3-Way Switch Problem

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by 1114, Dec 7, 2009.

  1. 1114

    1114 Graphic Design

    Dec 7, 2009
    Need some expert advice, I had a 3-way switch that quit working and am trying to diagnose the issue.


    - There are 2 banks (we'll call them bank A and B) of switches on either end of my kitchen. Each bank contains 3, 3-way switches all controlling the same group of lights (overhead, undercabinet and ambient).

    - It was set up so that you could turn on or off any of the three lights from either bank.

    - New wiring was installed 3 years ago by an electrician and has worked flawlessly until yesterday. He switched jobs and I no longer have his contact info, otherwise I'd go straight to the source.

    - The switch for the overhead light on bank A won't turn ON the lights but, if you've already turned them on with the other switch from bank B, it will turn them OFF. That same switch on bank B is functioning fine. All other switches are working as expected.

    My question is what would cause one 3-way switch to begin functioning incorrectly? Faulty switch? Any suggestions?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Alectrician

    Alectrician DIY Senior Member

    Jun 15, 2007
    IF the switches have always worked properly and IF there has been no work done, it is a faulty switch.

    When you replace it, make sure you mark the wire that is on the common terminal (the dark colored screw) or you will be back asking "What did I do wrong?"
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  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    ANything mechanical eventually breaks...sounds like it's time for a new switch.
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