Explain this 3 way

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by DirtIsMoney, Dec 19, 2010.

  1. DirtIsMoney

    DirtIsMoney New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    I have an existing 3 way in my house that is wired like this:

    Staircase..
    My feed is in the 1st floor fixture with a 3 wire going down to the 1st floor switch.
    3 wire from 1st floor switch to 2nd floor switch.. and a 2 wire from the 2nd floor switch to the second floor fixture?? I removed switches to remodel before realizing how it was wired.. An explanation would be appreciated.
  2. dlarrivee

    dlarrivee New Member

    Messages:
    1,172
    Location:
    Canada
    This isn't something that should be explained over the internet.

    You shouldn't have messed with it, and now you need to hire a professional to fix it for you.
  3. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,058
    Location:
    New England
    It can get confusing...you'll need to search some 'common' diagrams on 3-way switch installation. You'll need a meter to figure out where your hot leads are before you start to connect anything back together.
  4. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,534
    Location:
    North Carolina


    I don’t think this can be fixed without a toaster, hair dryer and a DVM. I am sure that that guy will be along shortly to explain all this to you.

    Two lights on two different floors wired as you have proposed is impossible.
  5. Thatguy

    Thatguy Homeowner

    Messages:
    1,459
    Location:
    MD
    Each insulated wire goes to neutral, hot, a switch or the lamp. The colors will help some but with an incand. bulb, wire labels, an extension cord, clip leads and a DVM you can figure this out. But it's tedious.
  6. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,534
    Location:
    North Carolina
    You left out the toaster and hair dryer. How can they fix this without a toaster and hair dryer?


    Colors mean a lot especially the neutral and the return leg from the switch but it can’t be done without a toaster, hair dryer, drop cord, some clips, and a DVM.
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,689
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    3 way

    You need a voltmeter, and the knowledge of how to use it, before you can decipher which is the line, which is the load, and which are the travelers in order to make the circuit work properly. With the right knowledge, experience, and equipment, it could be done in a matter of minutes, otherwise it can be hours of frustrating hit and miss trials.
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