The common wire is usually black and the travelers red, in any case, the traveler wires will usually be the same color to distinguish them from the common. The stranded wires on the dimmer are spliced to the cable wires from the circuit.
Source 1 comes in at the light fixture and a 3-wire cable is run from there to the switch half on the device. The hot from the source is spliced to the black wire and to the input side of the switch at the other end. The white neutral from the source is connected directly to the light fixture. The red wire from the switch output goes to the hot terminal on the light.
If your switches stop working they may be worn out or the screws may have come loose. If you’ve wired a new switch correctly and the circuit still doesn’t work, the switch may be defective. Check that all connections are tight. Check the switch, remove it from the circuit and test for failure with a continuity tester or multimeter set on the Ohms setting.
In this updated diagram 3-wire cable runs between the receptacle and SW2 to allow for splicing the neutral source through to the second switch box. Here the white is not used for hot but instead the extra, red wire serves that purpose for the second switch.
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