3 way switch struggle. HELP!

djb350January 25, 2014


I cant get a 3 way switch working. I identified the live wire on both switches and connected it to the common screw. I tried all 4 combinations with the tranveler wires and only one switch works and only if the other switch is in a particular direction.

The original switch had the live wire spliced with a traveler wire and it somehow worked (it was some kind of easy wire switch on both switches). Trying to wire that one switch like that again thoguh with my new switch and it doesn't work. I don't get how that is possible and can't find a wiring diagram that reflects the original wiring yet it had worked! HELP!

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There is only one hot wire, Start by removing all the wires from both switches and find the hot wire. Attach it to the dark screw at that switch, and attach the remaining 2 wires to the other 2 screws in any order. Now go to the second switch and find which wire is hot. Go back and flip the first switch and now see which wire is hot at the second switch. Whichever wire did not get hot at the second switch goes to the dark screw, the other 2 go to the traveler screws in any order.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 7:38PM
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I see so you're saying the issue is that I checked both wires for the hot one when they were both disconnected and really I need to do one at a time?

What do you make of the fact that originally two out of the 3 wires were spliced together at one switch. Is that even possible?

Thanks a bunch Joe!

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 7:51PM
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The two wires spliced together at one switch is highly likely to be supplying that switch plus some other load. Highly likely that switch is the one with the hot wire you are seeking as your starting point as Joe outlined.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 9:33PM
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So should I leave the two spliced? If so I only have the spliced wire and one more wire to attach using only 2 of the 3 screws. Would that work?

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 10:07PM
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No. something is not right. Were the old switches "Smart Switches" like Lutron Maestros or Insteon?

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 10:51PM
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Yes they were some kind of "easy switch"

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 8:21AM
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Hereis a photo of the original switch, I believe the red wire is the live one. The 2nd 3 way switch had th same switch but had 3 wires over there. I honestly cant remember how that on was wired, but I think all 3 wires were seperate.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 8:36AM
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Separate those two wires and follow the procedure in my first post. How are you testing for the hot wire(s)?

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 10:20AM
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Joe, thanks again. Did what you told me to as far as flipping the switch to find what goes hot.

Works properly now!

Out of curiousity the easy switch stuff has some internal connections or something that allows you to wire them weird?

Thanks big time!

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 10:32AM
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I used my car battery/alternator/voltage tester FYI to see what was hot. It doesn't read out a number etc but it only lit up when I touched the hot wire. Not its intended us but serves the purpose for a yes or no live electricity test

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 10:34AM
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Can't tell what kind of switch that is but there are switches that allow dimming at both locations and require a jumper at one end. The switches communicate with each other via one of the wires and are wired differently than standard switches.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 10:38AM
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