Discuss 3 Way Switch Problem - Curious as to others experience in the Electrical Forum area at ElectriciansForums.net


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Hello all,

Ran into a curious issue last night with my basement light circuit - here are the details of the circuit (diagram also attached):
  • 15a AFCI\GFCI combo breaker in panel
  • 3 Switches (2x 3-Way Switches and 1x 4-Way Switch in the middle where the power comes in)
  • Load - series of light fixtures running LED bulbs and 1 outlet with a constant load (ERV fan)

Last night I turned on the 3-Way switch where the lighting load is connected (Switch C in the diagram). It has two loads connected, 1 to a string of lights which is back stabbed into the outlet and the other is a j hook on the terminal going to a single fixture near the switch. Lights when on, I walked downstairs and 15 seconds later all lights went off. I noted the breaker did not trip and the ERV running on off the outlet was operating as normal, only the lights were affected. I toggled all 3 switches a number of times and was not able to get the lights back on.

Next I reset the breaker and was able to power on the lights but it happened one more time, same process and lights were back on. I did notice that light switch C was a little mushy at one point and had not thrown all the way and when putting pressure on it the lights came on.

After that everthing has worked fine, I cannot reproduce the issue - which is why I'm curious. I tested various sockets\outlets and switches along the circuit and all are showing 120 hot-neutral, 120 hot-ground and 0 neutral-ground so everything appears to be working fine. One note is that I do have one socket where I keep the bulb unscrewed but still seated so that it is off and I can twist it in to turn on if needed.

My assumption is that the contacts on switch C were "stuck" and mechanical action my have restored operation. My plan in any case is to replace all 3 switches and if it happens again I'll know the issue is elsewhere.

Just wondering if others have experienced similar and what the outcomes were.



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