Three way switch wiring trouble

Discussion in 'Bob & Don's Electronics Forum' started by wmlaveck, Jun 16, 2012.

  1. wmlaveck

    wmlaveck New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Fort Wayne, IN
    My home is 50 years old and uses a fuse box. I have a stairway that uses two three way switches to control one light. They were starting to fail so I purchased two replacement switches. When I removed the old witches I did not see any labeling as to common so I disconnected all wires from both switches. My first attempt to wire blew the fuse and same with second attempt.
    After doing some research on wiring three way switches and troubleshooting, I did some testing. Using a volt meter I connected one lead to a ground and used the other lead to find the hot. Here is what I found:
    Outlet box A
    Black wire 120v
    Red wire 51v
    White wire 0v

    Outlet box B
    Black wire 120v
    Red wire 51v
    White wire 0v

    Can anyone help me to make sense out of this? It is my understanding that I should only find one hot wire out of the two sets of three wires and I have no idea how I am getting 51v AC from the red wires.
  2. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa DIYer, not in the trades

    Messages:
    3,922
    Location:
    NW Ontario, Canada
    Witchcraft.

    Either you have the red in series with the load or it's phantom voltage from induction.
  3. wmlaveck

    wmlaveck New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Fort Wayne, IN
    So what is the solution? I am thinking that the neutral should not be connected as it is. If I replace the boxes I’ll have room to rewire them correctly.
  4. DonL

    DonL Banned

    Messages:
    3,982
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Take one of the old switches to a store so that you can get a direct replacement.

    Some of the connections on a new switch may look the same but the connections may be different.

    Is it a SPDT or a DPST or a DPDT ?
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