Electrical Questions? Ask an Electrician Online.
So what do I need to know?
do you have any kind of voltage testor ? is this accessable in an attic space ?
yes to the tester.
no about attic access.
ground floor of a 3-floor home
does the testor have wires or just rings when you nget close to power ?
you seem to be talking about a different sort of tester than I have, I think.
is there a box where you want to put this new light ?
here's what I have available to me.
1) a voltage meter
2) a tool that will tell me what breaker goes to a particular outlet
hang on, let me grab it downstairs...
the third is a continuity tester.
I don't have anything that I can, for example, run along the ceiling to find where wiring might be
ok .. well the 3 way would normally switch a light in the room it is in ,, or the room that is next to it .. or it may be switching an outlet
does any of that make sense ?
is there an existing electrical box where you want the new light ?
Yes, I know how they are supposed to work. We've tested every outlet in the room bounded by the 2 3-way switches (that I assume work together) but it doesn't seem to currently control anything.
there is currently no electrical box. That's what I want to add.
have you taken the switch out of the wall ?
That's why I need to find the power in the ceiling.
I have pulled the cover off, but not take the switch out of the wall...
Ok .. no box .. so you understand that it means cutting out plaster on the wall and ceiling if you want to conceal the wiring
wait, wall AND ceiling? Not just ceiling?
can you see what color wires are on the three terminals on the switch
just a sec.
ceiling would be a lot of luck to find the wire where you wanted the lightn
red, white, and black.
how close are the two 3way switches .. wondering if the shortest distance between them is around a wall the usual .. or over the ceiling route
the shortest distance is likely through the ceiling. they are on opposing sides of the living room.
maybe 20 to 25 feet?
and they don't share a wall
OK red white black ,, then this sounds like the end of the line .. the power and switch leg are in the other switch box ,, i think
okay, let me take the other plate off, and see what it has.
OK if this is true ,, power on the other end .. then using this 3wire would not work for as new light
you would need to find the switch leg .. that goes from the other switch to whatever it is controlling
the other one appears to be black, black, and red.
when you tested the outlets .. did you test top and bottom of the outlets .. sometimes they are split bottom switched .. top hot
yes the black black red would be typical for the switch with the power and switch leg
my guess is that when this place was renovated, the guy intended to do something with this 3-way switch, but ended up not...
how old is the house ?
when was the renovation
there is another 3-way switch right next to the ones I am working on that control the recessed lighting.
originally 1910, but renovated in 2006.
turned into a 3-unit condeo
where is the recessed lighting in the room just trying to get a mental picture
do you think that thye old ceilings have been lowered in the renovation
there a 5 recessed lights, 1 in each corner (roughly) and one off-center.
new plaster ceiling
hard to sya... the ceiling is 10 to 12 feet.
I think new plaster
nope too high for to have been dropped
I'm usually pretty handy... I get the feeling, though, that I should probably hire someone to help...
well .. action plans .. there is a tool that is used to trace circuits in walls .. can be rented in some localities .. send a radio signal along the wire and can be traced ... could open up outlet boxes looking for an extra wire dead ended . probably close to that second switch .. could look in the recessed light in the center oif the room and see if it is dead ended there
none of this is a sure thing .. have worked in a lot of old farm houses in new england ,, alway a surprise how they are wired
I have a "digital circuit detective", but I don't think it's going to help... Looks like you'd use it to find the circuit breaker that ties to a given outlet or light fixture...
how does that work .. attach to wire and then get signal at breaker ? maybe attach to wire at swiotch and see if it reacts at an outlet ??? do not know how that tester works ,.
I kinda told you how i would rry to find it .. maybe that thing could help ?
plug in to outlet, then the other piece is a transmitter of some sort. hold it up to the breaker, press a button
I've never used it... I bought it when I was trying to replace an outside outlet.
Let me try something.
tried using it to see if it could identify the switch to a known switched outlet... didn't seem to work.
let me try one other thing. hang on.
the wire you are looking for may not be attached to anything .. just a thought in the rewire
that thought occurred to me.
Voltage meter would tell me if there is power, yes?
damn, now I need to find my volt meter... not where I thought it was...
yes .. but that wire may not be connected ,, may be lurking in back of box
got power to one of the switches
checking the otehr
it appears to have power, too...
so what the hell are they wired to..
Okay... I think I'm giving up and hiring someone....
I appreciate the help.
switches may show power .. but if nothing on end of wire then nothing will be controlled
the wire may dead end in a box som,ewhere ..
think I need to pull the switches out then?
how can I track down that box?
I would guess in a outlet box near the second switch ,, black black red .. or in the center light fixture
will be a guiessing game
Okay... I'll bring in a professional, I guess...
Thanks for your help, Rich.