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Old 11-30-2010, 08:01 AM   #1
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Wiring in a 4-way Switch


I'm trying to install illuminated Leviton Decora switches to control the lights in my Basement that are switched from 3 locations. I have (2) 3-way switches and (1) 4-way switch in the middle.

I am having trouble wiring in the three switches so I can operate the lights from all locations AND get ALL the switches to illuminate when the lights are turned off and hope someone can clarify the correct installation sequence for me.

Here is the current switch and wiring arrangement:

SWITCH #1 (3-way) has a 3 conductor (B/W/R + grnd) wire running to SWITCH #2, which is a 4-way switch.

SWITCH #2 also has a 3 conductor (B/W/R + grnd) wire running to SWITCH #3, which is a 3-way switch.

SWITCH #3 has the 3 conductor (B/W/R + grnd) wire from SWITCH #2, a 2 conductor (B/W + grnd) wire from the elec panel AND a 2 conductor (B/W + grnd) wire to the Basement Lights.


1. At SWITCH #1 (3-way), do I connect the White or Black conductor to the BLACK terminal labeled "COMMON"? I'm assuming that the Red conductor is my "Traveler" conductor that gets connected to one of the non-common Brass terminals.

2. At SWITCH #2 (4-way), there are 2 terminals on each side of the switch. The switch is labeled "IN" on one side vertically and "OUT" on the other vertically.
Do I connect the Red and Black "Traveler" conductors from SWITCH #1 to the same side of the 4-way switch?
Do I connect the "Traveler" conductors from Switch #1 to the "IN" or "OUT" side of the 4-way switch?
If I want to eliminate this switch, can I wire the Red and Black conductors from the wires running from Switch #1 & Switch #3 to Switch #2 by connecting Black / Black and Red / Red together?
3. At SWITCH #3 I have 4 conductors to wire to 3 terminals. The White conductors on all wires at this location are connected together.
What terminals on the switch do I wire the "Traveler" conductors from Switch #2 to?
What terminal do I connect the Black conductor to the lights to?
What terminal do I wire the "Black" assumed "HOT" wire from the elec panel to?
Thanks for ANY help clarifying this mess.

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Old 11-30-2010, 08:40 AM   #2
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Wiring in a 4-way Switch


Start at SW#3... remark the white in the 3 conductor cable with black tape (or marker) to signify it is not a neutral. Connect the two whites from the two 2 conductor cables together with a wire nut. Connect the black from the panel to the black screw of the switch. Connect the black from the lights to the black of the 3 conductor cable. Connect the remarked white and red from the 3 conductor cable to each of the brass screws. At SW#1, connect the black to the black screw and the white (remark it) and red to the brass screws. At SW#2, connect the blacks together, the white (remarked) and red from SW#1 to the "out" side and the white (remarked) and red from SW#3 to the "in" side. If you eliminate SW#2, connect red to red and white to white.

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Old 11-30-2010, 08:41 AM   #3
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Wiring in a 4-way Switch


1. Depends on how it is connect at sw3 and sw2. One wire in sw2 from each cable will NOT be connected to the the switch. That is the one that goes to the black terminal.

Sounds like you are using red and black as travellers. So the white goes to the common screw on sw1.

At sw2(4way)
Whites should be connected to each other and not the switch. Red and black from one cable to the IN and red black from other cable to the OUT.

At sw3

White from sw2 goes to the power black
Red and black from sw2 goes to traveller screws
Black from light goes to black screw.
All remining whites go together.
All remaining black go together.
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Last edited by joed; 11-30-2010 at 12:46 PM.
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Old 11-30-2010, 11:29 AM   #4
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Wiring in a 4-way Switch


Quote:
Originally Posted by HouseHelper View Post
Start at SW#3... remark the white in the 3 conductor cable with black tape (or marker) to signify it is not a neutral. Connect the two whites from the two 2 conductor cables together with a wire nut. Connect the black from the panel to the black screw of the switch. Connect the black from the lights to the black of the 3 conductor cable. Connect the remarked white and red from the 3 conductor cable to each of the brass screws. At SW#1, connect the black to the black screw and the white (remark it) and red to the brass screws. At SW#2, connect the blacks together, the white (remarked) and red from SW#1 to the "out" side and the white (remarked) and red from SW#3 to the "in" side. If you eliminate SW#2, connect red to red and white to white.
The remarked white must be used as the feed to the switch, not a traveller. NEC 200.7.

The black from the panel would connect to the remarked white. The remarked white would now go on the common screw at SW1. The black and reds are the travelers.
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Old 04-09-2013, 06:39 PM   #5
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Wiring in a 4-way Switch


In the box that contains power in, lights out and a 3-g cable.
First connect the power in cable white to the lights white. take the white in the 3-g cable and tape it black and connect it to your power. This white wire will connect only to the other two white wires in series to the far 3 way switch black terminal screw. These white wires move power from the box where it comes from the panel to the far end of the circuit.
Now there is power to the end switch, connect the red and black from that end switch to the the 3 way switch at one end and one side of the 4 way switch at the other end. That completes the far 3 way switch and 1/2 of the 4 way(inlet) in the middle switch location. The other 3-g cable in the middle location should now only have a red and black not connected(remember the whites were all taped black, connected, and carry power to the far end of the circuit) and these go to the other half of the 4 way switch(outlet). The other end of these red and black wires, now back at the box where power comes in go to the traveler connections on the final 3 way switch. The the last connection is the black wire out to the light fixtures connects to the black or common terminal of this 3 way switch.
Recap. WHITE WIRES ONLY ALLOWED TO FEED POWER SO ALLWHITE IN 3 CONDUCTOR CABLES TAPED BLACK AND SPLICED TOGETHER TO TAKE INCOMING POWER TO THE FAR SWITCH.
AFTER THAT IT IS JUST RED AND BLACK BACK THROUGH THE SWITCHES BEING SURE TO HAVE THE RIGHT PLACEMENT OF THE INLET AND OUTLET OF THE 4 WAY CONNECTIONS.
Consider it just a long 2 switch circuit that you cut the red and black on in the middle and put in a 4way as the splice point in a normal 3 way 2 switch circuit. The critical thing to remember on a switch leg circuit is a white wire taped black by code is always only allowed to be the supply of power never the return. Code is very clear on this as a major safety concern if not adhered to and a weekend warrior get to fiddling around.
Remember it is just a 2 switch circuit with an extra switch to connect the 2 cables instead of wire nuts. Simply simple.
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Old 04-09-2013, 07:25 PM   #6
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Wiring in a 4-way Switch


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