# Three-way switch problem, potentially faulty

I have a fairly specific question related to three-way switches. While I understand in principal how they work and how to wire them (I think anyway), my specific wiring is not generating the expected results. Here is the current wiring:

``````----------       Switch 1:       Switch 2:               ---------
| Power  |---B---Common          Common------W---X---B---| Light |
| source |---W   Traveler----B---Traveler            W---|       |
----------   |   Traveler----R---Traveler            |   ---------
|                                       |
----------------X------------------------

Legend:
B = Black wire
W = White wire
R = Red wire
X = Splice/wire nut
``````

The expected result is that both switches can independently control the light. The observed result is that one switch overrides the other (the overriding switch must be on for the light to be on, and, if it is on, the other switch will cause the light to flicker when toggled, but will not actually turn it off).

Given the above, am I doing something wrong or could one or both of my switches be faulty? (They are brand new, but at this point I'm having difficulty finding another explanation.) Thanks!

• There seems to be a problem with your diagram. At the end near the light, you have two white wires. One attached to common, and one carrying through from the first switch. Commented Sep 2, 2014 at 17:17
• The diagram is correct. The junction box with switch 1 has three cables coming into it. The one from the power source (B/W), the one to the light (B/W), and the one to switch 2 (B/W/R). Consequently, I am using the white wire there to route power back from switch 2 and splicing it into the black wire to the light. I've wrapped that wire on both ends with black tape to indicate that it is used as a hot wire. Commented Sep 2, 2014 at 18:18
• In that case, I think this image more accurately describes your situation. Commented Sep 3, 2014 at 12:35