Wiring a couple 4 way switches. Help please

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Old 02-11-13, 12:43 AM
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Wiring a couple 4 way switches. Help please

I'm finishing my basement and I put in 6 can lights on the existing basement lighting circuit. I have the typical 3 way switches at top and bottom of stairs. If like to add some 4 way switches in between the two 3 way switches inside the basement itself to make it easy to turn off lights from anywhere in basement. I have the two boxes for the 4 ways installed and 14-3 running from each. This is the deal. 14-2 from panel coming into light switch box upstairs. 14-3 from there to first original light in run carrying power to light. 14-2 from there to the rest of lights. Also 14-3 from that junction box to second 3way switch downstairs. Of course the hot wire from the 14-3 coming from upstairs switch connected to white wire going to downstairs switch running a loop. Can someone tell me how to wire this all up properly so the lights can be turned on with any of the switches. A diagram would be awesome. Thanks in advance.
 
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Old 02-11-13, 12:57 AM
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Where did you run the 14-3 from the new four-way switches to? Basically they must be wired in a daisy-chain in between the two three-ways. So if I'm picturing this correctly, you need to run 14-3 between the two 4-ways, and then 14-3 from both four-ways to the junction at the first light.



TECHNICALLY you could do it with 14-2, since in your case all you'd be doing is intercepting the travelers, but I would just stick with 14-3 and loop the neutral through the new switch boxes to comply with new code.

Pull both 3 way switches out and tell us what colors are connected to the SILVER or BRASS screws on each switch. Top/bottom/left/right doesn't matter, we just need to know the two color wires that AREN'T connected to the black screw in each switch.
 
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Old 02-11-13, 01:36 AM
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I already have 14-3 from light box to first new box then to second new new box then back to light box. Switch upstairs has black wire from power wire on bottom right red wire from 14-3 on top left and black wire from 14-3 on top right. 14-3 run to light box Down stairs. Switch at bottom of stairs has white wire on bottom right black on top right and red on top left.
 
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Old 02-11-13, 05:05 AM
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Top and bottom, left and right are meaningless. We need to know the colors of the screws and the wires attached to them.

It sounds like your light box is way overfilled.
 
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Old 02-11-13, 08:11 PM
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Welcome to the forums, Chris!

To make this work the way you want it to, you need to remove the 3-way switch at the bottom of the stairs, and remove or abandon the piece of 3-conductor between the upstairs switch box and the light.

Continue the 3-conductor from the switch box at the bottom of the stairs to the other switch boxes, in order.

Run a piece of 2-conductor cable from the last switch box to the nearest light.

In the switch box at the top of the stairs, splice the two white wires together, connect the black from the panel to the common, or point, terminal on a 3-way switch. Connect the two remaining wires, the black and red going to the bottom of the stairs, to the two traveler terminals on the switch.

At the bottom of the stairs, splice the two whites together and install a 4-way switch, following the instructions that came with it. Do the same at each switch box down the line until you grt to the last box - the one with the new 2-conductor cable in it.

At the last switch box, splice the two whites together, connect the black from the 2-conductor to the point, or common, terminal on the 3-way switch that you removed earlier. Terminate the black and red wires to the two traveler terminals on the switch.

Ground everything in the switch boxes and cover them as you go. Go to the light that you ran the new piece of 2-conductor to and start the daisy chain for the lights.
 
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Old 02-11-13, 09:06 PM
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Sorry Nash, but you WAY overcomplicated that. He doesn't have to do anything at the existing switches.. The travelers go through the box at the first light. So all he has to do is separate them there and loop them through the new 4 ways. An extender ring for the box will probably be in order.

Assuming his travelers (the wires NOT on the black screw on the 3 way) are red and black, he will connect the red and black coming from the upstairs switch to the red and black going to the first new 4 way. At the first 4 way, those red and black will connect to the BLACK screws. Then the red and black going to the next 4-way will connect to the SILVER/BRASS screws.

Then at the second 4 way, the red and black coming from the first switch will connect to the SILVER/BRASS screws. The red and black going back to the light box connect to the BLACK screws. Then finally back at the light box, the red and black coming from the 2nd 4 way switch will connect to the red and black going to the downstairs switch. Again, since he is just intercepting the travelers, the white is not TECHNICALLY needed, but it should be changed so that the neutral loops through the new boxes.
 
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Old 02-11-13, 09:44 PM
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Here, I just threw this together.. Yes I know it's a hexagon, Paint doesn't have an octagon tool..

On the 4 way switches, there will be two screws that are BLACK, and two screws that are SILVER/BRASS. They may be paired top/bottom or left/right depending on the manufacturer. It does not matter as long as you pay attention to what wires go where, and this is the most common place people screw up when wiring 4-ways.. In your case, in each switch you will have a black and red from one cable on the black screws and a black and red from the other cable on the silver/brass screws.

 

Last edited by JerseyMatt; 02-11-13 at 11:55 PM.
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