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How do I fix two three way switches where only one of them controls the light?

My downstairs switch controls the light in the hall but the switch at the top of the stairs does not do anything. Something must be wired wrong at the light by the previous homeowner. They are both 3 way switches. How can I fix it? I have drawn a sketch of the wiring at both switches and at the light junction box.

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  • ryan463 Nov 29, 2014

    Here is the sketch that I drew. The gray wires on the drawing represents white.

  • ryan463 Nov 29, 2014

    That picture didn't work so well. Let's try this.





  • ryan463 Nov 29, 2014

    Never mind. I figured it out. The switch downstairs and the box at the light were both wired wrong.

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  • Master
  • 739 Answers

--------------- wire #1 ---------------------
power in --- -----power out to
--------------- wire #2 --------------------- light

the upstairs switch is improperly wired. With the breaker off, un wire the upstairs switch. Using an inductive tester with the breaker back on (use caution not to get shocked, determine which wires get power from the downstairs switch in EACH position (there is no 'off' in a three way). when you determine which two wires bring power to the upstairs switch, the remaining wire is the light.

Posted on Nov 29, 2014

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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

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SOURCE: wiring a 3 way switch on 1 plate to 3 lights and 2 other switches

I have a light switch at the bottom of the stairs which works 2ways can be switched on and off up and down stairs and also an out side light on the same switch which I have messed up and would like a picture of the way it should be connected.

Posted on Oct 16, 2008

  • 323 Answers

SOURCE: Wiring Bathroom light/vent/heater switch with 3 separate controls

Wiring a bathroom combination vent, heater, light 3 way switch means more wires. In brief, you need to run two cables - one a two wire and one a three wire from the switch to the fan.

Incoming power will have white black and ground.

The two wire cable for the switch to the fan will have wht, blk, and ground.

The three wire will have red, blk, wht, and grnd.

The switch will likely have 2 blacks and a red coming from it, with two blacks and a red on one side, and a single black on the other.

The fan should have a red, blue, green, black, and white.

On the fan end: Group all green/copper grounds together and use a wire nut to fasten them together. Tape the nut to the wires.
There will be five white wires coming through. For ease of handling, using wire nuts, connect two on one nut and three on the other.
connect the blue to a blck. Connect one red to one black, and the other red to the other black.

The switch will have one red going into the 3 wire cable, a black going to the 3 wire cable, and a black form incoming power to the side opposite the 3 wires, and a blck going to the two wire cable.

There. Confused?

Posted on May 28, 2009

cj2176
  • 520 Answers

SOURCE: Wiring Door jamb switch

I'm going to guide you on how to create what is known as a "switch leg".
1- run a 12-2 w/ground wire to the light fixture from new switch.
2- connect black wire "hot wire" to the shiny bronze tinted terminal on switch.
3- connect the white wire " neutral " to the silver connection on switch.
4- connect the naked copper wire " ground " to the ground terminal on switch
5- Disconnect the two white wires in the junction box from each other.
6- Connect the ground to ground in j-box
7- Connect the black to one of the whites in j-box
8- connect the white to the other white in j-box
9- wire nut and tape all connections
Oh and be sure that you turn off the breaker before you start. Hope this helps. Good luck.

Posted on Jun 15, 2009

  • 864 Answers

SOURCE: how to wire 3 switches in a 3 gang box

WARNING: Do not attempt to do this work unless you completely understand the information provided below. If in doubt call an electrician.
Always make sure the power is disconnected from all possible sources before making any connections. Your description of the problem indicates that there may be multiple power wires coming into the same box. In that case local codes may require that the box be partitioned to prevent exposure to voltages up to 220 volts.
You need to determine where each wire goes to know how to connect them together. You cannot rely on color alone. If the power supply runs through the box to the loads then most (but probably not all) of the white wires will be connected together. If the power runs to the load boxes first then none of the white wires in the switch box should be connected together. They are used to run the switched/dimmed power back to the loads (and should be taped to cover the white in the box). In that case each switch has its own power input and they should not be tied together. A wire (could be black or white with black tape) brings power from the load box, gets connected to the input terminal of the switch and the corresponding black wire carries the switched power back to the load. The fan/light switch will have one power in and a switched power out for the fan and another for the light. The 3-way will have one "power" in (or it could be the final power out to the light) and two "carrier wires that connect to the other 3-way switch. If the power supply goes through the switch box then there will be at least 10 wires in that box. In that case see the attached diagram: a5fa64a.gif

Posted on Sep 23, 2009

  • 12104 Answers

SOURCE: I need to wire a 3 gang switches in a 3 gang box

before u start make sure power is off before working with electrical lines ---start with the 12/2 coming into box black [power] white [ground-neutral] and u will have 3 separate lines for the lights so u will have 4 lines total coming in the box== with the 3 light lines take the white and strip back the plastic and connect [wire nut] all 3 to the 12/2 white line --now take the 12/2 black line and connect it to the first switch gold color screw- bottom screw -now take some wire about 2-3 inch strip both ends and connect from the 12/2 black wire connection on the switch and connect to the gold /bottom of switch 2 than do the same for switch 3 connecting the wire from switch 2 so u will have power feeding all 3 switches-- now connect the black lines for the lights to the other side of each switch and ur done

Posted on Feb 14, 2010

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