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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    1

    Default Old electrical wiring....

    Hello all,

    I've got an older house, built around 1930.

    There are a number of light switches that would appear to call for a 3-way switch - two switches, each on opposite ends of a hallway, for instance, controlling the same light.

    However, when I removed the old switch, the wiring didn't seem to make sense. I see three wires, rather than four! The color on the wires is a bit faded, but it looks like I've got a white, black and red.

    I tried several permutations - some resulted in no lights on at all, while one gave me lights, but in a unusual way. On the three way switch I have, there are two connections on the 'bottom' portion, and one on the 'top'; there's also a ground, but I'm not using it in this case.

    To the top, I connected the black, and on the two bottom ones, I connected the white and red. Now, when both switches are thrown the same way, the lights go on. But, I'm not able to use both of the switches as toggles - they've both got to be the correct way, or the whole deal is blown.

    Looking at the old switches, I'm wondering if they were interruptors, and not 3-ways?

    So, I've got a few questions:

    1.) Was there an old-school way of dealing with multiple switches back in the 1930s? Were 3-ways not around, or not in use then?

    2.) Is there a way for me to safely make use of a true 3-way in this situation - without rewiring my whole house?

    3.) Is it possible to make use of an interruptor, or some other type of switch?


    Any help on this would be most appreciated.


    Thanks,
    Anthony

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    jersey
    Posts
    174

    Default Re: Old electrical wiring....

    Quote Originally Posted by Cornicello View Post
    Hello all,

    I've got an older house, built around 1930.

    There are a number of light switches that would appear to call for a 3-way switch - two switches, each on opposite ends of a hallway, for instance, controlling the same light.

    However, when I removed the old switch, the wiring didn't seem to make sense. I see three wires, rather than four! three way has 3 wires 1 common 2 travelers The color on the wires is a bit faded, but it looks like I've got a white, black and red.

    I tried several permutations - some resulted in no lights on at all, while one gave me lights, but in a unusual way. On the three way switch I have, there are two connections on the 'bottom' portion, and one on the 'top'; there's also a ground, but I'm not using it in this case. why not?

    To the top, I connected the black, and on the two bottom ones, I connected the white and red. Now, when both switches are thrown the same way, the lights go on. But, I'm not able to use both of the switches as toggles - they've both got to be the correct way, or the whole deal is blown.
    sounds like you have a traveler and a common switched
    Looking at the old switches, I'm wondering if they were interruptors, and not 3-ways?
    Not sure what you mean, whats the difference?
    So, I've got a few questions:

    1.) Was there an old-school way of dealing with multiple switches back in the 1930s? Were 3-ways not around, or not in use then?
    yes the carter method but I dont think that is the method used here since there is an equipment ground
    2.) Is there a way for me to safely make use of a true 3-way in this situation - without rewiring my whole house?
    should be, are the wires all coming from the same cable as in 1 12/3? or 1 12/3 and 1 12/2?
    3.) Is it possible to make use of an interruptor, or some other type of switch?
    again I dont understand the differance between a switch and interupter.

    Any help on this would be most appreciated.


    Thanks,
    Anthony
    I suspect this has been changed once perhaps sometime in the 40'-50's since for one you can still tell what color the wire is and 2 theres an eg, so i doubt its a carter, tho I havent ruled it out completely. In order to give you more details I would need to know how many wires are in each box and what there hooked to etc, perhaps a picture, I am concerned the eg is not being used.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    wisconsin
    Posts
    159

    Default Re: Old electrical wiring....

    youve got the commons and traverls crossed somewhere.. if ya got an ohm meter just disconnect everything and start ringing em out. first find the hot from the panel, thats first common. next you will have two more wires, ring them out to the other switch. those are your travlers. since you know them at the other switch, you will also now know the other common.. just make sure ya hook em up to your switch correctly.

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