troubleshooting 4-way switch circuit

Old 01-05-04, 05:21 AM
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troubleshooting 4-way switch circuit

After adding a 4-way switch to an existing circuit, I have become know around work as someone who can troubleshoot electrical problems.
However, a coworker came to me with a question, and I'm not sure if there's an easier way to troubleshoot his problem than my method.
He has a light circuit with two 3-way switches and one 4-way switch. He says the lights don't work in certain switch positions.
I had said that he needs to use a voltmeter and find the correct "hot wire" from one of the 3-way switches and trace everything through the 4-way switch to the other 3-way switch.
Is there an easier way to do this? Thanks.
Old 01-05-04, 06:03 AM
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To reliably troubleshoot a switch setup containing threeway and fourway circuits requires either trial and error or some sort of voltage tester. The tester can be any variety of tester (neon light, meter, tick tester, etc). It helps to know how the wires run, but even without this information it can be done.
Old 01-06-04, 07:45 AM
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Is this a new installation? An older installation that used to work? An older installation that never worked? If it is an installation that has worked at one time, then one of the switches is bad, which should be able to be figured out easily enough. If if has never worked, then (at least) one of the switches was not wired properly. A visual inspection of the 3-way switches may turn up the problem. 3-way switches have a "point" screw and two "traveler" screws. If the wires on the (4) traveler screws aren't connected to the (4) screws on the 4-way switch, then you have a problem.

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