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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all.
I have 3 switches running one light in one part of my house, and the way it is wired, no matter what the state of the 3 switches, when I flip a switch, I get the opposite of current state (off to on or on to off).

I tried to replicate this wiring setup for a hallway today, and I got a different result. I'm attaching a diagram I found online and followed faithfully.
This setup uses two three-way switches and one 4-way switch, starts with power going to light, then to 3-way switch, then to 4-way switch, and terminating on the second 3-way switch.

Here is the behavior I'm seeing. When the 4-way switch is in the on position, the other two switches behave as expected. When the 4-way switch is in the off position, the light is off period.

What am I doing wrong?

Thanks.
 

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It is not wired like the diagram or it would work. Only you can see how it is wired.
If you post some pictures of the switches maybe we can see the problem.

The one possible thing is you wired by the position of the wires in the diagram. You can't always do that. The screws are not always in the same position. Look at the colour of the screws on the four way.
 

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You can use the following diagram to imagine what happens when switching the four-way switch. If you follow the diagram that you posted you’ll be able to see that the behavior that you describe can be replicated by inadvertently switching the two white wires or two red wires on the four way switch. If that is what you’ve done, in one switch position the four-way switch is feeding power from the red wire of the right-hand switch back to the white wire of the right hand switch (or vice versa) instead of passing the power to the left. So the system only works when the four-way switch is switched the other way.
http://www.howtowirealightswitch.com/4-way-switch/

Chris
 

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Discussion Starter #4
One problem is that my switches are not labeled at all (other than TOP). The four way has 4 gold screws and a ground. The 3ways have one black and 2 gold and ground.

I tried switching the reds on the 4way and got the same behavior. When it is switched off, the light is off and the other two switches do nothing.
 

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A better thing to do is use a continuity tester or a multimeter to determine which terminals make up the two pairs of travelers, if the colour of the terminals is not clear.

Chris
 

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The black screw on the three way is the common. It should have black wire on it per the diagram.
The four way could be defective.
 

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Some 4-ways are internally connected top to bottom while other brands
are connected side to side. Use continuity setting on multi meter to determine
which you have.
Wiring in post 1 will work with top to bottom, as also shown in post 6.
 

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When the 4-way switch is in the on position, the other two switches behave as expected.
Are you sure you are working with a 4 way switch? There is no "on" or "off" position with a 4 way switch. Are the words "on" and "off" imprinted on the face of the switch?
 

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I doublechecked that all the connections match the diagram. I'm attaching two images of the 4-way switch. The top two wires come from the first 3-way, and the bottom two go to the final 3-way switch.


Did you try it with the reds at top both sides and the whites at the bottom both sides.
 

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I suspect that you have installed a Hubbell CSB220I double pole switch. That is distinctly different from a 4-way switch and operates like two separate switches operated by one toggle. The behavior would be as you described in your original post. To confirm note the red circled word on the diagram below (as mentioned by afjes2015), which would not be present on a 4-way switch, since for that type of switch either position could be on or off.

https://www.hubbell.com/wiringdevic.../Commercial-Series-Switches/CSB220I/p/1546624

Chris
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I suspect that you have installed a Hubbell CSB220I double pole switch. That is distinctly different from a 4-way switch and operates like two separate swit

Chris
Chris I think you're exactly right. That was the first time I went to buy a 4-way switch at Lowes, and the package said double pole, but the Lowes tag with the same item number said 4-way Switch. When I saw the four screws, I assumed I had it right.

So maybe this is as simple as a trip to Lowes.
I'll get back to you.
Thanks.
 

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You'd think that after all these years the manufacturers could come up with more appropriate names for the 3-way and 4-way switch. Dumb and Dumber must have had a hand in those choices.
 

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You'd think that after all these years the manufacturers could come up with more appropriate names for the 3-way and 4-way switch. Dumb and Dumber must have had a hand in those choices.
In the rest of the English speaking world, a Single Pole Double Throw (SPDT) switch is called a "Two Way" switch (because it is not a 3 way switch (SP3T) and it does switch two ways).
That special (crossover) switch with 4 terminals is called an "Intermediate" (or "Crossover") switch and is a Double Pole Double Throw (DPDT) switch which is wired internally to perform the required function.

(See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiway_switching)

(In the UK and Australia virtually all Light switches sold are SPDT.)
 

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Glad you got it working :wink2:



That is a common mistake of many DIYers. I had a call once for a home owner that could not get his 3/4 way lighting working. I took one look at the switch, went to my vehicle, grabbed a "real" 4 way and installed it and the lights were working within 4 minutes. He was amazed. He had spent hours trying to figure out what he did wrong in the wiring. Once I showed him the "On" and "Off" imprinted on the switch (his incorrect switch) he realized he should not have trusted the guy in the big box store to give him the proper switch. The guy in the electrical department was probably on lunch and the guy from the paint department was covering for him :glasses: They do that you know. :vs_mad: So if you want to know how to paint your switch properly that would be the time to go to the store :vs_cool:
 
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