3-way switch on if both are on or off but otherwise works as expected

benjydog

Well-known member
Jun 12, 2013
119
GTA, Toronto, Ontario
Basically my 3-way is working like an xnor gate when I'd like it to be a xor gate. If both switches are on or off the light is on. If they are opposite the lights are off. Other than flipping a switch upside down, can this be fixed? It's a minor annoyance for some lighting around my pool deck and plugs.

Thanks!
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
14,865
Tucson, AZ
Are these pool lights or landscape lights?

Sounds like the hot wire is not properly wired into the switches. Do the switches have independent hot leads or is one switch sending a runner out to the other?

A picture of the wiring is worth a thousand words...


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
41,195
Tucson, AZ
Should be as simple as swapping some wires on the back. You might want to check some wiring diagrams.
 

benjydog

Well-known member
Jun 12, 2013
119
GTA, Toronto, Ontario
Wish I was more technical!

These are just landscape lights. As far as I can tell it's all correct in that each switch operates independently of the other's position (which is all I've been able to find for common wiring problems). The wiring is about 15 years old and I only noticed this after changing the switches from toggle to decora, but it could have been there from the start. I know if I turn a switch upside down it "works to my liking" but I thought there should be another way.

If I had accidentally swapped a traveller for the common or load, could this have happened?
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
41,195
Tucson, AZ
You know, 3 way switches I don't think are directional. Just flip one over and call it a day ;)
 

benjydog

Well-known member
Jun 12, 2013
119
GTA, Toronto, Ontario
To answer the other question I'll have to pull the switches and check for hot and travellers. Without doing that I'd guess that only one has the hot and the other has the load.

- - - Updated - - -

That's kind of the answer I was hoping for 😎
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
11,396
Bedford, TX
Ben,

I take it you want the light to light only when either switch is moved up and you want the light to turn off if either switch is moved down.

Assuming your light have always worked as you describe above, you can fix it my taking either switch and swapping the two "traveler" wires. (Leave the Common wire and the Neutral wire, as is..)

Thanks for posting,

Jim R.
 

benjydog

Well-known member
Jun 12, 2013
119
GTA, Toronto, Ontario
Ben,

I take it you want the light to light only when either switch is moved up and you want the light to turn off if either switch is moved down.

Assuming your light have always worked as you describe above, you can fix it my taking either switch and swapping the two "traveler" wires. (Leave the Common wire and the Neutral wire, as is..)

Thanks for posting,

Jim R.
Worked like a charm! Thanks Jim!!