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3 way switches

Discussion in 'Electrical Engineering' started by Eric and Megan Swope, Dec 20, 2003.

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  1. Hi. I am sorry in advance if this is not the correct newsgroup to post this
    to. If someone knows of a more proper one, please tell me. I have an
    outlet in my living room controlled by 2 three-way switches. This is weird
    to say the least. If I turn on the power at switch A then walk to switch B
    and turn off the power at switch, it goes off like it is supposed to.
    HOWEVER, if I go back to switch A to turn the power back on it does not
    work. It seem that whatever switch the power is turned off at either A or
    B, it must be turned on at that same switch. Is this a wiring problem or is
    it possible one or both of the switches is bad? Or even the outlet? I have
    other 3 way switches in the house, and they work fine. Can turn power on or
    off at either one interchangeably. Thanks for any help.
    Eric Swope
  2. Brian

    Brian Guest

    Call a qualified electrician and have him fix the problem for you.
  3. SQLit

    SQLit Guest

    Did it ever work? If so then it is one of the switches.

    You will have a hot connection on one switch, and two travelers to the other
    switch. The other switch has the switch leg to the fixture(s) and the two
    One terminal is usually dark(hot/switch leg) and the other two are bright
    brass (travelers). I have not gotten into all the combinations that can
    happen. I hope this helps.

  4. The wiring will be like this:-

    -------------o--__ __--o---------
    live in Sw 1 Sw 2 switch wire to light.
  5. Ross Mac

    Ross Mac Guest

    I think you have it here SQ....if it worked before..than the switch is the
    problem...the wiring..well that's pretty simple. An extra wire....though
    sometimes the simple can become complicated..... :) ..Ross
  6. Guest

    Yes, it is theoretically possible to do it that way, but
    it is not done that way. Here's why: (count the wires)

    c c
    Black-------0 0------Black---------0 0-----Light-----+
    \ / |
    0-------Red----------0 |
    Switch 1 Switch 2 |

    The above uses 3 wires between the junction boxes
    "hosting" the switches. (c is the common terminal on
    each switch)


    | |
    o +---Black------o\
    Sw 1 Sw 2 |

    The above uses 4 wires between the junction boxes
    "hosting" the switches. It also requires an extra
    wire nut (WN) & jumper in the Sw 1 box. You can't
    put 2 wires under one screw on the switch (illegal),
    so you have to connect three blacks in a wire nut,
    and run the added third wire to the switch.

    The proper method is the first one - the second method
    would take more time to install, and use more wire
    and an extra wire nut and jumper. Electricians don't
    do that.
  7. Guest

    Here is the way you wire a 3-way switch. keep in mind that the white
    wire running
    between the swithes is not a nuetral. It is a hot wire when energized.
    the reason we use a white here is, Romex cable has 3 wires (black,
    red, white) and we need three hot wires
    to make the circuit thus, we use the white for a hot.

    B| |w
    l| |h
    a| |i
    Hot c| Nuetral |t
    k| |e
    | |
    | |
    0|----| |
    | s | |
    | w | |
    | 1 | |
    -----0|----|0--- |
    | |W |
    R| |h |
    e| |i |
    d| |t |
    |----0|----|0--|e |
    | s | 0---|
    | w | | 0 |
    | 2 | | 0 |
  8. John Gilmer

    John Gilmer Guest

    1) IF you have two conductor cable (red/black/white) the only time you
    need to use white as "hot" is when you have a "switch loop" whereby you send
    the "hot" to a distant 3 way switch on a WHITE wire and bring it back on
    black or red depending upon the position of the 3-way switch. The intent
    is to eliminate the need of connecting a fixture (lamp) to two white wires.

    2) in the original problem, it looks from here like the two switches are in
    series. This will happen in someone doesn't properly identify the common
    leg on the 3-way switch. (I ALWAYS use the multimeter to ensure I know what
    3 way switches are doing.) Also, when there is a problem is 3-way/4-way
    switches and you are new to the scene, DISCONNECT the switches and start
    over. Don't ASSume anything about the connections. (Been there, done
    that!) Just do simple tests to chek out the wires, other simple tests to
    check out the switches, make a diagram, and then re-connect.
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