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Thread: Three way switch wiring trouble

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  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member wmlaveck's Avatar
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    Question Three way switch wiring trouble

    My home is 50 years old and uses a fuse box. I have a stairway that uses two three way switches to control one light. They were starting to fail so I purchased two replacement switches. When I removed the old witches I did not see any labeling as to common so I disconnected all wires from both switches. My first attempt to wire blew the fuse and same with second attempt.
    After doing some research on wiring three way switches and troubleshooting, I did some testing. Using a volt meter I connected one lead to a ground and used the other lead to find the hot. Here is what I found:
    Outlet box A
    Black wire 120v
    Red wire 51v
    White wire 0v

    Outlet box B
    Black wire 120v
    Red wire 51v
    White wire 0v

    Can anyone help me to make sense out of this? It is my understanding that I should only find one hot wire out of the two sets of three wires and I have no idea how I am getting 51v AC from the red wires.

  2. #2
    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wmlaveck View Post
    When I removed the old witches...
    Quote Originally Posted by wmlaveck View Post
    Can anyone help me to make sense out of this?
    Witchcraft.

    Either you have the red in series with the load or it's phantom voltage from induction.

  3. #3
    DIY Junior Member wmlaveck's Avatar
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    So what is the solution? I am thinking that the neutral should not be connected as it is. If I replace the boxes I’ll have room to rewire them correctly.

  4. #4
    Jack of all trades DonL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wmlaveck View Post
    So what is the solution? I am thinking that the neutral should not be connected as it is. If I replace the boxes Iíll have room to rewire them correctly.
    Take one of the old switches to a store so that you can get a direct replacement.

    Some of the connections on a new switch may look the same but the connections may be different.

    Is it a SPDT or a DPST or a DPDT ?
    Theory only works perfect in a vacuum.

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