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I have seen this answer: How do I convert a light circuit with a single pole switch to use two 3-way switches?

However, I'm having trouble understanding what my current circuit layout is (I didn't install it) and haven't been able to get three-way switches working.

Here's a diagram I made of what I can understand of the circuit:

incomplete circuit diagram

Sorry for my poor, incomplete diagram. Both cables run over ten meters through the ceiling. I can't see where they go to even know where I'd need to crack the ceiling to find them. Also, I lack enough knowledge to complete the circuit logically.

If anyone could help me I'd appreciate it a lot.

EDIT: Adding a picture of the current wiring diagram. This connects the circuit only if both switches are on. Either switch breaks the circuit.

enter image description here

EDIT 2: Switch Wiring Pictures

Switch closer to the lights on the circuit:

enter image description here

Switch closer to the source:

enter image description here

  • Can you get us photos of the insides of the boxes you're trying to set up? – ThreePhaseEel Dec 2 '17 at 16:11
  • @ThreePhaseEel Thanks for your response. I added a quick diagram of what I have sone now. I'm sure it looks foolish as I know it doesn't work properly and I feel foolish for not being able to figure this out. – Benjamin Jones Dec 2 '17 at 16:18
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    We'll need photos of how the wiring actually is, or indications about which wire was landed on which screw terminals... – ThreePhaseEel Dec 2 '17 at 16:29
  • @threephaseeel will post tomorrow! 1:30 am here in japan so I better get some sleep before I electrocute myself – Benjamin Jones Dec 2 '17 at 16:38
  • @ThreePhaseEel I added some pictures of the switches. Thanks again! – Benjamin Jones Dec 3 '17 at 0:57
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You have these wired up wrong

The terminal labeled 0 on the switches is the common terminal, and thus needs to go to the line-hot or load-switched as appropriate. The terminals labeled 1 and 3 are the travelers, and thus need to go to the same wires in the cable at both ends. You should make sure neutral runs along with the travelers as well to avoid a big fat magnetic-field-inducing current loop -- this may require breaking the neutral at the point you spliced in the line and load cables for the switches.

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    What's more, the "0" terminal actually has two backstabs. You should only be using one. You should not be filling every backstab hole on the switch, you should be leaving one of the two "0" terminals empty. – Harper Dec 3 '17 at 6:30
  • @threephaseeel Thanks! Everything works perfectly now. I can't believe I did something so foolish and never noticed. – Benjamin Jones Dec 3 '17 at 11:51
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You need 3 conductors (+ ground) between the old switch and your new switch. That's your biggest issue. Once you have that, there's inevitably a way to wire up two new 3-way switches to work.

If you are thinking about using 2 existing switches, there's a very low probability that you have the necessary third wire ("the traveller") available. (In the question you linked, the traveller is drawn in red.)

((edit to say that this answer is useless... I'll delete after the dust settles because the OPs comment is relevant.))

  • Thanks for the quick reply. I purchased three way switches as well as three-wire cabling, since I knew this would be necessary. I have tried rewiring the switches using diagrams available in the previous link, but my best result is two switches the turn on the lights when they are both on, but cut the circuit if either switch is off. – Benjamin Jones Dec 2 '17 at 16:06
  • @BenjaminJones -- you'll need to post photos of the wiring at the boxes for us to know more. – ThreePhaseEel Dec 2 '17 at 16:08

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