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John Weathers
Electrical problem with 3 way switches

I have an flourescent light in my kitchen that operates from 3 3-way switches. The light quit working and I thought it was the ballast but when I checked the voltage from the switch I was only getting 57 volts to the ballast. I checked at the main switch and it has 57volts across 2 of the red wires that I believe go to the other switches. Is this a switch problem or a wiring problem?

Re: Electrical problem with 3 way switches

You need to do a little more checking first. When the switches are in a position to turn the light off it is possible to see 57 volts at the light. replace both bulbs and make sure they are in correctly and the ends of the tubes are in the sockets correctly.If that does not correct your problem then I would check at the light. have someone turn the switch on as you check the voltage at the light wires feeding the Ballast.If you see 120 volts or higher and the light does not light then I would say the ballast is bad. Before you tear into the switches you need to check what I said above. You said three 3 way switches controls this light? If that is what you said then you actually have 2-3ways and 1-4 way switch. Little tricky to replace these switches so if it is the switches come back and let us know and we can walk you through it.

Re: Electrical problem with 3 way switches

That 57 volts you're reading is likely just the phantom voltage. All three and four-way circuits will have phantom voltage.

Disconnect the wires at the light fixture and clip up your meter across the hot and ground.

Turn on a switch and see what you have for voltage now.

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