact it sounds like it's working normal. Probably picking up phantom voltage on the 3-way circuit, or a signal from the constant hot also attached to that receptacle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'm thinking the OP is suspecting something wrong with the voltage tester, when in fact it sounds like it's working normal. Probably picking up phantom voltage on the 3-way circuit, or a signal from the constant hot also attached to that receptacle.

No. I think somethings wrong with the outlet.


What is "phantom voltage?"
 

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No. I think somethings wrong with the outlet.


What is "phantom voltage?"
Tell us why you think something is wrong. Does no device work when plugged into this receptacle? Is both halves not working or only the switched half? Is it a switch or a dimmer? It should not be a dimmer.
 

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You need a voltmeter to tell how much voltage is present when it’s off. 3-way circuits can sometimes have ‘phantom’ voltage on the ‘dead’ traveller induced by the voltage that’s present on the ‘live’ traveller. On a proper 3-way circuit, one of the travellers is always ‘live’…sometimes wire #1, sometimes wire #2.

Voltage testers don’t tell you how much voltage there is, only the presence of voltage.
 

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Are you assuming that "down" is off? On the three way switch, "off" depends on the position of the other switch. "Off" could be up or down.
 

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The tester could be glowing from the presense of voltage on the other terminal. Those testers don't need to be in direct contact with a voltage to register it sometimes.

If your light goes on and off with the switches you are fine. Stop looking for a problem that doesn't sxist.
 
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