Electrical Wiring in the Home/3-way switch


Replaced two old (1964) 3-way switches that never worked right with  two new 3-way lighted rocker switches. The light is a outdoor spot light.

Downstairs switch has a pair of black and white wires wired together in a cap. Then 1 white and 1 red travelers (I assume) to the brass screws and 1 black wire to the black screw.

Upstairs has only 1 red, 1white and 1black wires coming into the box. I set them up the same way as downstairs 1white 1 red for travelers to the brass screws and the black wire to the black screw.

Now here is the problem.

Top switch on = Control of on and off at the downstairs switch.

Top switch off = No control of downstairs switch

Bottom switch on = Control of on and off at the upstairs switch.

Bottom switch off = No control of upstairs switch.

         Thanks for any help, Bob


There are many ways to wire a 3 way system but we'll give this a shot

How many cables are in the down stairs box and how many wires in each cable and their colors.

Also exactly how are they connected to one another in that box including the switch

About Electrical Wiring in the Home
This site answers questions related to home electrical wiring, home wiring, general electrical help,and other electrical questions related to aleternating current (AC). You can find help on the National Electical Code, home electrical issues, wiring electrical outlets, installing lighting, electrical grounding, and general electrical help for do-it-yourself projects not require an electrician. If you do not see your home electrical wiring question answered in this area then please ask your electrical wiring question here

Electrical Wiring in the Home

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts




Licensed Master Electrician (32 years) 6165B Contractor in Closter New Jersey with 40 years total experience in Residential - Commercial - Industrial work. Emergency Service - General trouble shooting and repair work - ONAN & GENERAC generator installation - Paddle fans - Kitchen & Bath exhaust fans - AC lines - Smoke detectors - Telephone lines - Cable TV lines - Computer network cabling - Exterior lighting - Recessed lighting - Security lighting - (200 - 150 - 100 amp service up grades) - Electric Heat - New circuits - New appliance hook ups - and more ! FREE ESTIMATES 201-358-1552 Fully Insured


Licensed contractor in Closter New Jersey.

"The Frank Williams School of Electrical Construction". My dear old boss is 100 ! and still going God Bless him. I started working for "Tenafly Electric" right out of high school at 19. He was tough but I learned more working for him in 8 and half years than most guys. We did mostly industrial work while doing some commercial and residential so I was fortunate to be exposed to all 3 areas of electrical construction. The guys I worked with were all good guys and I stay in touch with some of them still. Most of us went into our own buisness's which says something about the caliber of the guys I worked with. We had some interesting clients : Wella Corp. of shampoo fame, Farah Fawcett etc, I didn't buy shampoo for 10 years. It was a great place to work. Pan Am the former airline just before they went under, another great place to work, nice clean environment. C&C Metals, the largest button manufacturer in the US at that time, a not so clean environment but a very interesting place to work, lots of machine's cranking out buttons of all kinds but you had to be on your toes, it was a potentially dangerous place to be . All kinds of action going on around you.

©2017 About.com. All rights reserved.