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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have attached a Makeshift Schematic of a house I was troubleshooting today.

The program I used to scratch this up doesn't have an image file for receptacles so I just used something else and titled it "SReceptacle 1 and SReceptacle 2"

L1, L3, and L4 are supposed to come on together, via the 3way switching.

L2 is supposed to come on by itself. via the single pole switch.

However:

The 3way switching functioned properly but only turned on lights L3, and L4.

If the single pole switch was closed both L1, and L2 would turn on, but would be very dim: However they would only come on if L3, and L4 were off.

Basically if the single pole switch was closed, the 3 way switching would turn on L1, and L2 in one position: and L3, and L4 in the other position.


This is where I am confused: Both Receptacle 1 and Receptacle 2 were wired with reverse polarity. Receptacle 1 had a lamp plugged into it. I corrected the polarity on both receptacles, and now everything works perfectly.

If nothing was plugged into these receptacles even with the reverse polarity everything should work fine, as the receptacle would simply be connecting the white and black wires all the way through.

I wish I would have tested the circuit without the lamp plugged in, but I was just happy to be out of there. Now it's bothering me, does this make any sense? Could having the lamp plugged in with reverse polarity have done this? Or was it a coincidence that everything started working after I fixed the polarity?

Cheers!
 

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What voltages were you getting when things were turning on and off? Sounds kinda like an open neutral issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I didn't check voltage, however, that sounds very likely as L1, and L2 both came on very dim (obviously less voltage). L3 and L4 came on just fine.

Looking at the schematic, each of those pairs takes a separate neutral path back.

It still seems weird that changing the polarity fixed it, unless there was a bad connection, or the side with the neutrals connected was split (but I don't think the hots were spliced together, so if that was the case nothing would work now)

Mind still blown, I might have to go back to double check on it so I can sleep at night :/
 

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I have attached a Makeshift Schematic of a house I was troubleshooting today.

The program I used to scratch this up doesn't have an image file for receptacles so I just used something else and titled it "SReceptacle 1 and SReceptacle 2"

L1, L3, and L4 are supposed to come on together, via the 3way switching.

L2 is supposed to come on by itself. via the single pole switch.

However:

The 3way switching functioned properly but only turned on lights L3, and L4.

If the single pole switch was closed both L1, and L2 would turn on, but would be very dim: However they would only come on if L3, and L4 were off.

Basically if the single pole switch was closed, the 3 way switching would turn on L1, and L2 in one position: and L3, and L4 in the other position.


This is where I am confused: Both Receptacle 1 and Receptacle 2 were wired with reverse polarity. Receptacle 1 had a lamp plugged into it. I corrected the polarity on both receptacles, and now everything works perfectly.

If nothing was plugged into these receptacles even with the reverse polarity everything should work fine, as the receptacle would simply be connecting the white and black wires all the way through.

I wish I would have tested the circuit without the lamp plugged in, but I was just happy to be out of there. Now it's bothering me, does this make any sense? Could having the lamp plugged in with reverse polarity have done this? Or was it a coincidence that everything started working after I fixed the polarity?

Cheers!
they were visually wired reverse polarity or tested out reverse polarity? It is strange that it works now though.
Did you ring everything out?
 

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With only three wires you can only feed all from the front or from the back; IE
lights than 3 ways or 3 ways then lights. LS1 the circuits cross after the light and 3 & 4 aren't circuited correctly either!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
"they were visually wired reverse polarity or tested out reverse polarity? It is strange that it works now though.
Did you ring everything out?"

Tested out as reverse polarity, so I figured I would fix that before I carried on testing, but to my surprise suddenly everything worked.

Not everything was rung out, as I stopped troubleshooting when everything started to work. There's not too much on the circuit and I had all the devices open, I'm pretty sure this schematic is accurate, but maybe I did miss something. Either way I agree it's strange that it works now.

I'm tempted to go back there and hook the plug up backwards again with the lamp plugged in and see if the problems re-occur.
 

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If you had an open neutral (top line) going through your receptacles I can see this happening. L1 and L2 were dim because they are now in series with L3 completing the path. Going to bed now so no time to double check what I just said or follow your last part.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
With only three wires you can only feed all from the front or from the back; IE
lights than 3 ways or 3 ways then lights. LS1 the circuits cross after the light and 3 & 4 aren't circuited correctly either!

It's fed from S2, and then the lights all come after S3
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
If you had an open neutral (top line) going through your receptacles I can see this happening. L1 and L2 were dim because they they are now in series with L3 completing the path. Going to bed now so no time to double check what I just said or follow your last part.
This is my consensus also right now, I'm thinking it was open between Receptacle1 and LS1/LS2.

Goodnight, I gotta get off here for the night too.

Thanks all.
 

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If you follow the + around it never complets the circuit.
You turn it inot a california/chicago - farmer three way.

...If the single pole switch was closed both L1, and L2 would turn on, but would be very dim: However they would only come on if L3, and L4 were off.
and it looks like you turned the lights into a series situation.
 

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If you follow the + around it never complets the circuit.
You turn it inot a california/chicago - farmer three way.

and it looks like you turned the lights into a series situation.
Maybe its jjst too late right now and you're seeing seeing something I'm not, but as its drawn right there there is no lights in series, and as long as the three ways are wired correctly(normal way- hot on common, SL on common), it would work as he wants it too.unless he actually wired ls1 and ls2 lights like that as its shown am thought he did that for ease of drawing - swap the h/n on those lights on drawing and it'd be fine
Is this a single branch circuit or a part of a MWBC?
Edit - wouldn't need a load plugged in just saw the neutral ties back in again closer to source. Open neutral causing 1&2 be in series with 3&4 being in parallel.
Revised.
 

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Since I'm going off of what you drew what I see is this. Close S1 and open S2 or S3 your path's fail. LS1 is in series with LS2, and by extension LS3+ LS4 are paralleled in series with LS1 + LS2.

 

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If polarity was wrong at the receptacle(s), you were switching the neutral at the SP switch and killing the path to the 3-way.

And as said above, putting some of the lights in series. Thus the dim lights.
 

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I think he meant the polarity of the outlets was reversed but the wiring was still correct as shown. If the wiring was switched around it wouldn't match his symptoms. If he accidently corrected an open neutral feeding through the outlets his symptoms match.

BTW....this would make an awesome test question. :whistling2:
 
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