3 switches, 3 lights (4way) help

Reply

  #1  
Old 08-20-07, 07:22 AM
JoeTheZombie's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Idaho
Posts: 216
3 switches, 3 lights (4way) help

Currently, all 3 lights and switches are independent of each other. I want them to all be connected (each switch controls all 3 lights in a 4way configuration). I have found that power is delivered to one of the light boxes first. I understand I'll need to run some 12-3 cable and have two 3way and one 4way switch. I just can't figure out how to wire everything up. Two switches are pretty close to each other, then the three lights, then another switch at the far end.

A little help, please?
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 08-20-07, 07:43 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
First, you might consider some smart technology like X-10. I can't steer you to a specific solution, but you can probably do this without any new cable at all. It might be more expensive.

Are you good at drywall repair? Even if not, it's a good skill to learn.

Are these lights all on the same floor? Is there an accessible attic above and/or an unfinished basement below?

Are these lights all on the same circuit? I.e., does one circuit breaker turn them all off?

This is a pretty significant job. Are you ready?

Turn the circuit breaker off. Gently pull out all three switches out of the box without disconnecting any wires. Start by telling us the colors of the wires connected to each of the three switches. We may later ask you to tell us all the wiring in each box, so don't pack the switches back just yet.
 
  #3  
Old 08-20-07, 08:07 AM
JoeTheZombie's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Idaho
Posts: 216
Well, the little lady is wanting a "period house" so we are using reproduction push button switches-- the x10 would stand out like a sore thumb. The walls are lathe and plaster, but I have clear access through the wall cavities to all switches, and all the light boxes are accessible in the attic. I think I'm ready! One note about the existing wires... they are K&T and will be removed / abandoned / replaced so whatever will be the simplest way to wire this up will be best!
 
  #4  
Old 08-20-07, 08:59 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
There are a lot of possible solutions. I'll just give you one, assuming you're going to be ripping out all the existing wiring anyway.

Before proceeding, I am forced to assume some answers to the questions you didn't answer. I'll assume that the answer to my question about them all being on the same circuit is "yes".

The existing wiring I asked for seems immaterial since you'll be ripping it all out anyway.

I'll use the terms L1, L2, and L3 to refer to the three lights. We'll call L1 the light where you've determined that the power comes in. I'll use the terms S1, S2 and S3 to refer to the three switches. It doesn't matter which is which, so apply these three names to your three switches in any manner that means the cabling will be the easiest.

Next, I'll use "=" to mean 12/3 and "-" to mean 12/2. If the breaker is a 15-amp breaker, you may substitute #14 wire for #12 if you want.

So, here's what you need (one possibility among many):

Power-L1-S1=S2=S3, and L1-L2-L3.

S1 and S3 will be 3-way switches, and S2 will be a 4-way.

At L1, connect power hot to the white wire going to the switch. Connect power neutral to the white going to L2, and to L1 white. Connect the black going to the switch to L1 black, and the black going to L2.

At L2 and L3, connect all wires by color.

At S1, connect 12/2 white to the common screw. Connect 12/3 black and white to the two travelers. Connect 12/3 red to the 12/2 black.

At S2, connect the two red wires to each other. Connect the black and white of one cable to the "input" screws, and the black and white of the other cable to the "output" screws.

At S3, connect the black and white to the traveler screws, and the red to the common screw.

Interconnect all grounding wires and screws in each box.
 
  #5  
Old 08-20-07, 09:23 AM
JoeTheZombie's Avatar
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Idaho
Posts: 216
Thank you so much. I made a diagram of your procedure and will let you know how it goes! Thanks again.
 
  #6  
Old 08-20-07, 02:48 PM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: welland ontario
Posts: 5,599
Here is a page with 12 different ways to wire 4 way switches.

http://www.selfhelpandmore.com/switchoutlet/4way/
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
'