I was wanting to replace an older light switch in my place. It's part of a pair of switches that turn on/off a the same light. One at the top of the stairs, and one at the bottom. After doing some research it looked like i needed a 3 way switch. So i bought 2 of them.

Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures at the moment so i'll try to describe what I have.

So at the top of the stairway I was able to replace it easily. There were only 2 cables(This is a house built in 1954, so there's no ground).

When I went for the bottom switch, there were a lot more wires. There were 6 wires coming in, 2 black, 2 red, and 2 white. 4 of those wires, 2 red, and two white, were attached to the light switch. Also, the light switch had no labels on it as to what was plugged in where, and all screws were bronze-ish in color. And the two black were together with a wire connector.

When I went to replace the switch with the new one, but it only had 3 screws. One black, and two gold.

What would be the proper way to attach the wires to this light switch? I can get some pictures and post them later tonight if it will help.

This is the socket

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    Looking at switch screw colors is good. Looking at wire colors is fairly useless. Look instead at how the wires are grouped into cables or conduit holes, and where each group of wires goes. – Harper Mar 20 '17 at 21:08
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    Pictures would definitely help, so post them when you can – mmathis Mar 20 '17 at 21:25
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    Is there a third switch controlling this light? It sounds like you need a 4-way switch here, not a 3-way... – ThreePhaseEel Mar 20 '17 at 22:18
  • As far as i know there is no 3rd light switch. I only found 2 that control that light. this is the photo of the socket imgur.com/a/7GdyP – CelleratorZero Mar 20 '17 at 22:38
  • It seems you accidentally created another account when you went to edit posts -- you'll have to contact the SE staff to get them merged. – ThreePhaseEel Mar 21 '17 at 2:21

It sounds like your setup is like the following:

enter image description here

You seem to have the source coming to one, and then being looped to the other switch. Often time what happens in homes is that other devices get joined at a junction box. The "extra wires" you are mentioning are more than likely going to other devices and the box is just providing a spot to do so.

You will want to turn off the power to the switches and determine which wire goes where (for the other devices) and which ones goto your light and other switch.

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