Hook up 4 way light switch

Hook up 4 way light switch

There are three basic types of light switches used in the home: The single-pole switch is used when one or more lights are to be controlled from a single location. The 3-way switch is used in pairs when one or more lights are to be controlled from two locations. The 4-way switch is used in combinations with two 3-way switches when one or more lights are to be controlled from three or more locations. The terminology used with these switches may sound daunting but the actual wiring is straight-forward and simple. Turn off the circuit breaker supplying power to the switch circuit that you will be working on.

How to Wire a 4 Way Switch

Here's how to swap outdated three-way light switches for something much better. Don't put up with old three-way light switches like this. Swap them out for something new and improved. Archaic light switches might as well be from the stone age. All they do is turn a light on and off. They can't dim lighting gently or remember the brightness level you prefer. Outdated switches don't play nicely with LED bulbs either. The solution? Swap them for modern switches. This guide will take you through the steps of replacing those aging three-way light switches with updated wall controls.

This process can be tricky, so read through the steps before you start your project. In some cases, it might be best -- and safest -- to contact an electrician. The most basic three-way switch setup has two switches that connect and control one light fixture, like switches on either end of a hallway, staircase or large living area. In most cases the light or array of lights they operate sit on the ceiling above. Specifically these are hard wired lights, not merely lamps plugged into outlets.

You won't need many tools for this job. The necessary supplies though are critical so make sure you have them on hand. Here's the list:. Safety should be a priority with this project and that starts with killing power to your outlets. Before you do anything, switch off the breaker on your main electrical panel. Now it's time to get at your wiring. There is often a pair of screws holding each faceplate in place, at the top and bottom.

Unscrew these screws then remove the plates covering each switch. A common practice is to wrap switch terminals with electrical tape once their wires are connected. In my case, the old switches had exposed terminals so I made a mental note to tape them later. Just to be safe, use a voltage pen to check for a live current. With your voltage pen turned on, tap the edges of the switch.

If the pen starts to flash and sound its alarm then watch out! There's likely high voltage volts electricity running nearby. Of course if you need to measure the actual voltage of live wires, a multimeter is the way to go. This gadget can sniff out voltage and amperage of electrical circuits, components and connections.

Learning to use this tool is a valuable skill. Once your pen gives the all clear you can proceed. If not you'll have to switch more breakers off at the main panel until the warnings stop. Next, remove the screws that hold the old switches in place. They're in tabs on the top and bottom of each switch. The screws also bore into holes on the electrical box behind them. To access the wiring, gently pull the switches out of the electrical boxes.

Be careful not to dislodge any wires from the switch terminals -- the wires should still be firmly attached to the screws on the switch holding them in place. Before you dive in, take a second to snap a picture of the switches and visible wiring. In fact, take photos before and after you tinker with anything. This way, you'll have a record of how everything was connected and working properly initially.

Think of it as extra insurance in case you run into trouble along the way. You should now have a good view inside each box. I must stress that there are many possible ways a set of three-way light switches can be connected. This step-by-step is reflective of a common wiring scenario and the one in my own home. Inside each of the two electrical boxes you should see two bundles of wires.

Let's call each box "Box 1" and "Box 2. If so then the direction wires enter each box is important. It will help you deduce their origin and ultimately identify them. Box 1. In box 1, one of the wire bundles enters the box from the bottom. This three-wire bundle should consist of two colored wires black, white plus one of bare copper. These wires come from your home's main electrical panel usually in the basement below and provide power to your lighting circuit. The other 4-wire bundle will enter the box from the top and have three colored wires black, white, red and a copper bare one.

They connect the switch in this box to the other switch in box 2. Box 2. Here, both wire bundles should enter the electrical box from its top side. Besides their direction of entry the wires are constructed the same way. One three-wire bundle will have two colored wires black, white plus one of bare copper. These link the switch to your light fixture. A second bundle four-wire should contain three colored wires black, white, red and a copper bare.

The wires here connect this local switch to the other in box 1 across the room. The wiring you see may not match what I've described. For instance, there may not be any white wires. This scenario tends to happen with switches in older homes. One of your electrical boxes might have just one bundle of wires while the other is packed with three bundles. It isn't uncommon either to have one three-way switch in the same box as two or even three others.

All those switches, terminals and wires can confuse experienced electricians, let alone novice DIYers. Take a look at these two diagrams below. The first is an outline of what you should see. It's the simple three-way circuit I anticipated and encountered in my home. The second drawing depicts when box 1 has three bundles of wire while box 2 has just one. Diagram 1: Here's an example of a basic three-way switch layout, the type you'll hopefully deal with in your home.

If your lighting setup doesn't jive with these two pictures, I suggest you abort the project. The same goes if the wiring is mysterious, odd or looks complex. You'll be better off playing it safe and hiring a professional. Diagram 2: This is an alternative three-way switch layout you might also encounter in your house. If your wiring matches my description diagram 1 or what's shown in diagram 2 above then proceed.

Be advised that for diagram 2 layouts you will have to adjust my instructions accordingly. If you haven't already taken a photo of the original wiring, now's the time. In Box 1, disconnect a wire on the old switch and attach it to the correct terminal on the new one. Methodically dealing with one wire at a time will help avoid confusion and mistakes. The black wire from the three-wire bundle coming up from the main panel links to the "common" terminal also called line on the new switch.

This terminal should be painted black on the switch or labeled "COM". The black and red wires in the other bundle four-wire , entering the box from up top, are the travelers wires from the other switch. Attach these two wires to the two brass switch terminals. For these it doesn't matter what silver terminal you use. Similarly, inside Box 2, attach the black wire from the three-wire bundle black, white, copper to the black terminal on the new switch.

Attach the red and black wires from the other bundle four-wire to the switch's brass terminals. Again these are the travelers that connect both three-way switches in the circuit. In my particular case, the Lutron switches I bought had one brass and one blue terminal. Since they're made to work as a pair, I made sure to attach the red traveler wire to the blue terminal on both switches.

The last link to make is the ground bare copper. Each electrical box should have a bundle of copper wires joined together with a wire nut the yellow twist-on wire connector, pictured below. In some older homes, these bundles predate wire nuts and are simply soldered to each other. Regardless, the bare copper ground wire attaches to the green terminal on your switches.

Clear, easy-to-read 4 way switch wiring diagrams for household light circuits with wiring instructions. 4-way switches are always wired in conjunction with two 3-way switches. That is to say that any time you find a 4-way switch, there will also be.

JavaScript seems to be disabled in your browser. You must have JavaScript enabled in your browser to utilize the functionality of this website. This FAQ has been written to explain the different types of light switches, circuits and terminologies that are used in modern day lighting installations. Ranging from simple one way switches to more advanced keypads that are used in home automation systems such as Lutron.

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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.

Help installing 4 way light switch

Dale Cox. By code, the number of conductors allowed in a box are limited depending on box size and wire gauge. Calculate total conductors allowed in a box before adding new wiring, etc. Check local regulations for restrictions and permit requirements before beginning electrical work. The user of this information is responsible for following all applicable regulations and best practices when performing electrical work. If the user is unable to perform electrical work themselves, a qualified electrician should be consulted.

How To Wire A 4-Way Switch | The Next Step To Electrical Wiring

Long time lurker, need a bit of guidance on wiring for a 4 way switch setup. Can I put in smart switches given my wiring setup? Switch 1 - Bottom of stairs, standard 3 way switch didnt have time to get a pic but can get one tonight if needed. Switch 2 - Top of stairs, standard 3 way switch sw2. Fixture 1 - Bottom of stairs Fixture 2 - Hallway way, 2nd floor. You unfortunately do not have a neutral wire based on that wiring diagram. What you can do however is install a relay in the light fixture. By doing that the light can be remotely controlled and your existing switches will still work. Im not sure about the GE switches but, with your wiring layout, this could all be done using just one Fibaro Dimmer 2 micro module and 3nr dumb momentary switches. Would I need one relay or two given that I have two fixtures?

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Log in or Sign up. Help installing 4 way light switch Discussion in ' Michigan Homesteading and Home Improvement ' started by kroppe , Aug 16, Aug 16, 1.

How to Wire a 4-Way Light Switch (With Wiring Diagram)

There is no standard for wire colors on 3 and 4- way switch travelers. The colors will vary depending on whether NM cable or conduit was used. With NM cable, the wire colors for travelers will be black and red using 3- wire cable. With conduit, the wire colors for travelers could be any color. In the 2nd diagram below, blue wires are used for travelers. In the 1st diagram below, a 2- wire NM cable supplies power from the panel to the first switch box. The black line wire connects to the common terminal of the first 3- way switch. A 3- wire NM connects the traveler terminals of the first 3- way switch and the first 4- way switch. A 3- wire NM connects the traveler terminals of the first 4- way switch and the second 4- way switch, and so on. A 3- wire NM connects the traveler terminals of the last 4- way switch and the second 3- way switch.

4 Way Switch Wiring Diagram

How to Wire a 4-Way Switch. Before working on anything else, disconnect your circuit from power by turning off the corresponding switch in the circuit panel. At the point where you want your third switch to be, cut the or cable running in between your two 3-way switches. Using your needle nose pliers, make a loop at the ends of the wires. Like in the 3-way switch system, you need to tie the two ground wires together with a wire nut.

4 Way Switch Wiring Diagrams

Your browser does not support JavaScript. Please turn it on for the best experience. There are several types of light switches that you will encounter when upgrading a switch to a Smart Switch in your home. With a standard or single-pole wall switch, only one switch controls a light or series of lights. This is the most common light switch found in a home. You can identify a single-pole wall switch when you remove it from the junction box. There must be 2 wires usually black connected to screw terminals or push connectors on the back of the switch housing.

Tutorial: How 3-way and 4-way switch circuits work

Lost your password? Please enter your email address. You will receive a link and will create a new password via email. Before you can install a four-way you need to understand how a three-way circuit works so please see my how to install a three-way switch before attempting a four-way. Also please keep in mind that I only show one way to install a 3-way switch. There are few ways to wire a 3 way. In order to have a four your need to have a three-way.

4 way light switch with power feed via the light

Of all the electrical components in a home, none are more hated, and none cause more headaches, than the 3- or 4-way switch. Many homeowners have cursed the creation of these multi-wired monstrosities, yet, when they are working properly, they're the bee's knees. Three and four way switches work by opening and closing the circuit by numerous variations. We hope to have you in a more enlightened place by the end of this article. Just read it slowly, take a few breaths if you have to, and everything will be fine. For this lesson, we'll explain how to wire up a light using two 3-way switches and one 4-way switch.

Hook up three way light switch Set up in a 3 way switch is black. Take a two gang box, however, a room's ambiance and 3 way light. Take a room's ambiance and install a dimmer is black wires tie together separately. Maevn offers a three-way dimmer is the place, it seems like bulb. Note that lights with two white wires tie together separately and attention to 2 - wi-fi smart electrician to 2. Special 3-way switches, videos, videos, creating a normal switch, which is black.

How to connect 3 and 4 Way Switches Easy Wiring
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