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# Thread: Help reconnecting a 4-way switch

1. Originally Posted by karensw
...If power was feeding the other two recepticals, will I need to pull another 2 wire cable into the box (possible but very difficult) or can I tap into the three way switch?
The way I like to do things (and the way I have mostly seen lights wired) is to run power to the light fixture and then run a wire from the light fixture to the switch.

With this setup, you would not be able to get power from the switch box.

You would just be switching the "hot" and there would not be a "neutral" present in the switch box. Same thing with 3 way or 4 way switches wired in this manner.

Although not everyone wires things the same way - and there are situations where it would be better to have power in the switch box, then run a wire from there to the light(s).

Or sometimes there is a "junction box" in the attic where the wires from the main panel (power), the light fixture, and the switch(s) are connected together.

Note: There is another thing called "box fill" and that is how many wires you can safely "cram" into a certain size electrical box.

See #6 (about 3/4 way down) on following link for an example...
http://www.co.jefferson.co.us/buildi...ing_T45_R9.htm

2. Originally Posted by Billy_Bob
Note: There is another thing called "box fill" and that is how many wires you can safely "cram" into a certain size electrical box.
How does this look for box B (now a plastic 35 cu. in. 2 gang box):

four 12/3 cables (1 from D, 1 from A and 2 from fixture) = 12
all grounds together = 1
one switch = 2
Total conductor equivalents = 15
15 x 2.25 cu. in. = 33.75 cu. in.
35 cu inch box.

And this for C (now a plastic 18 cu. in. 1 gang box):
two 12/2 cables (feed in and out) = 4
all grounds together = 1
switch = 2
Total conductor equivalents = 7
7 x 2.25 cu. in. = 15.75 cu. in.

Did I figure this right?

3. ## switch

IF B is the 4 way switch you cannot use a 3wire cable. You either need two 2 wires or one 4 wire, and the bare ground cannot be one of the wires, even though one DIY'er tried to do it years ago even after I told him not to.

4. Originally Posted by hj
IF B is the 4 way switch you cannot use a 3wire cable. You either need two 2 wires or one 4 wire, and the bare ground cannot be one of the wires, even though one DIY'er tried to do it years ago even after I told him not to.
Unless I'm looking at this completly wrong the 3rd diagram on this page illustrates what I am trying to accomplish. The only difference is I am eliminating one of the 4 way switches.http://www.wfu.edu/~matthews/courses...ariations.html

5. Heh heh...just call someone. A real electrician will have it done within an hour if there are no hidden or cut wires.

There is no way you are going to figure it out over the net.

6. ## switch

If you look at your drawings you will see that ALL the 4 way switches need 4 wires, 2 in and 2 out. How you configure those 4 wires depends on exactly how you are routing them. In addition, the way you connect the 4 wires to the 4 way will determine whether it works properly or not. For that you MUST have the diagram that comes with the switch so you know which terminals are pairs.

7. Originally Posted by Alectrician
Heh heh...just call someone. A real electrician will have it done within an hour if there are no hidden or cut wires.

There is no way you are going to figure it out over the net.

8. Ok, let's do this...

When I was a kid, I used to experiment with electricity. I would hook things up on the floor of my room and learn how they worked. Maybe doing this would help you.

BEFORE doing any of the following, learn about electrical safety here...
http://www.wikihow.com/Master-Do-It-...ctrical-Safety

Ok, lets take this wiring diagram again...
http://www.electrical-online.com/Fall204.gif

On the left you have power coming in. A black and a white wire.

On the right you have a light also with a black and a white wire.

---->

If you were to use a wire with a plug on it and the wire had a black and a white wire, and you connected these to a light fixture which also had a black and white wire, then when you plugged the plug into an outlet, the light would go on. Unplug it, the light goes off.

----->

Switches....

There is an electrical tester called a continuity tester. Here is information about that...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continuity_tester

You can take a regular light switch with two connections and connect a continuity tester to the two connections. Then turn the switch on/off and this will show the connection being made or broken.

Now take this switch and connect it between the black wire going from the plug to the light. So you have the plug white wire going to light white wire. And the plug black wire going to a switch connection. Then the light fixture black wire going to the other connection on the switch. Plug it in and turn the switch on/off and the light goes on off.

------->

Now take your continuity tester and see how a 3-way switch works. Hint: keep one lead on the "common" terminal.

Then do the same with a 4-way switch. Hint: look at the wiring diagram which came with the switch.

The continuity tester allows you to "see" what connections are being made/broken when each switch is in a certain position.

------>

Now remove the regular switch from the plug/light and wire in two 3-way switches. Here is the wiring diagram and some information...
http://home.howstuffworks.com/three-way2.htm

----->

Now connect a 4-way switch between the two 3-way switches. You will have plug, 3-way switch, 4-way switch, 3-way switch, then light fixture.
Here is a diagram and information for that...
http://www.wiringhelp.com/electrical...ay-switch.html

----->

Now if you can set this up and get it working on the floor, then all you need to do is label each connection or wire A, B, C, D, etc.

So here is that 4-way switch diagram again...
http://www.electrical-online.com/Fall204.gif

On the left you have black and white which is power. White connects through to white on the light fixture. Let's call white "A".

So "A" connects to white on the light fixture.

The power black wire - Let's say "B". This connects to the "common" terminal on the 1st 3-way switch.

Then there are two connections from the 3-way switch to the 4-way switch. Label these C and D. (Look at wiring diagram which comes with the 4-way switch for connections.)

Then there are two wires from the 4-way switch to the last 3-way switch. Let's call these E and F.

Then from that last 3-way switch there is a wire going from its common connection to the black wire on the light fixture. Let's call that wire G.

9. ## switch

A real electrician will have it done within an hour

Do you think it would take that long?

10. Do you think it would take that long?
Within an hour = 0 to 60 minutes, so...yeah. And this is best case scenario. It takes time to disassemble and ring things out. If it was all stock wiring he would be in and out in 15-20 minutes. This isn't new/stock wiring. Somebody's been messin with it.

Besides that, NOTHING seems to take less than an hour.

11. Originally Posted by hj
A real electrician will have it done within an hour

Do you think it would take that long?

If all the conductors are present it wouldn't any longer to fix than it would take me to remove the switches and walk between them twice, job done.

I have been teaching in the classroom for eight years with three classes a year. I don't think that anyone on this planet can wire one any different than I have seen them wired over the past eight years.

As a side note nothing that has been posted in this thread would even resemble anything close to what would work.

12. I don't think that anyone on this planet can wire one any different than I have seen them wired over the past eight years.

I'll take that bet. I scratch my head all the time when I come across cobbled up crap. Sometimes you just have to take everything apart and ring it out to know for sure what goes where. Logic doesn't always apply.

The last 4way I repaired took an extra 20 minutes because the new switch off my truck was faulty. I hard wired the 4w and tested the 3 ways and it worked fine. I installed th 4w and it didn't work. I flip flopped the connections to side/side (they are never marked BTW) thinking I might have a bastard..but no.

Got a different sw and it worked.

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