Troubleshooting two 3-way switch setups

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by Thatguy, May 7, 2009.

  1. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,534
    Location:
    North Carolina
    or can I have wires crossed
  2. firecap04@gmail.com

    firecap04@gmail.com New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Toledo
    That's helpful. Thanks
  3. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,534
    Location:
    North Carolina
    how about this
  4. firecap04@gmail.com

    firecap04@gmail.com New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Toledo
    That explains it for me. Thank you
  5. MeasureTwiceCutOnce

    MeasureTwiceCutOnce New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    Florida
    (IGNORE THIS POST: Problem apparently gone) This one seems a mystery. Went to one of my empty rental properties where I was unaware of any previous problem, and noticed some lights not working. Tenant had turned one breaker off. I turned it on and that breaker controlled two 3 way switches in different rooms that control parallel lights on back patio. There's also a pigtail on what may be the feed (didn't test yet) which likely goes to a single pole in the same room as one of the two 3-ways (or perhaps a receptacle also). Problem is, with breaker on, patio lights stay on all the time no matter what combination is made with the switches (i.e., on, on, on, on). Had to turn breaker back off and haven't gone back to diagnose yet (travelers SEEM to be wired OK at quick glance), but is there an obvious solution here??? UPDATE: For no apparent reason, everything is now working properly. Tenant must have come back to do something, but it wasn't obvious. Anybody ever seeing an on/on/on/on condition is still welcome to reply.
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2012
  6. Amy Broderick

    Amy Broderick New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Utah
    Off
    On
    On
    On

    Please help!
  7. ActionDave

    ActionDave Electrician

    Messages:
    346
    Location:
    Colorado
    You have a common and a traveller miswired somewhere in the circuit. Do you know where the power comes to the circuit first? At the light or one of the switches?
  8. Amy Broderick

    Amy Broderick New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    Utah
    Thanks for the reply ActionDave! The power comes to switch #1 first.
  9. jal

    jal New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    NY
    Here is mine
    off
    off
    off
    on

    Switch 1 regular 3-way has the incoming hot wire - tested with a NCV detector
    Switch 2 is a dimmer with 3-way
    Tested the travelers with an ohm-meter - they are good

    Before this replacement
    Switch 2 was a dimmer where it only had two screws and a traveler and the common were connected to the same screw
    Switch 1 was a regular 3-way
    and the behavior was
    off
    on
    on
    on

    what is going on?
    thanks
    JAL
  10. jal

    jal New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    NY
    Continuing with the above : I put the old 3 way switch and a new 3 way switch (no dimmer)
    I get
    off
    on
    on
    on

    just more info any help appreciated
    JAL
  11. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,534
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Anything other than this and the switch will not work

    .
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