Electrical Advice Needed - 3 way switch replacement resulting in a dead loop

I am in a townhouse that was built in the late 70s. From what I can tell th e circut breakers, wiring, and electical switches are the original. I have been replacing my older style switches and sockets with modern square style swiches and sockets.
I removed a 3 way switch that was at the foot of my stairs and replaced it with a new one. When I turned the breaker back on I got power to other part s of the loop (my half bath on main floor) but no power to the three way sw itch.
I thought I may have put the black, white, or red wires in the wrong spots so I tried every possible combination. Each time the same result: nothing. Now the bedroom at the top of the stairs no longer has power either. This i s strange because the half bath still has power when the breaker is on, but not the light in the stairs or the bedroom at the top of stairs.
I have not changed anything on the 2nd floor yet. Only changed switches on the main floor.
Short of calling an electrician, I don't know what to do.
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On Mon, 8 Dec 2014 17:36:38 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

you can show us what you actually DID.
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On 12/8/2014 9:10 PM, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

I've got a couple ROLLS of YELLOW tape from EBAY, which is handy for MARKING wires as I take THEM off. Just FOLD some TAPE over the wire and NUMBER with SHARPIE.
--
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Christopher A. Young
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On Tuesday, December 9, 2014 7:47:00 AM UTC-5, Stormin Mormon wrote:

From what I've heard so far, he didn't even need that. He's only said there was a red, white and black, so they appear to be identifiable as is.
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I am in a townhouse that was built in the late 70s. From what I can tell the circut breakers, wiring, and electical switches are the original. I have been replacing my older style switches and sockets with modern square style swiches and sockets.
I removed a 3 way switch that was at the foot of my stairs and replaced it with a new one. When I turned the breaker back on I got power to other parts of the loop (my half bath on main floor) but no power to the three way switch.
I thought I may have put the black, white, or red wires in the wrong spots so I tried every possible combination. Each time the same result: nothing. Now the bedroom at the top of the stairs no longer has power either. This is strange because the half bath still has power when the breaker is on, but not the light in the stairs or the bedroom at the top of stairs.
I have not changed anything on the 2nd floor yet. Only changed switches on the main floor.
Short of calling an electrician, I don't know what to do.
-----------
when you say "does not have power" - how are you testing this? Are you saying the light doesn't turn on? or are you saying you have used a voltage detector to sense the presence of voltage on one or more wires?
Did you look at the unchanged switch to see how it is wired?
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote in

Turn the breaker off. Then take the cover plates off of *both* three-way switches, and pull both of them a few inches out of their boxes. DO NOT disconnect any wires from anything.
Take photos of both switches and both boxes, showing clearly all the wires that are in each box and all of the existing connections. Post the photos somewhere (personal web space, dropbox. flickr, whatever, some place where everyone can see them) and make sure you identify which switch is the one you've messed around with, and which one you left alone.
Probably somebody here can figure out what went wrong.
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On Mon, 8 Dec 2014 17:36:38 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

My guess would be a loose wirenut inside the box with the 3-way. If the switch was working properly before you changed it, it should not affect any power to anything else.
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On 12/08/2014 09:21 PM, Seymore4Head wrote:

Yep. That makes sense
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On Tuesday, December 9, 2014 4:07:20 AM UTC-5, philo  wrote:

have been replacing my older style switches and sockets with modern square style swiches and sockets.

parts of the loop (my half bath on main floor) but no power to the three w ay switch.

ing. Now the bedroom at the top of the stairs no longer has power either. T his is strange because the half bath still has power when the breaker is on , but not the light in the stairs or the bedroom at the top of stairs.

He says that circuit also involves a half-bath and that it still has power. It's possible that a GFCI in that bath has tripped that serves the outlets in the bath and the 3 way light is downstream of it?
If that's not it, then I'd check for voltage at the 3 wires going to the switch. The switch is at the bottom of the stairs, so most likely it's wired with the hot feed coming to the center pole of that switch, light is connected to the center pole at switch at top of stairs. See if there is 120V at the correct terminal, or 120V at all.
Finally, there is the issue of what kind of switches these actually are, besides being square? The common, lower priced ones are just SPDT switches, just like the old one. Higher end ones, eg Lutron Maestro, use an electronic protocol between the switches, you need their devices on both ends. IDK what happens if you just put one on one end, but given that there is also no power in a bedroom, I doubt that's the problem. Most likely, something is either wired up wrong, or else something came loose, eg a pig tail was pulled loose from a wire nut, etc.
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On 12/09/2014 05:59 AM, trader_4 wrote:
<snip>

I just recalled that with a GFCI outlet (at least all the ones I have) if you turn the breaker off at the box...the outlet will have to be reset.
Finally...I've only seen this once:
A circuit that was working, stopped working after I turned the breaker off and later turned it back on. The breaker itself failed.
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On 12/8/2014 8:36 PM, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Is there anything else in the box besides the switch and the three wires? Could it be that there is a junction point in the box which was loose to begin with and which was disturbed by your activities? I've seen stranger things...
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On Tuesday, December 9, 2014 8:29:53 AM UTC-5, BenignBodger wrote:

ave been replacing my older style switches and sockets with modern square s tyle swiches and sockets.

parts of the loop (my half bath on main floor) but no power to the three wa y switch.

ng. Now the bedroom at the top of the stairs no longer has power either. Th is is strange because the half bath still has power when the breaker is on, but not the light in the stairs or the bedroom at the top of stairs.

To that line of thought, I'd add this. He also said something about only changing switches on the main floor. He's replaced other switches at the same time. Depending on what he knows about when it stopped working, it's also possible he dislodged a wire in another box he was working on that feeds the stuff that's out.
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On Tue, 09 Dec 2014 07:47:20 -0500, Stormin Mormon

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On 12/9/2014 12:41 PM, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

http://fc01.deviantart.net/fs71/f/2012/088/1/4/winking_smiley_face_by_klilia_love_99-d4ucj2k.gif
- . Christopher A. Young Learn about Jesus www.lds.org .
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On Mon, 8 Dec 2014 17:36:38 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Get a volt-ohmmeter, also called a multimeter, and learn how to use it. It will reward you many times.
Don't buy the cheapest one, unless it's at Harbor Freight. Anywhere else plan to spend about 15 to 20 dollars, unless you want to spend more for more features. But the second cheapest is good enough.
Digital meters can register ghost voltages, but if you get those you can ask about them here. Other than that, they are easier to use than analog meters, the ones with a needle that moves.
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