4-way motion switch


  #1  
Old 01-26-08, 08:58 AM
B
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 20
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
4-way motion switch

Hey all,

I have a zone of recessed lighting in my hallway which is controlled by 4 switches (1 at front door, 1 at back door, 1 at each of 2 bedroom doors).

I asked the electrician if he can wire a motion-sensing switch outside the middle bedroom, so it can pick up an area of motion throughout the hallway.

He said it is unlikely because it is a 4-way light. He said that the switch would need to be placed "where the power is." And he thinks that it is in the switch near the back door.

Now, this is the same guy that wired my building in the first place, but I am having a hard time believing that a motion switch can't be put in wherever I want.

Does this guy know what he is talking about? I understand that they make different switches for the number of poles, but do they really not make a motion sensor switch that can be used to replace any switch in a 4-way series?

Please let me know if I am out of luck, or if there is a particular switch I can purchase to make this work.

Thanks!
 
  #2  
Old 01-26-08, 09:19 AM
R
Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,970
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Why do you not believe this electrician?

First, all of your switches are not the same. A setup with four switches needs two three way switches and two four way switches.

Electrically a three way switch comes first. Then the two four way switches, then a final three way switch. The setup may be a switch loop with no neutral, or the neutral may run with the switch wires.

I have only ever seen motion switches in normal toggle and three way varieties. I have never seen a motion sensor switch that can replace a four way switch.

Anyway, you have all the tools to figure this out.

Search the Internet. If you find a four way motion sensor switch then you will prove your electrician wrong. If you will find one that does not need a neutral then you may be able to use it.

As for the setup, open the switch boxes and look at the wiring. Open the light and look at the wiring. You will be able to tell if power is available at any of the boxes and how the circuit is run.
 
  #3  
Old 01-26-08, 09:36 AM
B
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 20
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
The reason I second guess the electrician is that there are other aspect of the wiring in the unit that seem to me to be less than professional. For instance, if I take apart a wall switch, ALL the wires are white. I don't know if it is actually code or not, but I was pretty sure that different wires should be different colors.

It makes it very difficult to figure anything out for a lightweight like me when every single wire is white.

You're comments seem to lend credence to the fact that this isn't necessarily possible. However, the electrician inferred that it might not be possible to place the switch at any of the boxes, which would lead me to believe one of you is incorrect. If you say that there are at least 2 3-way switches, then a 3-way motion box should be able to be placed at either of those, no?

As for determining if power is available...as I said all the wires are white. I don't have the knowledge to actually determine how it's wired.
 
  #4  
Old 01-26-08, 09:47 AM
R
Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,970
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Well, if all of the wires are indeed white, then this is not wired to code. Only neutral wires should be white. Ground wires should be bare or green. Hot wires should be some other color, usually black, red or blue.

All white wires also implies conduit. If you have conduit then it would be possible to add a neutral wire if none is present. In fact, if you have conduit then it would be possible to completely rewire and get what you want.

The color of the wires won't help in figuring out how this iw wired. All that is important is to see where the wires are connected. What terminals on the switches are used, whether or not individual wires are connected together apart from the switches, etc. None of this depends on color.

If you tell us the wiring at each switch and at the light, we can sort it out.

Tell us what cables and/or conduits are present. What wires are in those cables or conduits. How those wires are connected to anything. If the wires are truly all white, then number them to make your description easier.

Without knowing the exact wiring it is not possible to tell whether or not a motion switch can be added. I will only say may yes, maybe no.

With new wiring anything is possible. If conduit is in place then new wiring is an option that is easier than if cables are used.
 
  #5  
Old 11-23-08, 08:05 AM
N
Member
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Southeastern Michigan
Posts: 3
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Try X-10 or Insteon switches with a separate sensor

IMHO as a novice electrician but someone who designed a high-tech, highly automated house that I lived in for 12 years, my suggestion would be to put in controllable switches that are activated (controlled) by either X-10 or Insteon. Then, you can put a separate motion sensor whereever you wish (doesn't have to be where there is 110) and then that sensor can control the lights. You will also need a controller, either stand-alone or PC-based.
Perhaps check out Decorator Multi-Way Companion X10 Dimmer Switch RWS19 XPSS-IW - Smarthome or Decorator Dimmer Switch - WS12A and then look at ActiveHome Pro: Home automation made easy!.
Good luck.
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: