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Thread: Dang 3 way switches!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    The Heart of Dixie
    Posts
    4,265

    Dang 3 way switches!

    I wired our house when we built it. We have had one 3 way that has never worked right. It is one of two in the house I had problems with. Because of where it was we rarely used but one switch and it worked fine. Today I was installing missing cover plates and one outlet that had never gotten installed, the small stuff that if you not careful never gets done. One of my goals was to fix that switch.

    Before when this has happened it has always been that I got two wires reversed so I assumed that to be the case here. I looked over the circuit and thought I saw the problem. Fixed it, turned the power back on ... nope! OK try again. After about an hour and a dozen trips back and forth form the fuse panel I finally accepted the fact that I had no idea what the heck was going on!

    I went the truck and got my meter and started testing. Obviously there was something not right. Power was where it was supposed to be and I now I was totally stumped. Finally just pulled the switches out and decided to start from scratch. I checked the switch to make certain it worked like I thought it did. Guess what I found? A bad switch! That is why I was having so much trouble. Scrounged around in the box of electrical stuff in the Lab and to my surprise there was a new 3 way down there. Replaced the switch and it still didn't work.

    Talk about ready to pull you hair out! Good thing was it turned out to be the same mistake I make every time. I reversed two wires and FINALLY everything worked like it should. I think I spent close to two hours on that stupid switch and walked about a half a mile back and forth from the fuse panel.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    somewhere east of Queen Creek, AZ - South East of Phoenix
    Posts
    8,470
    LOL, been there done that. It seems so simple. Youve got 3 wire how can there be sooooo many combinations..
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Minneapolis/Grand Marais Minnesota
    Posts
    181
    I'm finding more defective parts coming out of the borg. I'm also finding a lot of home handymen installing there own with poor results
    Simple method I always use, keeps me out of trouble. Draw a diagram!!!
    Also to "unscrew" handman mistakes is draw a boolean algebra truth table .Works everytime.
    Live Like You Mean It!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    The Heart of Dixie
    Posts
    4,265
    Tyler, you have good point... well the part I understood anyway.

    After I finished I got to thinking and the other 3 way that gave me problems had a bad switch too. Both from the Borg. I wired several 3 ways and a few 4 ways in this house with no problems. The two that gave me fits were both because of bad switches. By the time I found the problem I was totally confused.

    BTW, if I am every in your neck of the woods your going to have to take me sailing. Sold my boat 3 years ago and I miss it. I have plans for a Core Sound 20 on my shelf. Won't be this winter but I am looking forward to building that boat and getting to sail again.

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