Two Four-way Switch Questions

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Old 11-06-14, 10:58 PM
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Two Four-way Switch Questions

My flourescent overhead garage lights gave out because the 4-way switch that gets the most use has failed. Two questions:

1) This switch gets replaced more frequently than any other in the house (I've lived here 30 years). Is the reliability issue one of frequency of use or quality of the switch?
2) I noticed some recent 4-way diagrams/explanations show a ground wire...in my situation there is none and no apparent spot for one on the switch. Is this an issue? Thanks!!

Dave
 
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Old 11-06-14, 11:19 PM
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A four way switch is fairly complicated in design. Constant use and build quality will both have something to do with longevity. There are different qualities of switches. Try using a premium, commercial or preferred grade type of device.

Devices now all come with a ground terminal. No issue with your current switch. Your next replacement will probably come with a ground screw.
 
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Old 11-07-14, 08:16 AM
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Pete, simple and straight-forward. Thank you!

Dave
 
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Old 11-08-14, 01:52 AM
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Go to an electrical supply house and ask for a Commercial Specification Grade 20 amp 4-way switch .

Your switch has 4 screws for you to terminate your wires . 2 brass colored and 2 " silver " colored ? The new ones should have the same color coding . Pay attention to what you are doing or you may have a " fun time " getting it all to work .

Digital photos can be a big help .

God bless
Wyr
 
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Old 11-08-14, 07:49 AM
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Wyr, that's a good suggestion. I know this answer, but for everyone else's benefit I'll say what you said differently. It's not the color of the wire you care about (on a switch replacement) as much as putting whatever color the wire is back underneath a screw of the same color. You electricians can explain why, but I think that's the point you were making. While you are focused on this point, can I assume that one brass screw or one "other than brass" screw are interchangeable...or not? If I have two brass and two silver or dark colored is there an order, one brass on the left with something else?

Thanks again.

Dave
 
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Old 11-09-14, 12:59 AM
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You should have 2 screws that are one color that each has a wire attached . Of these 2 wires , does not matter which goes to which screw of the same color .Name:  4 Way Switch 121223115.jpg
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You can see the 2 brass colored screws in the photo .

At that point , you have 2 screws of a different color ( probably " silver " color ) . Attach one of each of the remaining wires to each of the 2 remaining screws .

If you kept everything straight , it should work .

Be aware , you should have one 3 way switch at each end of the " switching system " You can have any number of switches wired between the two 3 way switches . Any of these can wear out and give problems , over time .

But try to find a 20 amp switch , it will last longer electrically and may or may not last longer mechanically .

Perhaps like this

Cooper Wiring CSB420GY - Order Now | Westway Electric Supply

Just do not attach a current carrying wire to the ground screw . A ground wire should be green or bare . If you have one , attach it to the green ground screw .

God bless
Wire
 
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