The Electrical Contractor Network

ECN Electrical Forum
Discussion Forums for Electricians, Inspectors and Related Professionals

Books, Tools and Test Equipment for Electrical and Construction Trades

Topic Options
Rate This Topic
#19901 - 01/04/03 09:43 PM crossed travelers
ga.sparky56 Offline
Registered: 11/24/02
Posts: 582
Loc: young harris georgia usa
I have often heard the term "crossed travelers" for explanations as to why 2 3ways won't work properly. I learned through trial and error that as long as the"common" connections were correct that it would always work no matter if the travelers were"crossed". Worked for a sparky once that insisted that wires be attached the same on both ends of the 3way "or it won't work"Does anyone know where this term originated?
Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades
#19902 - 01/04/03 10:42 PM Re: crossed travelers
Wirenuttt Offline
Registered: 11/10/02
Posts: 267
Loc: Massachusetts
Crossed travelers;
Heard that expression for years, and your right, guess what was meant was traveler crossed with common screw.
#19903 - 01/05/03 04:55 AM Re: crossed travelers
pauluk Offline
Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7693
Loc: Norfolk, England
Had this a few months back when I did a complete rewire on a neighbor's house. The guy doing the plastering came along and had to temporarily remove one of my 3-ways, then he put it back with the common and one traveler swapped over. The circuit had a 4-way in it as well, and he tried to convince my neighbor that you couldn't have it wired so that all three switches could turn on the light no matter what the position of the other two switches.

You should've seen the look on his face when I swapped out the two wires and it all worked as intended.

The only thing that crossing the two travelers does is affect which way the switches have to be for on/off, e.g. whether both switches the same way=on and one up, one down=off or vice versa.

I've found that some people are quite picky about this! Do you always try to wire so that both switches down=off, or do you just connect the travelers randomly?
#19904 - 01/05/03 07:22 AM Re: crossed travelers
ga.sparky56 Offline
Registered: 11/24/02
Posts: 582
Loc: young harris georgia usa
The up or down has not been an issue so far. But I suspect if you ran across the right customer it could be!
#19905 - 01/05/03 08:37 PM Re: crossed travelers
ThinkGood Offline
Registered: 08/07/02
Posts: 1084
Loc: Milwaukee, WI
This actually was part of the Parade magazine that comes with the local Sunday paper. There was a question in the Ask Marilyn column, where people write in for the highly insightful and deeply intellectual responses, about 3-way switches and why the get mixed up after a while. (No link available yet...)


2017 NEC and Related
2017 NEC
Now Available!

Shout Box

Recent Posts
Looking for older post
by sparkyinak
01/23/17 12:27 AM
License exam
01/22/17 11:33 PM
Members: Non-Members: Did you know?
by Admin
01/22/17 02:34 PM
Safety at heights?
by HotLine1
01/21/17 08:51 PM
International Wire Colour Codes
by Texas_Ranger
01/21/17 03:29 PM

Who's Online
2 registered (Admin, sparkyinak), 82 Guests and 12 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
New in the Gallery:
Desk-mounted "power-board"
Top Posters
gfretwell 9066
Trumpy 8560
pauluk 7693
HotLine1 6833
sparky 5545
Member Spotlight
Member Since: 01/01/01
Posts: 1069

ECN Electrical Forums - sponsored by Electrical Contractor Network - Electrical and Code Related Discussion for Electrical Contractors, Electricians, Inspectors, Instructors, Engineers and other related Professionals