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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys, I have a wiring question. In my bedroom, I have 3 ceiling lights on one side of the room. There is a light switch by the bedroom entrance that has two switches in one. Top switch controls the middle of these three lights and the bottom switch controls the other two lights. I swapped this light switch out from almond to white. I had to remove the breaker and this light switch works beautifully. FYI, the almond switch that was replaced was identical to the white one that I have in now. Nothing is different here except the color. I have a pic of this light switch below for reference.

Next to my side of the bed, I have 3 light switches. The left and middle switches control the 3 lights mentioned in the paragraph above (one controls middle light, the other controls the other two lights). The switch on the right is a standard single pole light switch that controls a ceiling light above my side of the bed, which I swapped from almond to white. It works perfectly. Now, I am trying to swap the other two light switches (left and middle) from almond colored dimmers to standard white on/off switch. I no longer want dimmers b/c they create issues (humming) with the LED MR16 bulbs and in 4+ years living here, I never utilized dimmers for those lights.

The wire set up as it is now:

Left dimmer: green wire to copper; red wire to black wire; red wire to pink wire

Middle dimmer: green wire to copper wire; red wire to black wire; red wire to pink wire

Both switches each have a black wire that has been wire nutted together with another black wire that is coming from the wall behind the right switch.

As advised by the Home Depot employee, I bought two 3 way switches to replace the current dimmers. These switches do not have wires, they have screws. Considering the 3 black wires wire nutted together, what is the appropriate way to wire this up so that I don't end up with the left and middle switches each turning on/off all 3 lights? Do I have the right switches for this?

Thank you!
 

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Your taking electrical instruction from HD, man you are brave.
Your description from what I can make of it. You have 3 single pole switches. Only one location operates the lights. Have not a clue why you bought 3 way switches. Unless I missed something.

Sure hope you took a picture of what it looked like before your working on the switches.
Pic 2188 shows a ground/green/bare wire with one of the blacks. This can be a fault. Same on 2191
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Your taking electrical instruction from HD, man you are brave.
Your description from what I can make of it. You have 3 single pole switches. Only one location operates the lights. Have not a clue why you bought 3 way switches. Unless I missed something.

Sure hope you took a picture of what it looked like before your working on the switches.
Pic 2188 shows a ground/green/bare wire with one of the blacks. This can be a fault. Same on 2191
I have not touched the wires. Everything you see in the pics is how it was. I was hoping this would just be a simple swap of putting wires in the same place from the old switch to the new switch.

I got 3 way switches b/c the same lights are operated from two different locations in the room. As I understand it, a single pole switch is only when one switch controls a light and a 3 way is when you have switches in different locations that operate the same light.

Right switch: Single pole b/c it operates the ceiling reading light over my bed.
Middle switch: Should be 3 way b/c it controls one of the 3 lights on the other side of my bedroom.
Left switch: Should be 3 way b/c it controls two of the 3 lights on the other side of my bedroom.

These 3 switches are next to my bed. I have another switch next to my bedroom entrance that controls the same 3 lights (pic 2185). Top switch controls the middle of the 3 lights and bottom switch controls the other two of the 3 lights.

I'm not sure where you see the green/ground wire with a black wire. They're with the copper wire.
 

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They are definitely 3 way switches. So take your new 3 way switch and connect the black hot wire to the dark colored screw on the 3 way. That is the one that has the wires from each dimmer connected to it. Then the other terminals on the 3 way connect to the same wires that the 2 reds on the dimmer are connected to. It doesn't matter which one goes where.

The only terminal that matters is the dark colored screw on the swicth
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
My confusion is, the two dimmers have two black wires connected and a third black wire from behind the right switch. Where does THAT black wire go?

On both 3 way switches, the copper wire will go to ground screw. Let's just get that out of the way.

Now for both dimmers, it looks like there's a black wire and a pink wire. So, the black wire would go to the black screw. Pink wire goes to one of the other two screws.

1) Isn't there supposed to be 4 wires for a 3 way switch? It looks like the white wires are wire nutted together.

2) What is supposed to be done with the third black wire that's coming from behind the right most switch?

3) How do I ensure that both switches aren't going to turn on all 3 lights, that one switch will turn on only the middle light and the other switch will only turn on the other two lights?

Thank you!
 

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The middle switch does not appear to be used as a 3 way.
 

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So how would I wire it to new switches? Thank you.

Look at post #4. I am certain both switches are 3 way so you must have a 3 way switch-- 3 terminals and the ground terminal. If the lights can be turned on from 2 places then it is a 3 way switch.

Do 1 switch at a time and the only connection that matters is the black wire that is shared on both switches goes to the darker screw. The other two wires - black and red that come from the same cable go to the other 2 switches. The order does not matter.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Look at post #4. I am certain both switches are 3 way so you must have a 3 way switch-- 3 terminals and the ground terminal. If the lights can be turned on from 2 places then it is a 3 way switch.

Do 1 switch at a time and the only connection that matters is the black wire that is shared on both switches goes to the darker screw. The other two wires - black and red that come from the same cable go to the other 2 switches. The order does not matter.
Yes, but that's the issue. There are 3 black wires. Two of the black wires will go to the corresponding switch. On which switch will the third black wire go on? If you look at the picture, you can see a black wire from the wall connected to the red wire for both dimmer switches. Then there's that third black wire (coming from behind the right most switch) that's connected to two black wires coming from the dimmer switches. What am I doing with that wire...meaning which of the two new 3 way switches is it supposed to go on?
 

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The new switch should have 3 terminals. It sounds like there are only 2.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The new switch should have 3 terminals. It sounds like there are only 2.
No, there are 3 terminals on the new switches plus the ground terminal.

Excluding the green/copper wires, there should be 3 wires each going to the new switches, right? It seems there are 5 wires. Black/pink for the left switch and black/pink for the middle switch. Then there's that additional black wire connected to the two wires from both switches.

Am I supposed to set it up similar with the new switches? Black/pink wires go on the two screws on the switch and this third black wire is connected to both switches. I would have to find two new wires (like the one in the pic below) to connect to each of the black screws on both switches and connect that to the black wire in the manner as it's set up now. Maybe that's why?
 

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Ok--- The 2 black wires that go into the dimmer will be disconnected from the one black wire that goes into the box. Now you have to create the situation so that you have 2 pigtails coming off the one black wire that is the feed-- one will go to each switch.
Then connect the others as they are to the new 3 way- one under each screw.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Ok, can you confirm this for me before I start this? I just want to make sure I understand you 100%. Look at the pic below, I found that among my wire stash. I'll call it a black pigtail wire.

For BOTH new switches:

Copper wire goes to the green ground screw
Black wire goes to one gold screw
Pink wire goes to the other gold screw
Connect the two black pigtail wires to the black screws on both switches and connect it to the black wire coming from behind the right switch. This will result in 3 wires being connected together into a wire nut.

This will ensure both switches work and will work to the corresponding light it's supposed to turn on. Do I have this right?

Thank you!
 

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Ok, can you confirm this for me before I start this? I just want to make sure I understand you 100%. Look at the pic below, I found that among my wire stash. I'll call it a black pigtail wire.

For BOTH new switches:

Copper wire goes to the green ground screw
Black wire goes to one gold screw
Pink wire goes to the other gold screw
Connect the two black pigtail wires to the black screws on both switches and connect it to the black wire coming from behind the right switch. This will result in 3 wires being connected together into a wire nut.

This will ensure both switches work and will work to the corresponding light it's supposed to turn on. Do I have this right?

Thank you!

You got it. Just splice that pigtail to the one coming from the box- which is the hot conductor-

Basically you want a hot conductor on each switch and the other black along with the red are travelers. They just connect from one 3 way to the other
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
So I have good news and bad news.

GOOD NEWS: I replaced both switches with the wiring scheme discussed earlier in this thread. The switches work perfectly and there are zero issues. It turns on/off the lights they're supposed to.

BAD NEWS: The 3 lights these two switches operate still result in a hum. The hum is not always there, but when it's there, it's annoying to hear it. I was hoping getting rid of the dimmers would eliminate the hum.

The LED MR16 bulbs in the ceiling for these 3 lights are from the previous owner. I'm going to try replacing them and see if that does the trick.
 
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