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I am replacing 2 3-way lighting switches - one at the top of…

Customer Question
I am replacing 2...

I am replacing 2 3-way lighting switches - one at the top of the stairs and another at the bottom. The switches used to work but one failed so I bought 2 new Leviton 3 way rocker switches that are lighted.

Contractor's Assistant: I'll do all I can to help. How long have you been dealing with this?

Couple hours. The downstairs socket has only 3 wires - two black and one white. I believe I wired it correctly. The upstairs has 4 wires - two black and 2 white. The old fixture I replaced had room for all 4 wires. The Leviton has room for 3 wires and a ground. Right now the downstairs switch works properly in that it turns the lights off and on and no matter the light switch positioning upstairs. The upstairs switch works properly only if the downstairs light is in the on position, i.e. if the downstairs light is in the off position, the upstairs switch does not function. Is the problem with the upstairs switch wiring? What to do with the extra wire upstairs?

Contractor's Assistant: How old is the system in question? And have you consulted an electrician yet?

It is old. I have not contacted an electrician as this is a DYI task. My mistake in not labeling the wires when i disassembled the switches.. These switches appear to only be connected to the light fixtures in the stairway and top of stairs.

Contractor's Assistant: Do you plan on doing the work yourself?

Yes.

Contractor's Assistant: Anything else we should know to help you best?

I believe the downstairs switch is properly connected. i tested the current using current detector when the switches were disconnected from the wires. I used this to identify the one black wire that carries the current to the downstairs switch, which I placed on the colored black screw.

Submitted: 28 days ago.Category: Electrical
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Answered in 20 minutes by:
3/26/2018
Electrician: David Bowden, Electrician replied 28 days ago
David Bowden
David Bowden, Electrician
Category: Electrical
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Experience: Owner at Floridaco
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Electrician: David Bowden, Electrician replied 28 days ago

In order to determine the correct wires you need to use a voltage tester not a circuit tester as it will give you false wire identification. Most likely you have a crossed wire and that is the reason the switch works 1/2 right.

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