i know! did i mention that i only have pancake boxes installed for
each fixture? i *might* be able to change that, depending if i can
find other fixtures that would accept them.
oy, what a mess!!!
but thank you!
Your fixtures boxes at present have 6 conductors in them. Assuming
they have an integral cable clamp, then they should be a minimum of 16
in^3 in volume for 14 AWG wire, or 18 in^3 in volume for 12 AWG. I
don't know how big your pancake boxes are, but I doubt they are 16
in^3 in volume.
It sounds like you have much more basic problems than your 3-way
switching difficulties. You need to change all the boxes to something
bigger. Perhaps while you are doing this, you can change the existing
cable runs from 3-conductor to 4-conductor by using the 3-conductor
cable to pull new 4-conductor cable (or two 2-conductor cables). If
you do this, you'll have 8 conductors in the fixtures boxes, so they
need to be at least 20 in^3 for 14 AWG wire or 22.5 in^3 for 12 AWG wire.
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