4 Way switch problem

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  #1  
Old 03-04-05, 07:04 AM
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4 Way switch problem

4 Way switch experts,

I had two existing lights that were hooked up to two 3 way switches in the basement. One at the top of a set of stairs, and the other at the bottom. The one at the top was where the power was coming in. The one at the bottom is where the lights were hooked to.

New Scenario.

I installed a third switch near a door in the basement. Now I have a new 3 way near this door, replaced the 3 way at the bottom of the stairs with a 4 way, and kept the 3 way at the top of the stairs in tacked. So, now the Power remains coming into the 3 way at the top of the stairs. There is a 4 wire from this existing 3 way switch at the top of the stairs going to the new 4 way at the bottom of the stairs. There is a 4 wire from this new 4 way switch at the bottom of the stairs going to the new 3 way near the door, and a regular 3 wire going from the new 3 near the door to the lights.

I have hooked this up a hundred different ways, and the closest I get is almost works. In that, all the switches with turn the lights on and off except when the top of the stairs is up, the one in the middle is down, and the one at the door is down??

Does any one know what I am going wrong??

Please help, and thanks.

PS -

Will
 
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  #2  
Old 03-04-05, 07:17 AM
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This is trivial and foolproof if you know how it was originally wired (enough so that you could put it back the way it was if you needed to). Do you know how it was originally wired?

Also, did you pay attention to which pair of screws were the "input" and which pair of screws were the "output" on the 4-way? It doesn't make any difference which is which, but you must get the pairing correct. On some 4-ways, these are marked "input" and "output" and on others it's just identified by screw color.
 
  #3  
Old 03-04-05, 07:18 AM
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You did much more work than you needed to do.

In your scenario you do not need any four conductor wire. All you needed to do was to add three conductor wire (plus ground) from the bottom switch to the new door switch.

Wire in one of the following ways (substitute 12 for 14 if this is a 20 amp circuit):

3 way switch at the top of the stairs. 14-3 from the top of the stars to the bottom of the stairs. 4 way switch at the bottom of the stairs. 14-3 from the bottom of the stairs to the door. 14-2 from the bottom of the stairs to the light. 3 way switch at door.

OR

3 way switch at the top of the stairs. 14-3 from the top of the stars to the bottom of the stairs. 4 way switch at the bottom of the stairs. 14-3 from the bottom of the stairs to the door. 3 way switch at door. 14-2 from the door to the light.


It sounds like you have added more wiring than you need. You can use the wiring that you have or go back to this.

Let me know what you want to do and I will tell you how to make the connections
 
  #4  
Old 03-04-05, 07:23 AM
Snape
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Sounds like you might have a wire wrong somewhere, can you provide us with the connections at each of the switches so we can determine where you gone wrong, also when you say 4 wire do you include the earth wire in this description, im thinking that you are.

Regards
Ian
 
  #5  
Old 03-04-05, 08:23 AM
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4 way switch problem

Snape is right. I am calling a 4 wire (one black, one white, one red, and one ground) Sorry, I don’t have the lingo down.

The way it is now is how racraft explained it in his second scenario.
3 way switch at the top of the stairs. 14-3 from the top of the stars to the bottom of the stairs. 4 way switch at the bottom of the stairs. 14-3 from the bottom of the stairs to the door. 3 way switch at door. 14-2 from the door to the light.

I have a Visio drawing. Does anyone know how to attach a file here?

Thanks for the help.

Will
 
  #6  
Old 03-04-05, 08:32 AM
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The "Starting-point" is the existing switch outlet-box where the 14/2 cable "feeds" 120-volts into the switching-circuit.
 
  #7  
Old 03-04-05, 08:47 AM
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I can send a visio drawing via e-mail, if that helps. Not sure how to provide an attachment here.

Will
 
  #8  
Old 03-04-05, 09:27 AM
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Here is how your wiring should be.

At the top of the stairs:
White power to white 3 conductor cable.
Black power to common of 3 way switch.
Red and black 3 conductor to 3 way switch travelers.

At the bottom of the stairs:
White to white.
Black and red from top of stairs to one side of the 4 way switch.
Black and red to door to other side of the 4 way switch.
I don't necessarily mean side of the switch physically, I mean electrically. refer to switch wiring diagram.

At door:
White to white.
Red and black in 3 conductor cable to travelers of 3 way switch.
Black to light to common of three way switch.

At the light.

Black to light.
White to light.

All grounds get connected everywhere as appropriate.
 
  #9  
Old 03-04-05, 09:44 AM
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I am going to go home and try this! Thank you sir. I'll let you know how it works out!
 
  #10  
Old 03-07-05, 06:34 AM
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All three switches work all new lights perfectly now. The wiring diagrams in my wiring book, and on the switch packaging were very confusing and never depicted the scenario close to what I was wanting to do. My wife thanks Racraft and everyone else. A week of the breaker going out every ten minutes
For me to test was driving her nuts.

Thanks again!
 
  #11  
Old 03-07-05, 06:51 AM
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You are quite welcome. Thanks for posting back with a report on the success of your project.
 
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