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Old 05-22-2009, 12:47 PM   #1
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Help with 3way/4way and lights


I want 2 light switches on north side of shop, lights in the middle and a 3rd switch at the south end.

I understand how to wire for a 3w, 4w, 3w then light set up, but I would like to have 3w, 4w, lights, 3w....is it possible without doubling back at the 3rd switch? If so how?

Thanks for any help

Mike

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Old 05-22-2009, 01:01 PM   #2
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Help with 3way/4way and lights


In that case, just treat it like a 3way - light - 3way setup and ignore the 4way. You will have 2 sets of XX/3 at the light box, your travelers will tie together (just match color of wire). Where is your power coming from? one of the 3 ways or at the light?

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Old 05-22-2009, 01:35 PM   #3
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Help with 3way/4way and lights


You need four wire between the lights. Here is a drawing of 3 ways. If you can't figure how to add the 4way switch in I can create another drawing.

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Old 05-22-2009, 03:34 PM   #4
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Help with 3way/4way and lights


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Originally Posted by theatretch85 View Post
In that case, just treat it like a 3way - light - 3way setup and ignore the 4way. You will have 2 sets of XX/3 at the light box, your travelers will tie together (just match color of wire). Where is your power coming from? one of the 3 ways or at the light?
Power comes from first switch to 2nd sw then lights, then last switch.

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You need four wire between the lights. Here is a drawing of 3 ways. If you can't figure how to add the 4way switch in I can create another drawing.

Would the 4way hook up between 1st 3wy and first light via say black wire coming and going on one side of the switch and the red coming and going on the other side?
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Old 05-22-2009, 04:17 PM   #5
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Help with 3way/4way and lights


Hey Bama, I don't think the other 2 guys really read your post before answering. You want to avoid running addition wire by trying to get to your 4-way and not return back to either one of your 3-ways, right.

The 4-way needs to be connected between the 3-ways, so no, you cannot wire the circuit without having to double back to the 3-ways.
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Old 05-22-2009, 05:43 PM   #6
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Help with 3way/4way and lights


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Originally Posted by Silk View Post
Hey Bama, I don't think the other 2 guys really read your post before answering. You want to avoid running addition wire by trying to get to your 4-way and not return back to either one of your 3-ways, right.

The 4-way needs to be connected between the 3-ways, so no, you cannot wire the circuit without having to double back to the 3-ways.
Hey Silk,
I know I made things confusing but joed's drawing is what I'm looking at except that I would need to put a 4way between the 1st 3way switch and the lights.
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Old 05-22-2009, 05:59 PM   #7
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Help with 3way/4way and lights


Electrically speaking, you can't put a 4- way between the first 3-way and the lights. Electrically the 4-way must go between the 2, 3-ways. You can't just use joed's drawing and put a 4- way in anywhere you want to. You can draw it that way, but you still must run the wires from the 4-way to both 3-ways, or make one hell of a mess in the fixture boxes with all the splices that you would need to make, and still you will need 4 conductors and a ground to the 4-way.

Are you doing this job in conduit or using Romex? If you're using Romex you will need to buy 2 wires, 3 wires, 4wires, and 6 wires inbetween different sections, so you will need to run more than one cable between points anyways as you won't be able to find those cables.

Your initial question was "is it possible without doubling back at the 3rd switch?" The answer is still No. You can run wires in many different configurations, but you will not save wires and you will make it much more confusing by trying to hit the lights inbetween the switches, and I don't think you really want to try to figure out all the wires that are going to be in your switch boxes if you don't know how to wire a 4-way in the first place.

Last edited by Silk; 05-22-2009 at 06:23 PM.
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Old 05-22-2009, 07:06 PM   #8
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Help with 3way/4way and lights


If you insist on doing it your way, here you go.
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Old 05-22-2009, 07:24 PM   #9
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Help with 3way/4way and lights


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If you insist on doing it your way, here you go.
You really must like making things difficult.

You can put the 4 way switch in anywhere along the line so long as its between the two 3-way's. Ideally it would run from your light box to the 4 way, then to the 3 way (not back up to the light box), but it can be done. The last 3 way ONLY needs a run of XX/3 to it, nothing more. The white wire gets re-marked as a hot conductor.
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Old 05-22-2009, 07:30 PM   #10
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Help with 3way/4way and lights


It is better to run the traveler cables directly from switch to switch, as opposed to short segments going through the light fixture boxes. Fewer wire nutted joints this way.

If the traveler cables have to be routed past the light boxes, the cables can run around the outside of the boxes without being cut.

You choose which way to string two continuous 3-wire cables as traveler cables to connect up the three switch boxes; the box in the middle (with both cables entering it) gets the 4 way switch.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 05-22-2009 at 07:33 PM.
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Old 05-22-2009, 07:52 PM   #11
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Help with 3way/4way and lights


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You really must like making things difficult.

You can put the 4 way switch in anywhere along the line so long as its between the two 3-way's. Ideally it would run from your light box to the 4 way, then to the 3 way (not back up to the light box), but it can be done. The last 3 way ONLY needs a run of XX/3 to it, nothing more. The white wire gets re-marked as a hot conductor.
No I don't.

I don't think it should be wired this way but a couple of other posters this morning told him it it could be. You told him to ignore the 4-way which didn't have anything at all to do with his question. Joed told him it was possible and then didn't give him a complete diagram.

Your idea about running from switches to lights to switches again is exactley what I drew, and it is a terrible way to wire.

I told him it was a bad idea and then showed him with a diagram why it was a bad idea.
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Old 05-22-2009, 08:37 PM   #12
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Help with 3way/4way and lights


The modified version of the above diagram has no wires erased.

Taking it at face value and ignoring everything in orange, we see what looks like an enormous switch loop with two two conductor traveler cables up above while the neutral runs separately down below (between the orange X's). For this neutral segment a two conductor cable would be used with just the white wire in use.

Except a real switch loop has to leave and enter the same box which is not the case here. So really the neutral is supposed to accompany the travelers as shown by all the orange material. Thus the traveler cables should be 3 conductor cables.
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Old 05-22-2009, 08:52 PM   #13
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Help with 3way/4way and lights


(copied from another forum)
If you already have a working 3 way switch setup and want to make it into a 4 way switch setup, then ...
1. Open up one of the switch boxes and remove the switch, making note of the common wire.
2. String a 3 conductor cable from here to the third switch location.
3. Connect the old common wire to the matching colored wire of the new cable.
4. Connect both old travelers to the dark screws of the 4 way switch; connect the other two wires of the new cable to the light screws of the 4 way switch.
5. Install the 3 way switch at the third location, with the same colored wire as the common wire as before.
6. Put a band of blue (or red or black) tape or stain on both ends of the white wire of the new cable you strung.
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Old 05-22-2009, 09:13 PM   #14
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Help with 3way/4way and lights


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So really the neutral is supposed to accompany the travelers as shown by all the orange material. Thus the traveler cables should be 3 conductor cables.
If he's using cables. The OP said it was a Shop. If the shop is being wired in conduit and the wires are all in one pipe, then the neutral does not have to accompany the travelers to the 4-way.

300.3(B) does not require the neutral to accompany the switch leg.
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Old 05-22-2009, 09:38 PM   #15
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Help with 3way/4way and lights


Quote:
Originally Posted by Silk View Post
..The 4-way needs to be connected between the 3-ways, so no, you cannot wire the circuit without having to double back to the 3-ways.
Okay.

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..If you insist on doing it your way, here you go. .
I wasnt insisting on doing it any certain way. I had asked Joed if putting the 4way between the first 3way and lights was possible and he did not answer.

I have 3 doors wher I need switches to control one bank of lights so I've decided to go ahead and wire it 3w to 4w to 3w to lights. I'm using Romex.

I appreciate everyones help and concern.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend everyone.

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