trouble shooting a 4 way switch

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Old 11-29-11, 03:21 PM
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trouble shooting a 4 way switch

Hi i am new here but hoping for a little help i have a 4 way switch in my basement that i replaced and i cant seem to get the thing wired right if the switch is up neither of the 3 way switchs will turn the light on or off. if the switch is up both of the 3 way switches work fine but if the 3 way in the garage is down the light stays on the 4 way switch flipped in either position will not shut off the light. i have power coming in to a 3 way at my front door 3 conductor coming from there to the box in the basement to a 4 way switch and ending up in a box in the garage with a 3 way there all to operate coach lights on the garage. everything was fine before and the 3 way boxes have not been touched so it seems the problem lies in the 4 way box but i cant seem to figure out what is wrong any help would be awesome.
 
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Old 11-29-11, 04:18 PM
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Do you have two 3-wire cables (red, white, black) coming into the box? Of those two cables is one wire of each cable wire nutted together and the other two to the switch? Does the switch have two brass colored screws and two dark colored screws.

If the answer is yes to all of the above ignore the two wires wire nutted together and connect the two remaining wires of one cable to the brass screws and the two remaining wires of the other cable to the dark colored screws.

Ground wires are connected together and pigtailed to the green screw on the switch and box if metal.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 11-29-11 at 04:35 PM.
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Old 11-29-11, 04:32 PM
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both cables coming into the box are 3 conductor black red and white the whites are tied together and the red and black from each cable are tied to the input and output of the device
 
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Old 11-29-11, 04:39 PM
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I was adding to my post as you were posting.

In other words are you saying one set of black and red go to the brass screws and the other set of black and red go to the dark colored screws. Remember it is screw color not screw location that counts.
 
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Old 11-29-11, 04:45 PM
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thats correct i have one set of black and red to the input which are both brass and the other set wired to the black screws which is labled output. i was beginning to think the switch was bad but i disconnected it and tested it with a continuity tester and everything seems correct
 
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Old 11-29-11, 05:18 PM
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Wire nut red to red and black to black and see if the 3-ways work correctly.
 
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Old 11-29-11, 05:21 PM
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I tried that and they do i am at a loss
 
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Old 11-29-11, 05:28 PM
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thanks ray for your time i am completly befuddled by this i thought it should be relatively simple but somehow it isnt??
 
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Old 11-29-11, 05:37 PM
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Does the switch say on/off? We once had a member who had accidentally bought a DPST switch instead of a 4-way.

You said you tested but lets go through testing. You have one set of brass colored screws and one set of dark, correct? Lets mark them for testing as B1, B2, D1, D2.

With the switch disconnected and ohms set at the lowest reading with the switch in one position yo should have:
1B>1D continuity
1B>2D open
2B>2D continuity
2B>1D open

With the switch in the other positio you should have:
1B>1D open
1B>2D continuity
2B>2D open
2B>1D continuity
 
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Old 11-29-11, 05:48 PM
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the switch does not say on of i have the box it came in it is labeled 15/20A 4-way switch. its a leviton switch and it on the back of the switch is labeled at the top input with a small arrow to each of the dark colored screw and at the bottom output with a small arrow to each brass screw i just checked it again based on your table and it checked out the way you state it should. i dont know what else to do it seems like it should work.
 
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Old 11-29-11, 06:05 PM
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One of the pros should be along tonight or tomorrow. I would probably try a new switch.
 
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Old 11-29-11, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by dhr6502 View Post
thanks ray for your time i am completly befuddled by this i thought it should be relatively simple but somehow it isnt??
Don't get discouraged, sometimes 4 ways can be tricky. You just need to get the right combination. Try this:

Keeping the two 3 wire cables separate (I will call them C1 and C2), connect the black of C1 on the upper left screw and the red of C1 on the lower left screw
Then connect the black of C2 to the upper right screw, and the red of C2 to the lower right screw. Test switches.

If they do not work: Take the red of C1 on the lower left screw and switch it with the black or C2 on the upper right screw. Then put the black of C2 on the lower left screw. Test again.
 
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Old 11-29-11, 07:01 PM
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Thanks Tolyn for the suggestion i gave it a try and trying your first attempt allowed the 4 way switch to turn the light on and off but left on the 3 way upstairs would not turn the light off so i tried the 2nd suggestion and the light stays on with the 4 way in either position i think tomorrow i will pick up a new switch and see if that makes a difference i will keep you all posted with the results
 
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Old 11-30-11, 05:52 PM
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I agree with the new switch. My suggestions should have worked as long as you made 100% sure to group the travelers of each cable (the black and red). The only other possibility is one of the 3-ways are not wired correctly, but you stated they worked before, however they could have worked but were not wired correctly. Just a while ago I straightened out some 3-way switches that were never wired correctly. The people who's house it was just lived with it for many years.
 
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