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3 way light switches


Oilpatch

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I'm currently in the process of swapping out the light switches in a house I recently moved into, the only problem is the 3 way light switches seem to be getting the better of me. I installed them the exact way they were installed on the old switch and I c can't get them to work right. Does anybody know of some rule of thumb for changing them out?

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Yes, but i'd have to show you in person, I love figuring these type of things out. We also need to know where the line and load are, on which side, so if the power is coming to one switch and the wire for light is feeding from the other switch, or if the power and wire to light are coming from the same box....?  

Definitely look up diagrams online

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By code, there are certain color wires you're supposed to use for power in, travellers and load out, but it's rarely the way it gets done in the field. Adding to the complication is that many of the older three way switches didn't have a clearly marked "point" screw (the black screw on modern three-way switches) and figuring out which wire is point (feed in or load out) can be difficult without a tester. Once you identify the wires, it will all work, but you need to understand how the switches work to get to that point.

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Ah, brings back bad memories. I ran into this when I bought my current home. Was built in the real early 40s, so all the wiring was knob and tube. Without replacing the wiring at the time, but replacing the switch with an x10 3 way module, and NO color wires for reference. What a nightmare to wire, but I eventually got it lol. And as luck would have it, there was only 1- 3way switch from the ground floor the the upstairs hallway. Let me tell you what a apsolute pain in the butt to replace the wire without tearing walls open!post-28671-0-59918400-1453235713_thumb.j this is a stock pic just for reference in case there are people out there that don't know what knob n tube is.

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By code, there are certain color wires you're supposed to use for power in, travellers and load out, but it's rarely the way it gets done in the field. Adding to the complication is that many of the older three way switches didn't have a clearly marked "point" screw (the black screw on modern three-way switches) and figuring out which wire is point (feed in or load out) can be difficult without a tester. Once you identify the wires, it will all work, but you need to understand how the switches work to get to that point.

what type of tester are you talking about? I have this one, would it work?:http://www.homedepot.com/p/Klein-Tools-Voltage-Tester-ET50/202498056

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is the only three way I don't enjoy discussing! Do you have any pictures you  may be able to provide in order to help?

 

Glasseyi, were you fishing in your new wires from the attic?

No attic to speak of, all wires had to come from the basement up the side walls, there is a space, luckily above the second floor that I could poke my head through and run a nylon poll fish over too, was about 15' too the wall switch, so that was even fun.

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No attic to speak of, all wires had to come from the basement up the side walls, there is a space, luckily above the second floor that I could poke my head through and run a nylon poll fish over too, was about 15' too the wall switch, so that was even fun.

 

We get a lot of tricky fish locations, that sounds like it was a bit of a bear! Sometimes you gotta open up a location, even if you dont wanna!

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