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  1. ilsa
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    ilsa DIY

    Location:
    kent
    Hi, I'm new here and might once in a while need some advice. Or a gentle reminder of my DIY limitations.:)
    In fact, I need HELP now... It's never too soon, it easily could be too late.

    ilsa
     
  2. Andy5678
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    Andy5678 EF Member

    Location:
    Scotland
    Welcome!
     
  3. Andy5678
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    Andy5678 EF Member

    Location:
    Scotland
    Welcome!
     
  4. Pete999
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    Pete999 Trusted Advisor

    Top Poster Of Month

    Location:
    Northampton
    Welcome, what do you need help with?
     
  5. ilsa
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    ilsa DIY

    Location:
    kent
    Hello Pete, I have a switch wiring question regarding two-way wiring. I admit, I messed something up that was working fine previously and can't connect it back. There, I said it. I'm not usually that dim but that's where I'm at now.
    Feel free to guide me towards best forum section for this! Thank you!
     
  6. Sintra
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    Sintra The Innkeeper Staff Member

    Location:
    Belfast/London
    Hi Ilsa and welcome to the forum. I've given you a nice little tag below your name so that the members know your status.
     
  7. Pete999
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    Pete999 Trusted Advisor

    Top Poster Of Month

    Location:
    Northampton
    Hi Ilsa, you are in the right forum, if not the right area the DIY area is best for you. There are many ways of wiring two way switching, so without knowing how your two way is wired, it's difficult to help, your best bet would be to contact an Electrician to help you out, it's could be very dangerous giving advice on this as you are not an Electrician. Maybe one of the Lads on the Forum who operates in your area could help, possible FOC in any case if you are charged it wouldn't cost you much, it's a simple fix for someone in the know, good luck anyway
     
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  8. telectrix
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    telectrix Scouser and Proud of It Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    cheshire/staffordshire
    Business Name:
    Telectrix
    maybe post up a pic.of the set up ( in back of switches ) so we could see what's what.
     
  9. Pete999
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    Pete999 Trusted Advisor

    Top Poster Of Month

    Location:
    Northampton
    Good idea should have thought of that
     
  10. telectrix
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    telectrix Scouser and Proud of It Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    cheshire/staffordshire
    Business Name:
    Telectrix
    it's oK pete. we make allowances for senile dementia. :p
     
  11. Pete999
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    Pete999 Trusted Advisor

    Top Poster Of Month

    Location:
    Northampton
    Well thanks for that vote of confidence, no signs just yet, crikey what were we talking about anyway?:rolleyes::mad::p
     
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  12. ilsa
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    ilsa DIY

    Location:
    kent
    Thank you guys, I will try and take a pic tomorrow, see if that helps.
    I have tried to look at drawings, diagrams and descriptions of such switches and they all seem very straight forward, but mine.. It's probably usually the case :)
     
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  13. telectrix
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    telectrix Scouser and Proud of It Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    cheshire/staffordshire
    Business Name:
    Telectrix
    summat about switches i think, up for on or up for off. whatever.
     
  14. ilsa
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    ilsa DIY

    Location:
    kent
    I know Telectrix, I have problems too :rolleyes:
     
  15. ilsa
    Offline

    ilsa DIY

    Location:
    kent
    Anyways, here's an electricians Sudoku:

    I have a two way switch for my hallway. One upstairs, one downstairs. The light is upstairs. Back box upstairs has three core coming in from above ( brown, black, grey, earth). All browns are together in choc block terminal, all greys are together in choc block, so I have only ONE BLACK wire ( brown sleeve ) left to use from that three core. I'm puzzled cause all diagrams show two wires to be used and connected to switch.
    There is three core between switches with one black( brown sleeve) and one grey ( brown sleeve ) left to be used. The brown is in choc block.
    Three wires, but I can't figure it out!
     
  16. ilsa
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    ilsa DIY

    Location:
    kent
    I'm reluctant to call electrician because he just wired it up week ago... But he worked like a...mmmm..ermm..elephant mole? So I had to replaster a couple of walls after he left. So I have nice walls now, but no lights. If I call him back, I will have lights, but no walls.
     
  17. ilsa
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    ilsa DIY

    Location:
    kent
    Thank you, now people can pick on me!
    I will have to qualify now to get the next "belt" :eek::D
     
    • Like Like x 1
  18. Andy78
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    Andy78 Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    Kingston upon Hull
    Elephant mole ?
    If the lights were wired and working correctly a week ago, then you've fiddled with something and now they don't work, it should be a simple case of unfiddling and should not require the chasing of any walls. Get the guy called up, offer tea and chocolate biscuits and hope for the best.
     
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  19. ilsa
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    ilsa DIY

    Location:
    kent
    To be fair, he was called in to do chases so I shouldn't complain too much about wall destruction, but it was bad. I should have known when someone turns up with big sds drill instead of proper chase tool, and it is an old property. The plaster went. Gone.
    I have had chases done before properly and no real fuss at all.
    Now I'm staring at those three wires and I can't help but want to try out all possible combinations so I don't have to give anyone biscuits. If chases would have been done somewhat neatly, I wouldn't have had to fiddle and if I wouldn't have fiddled, I wouldn't have been in a pickle, and if I wouldn't be in a pickle, I wouldn't have to give my childs' biscuit to a spark :D
     
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  20. Andy78
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    Andy78 Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    Kingston upon Hull
    It's one where there are a few too many variables to safely assist a diyer through a forum how to rectify this. An electrician with the right test equipment will have it sorted in minutes though if all you have done is connect the wires up wrong.
     
  21. ilsa
    Offline

    ilsa DIY

    Location:
    kent
    Thank you for identifying my limitations. I mean it. It's somewhat comforting to know that it can be sorted in minutes with the right equipment. So it's not me, it's the tools ( the lack of)
    Poor workman blames his tools, poor spark blames his switches. :D

    Now I will have to find a good electrician, one that let's me watch and explains and doesn't charge more for the privilege. Cause I still want to know why that wiring doesn't resemble any diagrams.

    On that note one small question:
    Is it common to have 3 core coming in to the two way switch from light instead of two core? Why all examples of wiring only show 2 core?
    And is it common to have not just the neutrals ( grey with blue sleeve in my case) separated in choc box but all the browns too?

    I'm asking because I can't find any examples in writing or drawing of this and god have I searched! Knowing it's something more complicated I'm dealing with would make my failure to fix it a little easier to digest.

    In fact, after all I've read and seen, I'm sure I can make a new two-way switch system from scratch in my house. but this one...
    Watch this space! :D:D:D:D
     
  22. Des 56
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    Des 56 Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    Gliese 581C
    If you have a choc block with browns and another with greys sleeved blue,the reasons would make perfect sense to most electricians(without having to resort to test meters)
    The diagrams,or lack of diagrams in your case,does not mean that the circuit is non standard or unusual
    The diagrams displayed tend to just depict simple circuits rather than connections to best suit what is intended
     
  23. Richard Burns
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    Richard Burns Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    Cambridgeshire
    Business Name:
    Richard Burns
    Unfortunately your description does not match what you have appear to actually have at the light switches so it can be hard to define the problem. (we would have to await the pictures)
    A three core cable might well come from light fitting if the power were being taken on elsewhere, either from the switch (incoming supply) or from the fitting (switched supply), though often used for two gang switches as well.
    Often the choice of core to use can be very variable depending on the installer so it is often not possible to assess a resolution without being there with test equipment.
     
  24. ilsa
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    ilsa DIY

    Location:
    kent
    Yeah, doesn't stop me from wishing there would be a clear instruction for every possible wire situation imaginable! But I understand why that would be dangerous.
     
  25. ilsa
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    ilsa DIY

    Location:
    kent
    I will post pictures tomorrow. Might be a bit tough to work out as the back box is so full of choc blocks and cables. But I'll try to show well the 3 sleeve-identified cores available ( the rest doesn't matter really as they are blocked together and I haven't touched them)
    I have currently connected lights but the 2 way doesn't work quite like it would have to. If I turn one switch off, the other won't work but if both switches are in " on position " ( closed) I can turn the light off at either. I hope that's not unsafe.

    Hopefully someone looks at a picture tomorrow and goes: this as simple as...
     
  26. Richard Burns
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    Richard Burns Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    Cambridgeshire
    Business Name:
    Richard Burns
    If there are no unconnected cables and all cores are safely terminated and the circuit breaker has not tripped then it is unlikely that this would be dangerous in normal use. However we cannot say for certain.
     
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  27. ilsa
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    ilsa DIY

    Location:
    kent
    Thank you, it sounds like I have good odds of living to post a pic tomorrow
     
  28. ilsa
    Offline

    ilsa DIY

    Location:
    kent
    Here I am again, with some pictures this time.
    Just to recap:
    I have a two way light switch for my hallway. There is a two gang switch downstairs ( one gang controls downstairs hall light and it has been wired up and working fine) and a single gang one upstairs. Both switches should be able to control upstairs hall light.
    I can't quite wire it up right.

    Upstairs switch contains 3 x 3 cores , 2 between switches and one coming in from above. There is one black core ( with brown sleeve) unconnected from top 3 core. From 3 core between switches there is one grey ( brown sleeve) and one black ( brown sleeve ) unconnected.

    Downstairs switch has grey ( brown sleeve), black ( brown sleeve) and brown cores unconnected.

    Any help?
    I hope I have attached images right..

    Thank you.

    WP_20161209_11_19_32_Pro20161209113532.jpg

    WP_20161209_11_26_37_Pro20161209113738.jpg
     
  29. Vortigern
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    Vortigern Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    England
    Business Name:
    F.H. Electrical
    I don't think an electrician did that work. And those switches aint gonna work on that box. You did this did you? The back boxes arent deep enough. I don't think I would care to advise you in this case. You must get an electrician in this is not safe. Can you post the certificate you were issued?
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2016
  30. Pete999
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    Pete999 Trusted Advisor

    Top Poster Of Month

    Location:
    Northampton
    Crikey that's a right hodgepodge of wiring, Ilsa, do yourself a big favour and get an Electrician in to do the repairs, thats all wrong, wrong boxes wrong switches, could be life threatening
     
  31. Andy78
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    Andy78 Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    Kingston upon Hull
    Yes, get an electrician in !
     
  32. ilsa
    Offline

    ilsa DIY

    Location:
    kent
    Electrician did it...
    Well, the cables were there but run in trunking on top of the walls with some plastic bog standard boxes and switches. I wanted cables to be chased and new reproduction bakelites to be fitted ( they come on a wooden plinth).
    I hated how the guy worked. He managed to destroy walls, but the chases were not deep enough, so the boxes are not deep enough. Wiring IS REALLY, really tight in there. However, it did work right before I disconnected the switches. Or it seemed to. I'm not sure if I checked all positions...
     
  33. ilsa
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    ilsa DIY

    Location:
    kent
    Electrician sounds like a good idea then. Just not the same one.
     
  34. ilsa
    Offline

    ilsa DIY

    Location:
    kent
    When he left the job, the wiring in the boxes was so tight, that it was pushing the cover open and there was no space for all the screws that go in the box to hold the covers on.
    I wish he just would have said: hey, the back boxes I have are no good for this job, let me pop out and get some suitable ones, £6 please.
    Argh...
     
  35. ilsa
    Offline

    ilsa DIY

    Location:
    kent
    When I look for an electrician, what is the best way to describe this job? Deepen the chase, fit bigger / better suited boxes, inspect and fix the wiring if needed? How do I tell if the next electrician knows what he's talking about? Or is it like Bible: trust, don't ask any questions and then pray.. :)
     
  36. Vortigern
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    Vortigern Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    England
    Business Name:
    F.H. Electrical
    If an electrician did it where is the certificate. A proper electrician will issue a certificate. Go on line go to Electrical safety first.org look for an electrician. Or go to the Trustmark website type in your post code choose electrician. All the people on those sites are registered through a government scheme proving their ability to undertake such work. Look in you local paper adverts. In any event the wiring is poorly terminated, stripped and the earth is floating etc. etc.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2016
  37. Pete999
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    Pete999 Trusted Advisor

    Top Poster Of Month

    Location:
    Northampton
    Ask the Electrician you contact if he could call in to give you a quote on some remedial after the last "electrician" messed up
     
  38. ilsa
    Offline

    ilsa DIY

    Location:
    kent
    Thank you guys, I will follow your advice and get someone to look at it asap, as I can't carry on with the rest of works because of this
     
  39. jackylad
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    jackylad EF Member

    Location:
    UK
    Don't blame the electrician, when chasing walls out it can go either way depending on the wall itself, nice clean chases if the plaster is good or as with many old houses the plaster is already blown waiting to fall off the wall as soon as it touched, it's not the sparks fault it starts dropping off, i've been to jobs were i've told the customer before i started work you will need a plasterer to redo most of the wall as when you knock on the plaster it's hollow and you just know it wont be just filling a chase.

    That work doesn't look like it's been done by a spark even a crap spark, more a diy warrior/landlord thinking they'll have a crack themselves and save a few quid, i'd get an electrician in who can rectify and improve whats already been done.
     
  40. Vortigern
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    Vortigern Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    England
    Business Name:
    F.H. Electrical
    Still like to see the certificate tho'
     
  41. Pat H
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    Pat H Don't ask, get an Electrician in.

    Location:
    Ware Herts
    Business Name:
    Sparks of Intelligence
    Ideally 2 pictures. One of the back of each of the two way switches.
    I'm assuming you have already removed them anyway and that was done with the power off for safety.
     
  42. ilsa
    Offline

    ilsa DIY

    Location:
    kent
    I'm not that worried about the plaster even though I had a different electrician in before and he did 4 chases, including old lath and plaster ceiling, neat work, even did some filling and all skirting boards stayed in place. With the last one plaster gone, skirting gone and me here with pictures of dodgy wiring. Go figure. I have my reasons to be weary o_O

    I might give the benefit of doubt that he didn't mess up the wiring as the wiring was already in place. But surely, an electrician chasing and fitting back boxes should have mentioned that something is not looking right and not just wire it up and leave. He's top of the Google search for sparks in my area too..hmm..

    Lesson: I WILL ASK FOR CERTIFICATE FROM NOW ON. How do I ask for it? before the job?
     
  43. Vortigern
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    Vortigern Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    England
    Business Name:
    F.H. Electrical
    A certificate should be issued at the finish of the job. It should not need to be asked for. But if you are not offered it with the invoice then I would consider withholding payment until it issued to you.
     
  44. Pat H
    Offline

    Pat H Don't ask, get an Electrician in.

    Location:
    Ware Herts
    Business Name:
    Sparks of Intelligence
    Ah I see now. The lack of space in the back box is less of an issue if you are using the wooden backing for the switches as you will get some space there.
     
  45. Richard Burns
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    Richard Burns Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    Cambridgeshire
    Business Name:
    Richard Burns
    That does not look very neat at all and I can see that there have been some problems.
    I notice that each switch you have pictured has two 3 core cables and one two core cable, although I cannot see behind the obstructions for the other cables you mention.
    The lower picture appears to have a supply being fed to the switch. This would lead me to expect that the two way wiring was two wire. However the arrangement in the upper pictured switch does not reflect this.

    Because of these anomalies I might expect an error has been made somewhere and that a professional opinion should be obtained in order to test the cabling and determine the correct method that can be used for these switches.

    One of the generally most reliable methods of getting someone reliable is to ask for recommendations from friends and neighbours as they will rarely recommend someone who has done a bad job for them (unless you really do not get on well with your neighbours!)

    I hope you manage to get it sorted rapidly.
     
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