01:11PM | 09/08/07
Member Since: 09/07/07
1 lifetime posts
I am installing a dimmer switch on a 3 way circuit. I thought I followed the directions correctly, but when I turned the breaker back on - the light turns on only when the switch is in the down position. I tried flipping the other switch, but I cannot get them both in sync. Also, the newly installed dimmer switch gets very hot. The only good news is that the dimmer part works correctly.

What did I do wrong??


02:29PM | 09/08/07
Member Since: 04/25/05
1915 lifetime posts
First of all the dimmers normally get very warm. But it run within it's rating then it should not get too hot that you can touch it for a few seconds. Most are rated at 600 watts, but less if you have to break off one or more tabs.

Different dimmers have different physicall operations (slide plus toggle, rotory with click "off" or rotory with push on/off).

But if you dim it to "zero" then you can't "undim" from the other switch (note there are master slave systems {ie "smart dimmers"} that can do that).

Past this point it appears that you have one of the travelers mixed up with the common connection to the dimmer?

The problem is that there are 5 different ways that 3 way circuits can be wired and while there is a color code, it is often not used correctly.

On the old switch you had 3 wires (plus possibly a bare/green ground).

And the switch will have 3 terminals. In most cases one terminal of one color (silver or brass) and 2 of the other colors.

What color wire was connected to what color terminal on the switch?

And did you do anything with the other switch?
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