I have 5 LED-based recessed lights on a 3-way switch that are problematic. When I activate the circuit, I rarely get all 5 lights switching on. If I turn them off and back on again, they all work.

They don't come on or go off, whichever ones switch on, remain on. There is also no pattern to which lights come on -- anything from 1 to 5 can come on, and not necessarily in the wired sequence. I have 20+ fixtures and they're all fine, including some installed on another 3-way.

Any tips on where the fault is, or troubleshooting, or do I simply need to replace all the cabling?

  • Are any of the 3-way switches dimmers, lighted, motion sensor anything like that? Mar 9 '18 at 19:14
  • If the lights are wired in parallel from the switch it would sound like a driver problem if they are not lighting, but since they also don't turn off it would sound like a switch problem. What type of 3 way switches are being used to controll the lights?
    – Ed Beal
    Mar 9 '18 at 22:36
  • Did you ever get this resolved? If so, please give a check-mark to the answer or write up your own answer explaining what you did to get it fixed and give yourself a check mark. That will help others with this kind of problem know that this has a resolution and is a good place to look for their answer.
    – FreeMan
    Aug 7 '20 at 18:26

I think what everyone is suggesting is that there is something else wrong other than your cabling. If I was called to your home and you described this problem, I would not just come out and say "we need to replace the cabling". What a good service electrician would do is try and isolate the problem.

He would probably pull the switch and inspect it and put a meter on it just to make sure it was working properly. Then he would go about disconnecting all of the recessed cans inspecting each one for damage or burnouts. Once he finished disconnecting the recessed cans. He would then test all of the wiring for any problems. If it is not the wiring or the switch (which it probably isn't) and he hasn't found any defective splices or damage to the can lights, then he would begin to connect each light back up and see if he can duplicate the problem.

What a really good service electrician would do first is to call the manufacturers tech support and first find out if this has occured before and get their input.

Good luck

  • has the right idea, and I would have to support the first couple of comments too. It doesn't make sense to presume the wiring is faulty. Starting with the low-hanging fruit [switches] makes the most sense and I would guess is the likely culprit.
    – brehma
    Aug 7 '20 at 5:53

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