Problems with Three way switch wiring

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HI,
I hate to be the dummy here, but I'm having some problems with the wiring.
I'm changing some electrical switches. I have a three way combo that is giving me problems. Not only that, but the wires at each switch are different.
I expect that the light is in between the two switches.
On the first side, there are: - two red wires - a white wire - a bare wire
On the second side, there are: - a red wire - a white wire - a black wire - a green wire
The new switches do not resemble the old ones, and don't ask how they were wired, because I don't know now, since I've DCed (disconnected) them.
I DCed the first side, and rewired it. I tested it, ensuring that it worked. It did.
On that first switch, the two red wires are now on the same side of the switch. One is attached to the black screw, the other to the brass one. The white wire is on the other side, attached to the lone brass screw. The bare wire is connected to ground.
I tried connecting the other switch. However, the only way that it would work, would be if I turned both switches on. I tried a few different ways, but no luck.
Since it did work before, I'm sure that I just have to connect the second switch correctly. What is the secret? What lines up with what?
I'm sorry to bother you, but the only wiring diagrams that I can find on the web, only show a single red wire.
BTW the bare / green wire, is ALWAYS attached to the green screw, correct?
Thanks a lot
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Three way switch schematic (light on):
o------------o Line --o / \ o------- Load o------------o
Trial and error with 120 Volts can be dangerous. If you do not understand the schematic, it would be best if you do not try it yourself.
Bob

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040515 2046 - rck posted:

Using rck's diagram, turn off the circuit and verify that there are no hot wires that you are dealing with. Then, get a continuity tester and find the two traveller wires between the two switches. Connect these to the switches that you have. The "odd", marked terminal on the switch is for the feed at one end, and the switch wire to the light at the other. Once these wires are sorted out, the rest will fall into place.
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(Roger Redford) wrote:

[snip]
You probably don't have the right kind of switches, then.
Wiring up three-way switches is not rocket science, but it's hard to diagnose your problem from over here.
The best advice I can give you is to get yourself a book on residential wiring (try Lowe's, Home Depot, or your local library) and *don't* mess around with your wiring any more until you read the book and understand what you're doing.
Electricity is *dangerous* to the uninformed. And you are in that category. Fortunately, that's an easy problem to fix. :-)
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Don't worry happens to everybody. Sometimes I miscount my fingers..:)
http://www.danswiringpage.com/3ways_101.htm
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Dan miscounts also. He says 2wire is 12/2 or 14/2 with ground. Actually that is 3wire. It is an easy enough mistake to make. I didn't bother to read past that point.
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Boy the manufacturer's will be happy to hear that!! They all put 12/2 on their boxes of what you describe as 3 wire.

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It would be helpful for you to understand what is going on. Take a look at how 3-way switches are wired and match up your wires with the figure shown at this website.
http://www.easy2diy.com/cm/easy/diy_ht_index.asp?page_id5693932
Your one black wire is probably the "hot" side coming in from the power company. So your "second side" is switch 1 in the diagram.
You can buy an inexpensive AC tester light to verify the wires.
Don
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Here is an update.
As I mentioned, I changed the first switch, and things worked. Then, I changed the second switch, and things did not. I have gone through all six possible combinations. Results follow.
Wiring for Switch one. I've labelled the holes for the switches 1, 2, and 3. The wiring for the first switch did not change.
white (1) | | red (2) | | red (3)
Switch 2, wire / position
Red Black White Result
1 2 3 Nothing at all 1 3 2 Both required 2 1 3 Nothing at all 2 3 1 Both required 3 1 2 Nothing at all 3 2 1 Both required
Both required means that if I turn both switches, on, the lights will go on.
I'm sure that this is just a case of exchanging wires, on the first switch. This I did when I moved into the house a few years ago, and fixed another 3 way system.
What is the secret please?
NOte: Yes I did get a book on wiring. But none of them have two red wires, and zero black wires.
condor snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Roger Redford) wrote in message

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Roger Redford wrote: || HI, || || I hate to be the dummy here, but I'm having some || problems with the wiring. || || I'm changing some electrical switches. I have || a three way combo that is giving me problems. || Not only that, but the wires at each switch || are different. || || I expect that the light is in between the || two switches. || || || On the first side, there are: || - two red wires || - a white wire || - a bare wire || || || On the second side, there are: || - a red wire || - a white wire || - a black wire || - a green wire || || The new switches do not resemble the old ones, || and don't ask how they were wired, because I don't || know now, since I've DCed (disconnected) them. || || I DCed the first side, and rewired it. I tested || it, ensuring that it worked. It did. || || On that first switch, the two red wires are now on the || same side of the switch. One is attached to the black || screw, the other to the brass one. || The white wire is on the other side, attached to || the lone brass screw. || The bare wire is connected to ground. || || || I tried connecting the other switch. However, || the only way that it would work, would be if I || turned both switches on. I tried a few different || ways, but no luck. || || Since it did work before, I'm sure that I just || have to connect the second switch correctly. || What is the secret? What lines up with what? || || I'm sorry to bother you, but the only wiring || diagrams that I can find on the web, only show || a single red wire. || || BTW the bare / green wire, is ALWAYS attached to || the green screw, correct? || || Thanks a lot
Look hard enough on the Net and you will find the solution. I was in exactly the same position you were in a few months ago, vis a vis 3 way switches and I finally found the PROPER diagram...on the net. Google is your friend.
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So is your right hand every friday night, Big Deal.
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Roger Redford wrote: || HI, || || I hate to be the dummy here, but I'm having some || problems with the wiring. || || I'm changing some electrical switches. I have || a three way combo that is giving me problems. || Not only that, but the wires at each switch || are different. || || I expect that the light is in between the || two switches. || || || On the first side, there are: || - two red wires || - a white wire || - a bare wire || || || On the second side, there are: || - a red wire || - a white wire || - a black wire || - a green wire || || The new switches do not resemble the old ones, || and don't ask how they were wired, because I don't || know now, since I've DCed (disconnected) them. || || I DCed the first side, and rewired it. I tested || it, ensuring that it worked. It did. || || On that first switch, the two red wires are now on the || same side of the switch. One is attached to the black || screw, the other to the brass one. || The white wire is on the other side, attached to || the lone brass screw. || The bare wire is connected to ground. || || || I tried connecting the other switch. However, || the only way that it would work, would be if I || turned both switches on. I tried a few different || ways, but no luck. || || Since it did work before, I'm sure that I just || have to connect the second switch correctly. || What is the secret? What lines up with what? || || I'm sorry to bother you, but the only wiring || diagrams that I can find on the web, only show || a single red wire. || || BTW the bare / green wire, is ALWAYS attached to || the green screw, correct? || || Thanks a lot
Try this site.
http://www.electrical-contractor.net/ubb/Forum15/HTML/000068.html
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...

http://www.electrical-contractor.net/ubb/Forum15/HTML/000068.html
Excellent reference: Thanks.
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Pop Rivet wrote: || ... ||| ||| || http://www.electrical-contractor.net/ubb/Forum15/HTML/000068.html ||| || Excellent reference: Thanks.
Your welcome. See, the Sharxster DOES help those in need. Ladies, take a number!
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Roger,
I suspect that the reason you're seeing different wire colors than the diagrams on the net is because whoever hooked the thing up originally didn't strictly adhere to common conventions.
The wires are all probably joined at the light fixture and you may need to look there so that perhaps you can make some sense of this.
Your circuit, as has already been described here, should have two wires running between the two switches and no where else. They may meet and even change colors in the fixture box, however. These two wires are called travelers by us old-timer electricians.
One switch should have the two travelers and one hot, or power line, coming from your circuit breaker box.
The other switch should have the two travelers and one wire going to your lighting fixture.
Green wires or bare wires are for grounding and should only be connected to the screw on your switches that is located away from the other three. It should have a green tinting on the head of the screw.
If you don't want to buy a meter, you can get one of those inexpensive little gadgets from the home store that allows you to place it on a wire or screw and a light comes on in the end of it if there is power present (be very careful doing anything with the power on unless you're really comfortable with it).
If you find the power wire, you're a good ways toward getting things down pat.
Let me know if I can help further.
Be aware that more people are electrocuted with 120 volt circuits than any other kind.
Jake
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Yes, people think of 120 V as common and harmless but it doesn't take all that much to kill yourself. 30 ma will stop your breathing and 75 - 200 ma will stop your heart. When they fry someone in the chair, they pump 6 amps through. A slight case of overkill. When working on live circuits, keep one hand in your pocket and you reduce the chances of current flowing across your chest.
Bob
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On Sun, 16 May 2004 22:46:25 GMT

Preferably, your left, to avoid it passing through your heart if you are grounded through your feet.
--
"Let me give you a definition of ethics: It is good to maintain and
further life; it is bad to damage and destroy life."
  Click to see the full signature.
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wrote:

Mindless stuff. No wonder its a reject.
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rck wrote: ||| Be aware that more people are electrocuted with 120 volt circuits ||| than any other kind. ||| ||| Jake || || Yes, people think of 120 V as common and harmless but it doesn't || take all that much to kill yourself. 30 ma will stop your breathing || and 75 - 200 ma will stop your heart. When they fry someone in the || chair, they pump 6 amps through. A slight case of overkill. When || working on live circuits, keep one hand in your pocket and you || reduce the chances of current flowing across your chest.
They also use a higher voltage than 120V for capital punishment!
|| || Bob
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