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crecore 09-01-2006 07:55 PM

4-way circuit with 9 duplex receptacles
With the cost of wire... my first 4 way circuit for my garage, I need to do it efficiently. I have 3 entry doors and want to control about 10 amps of lights from all three.

My panel box is near one of the switch boxes (say left front), the other switches will be left rear and right front with the lights all in the middle. I'm not actually wiring lights I'm wiring std duplex receptacles so I can use pre-wired T8 lights with whips that cannot be flush mounted because of heat. I want to use 12-3 even though the lights will only draw 8-10 amps because in theory you could plug something else in there (if you climbed a ladder) and it is a load of receptacles.

Any suggestions or code questions would be appreciated.


Speedy Petey 09-01-2006 08:08 PM

IMO you should use #14 to be efficient, and make it easier on yourself.
Also, do not plan on plugging anything into these receptacles other than lighting. Wire some real GFI protected receptacles on a separate 20 amp circuit.

The only easy way, without complex wiring and odd (14/2/2) cable, is to go from the source, to a switch, to a switch, to a switch, to the lights.
I would not consider doing it any other way.

See here:
3 & 4 way switch diagrams

crecore 09-01-2006 08:33 PM

thanks for the quick input speedy! Well I should have mentioned that I have some #12 purchased pre copper mine strike! Everyone complains about pulling 12-3 but I'm running through an open attic so there wont be any "pulling".

Second, right now I dont "plan" on plugging anything in there... but I try to think of my kids who might own this place some day. I already have a string of gfi protected receptacles roughed in down both sides. Only the first receptacle, the actual gfi, is hot right now so I can use my drill!

I guess if the light circuit was just a three way (much more adaptable), the nearest receptacle in the middle could be used to cut down on the 3 conductor, then jumper all the receptacles from that one with 2 conductor. So it would go source>3 way>receptacles>3 way

That handyman always shows the power going to the light box first on his four ways. Most usually go as u said source>3 way>4 way>3 way> lights. I understand how it works so I figure the best way to really learn it is to wire one from scratch and I really want that third switch.

thanks again

jwhite 09-01-2006 08:50 PM

you will need 3 conductor cable just to have the three way setup. this is if you go. 3 way four way 3 way rec

If you put the rec in the middle 3w... rec 4w... 3w now you will need 4 conductor cable for part of your circuit. in the above example from the first 3w to the rec.....

ok the possible compinations go on and on.

I see no need for half switched outlets in a ceiling. as you said you have plenty of outlets on the wall.

There is one way you can use only three wire, and still have half switched recs and the three and 4 way setup.

feed is at the first rec.
source........rec........rec.........rec.........r ec etc
(come off the first rec) 3w.....rec.....4w......3w

Speedy Petey 09-01-2006 09:02 PM

The point about the #14 was not about pulling. It was about terminating.
When you make up those 3-ways and especially that 4-way you'll see what I mean.

crecore 09-01-2006 09:11 PM

jwhite, I see what you are saying, but there is a diff. between physical location and whether the wire actually goes to each location. You can also wire a 3way>rec>4way>3way by running the 3 conductor through and tying in 2 conductor properly from the first switch like this:

Marking the whites with black tape to use them as hot... or potentially hot in this case. This used to be allowed providing they were marked with any color other than white or green as I recall. Has anything changed to not allow this?

crecore 09-01-2006 09:13 PM


Originally Posted by Speedy Petey
The point about the #14 was not about pulling. It was about terminating.
When you make up those 3-ways and especially that 4-way you'll see what I mean.

aaaaah, gotcha, yeah I've closed up a few, I just never laid out and rough wired one. Glad I bought those deep boxes. I'll keep the linesmans pliers handy... lol

jwhite 09-01-2006 09:39 PM

crecore, we are saying the same thing, but having trouble communicating. I am too tired and it is too late for me to get into my drawing software to do up some pics.

Yes you can still mark the wires, and use them as travellers or in a switch loop.

BTW if you really wanna have some fun with controls forget the house switches. try hanger doors, or industial machine automation. that is where the fun with switches and relays starts. :) I i dont mean DDC controls, that would be cheeting. I am talking about troubleshooting the old stuff.

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