3-way switch

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wrote:

May be true. It depends on how the circuit is wired. I have one here where that is not true, each box has:
1. hot 2. neutral 3. connected only to light
It's #3 that is connected to the common terminal of the switch.

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Post a diagram somewhere. That circuit's not wired the way you think it is.
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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On Fri, 27 Jul 2007 19:40:20 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

I bet he is talking about that California 3-way again. That doesn't count.
It would only confuse the OP. And me too. :)
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wrote:

It's NOT a "California 3-way". That has all 3 switch terminals connected together, this has only 2 (second diagram below). The light is between the common terminals.

So, you'd like to assume there's only ONE way to wire 3-way switches? Reality often doesn't cooperate with peoples preferences. It refuses to simplify itself to comply with your wishes.
Here's 3 (don't forget to use a fixed font to view this)
switch#1 switch#2 o|----------------o| (H) | | -------o| o|--------light---\\ | o-----------------o | (N) | -------------------------------------------/
(H) --------o|--------------------o | o|------light---------o| (N) | --------o---------------------o|
(H) --------o|---------------------o | o|---------------------o| | o----------------------o| | (N) | ---------------------------light
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There are at least two that are Code-compliant, and probably a great many that are not.

That's one of the Code-compliant ones.

That one has at least two Code violations: 1) With the switches positioned as shown, the switch on the right is on the neutral side of the lamp. Switches must always be on the hot side of the load they control; current must flow from switch to switch to load to neutral, never from switch to load to switch to neutral. 2) With the positions of the switches reversed, the lamp still illuminates, but the polarity of the contacts in the lamp socket has been reversed. In one of those configurations, the shell of the socket is hot and the tip is neutral, also a Code violation.

That's the other Code-compliant one.
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On Sat, 28 Jul 2007 00:16:45 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

I know. My giving this example had nothing to do with code, but the fact that such a circuit actually exists. Such circuits may be present in other people's wiring too, so saying that only one of the 6 wires will be hot, may be incorrect.
Do you think it's important enough to fix?

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Yes.
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On Sat, 28 Jul 2007 15:10:10 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

OK. The connections are relatively short, so it may be possible to use the existing pieces of Romex (14/2 with no ground) to pull new 14/3). Hopefully it won't even require going into the attic (which gets really hot here).
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On Fri, 27 Jul 2007 19:00:24 -0500, Mark Lloyd

We have rehashed this to death already. If it is not a California 3-way then it is switching the neutral. That is against the code.
I do understand that there is more than one way to skin a cat. I was just trying to help the OP get his lights working again.
I have a hard time following ASCII drawings. Sorry
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wrote:

Sounds like you're equating "against code" with "nonexistent". Of course, that second way (which switches the neutral) is not recommended for new construction. Did you think this was new construction?

How do you know how the OP's light is wired?

The main problem is when proportional spacing makes a mess of it. You avoid that mess by using a fixed-width font while drawing and while reading.
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"Not recommended for new construction"???
Try "prohibited in all cases".
Whether it's new construction or not is irrelevant. Putting a switch on the neutral side of a load is prohibited by Code, and AFAIK it always has been. Likewise energizing the shell of a lampholder (which this circuit *also* does).
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On Sat, 28 Jul 2007 15:12:38 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

I suppose the electritian who wired that was trying to use the minimum amount of wire (although he still used 2-conductor Romex when only one wire is being used).
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Probably didn't have any 14/3 with him at the time. Easier to use two 14/2 cables -- but you can still wire a Code-compliant 3-way installation with two 14/2s. He was either stupid, lazy, or both.
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On Sun, 29 Jul 2007 03:40:13 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

Yes. I don't know which since I didn't live around here at the time this house built (and would have had no idea I was going to buy this one anyway). Also, there is NO "/3" cable anywhere.
I did have the house inspected. The inspector missed that, although he did look in the attic and saw a soldered and taped connection not in a junction box (This connects to a receptacle for the garage door opener). The tape is not the kind that comes off in a couple of years.
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Doug Miller wrote:

The one time I saw this connection it was with knob and tube (in a house I lived in when I was a kid). Because it was K&T it would be very hard to change.
I believe this circuit was never code compliant in the era of even early forms of Romex. Real early day of K&T I am not certain - anyone know for sure? (I don't think it ever was either.)
If a replacement switch is miswired, in one position it will connect hot and neutral.
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On Fri, 27 Jul 2007 19:40:20 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

So how do I think it's wired?
I have examined the wiring at the fixture. There are two pieces of Romex there. Only one wire from each is used.
I have posted diagrams of the wiring before, although you should be able to figure it out from my previous post.
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Oh, are you talking about that "California Three-Way"? The circuit that's just one big massive code violation?
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On Fri, 27 Jul 2007 14:21:40 -0500, Mark Lloyd

What neutral? We are talking about switches. He said he had two working switches. He changed them and they are no longer working.
If they working originally, he has a hot and two travelers at one switch, and a return and two travelers at the other switch.
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wrote:

The one that is connected to each of the switches in the circuit I have.

Yes.
Doesn't say how they were wired.

True IF they are wired in a certain way. How do you know that's how they were wired?
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He seems to be operating under the same assumption I was -- that the circuit in question is at least minimally Code-compliant.
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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