Light switch surprise ?

Opened existing 3 toggle switch and want to replace with a 2 toggle getting rid of the wiring on the left as this spot is being removed
http://public.fotki.com/duPontchemicalCo/lights/switch.html
I have not seen anything like it before (not that I am that experienced!)
Any suggestions on why it is like this / how to rewire
TIA
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David Sims wrote:

Strange, which wire is the live input?
If it is the top one, then the left and middle switch (when you turn the switch-plate around!) will work but the right switch will never work.
If the bottom middle is the supply, then the middle switch will switch the power between the two outer switches, so you can have either light on, but not both.
Do all three switches currently control three seperate circuits *correctly*?
Sparks...
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There are two black wires marked with red tape, these feed the bottom left and right contacts. All other wires are red
Yes all three work independently
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David Sims wrote:

Then your diagram can't be how it's really wired!
If all three work independently, then the right switch (as you look at it when it's screwed to the wall) can only work if the middle switch is in one of it's positions.
From your diagram, it looks like the wires in the middle switch are NOT joined, one goes to 1w and the other to 2w
If they BOTH are going to either 1w or 2w then you live is entering the top, jumping to 1w or 2w (not NOT both) then jumping to the C of the last switch.
This will then achieve three independent switches (all the wires exiting the bottom go the lights)
Sparks...
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Sparks wrote:

The only way the arrangement as drawn would work is in incoming live is at the bottom centre, in which case that switch elects one of two possible lights fed from the left lower and top right contacts, and if the top right is selected the right hand switch can also add in another light on the lower right.
There is no wire that connects to all three switches all the time. Ergo independent operation is simply not possible.
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The Natural Philosopher wrote:

Yes, just like I said earlier (Scroll up!)
Sparks...
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Sparks wrote:

No, *not* just like what you said..I was looking for the simplest way to say it.
The fact that no single wire connects all three switches means that there is NECESSARILY switch interaction. At least ONE switch is ALWAYS fed via another..

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The Natural Philosopher wrote:

I can't see the problem or ambiguosity with what I said...
"If the bottom middle is the supply, then the middle switch will switch the power between the two outer switches, so you can have either light on, but not both."
Your sentence is IMHO a lot harder to understand.
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Sparks wrote:

...and to answer your first question "how to rewire" you need to take the live feed (looks to be the one entering the top) and connect this to both of the C's of the new switch. Then connect the remaining two wires (as you are discarding one circuit) to each of the 1w terminals.
I would put a bit of connector (chock) block on the loose wire, so it doesn't touch anything it shouldnt)
...and do turn the power off first!!
Sparks...
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David Sims wrote:

I can't make hear or tail of your drawing..try actually saying what wires are coming in and out..
I,e, there are 4 wires coming in and out as far as I can tell..but its not clear where they come from, or go.
If its meant to control three sets of lights it will work, but not exactly as you have it wired. In particular if the top C is incoming live, the left hand switch does nothing...it is never connected to live at all.
I suspect its 'C' is actually connected not to 1W on the center switch, but 2W on it, so as to common all three poles of the switches, when it all makes sense..and 1W on the centre switch is simply not connected at all.
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David Sims wrote:

You've got 3 switches side by side. 'c' means common, and is used as one of the switch contacts for any configuration. For standard switching, '1' is the other terminal used. For 2-way switching, the '2' terminal is also used. All fairly standard.
NT
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