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Old 05-05-2009, 05:19 PM   #1
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4 way switch troubleshooting


Are there any Brains out there that want to tackle this question. According to my manual and video I watched I thought I wired my 3 and 4 way switches correctly. I have two 4 way switches between two 3 way switches.

This is what happens: when all the switches are flipped up nothing works??

When the last 3 way switch is flipped down the two middle 4 way switches and the first 3 way work??

When the last 3 way is switched up the two middle 4 way switches don't work but the first 3 way does??

Thanks for any help you can give me..

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Old 05-05-2009, 07:02 PM   #2
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4 way switch troubleshooting


You should tell us if the power goes to the light first and then is fed to the switches or if the power goes to a 3 way switch first.
There are two variations and its important to know which one that we are dealing with!

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Old 05-05-2009, 07:17 PM   #3
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4 way switch troubleshooting


We need to know which switch or the fixture that the power feeds into. We need to know which switch the fixture is fed from.
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Old 05-05-2009, 08:36 PM   #4
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4 way switch troubleshooting


Quote:
Originally Posted by DOITRIGHTTHEFIRSTTIME View Post
Are there any Brains out there that want to tackle this question. Thanks for any help you can give me..
SW #1 is first 3 way
SW #2 is first 4 way
SW #3 is second 4 way
SW #4 is second 3 way.

0 = SW down
1 = SW up

X = light on
- = light off

Please fill this in

switch..light
#........on?
\/\/.......or
...........off?
1234.....\/\/

0000
0001
0010
0011
0100
0101
0110
0111
1000
1001
1010
1011
1100
1101
1110
1111-


So in your case, 1111 [all switches up] has the light off [I think] so you put a dash under the light on/off column.

Is "don't work" the same as "off", or the lamp just stays the way it was?

Last edited by Yoyizit; 05-05-2009 at 08:46 PM.
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Old 05-05-2009, 08:54 PM   #5
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4 way switch troubleshooting


Also double check the format on the fourway switch there is two patterns it will hook up { it depending on the manufacter set up }

And if you get the 4 way switches from big box store sometime you will end up getting double pole switch instead of 4 way outside both look the same but inside it is not.

This what I do for troubleshooting the 4 wayers by pass them by using wire nuts and start work on each three ways once you get them working right then deal with 4 wayers last this will really cut down your headaches.

As I mention above the 4 wayers only have two tries depending on which manufacter it is once you know the pattern with first four wayer then do the same with the next one and it should work slick.

Merci,Marc
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Old 05-05-2009, 08:58 PM   #6
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4 way switch troubleshooting


Quote:
when all the switches are flipped up nothing works??

When the last 3 way switch is flipped down the two middle 4 way switches and the first 3 way work??

When the last 3 way is switched up the two middle 4 way switches don't work but the first 3 way does??
This means nothing.

The cable path and wire colors mean everything.

Path is 3way, 4way, 4way, 3way



Hopefully your power comes into one of the 3way boxes.

Hopefully you have 3 wire cable going from box to box.

The question is, which box does the switch leg cable go in to? Hopefully, one of the 3 way boxes.
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Old 05-05-2009, 09:02 PM   #7
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4 way switch troubleshooting


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Originally Posted by 220/221 View Post
The question is, which box does the switch leg cable go in to? Hopefully, one of the 3 way boxes.

That I hope also if the power do come in one of the 4 ways that will really raise the "fun" factor of 100. { plus few cussing along the way }

Merci,Marc
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Old 05-05-2009, 09:08 PM   #8
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4 way switch troubleshooting


I still have hope that, with just what the OP posted it can be narrowed down to a single switch, once the Truth Table is filled in.
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Old 05-05-2009, 09:16 PM   #9
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4 way switch troubleshooting


OK, pay attention. You should have 3-wires plus ground from switch to switch black, red, white, and a 2-wire black and white going from one of the end switches to the lights, and power at the other three way. If this is not the case let me know, I can still help you.
Assuming the above senerio attatch the blacks and reds to the travelers on the 3-ways and make sure you connect the the black and reds on the 4-ways to line in and line out in other words line in would be the black and red from one of the 3-wires and line out would be the other 3-wire. All the whites connect together as do the grounds. The power source will connect to the common terminal of one of the 3- ways and the switch leg, the black going to the lights will connect to the other 3-way on the common terminal.
Good luck
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Old 05-05-2009, 09:23 PM   #10
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4 way switch troubleshooting


Quote:
I still have hope that, with just what the OP posted it can be narrowed down to a single switch, once the Truth Table is filled in.
My brain does not EVEN operate that way.

I thought you were just mesing with him.
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Old 05-05-2009, 09:26 PM   #11
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4 way switch troubleshooting


Yea its still possible th wire it no matter wher the power comes in.
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Old 05-05-2009, 09:28 PM   #12
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4 way switch troubleshooting


Just a guess, but it sounds like you have one traveler hooked to the load/power screw and the light/power wire hooked where the traveler should be on one of the three ways
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Old 05-05-2009, 10:02 PM   #13
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4 way switch troubleshooting


Could be, but you won't know untill you pull all the switches out and verify everthing.
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Old 05-06-2009, 07:12 AM   #14
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4 way switch troubleshooting


Until the OP comes back with the info asked for there is nothing to do. One or more of the switches is wired wrong.
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Old 05-06-2009, 08:05 AM   #15
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4 way switch troubleshooting


Quote:
Originally Posted by 220/221 View Post
My brain does not EVEN operate that way.
It shouldn't.
Mine does because I had to work with binary circuits and all that, and this is a binary [two-state] circuit.

The truth table for two 3-ways is easy.

00 X
01 -
10 -
11 X

Where X can be light off or light on
and the - can be light on or light off.

If you add a four way sw. the table is 8 rows long, and two 4-ways gives you 16 rows.


Last edited by Yoyizit; 05-06-2009 at 08:14 AM.
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