How to Wire a 4 Way Switch [with Diagrams and PDF]
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It is always a good idea to regulate lighting in large open spaces, where people come in and come what colors look good together for friendship bracelets all the time.
The same goes for the stairs. Multiple light switches should definitely be employed along the stairwell on each and every floor. Hod if you would like to have ten switches to control one light as an exampleyou will need two 3-way switches and eight 4-way switches. All additional 4-way switches get connected in between 3-way switches as well.
This kind of arrangement is very convenient for bigger spaces with several doors. What is a 4-way switch? A four-way switch is a special complex what to eat with ibs pain that is composed of 5 screws or terminals in total, which include: 2 common terminals2 traveler terminalsand 1 ground terminal :.
These switches are employed in circuits along with the linked 3-way switches. In a 4-way switch, a total of wlre screws or terminals are present to provide 2 sets of toggle locations. These toggle locations will allow the current to use two pathways by which it can pass. When the switch is placed in the upward position, the current will flow through one set of terminals and when it is placed in a downward direction, it will pass through another set.
In order to figure out which terminals are linked, you can use an ohmmeter or multimeter for testing. This process is described in a better way, below video :.
Before starting to wire a 4-way switch setup, you must take account of some of the warnings:. Connecting wires may look simple, but if you make the slightest mistake, you will put yourself into a dangerous situation that could end up being fatal. If you are not sure about what you how to use the advocare 24 day challenge doing, ask a professional for assistance.
Disconnecting wires from the main power source is a must and is the first thing you should do before anything else. Just flip the appropriate breaker switch and only then you can start working with wires. Wiring for a 4-way switch is not difficult to accomplish if you avoid some basic mistakes one of which is connecting the wrong wires that come from 3-way switches into a 4-way switch.
The reason why this is a problem is that you can do a very logical and obvious thing, but your light will not turn on. What am I talking about? The wires that are in your white cable that connects the switches are color-coded. The terminals or screws of the switch are color-coded as well.
The basic 4-way switch setup includes 3 switches:. There could be more 4-way switches involved, but in this setup, we will connect one 4-way switch in between two 3-way switches. Once you take out the wires from the cable and start connecting them, you may end up with red traveler wire going to the brass-colored screws or terminals and black hot wire to the black or dark colored screws or terminals.
Because this is logical, but NOT the right way to do it light will not work. In order for the light to work properly, you have to install both wires red and black from the first 3-way switch on the brass screws or terminals and the same colored wires red and black from the second 3-way switch — on the dark or black screws or terminals. The rest is quite simple assuming that the first 3-way switch is connected already. In order for our light arrangement to work, all is left to do is hpw connect white neutral wires, that come from both 3-way switches, together and connect both of the ground wires hlw well while leaving a little piece to have it connected to the 4-way switch.
Here is a video on how to do it better to see once, than to hear twice :. Can you use a 4-way light switch for more than 3 locations? Connect them all and be comfortable shutting your lights on and off from any part of the kitchen for wie. Neutral or white wires of three-way switches should be connected day and also the ground copper wire that is attached hw the green terminal on the 4-way switch.
Now you will have only red and black or hot wires left. Here is a graphical illustration of wire connections at the 4-way how to delete array element in php. The general wiring of the 4-way switch is explained well in the video below:.
Here are different ways to wire a 4-way switch two basic setups :. In hoe picture given above, a cable 2 wires with the ground is being used and it is running from the wore fixtures to the three-way how to wire a 4 way. A Three-wire cable with the ground or cable is employed to take power to the 4 way switch and another cable is used for connecting the last 3-way switch where the circuit ends.
This setup can be categorized as:. In this case, there is a cable running directly from the source of power to the 3-way switch, and a cable what songs are on the now 56 cd employed to run till the 4-way switch. After that one wirr cable is employed for connecting the 4-way switch to the second 3-way switch wah then, finally, the cable is used for connecting with the light or multiple fixtures in case of multiple lights.
In this hoow, a cable is used to power the 4-way switch fixture first. Then, there are two cables leaving the 4-way switch fixture one cable going to the first 3-way switch and the other one to the second 3-way switch. After that, a cable is used to connect the second 3-way switch to the light fixture.
In this case, a cable is used to power the second 3-way switch fixture, first. Then, there are two cables leaving the second 3-way switch fixture one is cable, which is used to power the light fixture and the other one is cable, which is used to connect the second 3-way switch to the 4-way switch. Then, a cable is used to connect the 4-way switch to the first 3-way switch and that ends the circuit. Feel free what is the purpose of adh download all schematics in PDF format.
Allam is an engineer by profession. Allam graduated with honors from world-ranked universities and even won a gold medal. His professional knowledge and expertise include but not limited to :. Aqeel is an Electrical Engineer with experience in electrical systems. Turn your handmade drawing or your concept into professional Auto CAD design by visiting his online services page. Anything else we can help you with? Affiliate Disclosure. Even though we recommend products that we like, some of them are linked to our affiliate uow that will pay us a small commission at NO cost to you!
Accuracy Disclaimer. This information was collected from a variety of sources and is subject to change without notice. Safety Disclaimer. This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace professional advice in any way. You are using the information provided at how to wire a 4 way own risk which includes, but is not limited to, maintenance or repair, operation, installation, and safety precautions.
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4 Way Switch Wiring 4-Way Switches provide switching from three or more locations. If more than three switches are needed, simply place more 4-way switches between the three way switches. IMPORTANT: As you will see, most 4-way switch wiring is placed between the wiring of two 3-way switches, therefore a 4way switch is installed with two 3way switches. The black wire running to the 4-way switch is connected to the hot terminal on the light and at the switch box it's spliced to the black wire from the common on SW2. The red and white are used as travelers between the 4 way and SW2. The white wire is marked black at each end to mark it as hot. 4 Way Wiring Source and Light Middle. Vehicle Side Step 1: Prepare for Vehicle Wiring Installation If your vehicle already has a 4-way connector, then great! Simply plug Step 2: Connect Ground to Vehicle Frame Just like we did on the trailer, we now have to connect the ground on the Step 3: Make Vehicle Connections Your wiring.
Dan has been a licensed journey-level electrician for some 17 years. He has extensive experience in most areas of the electrical trade. That is to say that any time you find a 4-way switch, there will also be two 3-way switches controlling the same light fixture. Additional light fixtures do not require additional switches as long as they are intended to all come on at the same time.
Each such lighting circuit will contain two 3-way switches and one or more 4-way switches the number of 4-way switches that may be used in such a switching configuration is unlimited. Because there will always be 3-way switches present it is necessary to understand how to wire a 3-way switch before attempting to understand and use a 4-way switch. If you are doing anything more than simply replacing a defective 4-way switch please examine the link on how to wire a 3-way switch before proceeding; it will open in a new window that will return the reader here when it is closed.
If, on the other hand, you are simply replacing a 4-way switch in an existing circuit, the next section will address that simpler task. Back side of 4-way switch. There are 4 places to terminate wire, plus a green screw at the top of the switch for the green or bare ground wire. This switch has screws at the sides as well as the holes in the back.
Begin your task by turning off the power. M ake absolutely sure the power is turned off before proceeding. Turn the light on and turn breakers off or remove fuses one at a time until the light goes off. It's a good idea to apply a piece of tape over the breaker handle; a second person, trying to turn the circuit back on to restore lights in a different room, will realize there is a reason for it being off and not flip it back on while you're working on the circuit.
Remove the two screws in the cover plate and set them aside along with the cover. There are two more screws holding the switch in place; unscrew those and set them aside as well.
Grasp the switch by the "ears" at the top and bottom and gently pull it out of the electrical box, being careful not to touch the wires on the sides. Good electrical safety practices dictate here that a voltmeter be used to double check that the circuit is actually off; either use a non-contact voltage detector or a volt meter with one probe to each of the side terminals one at a time while the other is touched to the green ground screw near one end of the switch.
You may have turned off the wrong breaker, the light bulb may have burned out while you were away at the breaker panel or someone else may have turned it back on. Make sure that the circuit is dead before continuing or touching any bare wire. There are four wires that are terminated fastened to a 4-way switch, plus the green or bare ground wire. In nearly every case these wires will enter the wall box in 2 separate cables. These cables will probably contain at least one more wire each, but these extra wires are simply spliced together in the wall box and do not terminate on the switch; there is no reason to disturb them at all unless you wish to simply verify that the connections are firm.
Remove the wires from their terminations on the switch. If the wires are under the side screws, loosen those screws they cannot be completely removed and bend the wire from under the screw.
If the wires are pushed into a small hole in the back of the switch, insert a small screwdriver or other tool into the slot next to them; this will release the spring tension and allow the wires to be pulled out of the hold. Fold the wires that were on the top of the switch up and out of the box, and the wires that were on the bottom down and out of the box.
This will be a reminder of where they are to be terminated on the new switch, but if they get disturbed and you can't tell where they go, find where each wire comes from.
Although there may be two multi-wire cables entering the box through the same hole in the electrical box, you will find two wires in each cable that go to the switch. Two wires from one cable will terminate to the top two screws it doesn't matter which of the top two screws is used for which wire and two from the other cable will terminate on the bottom two screws.
The last wire will be either green or, more commonly, completely bare of insulation. This wire goes to the green screw located near the end of the switch and is the ground wire.
Modern electrical codes require this wire at every switch, but older homes may not have it; if it is missing from your box, just leave that green screw empty. While it is quick and easy to simply push the wires into the new switch, and most electricians do that in the interest of saving time, it is preferable to put them under the screws as the springs in the holes will loosen over the years and make a poor connection.
Using needle nose pliers or other tool, bend the bare end of the wire into a small circle, loosen the screws as far as they will go, and work the wire under the screw head and around the screw in a clockwise manner if put on backwards tightening the screw will tend to "unbend" the wire and it may come away from the screw.
Firmly tighten the screw and repeat for each wire. Terminate the ground wire onto the ground screw if there is a ground wire present in the box. Insert the switch back into the box, neatly folding the wires as you do so. Try to keep all the wires behind the switch, not alongside it. Fasten the switch with the two screws provided, refit the cover plate using the same screws that you carefully saved, and you're done. At the risk of being repetitious, make sure the power is off before making any connections to an existing circuit.
While some of the work being done will be with wires that cannot be carrying power yet, there must come a time when connections are made to what could be "hot" wires—be absolutely sure that that circuit is dead. For those readers that will be installing a whole new circuit, and are unfamiliar with physically getting wire from one place to another, an article on how to add an outlet contains valuable tips and instructions on the process. The process of pulling wire through walls, ceilings and attics is the same whether for lights or receptacles.
The two wiring diagrams above are of a 3-way switch setup and the same basic setup with a 4 way light switch added. While the physical location of the 4 way switch may be anywhere, the electrical location of the switch is always between the two 3 way switches.
If additional 4-way switches are needed, they will also go between the 3-way switches. Electrically, the 3-way switches are always the first and last in the line of switches. If you are not familiar with 3-way switches the link given near the top may be valuable and is suggested reading. While other methods of physically getting the necessary wires to each switch are possible see the article on wiring three-way switches , the National Electric Code, article C, was changed to require a "neutral" white wire at each switch location whether it is actually used or not.
In general practice, the diagram above is most often used and is a good guide for wiring a new 4-way switch circuit.
When wiring in the 4 way switch it is most simply described as simply cutting the two traveler wires the two wires that go between the two 3 way switches and terminate on each switch and putting two wires from one switch on the top two terminals of the 4 way switch while putting the other two wires from the other switch on the bottom two terminals. The first of the two diagrams is taken directly from the article referenced above; the second is merely that same diagram expanded to allow the addition of a 4-way switch in the center.
Each of the diagrams in the 3-way switch article can be treated the same way; merely add the 4-way switch between the other two and terminate the traveler wires on the 4-way switch while making sure that there is a neutral in each box.
Be careful here—some of those diagrams make it nearly impossible to have the neutral wire in the box and were included for those people working on older homes.
New work, as opposed to simply replacing a switch, must have the neutral wire in every switch box. Any extra wires passing between the two switches normally one more wire is simply spliced in the 4-way switch box to continue on uninterrupted. Make sure that the green or bare ground wire is always pigtailed out and terminated on all switches.
Using the diagram shown here a two-wire Romex cable black and white wires is used to provide power to the first switch. From there, 3 wire cables black, white and red are used between the switches, with a final 2 wire cable going from the last switch to the light fixture. As can be seen, the neutral from the power in cable simply passes through each electrical box, splicing as necessary, and ends up in the light fixture; in this manner, the NEC code is satisfied with a neutral in each box.
When terminating the wires on the individual switches, the first, 3 way, switch has the black "power in" wire terminated on the "common" terminal the screw is a slightly different color from the two traveler screws and two "traveler" wires black and red from the 3-wire cable on the other two terminals.
Plus, of course, a ground wire; ground wires are "pigtailed" at each switch and terminated on the green ground screw of the switch. Tug firmly on each wire while holding the nut in the other hand; if it's going to come apart much better that it does so now rather than later, back in the box where you can't see it.
The second 4-way switch has two traveler wires black and red from the first switch terminated onto the top two terminals, and two wires again black and red from the final 3-way switch terminated on the bottom two terminals.
Plus the ground. The white neutral wire is again simply spliced straight through with a wire nut. The final 3-way switch has the two travelers from the 4-way terminated onto the traveler terminals and the black "switch leg" from the light fixture onto the "common" terminal. Terminate the ground wire and again splice the neutral wires without terminating them anywhere. A final word of caution; when buying switches, make sure the switch amperage is rated at least as much as the breaker that turns off the power to the circuit you are working on.
A 20 amp switch can be used on a 15 amp circuit, but never put a 15 amp switch on a 20 amp circuit. Be careful when re-using older switches as some don't have a ground terminal; current NEC code requires that every switch be grounded.
Likewise, any new wire used must match existing wire in size. A 20 amp circuit requires 12 gauge wire either or while a 15 amp circuit may use 14 gauge wire or Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Question: I have three switch boxes connected with three wire cable the middle box has a two-wire cable to the light. The power source is at one of the end switch boxes. Can and how do I connect the wires for this four-way switch set up? Answer: It is possible, though it won't meet current code. The power black goes to the common of the first three-way with black and red going to traveler terminals.
White splices to power neutral white with a wire nut. Always make sure grounds are spliced together with a pigtail to the switch.
At the center box, with a four-way switch, black and red from the first box goes to two terminals with the black and red going to the third box to the other two terminals.
The white neutral splices to the white to the light. In the third box, black and red are travelers with white going to the common. This becomes a switch leg, hot when the light is on and should be colored something other than white.
The other end of that white switch leg, in the center box, needs to be colored magic marker, black tape, some way to indicate it is NOT a neutral and splices to the black going to the light. Current code requires a neutral in each switch box, and you won't have one in the third box, which is why it will not meet code in most locations. Question: I have a switch that has 2, 3-way switches and 1, 4-way.
I want to install an in-wall timer, what should I do? Answer: Three-way timers are available from Amazon or other vendors. Many require a neutral wire, so make sure that is available before purchasing. Question: We have a bedroom overhead LED light that went out the other night. It flickered on once after a few minutes and then was out again. The three switches in the bathroom right next to the bedroom also did not work when the bedroom light stopped working.
We have tried to install a new light switch receptacle and still nothing works. What could be going on here?