Faulty 3-Way Switch

a3kataOctober 26, 2011

I am having a problem with a 3-way switch in my house. The switches do not operate like 3-way switches should. One of the switches must be flipped up to be able to turn the light on with the other switch (I may not be describing this well, but I know this is not operating as a 3-way switch should).

The switches control the ceiling light in one bedroom. There are two switches about 10-12 feet apart. I just bought this house so I do not know how the wiring was done. I replaced each of the switches with new 3-way switches, however, this did not fix the problem.

I noticed that one of the switches had 3 wires (none were ground wires) and the other switch has 4 wires (none were ground wires). The switch with 4 wires had 2 wires connected to the same screw. This was on the side of the switch with 2 screws.

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Sounds like a mix of 3-way and 4-way switches.

The switches are named for the number of screws/connections.

A pair of 3-way switches allows the control of a load from 2 places.

A pair of 3-way switches with 4-way switches between them allows control from 3 or more locations( you can add as many 4-way switches as you want).

    Bookmark   October 26, 2011 at 3:31PM
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The switches are not the problem but the way they are wired is. The way the wires are described you have a pair of 3-way switches.

The power comes into one on the common, it will be marked but you really have to look for it.
The other two wires are the travelers and go to the same place on the other switch.
The common on the second switch goes to the light.
Either switch could be first.
The two wires on one screw could be power continuing to another receptacle.
If you don't understand any of this you need someone familiar with wiring.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2011 at 4:38PM
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