Convert 4-way circuit to single pole?


  #1  
Old 05-21-16, 01:00 PM
B
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 3
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Convert 4-way circuit to single pole?

Hi all. My wife and I bought a mid century house and the previous owners were a bit paranoid. They had 3 different switches spread out all over the house (one switch was next to the bed) to turn on all the flood lights around the exterior of the house. Ive converted those floods to led accent down lights and really want to put them on timers like I've done with many other switches / lights with our house. I noticed one switch is a bizarre looking one with only a pair or traveler wires going in and out (no common wire) and a ground. The switch next to the bed looks like a traditional 3-way with red and white traveler wires, a common and a ground. I don't care which location has the timer. The goal is to have the lights on a timer and the other 2 switches to not control anything.

Thanks in advance!
 
  #2  
Old 05-21-16, 01:54 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Jersey
Posts: 65,451
Received 4,051 Upvotes on 3,634 Posts
Welcome to the forums.

At the bizarre four way switch location..... remove the four wires. Connect the like colored wires together. red to red, black to black or white to white.

Now...... you'll need to determine which switch the power comes in at.
The lights/load will be at the other switch.

Post the colors on the 4 way switch.
Can you determine which switch is the power end.... do you have a meter ?
 
  #3  
Old 05-21-16, 02:01 PM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 14,398
Received 893 Upvotes on 754 Posts
You can install the timer at the location you choose (if there is a neutral available) and then just splice through the other switches.
 
  #4  
Old 05-21-16, 02:02 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 29,711
Upvotes: 0
Received 15 Upvotes on 13 Posts
Just a heads up. You can't use a non contact tester to determine where power comes in. It will likely be a 2-conductor cable (black, white) that reads ~120 volts when disconnected.
 
  #5  
Old 05-21-16, 02:45 PM
B
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 3
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Thanks PJmax / all,

I have a tester but no voltage meter. Is there any other way to tell? I notice in the bedroom, the black common goes into a wire wrap of a few other wires including a ground wire and then goes into the wall. The breaker all these lights and swtches are connected to is labeled "bedroom" and that breaker controls the rest of the outlets / power in our bedroom so thinking that could be a good clue? Do I treat the red and white as my load wires going out to the exterior lights? Im used to seeing them as black and white but seems this 4-way had different colored wires. Thanks again!
 
  #6  
Old 05-21-16, 03:21 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 29,711
Upvotes: 0
Received 15 Upvotes on 13 Posts
A simple $8-$15 analog meter (but not digital) is a good investment for all kinds of testing situations (and the non contact tester is a good birthday present for your kid to play with). A neon test light or a solenoid tester can also be used.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 05-21-16 at 04:56 PM.
  #7  
Old 05-21-16, 04:10 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Jersey
Posts: 65,451
Received 4,051 Upvotes on 3,634 Posts
So you had red and white wires on the 4 way switch ?

That would usually indicate that the neutral is not following the circuit and that the load is not at the opposite end from power in.
 
  #8  
Old 05-21-16, 04:46 PM
B
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 3
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
I checked two of the switches today. One had 2 sets of red and white (w one ground) and one had red, white, common black and ground.
 
 

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