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  1. #1
    roger lee's Avatar
    roger lee Guest

    Default Interesting Question about 2 way switches

    Testing the circuit of a 2 way switch I found 120 volts in the line when on with switch #1. Turning off the circuit with switch #2 the line tested 55.7 volts. Both switches bench test OK and there is no continuity between the power line and the neutral or ground when the breaker is thrown. This is a circuit for a ceiling fan unit. When assembled an operational - there is a small shock/discharge when touching the operation chains. Rather like static discharge. This is only happens when initially touch the unit or chains. If you continue contact there is no further discharge. Rather like building up a static discharge.
    The voltage test was done with the fan unity REMOVED.
    Any suggestions what is going on.

    Roger Lee

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  2. #2
    A.D. Miller's Avatar
    A.D. Miller Guest

    Default Re: Interesting Question about 2 way switches

    Quote Originally Posted by roger lee View Post
    Testing the circuit of a 2 way switch I found 120 volts in the line when on with switch #1. Turning off the circuit with switch #2 the line tested 55.7 volts. Both switches bench test OK and there is no continuity between the power line and the neutral or ground when the breaker is thrown. This is a circuit for a ceiling fan unit. When assembled an operational - there is a small shock/discharge when touching the operation chains. Rather like static discharge. This is only happens when initially touch the unit or chains. If you continue contact there is no further discharge. Rather like building up a static discharge.
    The voltage test was done with the fan unity REMOVED.
    Any suggestions what is going on.

    Roger Lee
    RL: Is this something you did in your garage for fun, or are you saying you do this on each inspection?


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Maryland
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    1,049

    Default Re: Interesting Question about 2 way switches

    Roger,

    I'm sorry I'm not sure how to help diagnose the problem.

    I will say that when you are dealing with two switches that control a single function, they're called 3 way switches, not 2 way as you mentioned.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Baton Rouge, La.
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    91

    Default Re: Interesting Question about 2 way switches

    Roger,
    I agree with john as to the proper termination being three way. Seems you may have a ground issue or improperly wired traveler. I would suggest contacting a licensed electrician.

    James Bohac

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Charlotte NC Licensed in NC and SC
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    597

    Default Re: Interesting Question about 2 way switches

    The cables used for 3-way switches do cause some cross talk or inductance into adjacent wires. Usually reads less than 40 volts and has next to zero current capability. The shock you mentioned was probably static or you have another serious issue.

    Bruce King, B.A. King Home Inspections, LLC
    www.BAKingHomeInspections.com
    Certified Master Inspector, Independent Inspectorwww.IndependentInspectors.org

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Snowbird (this means I'm retired and migrate between locations), FL/MI
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    4,086

    Default Re: Interesting Question about 2 way switches

    If you're getting a shock when touching/operating a pull-chain switch on the fan itself sounds like a wiring error. Reidentified or not - 3-way switch wiring especially with power at one of the fixtures can be challenging for the DIYer. I agree with others who recommended a licensed electrician on sight to trace and diagnose.

    I would not discount a shock felt when contacting or operating a pull chain for an electrified appliance or fixture, portable or hardwired.


  7. #7
    Bob Winchester's Avatar
    Bob Winchester Guest

    Default Re: Interesting Question about 2 way switches

    The statement about inducted voltage is exactly on target. If the conductor was connected to the fan/light and therefore to the grounded conductor, neutral, you would not show any voltage but depending on the length of the 3 conductor between the 3 way switches you will show a voltage present on the non grounded or energized traveler. If the light is turned on one of the travelers is not connected at either end but if the light is turned off one traveler is energized and the other is connected through the light circuit and thus grounded. It is nothing to worry about and does not mean a switch has a problem.


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