4 way and 3 way switch replacement questions

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  #1  
Old 10-03-15, 11:16 PM
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4 way and 3 way switch replacement questions

Greetings Again DIY Crew.

Today i have some questions about 3 and 4 way light switch replacement and also a related breaker question.

Details on this light setup.

The Foyer light is controlled by 4 switches between downstairs and upstairs.

I have learned that there will be a 3way on the each end and 4ways in between.

I have located the two 3ways and each four way switch.

1st question: My 2x 3ways (for one light) are controlled by different breakers is that normal?

I found that each 3 way switch is controlled by a separate breaker box switch.
Doing a bit of Google research, seems this is a possible (normal) configuration. Is that correct...?

2nd question: Is my old 4way switch IN(s) on the top and OUT(s) on the bottom? A different configuration from my new 4way switches? (Top/bottom vs left/right)

My old 4 way switches are not labeled (in/out). Here is a picture of them, you'll notice the bottom screws are "copper" appearance.

old:


My replacement 4way switches are labeled out (left side) and in (right side).

new:


Just trying it the way it was put in didn't work of course, the other light switches would only work if the replaced 4way switch was in the ON position.

I started thinking that maybe the old switches are different IN/OUT from the new one (T/B vs L/R).

I eventually swapped them and after some trial and error the switch is working properly now, I also replaced one of the 3ways and that's fine as well. Fortunately 3ways are fairly simple since the COM are labeled on the old switches.

Tomorrow i will need change out the remaining 4way and 3way, but i really wanted to make sure i understood the previous switches configuration.

Is this how it is on the old vs the new 4ways? Meaning have i labeled the switch on the left correctly with IN/OUT tags?

Old vs New:


Thanks again for any help you guys may share.
 

Last edited by Orhome1; 10-03-15 at 11:42 PM.
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  #2  
Old 10-03-15, 11:37 PM
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Look at the pairs of wires in the cables and see what color terminals they go to. The new switch should have a wiring diagram on the package .
 
  #3  
Old 10-03-15, 11:49 PM
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If you take the box apart that those decora devices came in.... you'll find the wiring diagram on the inside.
 
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Old 10-03-15, 11:55 PM
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Well the wires are red and black. But is what youre saying, is old copper screws = new black screws?
 
  #5  
Old 10-03-15, 11:58 PM
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Ya i have the diagram here, but it hasnt helped me much.

http://www.leviton.com/OA_HTML/ibcGe...minisite=10251

It talks about white and black, i have red and black...
 
  #6  
Old 10-04-15, 12:50 AM
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Yes you have labeled the new one correctly. The point we were trying to make is that there is not a set method and that the wiring is posted on the box.


The colors don't mean anything. At the four way location you'd need to have 2) three wire cables. One color is connected thru the box. That leaves you two wires from cable 1 and two wires from cable 2. As long as you know which wires are the pairs....that's it.

The pairs of wires are called travelers. They are interchangeable.
 
  #7  
Old 10-04-15, 01:20 AM
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Thanks PJ, i was trying to keep it simple by just replacing wires for locations, but as i have learned there is a few ways to do this and the switches are different.

What do think about one of the three ways being controller by a seperate breaker? Nomal?
 
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Old 10-04-15, 06:51 AM
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What do think about one of the three ways being controller by a seperate breaker?
Can't happen. Power from the breaker only goes to one 3-way. Power from source goes in one switch and out to the load at the other switch. Why do you think that. You aren't using one of those stupid non contact testers are you?
 
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Old 10-04-15, 09:11 AM
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I am using a not very good (too sensitive w/ no adjust) stupid non contact testers.
 
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Old 10-04-15, 10:14 AM
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I am using a not very good (too sensitive w/ no adjust) stupid non contact testers.
Give it to your kid to play with. It is just confusing you. For testing you need an analog multimeter.
 
  #11  
Old 10-04-15, 03:14 PM
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Your Old vs New picture looks correct to me. I remember when all 4 way switches were connected like the old switch you are showing....and it hasn't been that many years ago either. I guess the switch manufacturer discovered a way to cut a few cents out of the manufacturing process. Thank goodness they labeled the terminals or they would have had a lot of "old" electricians like me bringing them back to the store.
 
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