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Old 04-25-2007, 07:44 PM   #1
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4 switch box for 4 lights


I am new to this and have to date only replaced a few outlets installed some fixtures. Nothing too difficult.
My question is I recently tried replacing what seemed to be an ancient set of switches that controlled 4 lights in my basement. To my surprise when I unscrewed the plate all the wires were black and the switches seemed to be from the 1800's! One of the lights was also controlled by another switch from up the stairs in the foyer. Any ideas where to start?

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Old 04-25-2007, 08:26 PM   #2
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4 switch box for 4 lights


Take out one switch at a time and replace it. just put the two wires from the old switch on the two screws from the new switch.

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Old 04-25-2007, 10:53 PM   #3
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4 switch box for 4 lights


It also sounds as if you have a 3-way switch, you need to replace it with a 3-way switch. You need to be sure to identify the wire on the common screw of the old switch and be sure to attach it to the common screw of the new switch the other two (travelers) can go to either of the remaining two screws of the 3-way switch. The common screw is usually dark to black in color and the traveler screws are brass colored.

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Old 04-26-2007, 03:36 PM   #4
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4 switch box for 4 lights


maybe i should explain a bit more....i will post a pic of the switches....very strange to me. Never seen any like it......


I am showing the one that had the 4 wires to it. this is the one that was the three way. three wires were in the holes and one was to the bottom of it attached to a screw.
it was jumped on the other side to the other switch that did not have the three holes.

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Old 04-26-2007, 06:00 PM   #5
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4 switch box for 4 lights


that is not one device. purhaps a switch and a light?
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Old 04-26-2007, 06:09 PM   #6
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4 switch box for 4 lights


Sounds like the doubled up wire is the power wire. It is feeding power to two different switches.

Last edited by joed; 04-27-2007 at 07:10 PM.
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Old 04-26-2007, 06:18 PM   #7
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4 switch box for 4 lights


well there were two of these side by side and all four were switches. Two on each bracket. only one of the four switches had the three holes. I know which wires are the power but the bad thing is they are all black wires! is there a way to test which ones are which. I guess I could to to each fixture and pull on that lights wires but this would be a real pain seeing as they are typical 50's basement fixtures that are pretty solid in the ceiling.
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Old 04-26-2007, 07:50 PM   #8
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4 switch box for 4 lights


for the single pole switches do not worry about which is hot and which is the switch leg. it does not matter.

for the three way. just try each wire one at a time on the point (common ) terminal. when you get the right one, the three way will work correctly.
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Old 04-26-2007, 08:51 PM   #9
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4 switch box for 4 lights


i'll give her a try......actually do not need the three way anymore but might try it anyways.

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