Light switch 3 pole and 2 pole

Please help. I just installed two 2 pole light switches in the bedroom (they should have been 3 pole). When I went to turn on the power it tripped a breaker so I knew it was not right. I looked online and found I should have bought two 3 pole switches, so I went to HD and got 2 of them. Now they are both installed, but I am unable to turn on the light. When I tested with a multimeter I found only one switch has power going to it while the other has none. Anyone have a clue what happened? Did I 'fry' the wires? What do I do now?
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There are single pole and three way switches. For you to have tripped the breaker you must have installed one of the "extra" wires onto the ground terminal. The three way switch that has no power is that way either because of a tripped breaker or because its corresponding three way switch is in the position that doesn't send power to it. You need to get a drawing of how three way switches are wired or hire someone to help you

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helpme wrote:

Assuming there were 3-way switches and the proper number of wires there already, installing new 3-way switches correctly should get it working again.
The breaker will have protected the wiring, so it is very unlikely you damaged anything.
Go back to Home Depot and buy a book on basic electrical wiring.
You don't know what you are doing now, but your post is intelligible enough so that I'd guess with a book to guide you you'll come up to speed fast.
HTH,
Jeff
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Jeffry Wisnia

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"The breaker will have protected the wiring" Actually, the breaker is there to protect the humans. Though rare, the devices can be damaged in a hard short.
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Circuit breakers protect wiring and equipment and by doing so, secondarily protect humans

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BP wrote:

Oh???
Would you be willing to try clenching your right hand around a bare hot feed wire and your left hand around its bare neutral wire and depend on the upstream 15 amp breaker to "protect" you?
I suspect not.
The breaker "protects" the wiring and devices to the best of its ability, and the relatively new arc fault detecting breakers add another dimension of protection.
Breakers are there to limit heating caused by overcurrents and by so doing prevent fires. Thus, they only indirectly "protect" humans.
I stand by what I wrote, the OPs "wiring" wouldn't have much chance of being damaged because the breaker (which popped) would have protected them.
Jeff
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You are, of course, technically correct. I didn't mean to say your entire point was wromg. It is not. And I should have said "protect the humans from fire". But... In a "hard short", when the hot lead is inadvertantly connected to the nuetral lead on a connected device, the breaker does not cut the current fast enough to protect *every* device. This applies far more to electronic devices connected to the circuits ( see http://www.bcae1.com/cirbrakr.htm ) than dumb devices like wall switches, and this is the point I was trying to alert people to. But even a wall switch can be damaged in a hard short ("though rare") particularly if it had a slight defect to begin with. With all of the microelectronic circuitry built into so many devices used in homes today, in addition to the big ones like computers, TVs, and sound equipment, it would be less than accurate for people to believe that the circuit breaker will protect those devices from damage. It will not. And, "while rare", the OP *could* have damaged the switch if he hard shorted it.
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BP wrote:

Agreed, and for my part I should have been even more specific by defining "wiring" as being just the conductors and nothing else. I was trying to reassure the OP that there was little chance that he would be facing tearing down wall and ceiling plasterboard to replace his Romex or whatever was in place.
And yes, I agree that the extent of the damage to electronic equipment stemming by internal faults in the equipment itself can be less if a fast acting overload device interrupts the power feeding that equipment. But the realities are that in most cases whatever fault occurred in that equipment to cause the overcurrent condition isn't going to go away by itself and probably the cost of a professional repair will make the owner junk the equipment in favor of replacing it anyway. <G>
Jeff
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Jeff Wisnia ( snipped-for-privacy@conversent.net) said...

Basically, yes.
Many people think electric circuits work using the "theoretical model" taught in school science class (i.e.: perfect conductors with zero resistance, voltage sources with no internal impedance, etc).
To that, this thinking extends to the idea that a circuit breaker trips at the instant the current exceeds its rating.
In actual fact, a circuit breaker is a thermal device that takes time to react to current in excess of its rating. As short as that time is to us humans, durinig that time there is the entire generating capacity of the grid you get your power from behind that current (less the impedance of the transmission network). Suffice it to say, in that short instant the current can reach a VERY high level. Many panels and switchgear will have a peak current rating of 10,000 amps or higher for this reason.

I agree - the "wiring" wouldn't have much chance of being damaged.
However, some switch contact where the short occurred probably now has a nice little dimple on it where the short lived short circuit current spike vapourized it. Not likely to effect its future operation, unless you continue to repeat the same action a number of times.
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wrote:

I agree with all that Jeff says.
FTR, they are called 2-way and 3-way, terms of art, used only in 110 volt electricity**, afaik.. None except 4-way is more than one pole.
**And maybe in Europe they use the same terms with 220 volt electricity. I don't know about Africa and Asia!
2-way is single-pole, single throw, and 3-way is single-pole, double-throw. 4-way is double-pole, double-throw, and it is assemble so the two throws reverse the poles. But you're not quite ready for 4-way yet. :)
Remove NOPSAM to email me. Please let me know if you have posted also.
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wrote:

A switch for 240V (US) would be double-pole.

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Mark Lloyd
http://notstupid.laughingsquid.com
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go here for links to wiring illustrations: http://www.selfhelpandmore.com/switchoutlet /
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