K here is my deal....
I ran 12/2 from my panel to a 3 way switch....then 12/3 to a ceiling light and then to another ceiling light then to a wall mounted 3 way switch....(hallway if you were curious).....
When I throw the switches...one light comes on...the second comes on for a brief second and then goes out (florescent lights).......
Red Wire..runs the entire distance from Switch to Switch.
Ground Does the Same...
The White Neutral is what the Lights are wired into both one after the other in sync and only with the 12/3 wire...neutral.
I realize that there are several ways to wire a 3 - Way switch configuation like this but I'm not sure if this problem is my wiring or just a bad flourcent light unit?
Anyone ever wired a Switch - Light - Light - Switch in this way with only 12/3 wire?
Should have ran a 4 conductor between the two lights...
Next time, draw it on paper first...
I was afraid of that......yep I should have checked with the experts first....Darn it....
The best way to fix it is to connect one light in the normal way. Then run 12/2 from that light to the second one.
Using that approach you can put as many lights as you want on a pair of 3-way switches.
Run a 12-2wG from one light to the next light. The second light has no neutral. Do NOT try to use the bare ground as a conductor!!
A 3 way switch has 3 terminals but your wiring could only connect to 2 of them. It appears that the lights are wired in series using the neutral wire, although even that does not seem logical, but is what your description implies. A wiring diagram might eliminate the discrepencies. Your wiring sounds like one I came across years ago with a DIY'er. He wired the circuit for multiple 3 way switches. When I told him he needed 4 way switches for the extra ones but that he only had the three wires that a 3 way switch uses. When I told he he needed a fourth wire for the 4-way, he asked if he could use the bare ground wire for the fourth one.
The idea is to lay out the circuit to operate one light. Get that one working and go from there to all of the others.
His switch was off line, rather than inline between the two three ways, so he had to have 2 traveler wires to the switch and 2 back to the second switch. He only used a 14/3 wg because that is what a three way switch would require. And I know how a 4 way switch fits into the circuit, which is why I could advise him as to his problem.
The following diagram shows what is going on with the switches with two 3-way switches.
It is possible you wired the two lights in "series" rather than in "parallel". The following page has diagrams of batteries connected in series vs parallel so you can get the idea. Imagine the batteries as being light bulbs...
The light fixtures should be connected in parallel.