26 votes
Accepted

Is it safe to use the ground as a neutral when other grounds are available?

What could possibly go wrong? If the ground wire is bare copper, you massively increased the risk of a ground fault, which can kill somebody or burn the house down. If the ground wire has a smaller ...
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  • 593
18 votes
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Are all switches in a 4-way circuit the same?

Note - these remarks are from a North American perspective, but I believe switching is done the same way in Europe. Switch terminology can be confusing but once you understand it, it is pretty simple....
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16 votes

How to reverse a three way switch?

Don't make it harder than it is lol. Pick either switch. Flip it over. 3-way switches are symmetrical. They do not have an "on" and "off" legend. So no wiring is needed. Remove ...
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15 votes
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Three way switch with two common wires?

Notice how the two terminals are brass? Those are travelers. You'll save yourself a world of confusion if you get a 5-color pack of electrical tape and mark the traveler wires yellow. Every 3-way ...
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15 votes

Is it safe to use the ground as a neutral when other grounds are available?

You have ground being used as neutral. That is a serious code violation and can cause a number of dangerous problems. In the old days, the only real solution would be to run a new cable. Fortunately, ...
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14 votes

How to reverse a three way switch?

Swap the travelers at one end Pick one of the two switches involved, and with the power off, swap the two traveler wires so they land on the other traveler terminal on the switch compared to when you ...
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12 votes

Incorrect voltage at light sockets

In residential interior wiring, voltage irregularities generally are only a concern when over-voltages are seen and not under-voltages. Incidentally however, when there is an under-voltage, there is ...
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  • 4,765
12 votes
Accepted

Can I run my three-way travelers in a 14/2 without a neutral in the cable?

This is not allowed because it violates the rule that in any cable there must be two conductors carrying equal current in opposite directions so the magnetic fields cancel. That T- T Loop top right ...
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  • 19.7k
11 votes

THHN through EMT - then convert to Romex?

You can transition wiring methods at a junction box. Use the EMT wiring method up to the junction box (whole nine yards with fittings and clamps). Then use the NM wiring method beyond it. The ...
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11 votes
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Can I Swap Ceiling Fan and Light Wires?

Yes, you can do that and it will swap the power to the light and fan. Just remember to turn off the power at the breaker before doing any work.
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  • 55.3k
10 votes
Accepted

Incorrect voltage at light sockets

It's a floating neutral. But it's only the one circuit. Find, re-strip, re-splice, and tighten down all of that circuit's neutral connections. If it goes directly through an outlet, pigtail it.
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  • 12.8k
10 votes

Is it safe to use the ground as a neutral when other grounds are available?

I'm assuming by drain, you mean neutral. Ground wires can not be used as any other conductor, repurposed. If its green insulated or bare copper, then it must be used as a ground and only as a ground.
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  • 55.3k
10 votes

Bizarre behavior after replacing a three-way switch

All three way switches have two travelers and one common. But the positions vary. Usually the traveler screws will be one color (eg brass) and the common another (eg silver). Figuring out which wires ...
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9 votes

Light Fixture Stopped Working After Replacing Its Three-Way Switch

DON'T try random stuff when you get stuck Trying to replace actual knowledge with "throw things at the wall and see what sticks" is a fatal error when dealing with electrical equipment. Why? The ...
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9 votes

Three way switch with two common wires?

In your photo the the round holes you've circled at the top are the backstabs for the travelers for the switch. They're quick connection terminals that are known to be unreliable. You want to shepherd ...
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  • 55.3k
9 votes

Can 3-way wiring that works be wrong/dangerous?

This is safe as long as the black, red-black, and white-black wires between the switch boxes are all in a single conduit or cable. That is, the switched-hot and the two travelers must be physically ...
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8 votes

3 way switch mystery

Congratulations! You just found a Carter 3-way! This configuration switches each "side" of the lamp between hot and neutral, as depicted in the illustration below: (source: Wtshymanski/Wikipedia) ...
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8 votes

What is the correct way to wire a 3 way switch where power comes into the middle switch?

You'll lose your mind dealing with all the red black white business. Get a 5-pack of colored electrical tape and start marking wires for their actual function. Always mark wires the same at both ...
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8 votes

3-way switches no longer serving their purpose

My understanding from the description (very good by the way) is that you have two duplex receptacles that have the two upper outlets both simultaneously controlled by the three way switches. The ...
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7 votes

Incorrect voltage at light sockets

Everything you are saying depends on where the electrician checked the voltages. Dimmers will affect the voltages on the load side. So did the electrician check for voltage drop across the dimmers ...
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7 votes

Can I Swap Ceiling Fan and Light Wires?

That should be fine. The only question is how many neutral (white) wires are connected and if two, are they connected to separate wires to the fan. If there are two and they connect separately, you ...
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  • 8,138
7 votes

Turning on light no matter which switch is on

You can't - without some active component or spare poles on the switches. If you have spare poles on your switches, simply connect all three switches in parallel and to the 4. light. If you don't, ...
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  • 906
7 votes

What is the name of this electric circuit?

Stock US 3 Way - change your wiring connections. Line Power into first switch on the black terminal. Both Travelers between switches on brass terminals. Load power out to the load on second switch's ...
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  • 137k
7 votes
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What is the name of this electric circuit?

In the U.S. it is called a "California 3-way" or a "coast 3-way". It was commonly used in the knob-and-tube days, when current-balancing was not yet a requirement. It is no longer ...
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7 votes

How to reverse a three way switch?

Two approaches: On the switches you SHOULD have two terminals in one color and one terminal in another color. Not all switches are built this way. But if you do, just on one switch swap the two ...
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  • 17.8k
6 votes

Is it okay for an electrical switch to get warm?

Short answer, most dimmers do get warm when in use. If the dimmer does not have a mechanical method of turning completely off. Then there is a good chance that you are still getting some electrical ...
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6 votes
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3 way switch with outlet always live

Here's the headache. Cables are color-coded to distinguish wires from each other. They're not color-coded by function, which makes 3-ways super confusing. We're gonna fix that. Get a common 5-pack ...
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6 votes

Are all switches in a 4-way circuit the same?

This is how multiway switching works. These are US friendly colors (regardless, colors tend to be a big mess in multiway circuits). Note the funny switch in the middle; it is different from the ...
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6 votes

What do I do with these extra multiway wires in my light fixture?

TLDR: Find the ballast. Cut its #18 white and black power lead halfway down its length, and fit a ballast disconnect there. (don't bother connecting the ballast side). Connect your LEDs on the ...
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6 votes
Accepted

Changing out an old light switch

Assuming the rocker on this switch doesn't say ON and OFF, this is most likely the middle switch in a "4-way" arrangement. This is when three or more switches control a light. The switches on the "...
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