18 posts / 0 new
Last post
kj4ltc
Very old 3-way switch

Hello all, first time poster here! I am currently replacing switches in our 1920 1.5 story Kentucky home. I have run into what appears to be a 3-way switch, it is round and has "reed" like contacts inside. The switch is operated by turning 90*. My fluke multimeter shows 120VAC on one lead and nothing on the other 2..... Onto my question- how do I wire my new 3-way switch???

JLMCDANIEL
Re: Very old 3-way switch

If you have a constant 120 v on one wire connect that to the common screw and the other two wires as travelers

Jack.

kj4ltc
Re: Very old 3-way switch

Ok, thanks jack! I'm not sure if it was supposed to be a 4-way and a terminal is missing or something. The switch is circular and has 4 terminals...at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o'clock positions. The 120v is at the 12 position, there are wires (possibly travelers) at the 6 and 9 o'clock positions...the switch joins the opposing terminals only (ie... 12 - 6 and 9 - 3) that's why the single wire (9 o'clock) is confusing me..maybe a picture would help?

JLMCDANIEL
Re: Very old 3-way switch

That does not sound like a 3way or a 4way. If it connects 12 to 6 or 3 to 9 it sounds like a 2 position switch. With 120 v on 12 then the out put is on 6 and those would be the wires you connect to a single switch. not sure what the wire on 9 is for, unless your reading of the closures are incorrect.

Jack

kj4ltc
Re: Very old 3-way switch

There is a terminal at 3' but there is no screw in it

kj4ltc
Re: Very old 3-way switch

sorry, cant figue out hot to upload image.

JLMCDANIEL
Re: Very old 3-way switch

E-mail picture to me jackson_l_mcdaniel@yahoo.com Put TOH PIC in subject line and include your TOH Username And I will posy it for you.

Jack

Re: Very old 3-way switch

Jack gave you the way to wire it as a 3w in post #2

But if there is no screw at 3 (and 3 to 9 switch) the wire at 9 was not being used.

So, it was only being used as a single pole on-off switch 12 to 6.

If the switch is actually the reed type some contacts could have been blown away during a short circuit.

If the switch operates at 90 deg. and can be rotated continuously in one direction there must be an wiper rather than internal jumpers.

Since you have a "fluke" I suspect you will figure this out soon.

That switch seems very rare, I wouldn't throw it away until I knew more about it.

Brad
Re: Very old 3-way switch

I there another switch that controls the same set of lights? If not, it is not a three way switch.

JLMCDANIEL
Re: Very old 3-way switch
brrichter wrote:

I there another switch that controls the same set of lights? If not, it is not a three way switch.

Not necessarily true. Any three way switch can be used as a single.

Jack

JLMCDANIEL
Re: Very old 3-way switch

Here's a picture of the switch

It appears that it only has one set of wipers and the screw is missing on one position. It appears to be a two position switch rather than a 3 way. It makes contact between 12 and 6 or between 3 and 9.

Jack

Pages

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.