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Thread: 3-Way Switch Problem

  1. #1
    Graphic Design
    Join Date
    Dec 2009

    Default 3-Way Switch Problem

    Need some expert advice, I had a 3-way switch that quit working and am trying to diagnose the issue.


    - There are 2 banks (we'll call them bank A and B) of switches on either end of my kitchen. Each bank contains 3, 3-way switches all controlling the same group of lights (overhead, undercabinet and ambient).

    - It was set up so that you could turn on or off any of the three lights from either bank.

    - New wiring was installed 3 years ago by an electrician and has worked flawlessly until yesterday. He switched jobs and I no longer have his contact info, otherwise I'd go straight to the source.

    - The switch for the overhead light on bank A won't turn ON the lights but, if you've already turned them on with the other switch from bank B, it will turn them OFF. That same switch on bank B is functioning fine. All other switches are working as expected.

    My question is what would cause one 3-way switch to begin functioning incorrectly? Faulty switch? Any suggestions?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2


    IF the switches have always worked properly and IF there has been no work done, it is a faulty switch.

    When you replace it, make sure you mark the wire that is on the common terminal (the dark colored screw) or you will be back asking "What did I do wrong?"

  3. #3
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    New England


    ANything mechanical eventually breaks...sounds like it's time for a new switch.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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