4 way switch conundrum


Old 03-06-07, 07:23 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 35
4 way switch conundrum

I decided to replace toggle switches on a 4 way circuit with rocker switches and didn't take very good notes before disconnecting the wires to the original switches, and now can't get the switches to work properly. Here's what I have....3 light fixtures controlled by a 4 way switch in the middle and a 3 way switch at each end. Power (2 strand) goes into the middle fixture. From there, a 3 strand wire goes to each 3 way switch, two 2 strand wires go to the 4 way switch, and a 2 strand wire goes to one of the other fixtures and continues from there to the 3rd fixture. Wiring at the middle fixture (which I haven't touched): source black connects to red of 1st 3 way switch. Source white connects to white at fixture and white continuing to other fixtures. Red from 2nd 3 way switch connects to black at fixture and black continuing to other fixtures. The black and white from each 3 way switch connect to one of the black and whites going to the 4 way switch. Hope that all makes sense. So how should the wires be connected at each switch? I've tried different combinations and get some pretty weird results.
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Old 03-06-07, 07:47 AM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
Well, you screwed up big time by not recording the connections. But you mitigated the problem well by providing such a good description of the fixture wiring, and by not screwing that up.

The discussion below ignores all grounding wires and screws, but connect them all together in each box.

At each 3-way:
1. Connect red to the common screw (the black colored one).
2. Connect black and white to the other two screws.

At the 4-way:
1. Connect the black and white from one cable to the pair of screws labeled "input" or "in". Sometimes they are not labeled by lettering, but by screw color. In this case, connect the black and white of the same cable to the same color screws.
2. Connect the black and white from the other cable to the other two screws.

That should fix you right up.
Old 03-06-07, 04:12 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 35
Worked like a champ...thanks! I had the 3 way switches correct but my problem was at the 4 way, assuming (incorrectly) both blacks or both whites would be "in" or "out".

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