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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    Default 3 way dimmer

    In our dining room there is a chandelier that operates from two different switches. The one switch I replaced out and put a 3-way dimmer in place (looks like a ordinary light switch with a slider control along the side of it), after putting that in I could no longer turn on the chandelier from both switches, only the dimmer which works fine but killed the other normal switch. (in other words it only works as a normal single pole switch not 3 way). Is there a certain kind of 3 way dimmer I need?
    Funny thing about it is if you leave the 3way dimmer in the on position the other switch across the room will work fine (turns on and off) and vice versa...any help here would be great...thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Lakeland ,MN
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    356

    Default Re: 3 way dimmer

    Quote Originally Posted by cyal8er View Post
    In our dining room there is a chandelier that operates from two different switches. The one switch I replaced out and put a 3-way dimmer in place (looks like a ordinary light switch with a slider control along the side of it), after putting that in I could no longer turn on the chandelier from both switches, only the dimmer which works fine but killed the other normal switch. (in other words it only works as a normal single pole switch not 3 way). Is there a certain kind of 3 way dimmer I need?
    Funny thing about it is if you leave the 3way dimmer in the on position the other switch across the room will work fine (turns on and off) and vice versa...any help here would be great...thanks!
    You have wired the dimmer wrong

    A easy way for a layman to troubleshoot them if you do not know the theory how they operate is to remove both switches. clear all the wires. Take your tester and put one side to a ground the other side is used to touch each wire(3 wires in each box). Find the only wire that has full voltage. Take the wire with voltage and connected to the common terminal on the switch. Then take the other wires in that same box and connect one wire to each of the two terminals on the switch. then go to the other switch and find the energized wire in that box and terminate that to any terminate other than the common terminal. Go back to the other switch and turn the switch the other way. Go back and find the other hot wire and terminate that wire on the other terminal on the switch not marked common. The last wire should be terminated to the common terminal on the switch. your done. Good luck
    Harry

  3. #3
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    Jul 2008
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    6

    Default Re: 3 way dimmer

    Quote Originally Posted by Ravens53 View Post
    You have wired the dimmer wrong

    A easy way for a layman to troubleshoot them if you do not know the theory how they operate is to remove both switches. clear all the wires. Take your tester and put one side to a ground the other side is used to touch each wire(3 wires in each box). Find the only wire that has full voltage. Take the wire with voltage and connected to the common terminal on the switch. Then take the other wires in that same box and connect one wire to each of the two terminals on the switch. then go to the other switch and find the energized wire in that box and terminate that to any terminate other than the common terminal. Go back to the other switch and turn the switch the other way. Go back and find the other hot wire and terminate that wire on the other terminal on the switch not marked common. The last wire should be terminated to the common terminal on the switch. your done. Good luck
    Thank you for your explanation, makes sense, before I start one question.
    The "common" terminal is "differently colored"... usually copper-plated. The other two are the "uncommon" terminals. Is this correct?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    731

    Default Re: 3 way dimmer

    the black or copper is the common one of the switches' common gets the hot from the panel, the other switches' common is the fixture feed, the green screw is for the ground. the other two wires travelers are for the silver screws.

    some 3-way dimmers can only work with their matched slave type switches, some can dim and on-off from either location (hardwired, remote to master or wireless) some can work with a standard 3-way snap switch for the other location as a slave to the 3-way dimmer but those can only turn on the light to whatever level was set on the master dimmer pre-set so if the master dimmer was slid to off turning on from the slave won't turn it on. some of the 3-way dimmer masters are picky about which wire gets attached to their common (fixture feed or hot)

    if you have line fixtures and you got a low voltage dimmer or vice versa or if you have compact fluorescents in line fixtures with a 3-way dimmer and it (slide) is set too low on the master can have problems too even when wired correctly.

    if you have four terminal screws plus ground then you might accidentally got a 4-way switch.

    http://www.selfhelpandmore.com/switc...y-switches.php
    Last edited by Blue RidgeParkway; 11-06-2008 at 11:08 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    6

    Default Re: 3 way dimmer

    Thank you for all the advice. I will try this and post back

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Denver, CO
    Posts
    666

    Default Re: 3 way dimmer

    You swapped a traveler and common when you installed the new 3-way dimmer.

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