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View Full Version : How do you wire a 3 way switch - black screw connected to white wire is this right?



buzzyspeedo
Jul 27, 2010, 04:40 PM
I have a 3 way switch I am replacing. It has 4 wires coming out of the outlet.
The top two terminals I am going to wire Red left and Black right. The bottom two terminals will be ground left and white right on the black screw terminal. This does not seem right, but an electrician said it is correct. The switch is supposed to operate an outside light. The switch is just inside the house. Is the wiring scheme correct?

stanfortyman
Jul 27, 2010, 05:44 PM
What you are asking is impossible to answer without more information.
There is no set-in-stone color scheme for 3-way switches. The only thing that is set in stone is that the ground must go on the green screw.
Also, left and right are meaningless. There is no left and right on a 3-way switch. The black screw is called the "common", not for any particular reason though. The two gold screws are the travelers. The same two wires used as the travelers must go on the gold screws on both switches.

How was the old switch wired?

buzzyspeedo
Jul 27, 2010, 05:57 PM
Thanks for your response. The old switch had the black wire on the bottom and the red and white on the top. No ground was used. My electrician friend said something about this is a California 3 way suicide kill switch scheme and the white wire should be on the bottom (black screw) opposite the green ground wire. The other two (red and black on the top). Hope that makes sense.
My thinking was that the black wire needed to be on the bottom (black screw opposite the green screw ground wire and the red and black wire on the top.

buzzyspeedo
Jul 27, 2010, 05:57 PM
Thanks for your response. The old switch had the black wire on the bottom and the red and white on the top. No ground was used. My electrician friend said something about this is a California 3 way suicide kill switch scheme and the white wire should be on the bottom (black screw) opposite the green ground wire. The other two (red and black on the top). Hope that makes sense.
My thinking was that the black wire needed to be on the bottom (black screw opposite the green screw ground wire and the red and black wire on the top.

stanfortyman
Jul 27, 2010, 06:11 PM
Again, left right, top bottom. All meaningless. Different brands have different screw positions.

You need to find what wire was originally on the black screw and copy that. The other two should not matter then.

If it actually IS a "California 3-way" then re-wire the whole thing properly.

buzzyspeedo
Jul 27, 2010, 06:23 PM
Like I said, when I pulled off the old switch, The black wire was on the bottom of the switch and the other 2 wires, Red and white at the other end. No ground. Now in my book, if I rewire it exactly the way it was, I place the black wire on the black screw. The other two wires (red and white at the other end of the switch. I just want to be sure... Calif. 3-way "Re-wire the whole thing properly" tells me what? Thanks...

IPguy
Jul 27, 2010, 07:08 PM
This may help you.
http://http://www.diychatroom.com/attachments/f18/16703d1263774857-3-way-switch-installation-ti070-3w-aube-3-way-switch-wiring-diagram1.jpg

IPguy
Jul 27, 2010, 07:10 PM
http://www.diychatroom.com/attachments/f18/16703d1263774857-3-way-switch-installation-ti070-3w-aube-3-way-switch-wiring-diagram1.jpg

stanfortyman
Jul 27, 2010, 08:11 PM
Like I said, when I pulled off the old switch, The black wire was on the bottom of the switch and the other 2 wires, Red and white at the other end. No ground. Now in my book, if I rewire it exactly the way it was, I place the black wire on the black screw. The other two wires (red and white at the other end of the switch. I just want to be sure..... Calif. 3-way "Re-wire the whole thing properly" tells me what? Thanks...Not much I guess.
Sorry, I really have no way to figure this out for you.

buzzyspeedo
Jul 27, 2010, 08:14 PM
Good diagram Thank you !

buzzyspeedo
Jul 27, 2010, 08:38 PM
http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://images.lowes.com/general/3/3way_switch_markedup.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.askmehelpdesk.com/electrical-lighting/universal-wall-control-harbor-breeze-fan-209213.html&usg=__aoBAfnnRIyyKQr20ZRWn5f0v-nw=&h=190&w=225&sz=29&hl=en&start=0&tbnid=SW-SUlTTCMWGKM:&tbnh=151&tbnw=177&prev=/images%3Fq%3D3%2Bway%2Bswitch%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%2 6client%3Dfirefox-a%26sa%3DN%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26biw%3D1568%26bih%3D790%26tbs%3Disch: 1&um=1&itbs=1&iact=hc&vpx=379&vpy=302&dur=2399&hovh=152&hovw=180&tx=107&ty=68&ei=i6VPTMC0DoGmsQP5n72sCQ&page=1&ndsp=31&ved=1t:429,r:9,s:0

This is a 3 way switch... Why should I use a white wire to connect to the (C) and use the black as a traveler ?

buzzyspeedo
Jul 27, 2010, 08:40 PM
http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://images.lowes.com/general/3/3way_switch_markedup.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.askmehelpdesk.com/electrical-lighting/universal-wall-control-harbor-breeze-fan-209213.html&usg=__aoBAfnnRIyyKQr20ZRWn5f0v-nw=&h=190&w=225&sz=29&hl=en&start=0&tbnid=SW-SUlTTCMWGKM:&tbnh=151&tbnw=177&prev=/images%3Fq%3D3%2Bway%2Bswitch%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%2 6client%3Dfirefox-a%26sa%3DN%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26biw%3D1568%26bih%3D790%26tbs%3Disch: 1&um=1&itbs=1&iact=hc&vpx=379&vpy=302&dur=209&hovh=152&hovw=180&tx=127&ty=173&ei=i6VPTMC0DoGmsQP5n72sCQ&page=1&ndsp=31&ved=1t:429,r:9,s:0

buzzyspeedo
Jul 27, 2010, 08:42 PM
http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://images.lowes.com/general/3/3way_switch_markedup.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.askmehelpdesk.com/electrical-lighting/universal-wall-control-harbor-breeze-fan-209213.html&usg=__aoBAfnnRIyyKQr20ZRWn5f0v-nw=&h=190&w=225&sz=29&hl=en&start=10&tbnid=SW-SUlTTCMWGKM:&tbnh=91&tbnw=108&prev=/images%3Fq%3D3%2Bway%2Bswitch%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%2 6client%3Dfirefox-a%26sa%3DN%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26biw%3D1568%26bih%3D790%26tbs%3Disch: 1&um=1&itbs=1

Stratmando
Jul 28, 2010, 06:45 AM
If it works, leave it alone, Wrap tape around the white wire, Like stan Keeps saying, "The wire on the darkk screw is what is important, Not left,right, top or bottom".
The Electrician says its fine, so I am thinking it is working?
Black tape on the white wire.

donf
Jul 28, 2010, 07:27 AM
The reason you wrap the black tape around the white wire is because of the NEC code.

Since most switches do not use a neutral conductor. The NEC allows the Neutral conductor to be "re-tasked" as an ungrounded conductor.

This means that the NEC allows the White conductor to carry voltage from the power source to the switch only.

The white wire can only supply a switch and it must be marked at both ends to signify that is re-tasked.

buzzyspeedo
Jul 28, 2010, 08:49 AM
Okay, Here is what I think I am hearing." Wrap tape around the white wire, Like stan Keeps saying,"

Does that mean it is OK to place the White wire on the dark screw (c), but mark it by placing black tape on it? Or does it mean to NOT use the White wire, but to tape it off and instead use the Black wire? I am obviously a novice and do not know these terms nor do I want to assume anything this serious. Thank you all for your patience. Much appreciated.

buzzyspeedo
Jul 28, 2010, 08:53 AM
Honestly, I think this could be figured out if I knew where the other switch was that connects to the switch in question. Right?
I could see how it is wired and then know which was the traveler.

Since the switch in question is not working, I honestly do not know where the connecting switch is? Make sense?

donf
Jul 28, 2010, 09:08 AM
There are two possible conditions for using the three-way switch.

One: (most common) is control lights from two locations.

Second: Have one switch control two devices.

For example: One switch with two sets of lights.

Which is the environment that you have?

When you put the switch on, what is supposed to happen?

Stratmando
Jul 28, 2010, 09:09 AM
This question is IMPORTANT.
Does the light currently work?
If you can't find the second switch of this 3 way, it may have been eliminated at the location with 2 wire tied together and the other traveller capped off.
We are saying to wrap black tape around the white wire, and leave it where it is.
From what I understand to be a California 3 way setup, and is wrong to use is have a hot on 1 traveller terminal and a neutral at the other traveller terminal on both switches, then the common of 1 goes to the lights hot, and the other common on other switch goes to the lights neutral. Problem is that sometimes the shell is hot.

buzzyspeedo
Jul 28, 2010, 11:32 AM
Here is the short answer. The switch is supposed to turn on the light just outside the house only. I am not sure what else it may operate.

The reason I replaced the switch in the first place is because the switch template was metal and would short out at times. This would blow the breaker and the TV and stereo would shut off as well, I saw black marks on this metal template which made be conclude that it was shorting. SOOO I got rid of the metal faceplate and then as secondary cautionary step I elected to replace the existing switch with a new one. Now that the new switch is slightly different than the old switch, I want to be very sure that I put the wires on correctly. The old switch had the black wire at one end (that had only 1 input and the other end had the red and white wires. There was no input for a ground wire. The ground wire was not connected. Does this help?

buzzyspeedo
Jul 28, 2010, 11:52 AM
I think I know about where the other end of the 3 way switch is.

Outside just below the light (that is connected to the switch inside) is a GFI Switch that is also not working. I suspect the switch I am trying to connect also is tied into the GFI (outside). So inside my house is a 3way switch and just outside on the other side of the wall is a light, just below the light about 4 feet is a GFI. Both the GFI and the light are not working.

buzzyspeedo
Jul 28, 2010, 01:16 PM
It appears that this switch controls an outside light and a GFI that is 4 feet below the light.

Currently, since the switch is Not wired yet, both the light and the GFI are NOT working. Thanks

Stratmando
Jul 28, 2010, 01:30 PM
Maybe just the GFI is tripped.
Need to check for power At Line Side of GFI.

buzzyspeedo
Jul 28, 2010, 01:57 PM
I put my tester in the GFI and it is dead. I tried to trip it and no difference. This is why I think all 3 must be connected.

hkstroud
Jul 28, 2010, 05:14 PM
Four ways to wire 3-way switches. There is a fifth but it requires some 4-wire cable.

Stratmando
Jul 28, 2010, 05:36 PM
You need to test the back of the GFI, not the receptacle, it may be bad.

buzzyspeedo
Jul 28, 2010, 08:14 PM
Thanks Harold...

elilil
Mar 5, 2012, 01:19 PM
How do I wire a leviton 3 way switch with 3 blacks 3 whites and 3 ground the switch has 1 black screw 2 brass screw and 1 green screw

stanfortyman
Mar 5, 2012, 02:02 PM
how do i wire a leviton 3 way switch with 3 blacks 3 whites and 3 ground the switch has 1 black screw 2 brass screw and 1 green screwFirst off, this is an old thread. You should have started a new one with your question.

Second, just telling us the colors does not help. We would need to know where each one goes.

Third, the fact that there is no red tells us that this could not have been pre-wired for a 3-way switch.

Best bet is start a new thread with your question, and explain with much more detail what it is you are trying to do.