I had a Switch on one end of the kitchen and a Switch on the other end of the kitchen that would turn on/off the Track Light I had (3-Way Switch).

I want to add 6 Recessed Lights, so I removed the Track Light.

In the attic one wire went from one Switch to the Track Light, another wire came out of the Track Light and continued on to the other Switch. This wire contains: Black, White, Red and Copper.

  1. I reconnected the above mentioned wire making one long wire from Switch to Switch.
  2. While doing that I also connected a wire matching up Black, White and Copper and took that to a recessed light (3 Black together, 3 White together, 3 Copper together and 2 Red together).
  3. I flip the circuit breaker and one switch turns on and off the light. The next switch either pops the breaker or only turns it on (doesn't turn off, flashes off but flipping up turns it on, flipping down turns it on).

I need some advice on what to do and how to wire them. I believe I found the answer how to wire them, but I am confused because I have two different wires (one with red, the other without).


Here is a wiring diagram I made of how I have it currently. The wire running down the middle was existing (has the red wire in it) and was working correctly with just a single Track Light: enter image description here

EDIT 2: First 2 images are of the Top Switch in diagram, where power comes in. Switch 1 (where power comes in on top) enter image description here enter image description here Switch 2 (on bottom)

  • Can you post some photos of the boxes? Jun 15, 2016 at 3:31
  • Your description of the wiring is a bit hard to follow. Can you please include a diagram, or a list of all the wire terminations in each box?
    – Tester101
    Jun 15, 2016 at 11:43
  • I edited post to include rough diagram
    – ToddN
    Jun 16, 2016 at 0:40
  • Your diagram does not say where power is entering at. And we need to know the wiring inside the switch boxes! Jun 16, 2016 at 1:22
  • I edited the post to include pictures of wiring inside the switch boxes
    – ToddN
    Jun 17, 2016 at 17:22

1 Answer 1


What happened is that the white from the top switch is a neutral, while the white from the bottom switch is a traveler. Hence, one of the travelers is connected directly to both the common wire and the light, and the other traveler coming from the second switch is shorted to the neutral -- which explains the weird behavior and tripped breakers.

Now that that's covered, lets fix this -- this is all at the light-junction-box:

  • Turn the power off at the breaker box
  • Disconnect everything but the bare (ground) wires and the red wires.
  • Connect the white from the top switch to the white from the light.
  • Connect the black from the bottom switch to the black from the light.
  • Connect the black from the top switch to the white from the bottom switch -- tag that white wire with a piece of electrical tape while you are at it.
  • Turn the power back on at the breaker box

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