I am rewiring a dumb 3 way switch with an innovelli red dimmer. The current 3 way is at the top of a stairs and controls a pendant light, and the other companion 3way is at the bottom of the stairs - both dumb switches.
I have attached a photo of the upstairs electrical box, along with a photo of the upstairs 3 way i am replacing with the innovelli red dimmer. My plan unless inadviseable is to leave the downstairs dumb switch in place.
Inside of the electrical box, there are 3 romex coming in, one coming down and 3 coming up.
Coming up from the bottom are the following cables left to right.
first is a romex with a black, white, red and ground [cable 1]
Next is a romex with a black, white, red and ground. [cable 2]
Next is a romex with black, white and ground [cable 3]
Coming down from top of the box is a romex with black, white, red and ground [cable 4]
The dumb switch i am replacing with the innoveli red dimmer has a black, a red and a ground wired to it all from cable 1.
I am trying to figure out where to start. Is there a neutral in this electric box?
Could you attach the photos? I can’t access your GShare.
So, we’re going to need a bit more information.
I can’t tell if the BLK wire is connected to the COM screw (BLK screw) on the 3-way switch. I was expecting to see a BLK, WHT, and RED cable connected, but looks like they used it elsewhere.
Could we get additional photos of the switch box? Also we’re going to need pictures of the other box to see how the cables are connected on the 3-way.
i will pull this together now.
i hit a limit on uploads. in the upstairs switch i am replacing, the red wire is connected to the black screw.
In the downstairs switch, the left side has 2 white wires on the right side and a red and black wire on the left side!
upstairs switch black screw
upstairs switch right|375x500
For the down stairs switch, is it the upper or lower switch? I’m not going to lie, but I am a bit concerned with the switch…we have to keep the dumb switch (aux switch isn’t a choice).
Do you have a multimeter?
for the downstairs, it is the lower switch.
I have a multimeter. I am not a genius with it but can figure it out
Let me tag in @Bry - Does this look like the hot is in the downstairs location?
@spork - can you find constant hot? Usually it’s connected to the BLK screw of the first box; however, I can’t tell which is your “first” box. Basically, we’re going to need you to find the constant hot by touch the multimeter leads to the wires. You may also need to pull out the lower switch more so we can see the wiring in the back.
@harjms I can’t tell either. If it’s ok w/you I’ll do the step by step thing.
@spork Let’s focus on the upstairs box first. So the upstairs box is the 3-gang that you posted a picture of, right? Which switch in the picture looking down at the box is it, right, middle or left? You posted "The dumb switch i am replacing with the innoveli red dimmer has a black, a red and a ground wired to it all from cable 1. There are three terminals (ignore the ground) on a 3-way switch, so you’re missing one conductor in your description.
Basically describe how many Romex are connected at least partially and describe how ALL of the conductors are connect to that swithc or otherwise.
@Bry - definitely okay with me! I have a meeting in a few so I was going ghost for a bit.
on the upstairs switch (the one i bought the innovelli to replace) , i touched one prong of the multimeter to the black wire on the left side of the switch and the other to ground and i got a reading of 118v. Doing same, I only got low voltage readings for the 2 red wires on the right side.
I took photos of the calble running into the downstairs switch (which is the bottom of double switch in picture). The cable has red and black running to left side and white running to the other. The upper switch in the double switch is unrelated and controls other lights).
Downstairs cable feed to switch
let me read and ill answer this
I think it got confused. The box i am working on, call it the first box, is upstairs, and it is a 3 way switch [call it switch U for upstairs] which has 2 reds and a black running to it. The black screw on the switch is connected to a red wire. The switch is fed by one single romex. The romex also has a white wire which is not connected to switch U.
Downstairs, the related switch which also controls the common light fixture is a double switch (call it switch D for downstairs] Only the bottom switch in the double switch is connected to the light fixture i am controlling. There is only one romex feeding the bottom of double switch D. The romex has black, red and white wires. The white wire is connected to the right side of the bottom of switch D. The red and black wires are connected to the left side of the bottom of switch D. There is no black screw in double switch D.
Switch U, it’s the one on the left. Pull that out and study the connectors. I get that part of the connections are a 3-wire Romex, Red to the black screw, Black to a brass screw. White to a neutral bundle. There is another red on the other brass screw. Where is that going?
reset on switch U.
on the right side of switch U, the bottom screw is black. The black screw is fed by red wire coming from romex which is coming from top of the box.
On the right side of switch U, the top screw is brass. The right side brass screw is fed by red wire coming from romex which goes out the bottom of the box.
On the left side of switch U, there is a brass screw which is fed by a black wire which goes to romex which goes out of the bottom of the box.
so, to recap, the romex which goes out of the bottom of the left side of the box has one black wire connected to brass screw on left side of Switch U and one red wire connected to the brass screw on the right side of switch U…
The romex coming from the top of the box has a red wire which is connected to the black screw on the right side of switch U.
The wire which registers as constant hot (when i touch one prong of multi to it and the other to ground i get 120v) is the brass screw on the left side of switch U, which is connected to the black wire.
Here is a diagram of switch D
Ok, so for Switch U, 3-wire coming in from the top, red to the common black terminal. on the switch, white is going to the neutral bundle and black is going to the bundle of blacks. Is that right?
The two brass terminals on the switch are connected to a black and red 3-wire going out the bottom. Where is the white from that 3-wire connect to?
Also remove the red from the black common terminal on the U switch and test between it and the white bundle. See if you still get +120VAC. You can’t test while it’s connected to the switch.
You are looking at the diagram for switch D, not switch U. I uploaded 2 diagrams.
Switch U doesnt have a white wire attached to it at all.
That is correct. But it is one of three conductors in a 3-wire whose other two conductors are attached to your switch.
update: i hooked up the innovelli switch and it is flashing red. The pendant light is on, but sometimes flashes.
I have the innovelli wired so that the constant hot wire upstairs is wired to load, and the red wire running downstairs to traveller, and the other red wire (which i think is common) is connected to neutral.
Only the black wire registers as constant hot.
Also, when i switch the downstairs switch to “off”, there is no power running to the upstairs romex cables attached to the innovelli.