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Old 11-17-2010, 06:05 PM  
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Cap'n Crunch Killa's Avatar

Bellevue, Washington
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Two switches, one light. I can't make them work.

So typically and before I removed the old switch, I could turn the foyer light on with two seperate switches. It worked the way they should, if both switches were in the off position and you turned one on, the light would come on. If you turned the other switched to the on position the light would go off and if you turned the other back to the off position the light would come on again and so on. I changed out the old switch for a new one that is suppose to work that way and yet it doesn't.
There are three wires, one red, and two black. I know one is ground and I connected to the ground post. Is there something I'm missing or something I don't know?
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Old 11-17-2010, 09:43 PM  
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Sammamish, WA
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Are you sure it's a 3-way switch? there should be 4 wires, in all, actually 3 plus the ground to the box if it's grounded. there are actually several ways to wire it, and you need to install the new switch the way the old one was. it will not be the same as the other switch. I'm sure there is a chart available if you search 3-way switch.
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Old 11-18-2010, 10:37 AM  
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Renton, WA
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I just did this about 2 months ago, and bisjoe is right. First you need the right switch. Then for me I did trial and error for about a 1/2 hour before I got them to work right.
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Old 11-18-2010, 12:46 PM  
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Scottville, Michigan
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Electrician for 28 years here, and while I generally will not give out electrical advice without seeing the problem, let me take a shot at this one. It is by far the most called about DYI repair I've ever seen.

Take a peek back into the box with the switch out. The red and one of the blacks should be from the same cable, the other black should be from a different cable (with the whites from the two cables tied together using a wirenut or equivalent). The red and the black from the same cable are probably the "travelers" and go on the 2 terminal screws that are the same color on your switch. The other black would then go on the odd colored terminal screw. Make sure you replaced your old 3-way switch with a new 3-way switch and not just a single pole switch. Don't hook any of the colored wires to the green colored screw, that is for the ground ONLY. That should get you somewhere in the ballpark, it is hard to guess without seeing it.
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Old 11-19-2010, 08:43 PM  
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Bellevue, Washington
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I appreciate all the help! I took a stab at it again this morning before reading this thread and had no luck. I know it's a 3 way switch for sure. The box says 3 way on it and the diagram shows that it's for 2 switches and one light, so at least I have that going for me.
Bydand, the way you describe it, that sounds familiar to what I have seen in the connection box. I'll try again tomorrow now that I have read your post.
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Old 12-19-2010, 03:42 PM  
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Worcester, Massachusetts
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Maybe its time to call an electrician?
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Old 01-05-2011, 12:18 AM  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cap'n Crunch Killa View Post
So typically and before I removed the old switch, I could turn the foyer light on with two seperate switches. It worked the way they should, if both switches were in the off position and you turned one on, the light would come on. If you turned the other switched to the on position the light would go off and if you turned the other back to the off position the light would come on again and so on. I changed out the old switch for a new one that is suppose to work that way and yet it doesn't.
There are three wires, one red, and two black. I know one is ground and I connected to the ground post. Is there something I'm missing or something I don't know?
I think you use a two-way switch to control one light, right? When you use two way light switch, you should connect three wires properly at the same time. And communication line btween two switches must be connected. Actually there is article on two way light switch in my blog. If you want to know more details welcome to visit my blog.
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