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Old 10-27-2012, 03:42 AM   #1
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4 way light switch old wiring just black and red


Trying to hook up a 4 way switch. First thing is my house was built in the 50s. When removing the old switch cuz mercury was coming out of it. It was hooked up with to red on one side and two black on the other side. With the new switch it says output on the top screw and input on the bottom screws. How do I know what is what. There are white wires in the back that are connected together with a wire nut. I tried to hook it up with the black wires to the black screws and red to copper screws no luck. The only way I can get it to work is if I put all red and all black one either side. For some reason I don't think this is right cuz iPod the input and output writing. The switch is hooked up to receptacles. I did pull the covers off the two 3 way switches and they have 2 black and one red

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Old 10-27-2012, 04:51 AM   #2
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4 way light switch old wiring just black and red


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.... The only way I can get it to work is if I put all red and all black one either side....
If you got it to work, why are you posting here?

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Old 10-27-2012, 05:01 AM   #3
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4 way light switch old wiring just black and red


I'm kind of new to the whole electrical thing. I understand that it is a basic fix. I just didn't know. That if all light switches work that its hooked up correctly. I was thinking maybe they might work but that didn't mean it was done right. I didn't want to have problems later down the road. Sorry
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Old 10-27-2012, 05:06 AM   #4
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4 way light switch old wiring just black and red


As long as you didn't disturb those white wires in the back, you should be fine.
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Old 10-27-2012, 05:12 AM   #5
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4 way light switch old wiring just black and red


Ok thank you. What caused concer was when the switch is flipped slowly it sometimes sounds like its arching. I don't know if its because it is flipped slow or if I had a problem
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Old 10-28-2012, 07:20 AM   #6
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4 way light switch old wiring just black and red


Flipping the switch slowly can cause internal arcing under load.

Best practice is not to do that.
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Old 10-28-2012, 08:18 PM   #7
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4 way light switch old wiring just black and red


Hint that works most of the time: Look in the back of the box (a flashlight will help) to see how the wires are grouped together (or come out of the same cable), usually one red and one black.

Connect both wires from one cable to the two dark terminals of the 4 way switch. Connect both wires from the other cable to the two light terminals.

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