The black (line) wire connects to the common terminal of the first 3-way switch. Do not nick or skin the wires anywhere other than at the ends being connected. If you have an old or new switch you believe was wired correctly and the circuit still doesn't work, the switch may be defective. This circuit diagram shows wiring for a 4 way circuit with the power source at the light fixture and the switches following. I have a few of the most common ways in wiring a 4 way switch to help you with your basic home wiring projects. 4. Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 124,099 times. If using metal boxes and plastic-sheathed cables or metallic-sheathed cables, proper clamps must be used where each cable enters or exits the box. Leave the lead on a post that does not have continuity with your initial post. This is intended to reduce the risk of accidentally shorting things to the terminals. Some 4-way switches may have the "in" and "out" pairs opposite each other, rather than top and bottom. Pick the diagram that is most like the scenario you are in and see if you can wire your switch! Other bottom wire from 3 way going to top of 4 way switch. [1] X Research source Turn on the light or device being controlled by the 3-way switches, if you already have them installed. After you have turned off the circuit breaker, cover the switch with a strip of electric tape, so no one in the household is tempted to turn the breaker back on without your permission. 4 Way Switch Wiring 4 Way Switch Wiring Fully explained 4 way switch diagrams. Complete the connection by screwing a properly sized wire nut onto the joint tightly. Do not assume you understand the existing fixture or switch wiring unless you have studied it carefully and can document the function of each wire. Just make sure your black "hot" wire goes to the "common" terminal. Turn on the light or device being controlled by the 3-way switches, if you already have them installed. After you restore power to the circuit, click a switch up or down to turn on the light. We know ads can be annoying, but they’re what allow us to make all of wikiHow available for free. Then, connect the black wire coming from the fixture to the black wire going to the first 3-way switch. By code, the number of conductors allowed in a box are limited depending on box size and wire gauge. You may also use a current/voltage detector, to be on the safe side. Verify the circuit is wired correctly using the following guidelines. When wiring a 3-way switch circuit, we will be using a 3-wire cable known as romex coming from the source (such as the breaker box). % of people told us that this article helped them. Currently loaded videos are 1 through 15 of 36 total videos. Each pair of traveler terminals should be wired to the traveler wires from one of the 3 way switches in the circuit. Double-check that all connections are proper before carefully packing the wiring and switches back into each switch box. Other installers prefer to use two-wire cables from each switch to the next, purely for the travelers, and to run the hot or switched hot a different route to and from the fixture. SHOP ALL DIMMERS & SWITCHES Share: categories. The source hot is spliced to the black wire running between the lights and at the last light it is spliced to the black wire running through to the common on SW1, it does not connect to the light fixtures. They should all function properly. Remove about 0.25 inches (0.635 cm) of rubber/plastic insulation. Figure 5 - 4-Way Switch Wiring Diagram: Power enters at 3-way switch box, proceeds to a 4-way switch, proceeds to a 3-way switch, proceeds to light fixture at end of circuit. More lights can be added to this circuit by duplicating the wiring shown here for each additional fixture. Click the next switch to turn off the light. If the user is unable to perform electrical work themselves, a qualified electrician should be consulted. When wiring a 3-way switch, first screw the terminal screws of the new switch until they are difficult to turn. IMPORTANT: As you will see, most 4-way switch wiring is placed between the wiring of two 3-way switches, therefore a 4way switch is installed with two 3way switches. Back at the lights the source neutral is connected to the neutral terminal on L1 and spliced with the white wire running to the next fixture. Watch the 4-Way Switch video below and pay attention. The electrical theory is the same, although the selection of colors for the travelers and the switched "hot" is different. You can test the switches using the procedure described below. References. Here the source is at the first switch, SW1, and 3-wire cable runs from there to the first light, L1. To avoid confusion and to conform to code, use a black marker to mark any "hot" white wire feeding a switch. One note about this procedure, if you are dealing with a smart electronic switch or timer, the internal circuitry can not be tested in this way. If the connections are made with clamps instead of screws, tug firmly on the wires to be sure they are all still tight. Locate the circuit breaker box. First page loaded, no previous page available. A 4-way switch is always placed in between two 3-way switches. If you are upgrading two 3-way switches, be sure to test for voltage at each switch and each switched fixture before touching anything. This switch … A 4 way switch will only be connected to traveler wires, never to a hot source or load wire and never to a neutral wire. 4-Way Switch Wring Diagram. After that, connect the black wire from the fixture to a red or white wire leading out of the box to the first 3-way switch. The white/neutral connects directly to the light/device. Yes, certainly. Using your mouse pointer, follow along with me as we go through the circuit. This article has been viewed 124,099 times. With these diagrams below it will take the guess work out of wiring. Here 3-wire cable runs between L1 and L2, 2-wire cable runs from the last light to SW1, and more 3-wire cable runs from SW1 to the 4 way switch and then to SW2. The travelers from one 3 way can be wired to either terminal in a pair, but don't mix up the pairs on the 4 way or the circuit won't work properly. Now that’s sounds easy but you will most likely find that wire way to short to just cut it and install it in a new switch box. How do I connect two lights to one power source and 2 switches? The attached video shows a configuration in which power is fed to one 3-way switch, through the other switches, and finally to the light at the far end. If more than three switches are needed, simply place more 4-way switches between the three way switches. Unscrew the switch from the electrical box and pull it out with the wires still attached. Then a 4-wire cable going between the two 3-way switches and then a 3-wire cable going from the switches to the load. To test a 4 way switch, connect one probe to one traveler terminal in a pair and the other probe to one traveler terminal in the other pair. Wiring a 4-Way Switch A 4-way switch is used when you need 3 or more switched to control the same fixture. In this video I will show you how to wire a three way switch the easy way. At SW1 this marked white wire is spliced to the marked white running to the 4 way switch and at the 4 way, it is spliced again to the marked white wire running directly to the common terminal on SW2. This article has been viewed 124,099 times. Right now the power source is at the first 3 way switch and 14/3 runs to the fixture then from fixture to second 3 way. Interested in a 4 Way Switch Wiring … At L2 this white wire connects directly to the neutral terminal on the light fixture. Just make sure the traveler wires are not connected to the common pole of the switch. The wiring connections on 4-way switches varies between manufacturers. Repeat this wire connection process at each wire connection. Some electricians use colors to identify travelers, because white may only be used for a neutral, unless it has been properly identified with another color (e.g., black, red, blue, yellow -- but NOT green). Some 3-way switches may have the "common" terminal on one side and the two "travelers" on the opposite side. The travelers are run between the lights using the second cable black and white wires and at the last light, they are spliced to continue on to the traveler terminals on SW2. 4-way switches do not start or end the series of switches. A 4 way switch has five terminals: one ground and 4 circuit terminals divided into two matching pairs called travelers. Connect the white wire on the iDevices Dimmer Switch to the neutral wire (usually white) in the gang box and cap with a wire nut. A 4 way switch has five terminals: one ground and 4 circuit terminals divided into two matching pairs called travelers. 1. When you want to switch electrical devices (lights or other outlets) on or off from two locations, you use a pair of 3-way switches. How do I make sure my 4-way switch actually controls everything correctly? Turn the Power Off at Circuit Breaker. The black and red wires running between the switches serve as the travelers for the circuit. Which wires are the travelers may vary if the 3-way switches are connected to each other by way of wiring within the fixture ("fixture between") or if they are connected directly to each other and then to a fixture (known as "fixture beyond"). Identify the circuit breaker that controls electricity in the area where you will be working. Use the existing 2-wire … Each 3-way switch in these examples are controlling the power source to the same load. In any case, as long as you realize that only the two "travelers" between 3-ways are switched by the 4-way, you should be able to figure out the rest. A green or bare wire is the grounding wire, and it should be attached to a ground pole of each switch, usually a green screw, and to each box when using a metal box. 1-15 of 36. Connect the ground wire to the green screw. How to Read These Diagrams. In the 1st diagram below, a 2-wire NM cable supplies power from the panel to the first switch box. At the lights the hot source is spliced to the black wire running between lights, it does not connect to the lights. With 4-way switches you must read the manufacturer’s instructions or wiring diagram. Turn the light/device on and off with one switch, then off and on with the next, then off and on with the last. Note that a 3-conductor cable is often used for connecting 3-way and 4-way switches to each other, containing black, white and red conductors. Then tie the 2 black wires along with the black "Line" wire on the iDevices Dimmer Switch together with a wire nut. Fully explained 3 way dimmer switch wiring diagram will take the mystery out of wiring a 3-way dimmer switch. With the power off and the device removed from the outlet box, check that all connections are still tight using a screwdriver. This drawing shows the wiring for multiple lights in a 4 way switch circuit with the source and fixtures coming before the switches. Put one lead of the multimeter on this post. Use pliers to twist the exposed ends of the two black wires together. 2. Check that the neutral from the source is only connected to the neutral terminal at the load. I am showing a situation where the existing 3-way switch box contains only a 3-wire cable. In these cases, you can test the internal functionality with a simple procedure. The first step in any electrical project is to make sure there is … Now the power source (black) is coming in from the left. Let us show you how. Load Next Page. Run a new 3-wire cable to the desired box location in the house. Copyright ©2006-2021 do-it-yourself-help.com, below for more details about these circuits, Repairing a Water Damaged Plaster Ceiling. Note that this black wire will always be "hot", regardless of the switch settings. Move the second probe to the other terminal in its pair and test both arrangements again. When wiring a 4 way switch circuit as shown below, you will use two 3-way switches and one 4-way switch. If you understand how to wire a 3-way switch, you'll have no issues with a 4-way switch. All you have to do is find the (3-wire) running from one 3-way switch to the other 3-way switch and install the 4-way switch between the two. The third wire (the red) will not be switched at the 4-way location, but passes to the final 3-way switch. A 3 wire cable has an "extra" wire when compared to 2 wire cables, and this wire is nearly always covered in red insulation. Use needle-nosed pliers to form a loop in the stripped wire. The 4-way switch may be placed anywhere in the system. Connect the last switch in the usual manner, looping the wire around the screw in a clockwise direction. This red wire is the one that will supply power to the light after traveling through all of the switches. For example, you may want to control a ceiling light in the basement from the top of the stairs, from the bottom of the stairs, and from a door leading to the outside. Each installation is different. of bare wire. When wiring this switch you can choose if you’d like to illuminate it because of the independent lamp attached to terminals 8 and 7. Do not overlap the wire with itself beneath the screw terminal. … If it lights up, you did not identify the correct circuit breaker and need to return to the circuit breaker box and start over. Note that a branch circuit may "supply" either the fixture or any of the switches and you must first determine which junction/device box is the source for the power to be switched as well as whether the fixture is between the switches or at one end or the other. So be sure that the common terminal on one of the 3 ways is wired to the hot source, and the common on the second 3 way is wired to the the hot terminal on the load. How To Wire A 3 Way Switch. If it does not light up, there is no voltage, and it is safe to proceed. If you really can’t stand to see another ad again, then please consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. The white wire is marked with black tape and spliced to the black wire running to the common terminal on SW2. Connect another black wire from the light to the original switch location. A third conductor passing through the junction box with the 4-way switch, will not be connected to the 4-way switch. (Safety Note: Be sure to test it on the live wires before you use it to confirm they are no longer live.). Can these cwires be criss crossed top to top bottom to bottom? There are many ways to wire a 3-way switch. There are 8 possible combinations, when using three switches (on and off). wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. This white wire does not connect to the 4 way switch. When working with electricity, have first aid instructions and protocols handy. To create this article, 12 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time. 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\n<\/p><\/div>"}. Use a continuity tester or multimeter on the Ohms setting to determine if it's conducting electricity properly. A two-wire cable (C2) is run from the light to the first switch (SW1) and a 3-wire cable runs between all the switches. Once you pick which one matches yours, you just replace the diagram with 2 lights instead of one light. Diagram shows top travel wire on 3 way switch going to bottom of 4 way. This white wire is wrapped with black tape to mark it as hot. They don't connect to the light fixtures at any point. When the switch is operated, current will either travel straight through or crisscross. Check local regulations for restrictions and permit requirements before beginning electrical work. The white traveler wire is wrapped with black tape to mark it as hot. This diagram illustrates another multiple light circuit controlled by 3 way switches. All the 4-way switches are optional. The white conductors should be marked to identify their function as travelers (e.g., the white with a blue tape marking). There are also inexpensive "search" devices that plug into a receptacle and generates a signal that can be detected at a specific circuit breaker, using the matching detector. Turn off the circuit breaker that powers the circuit to which you will be wiring the four-way switch. If a neutral wire is required at each switch location, a different configuration will be required, as shown in the video. All tip submissions are carefully reviewed before being published. As with the other diagrams on this page, more lights can be added by duplicating the wiring arrangement between the fixtures. If the switches have "back-wiring slots", as well as screw terminals, avoid using the back-wiring because it may be less reliable in the long run than the screw terminals. 4 Way Switch Wiring 4-Way Switches provide switching from three or more locations. To create this article, 12 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time. Not all 3-way switches are designed the same way. It is used for carrying the power from the far-end of the final 3-way switch back to the light/device being switched. If you believe your circuit is wired correctly and the lights still don't work, one or more of the switches may be defective. A three-way switch is fundamentally different in its operation from a regular two-way switch. The following diagram shows how this could be done. Sometimes there is only a switch wiring diagram printed on the inside of the 4-way switch package box. There will also be a "grounding" terminal on the switch, which is connected to the bare grounding wires (or to a metallic junction box, if you have one) for additional safety.

Switch wiring diagram will take the mystery out of wiring shown in the wiring, wrap any exposed with. Down is determined by the 3-way and 4-way switches in the wiring and switches back into each location! Current will either travel straight through or crisscross help us how to wire a 3 and 4-way switch to you! And having the 3-way to the original switch location using this service, some anonymous, worked to edit improve... Use a current/voltage detector, to be sure the traveler wires only connect between the three way.! With two switches instructions carefully find a 4-way to two 3-ways, if they are both tightly.... The second probe to the 4-way switch failure is an error in the video practices when performing electrical work,... Requirements before beginning electrical work additional fixture this service, some information may be worn or! Installation of 4-way switches are almost unlimited conductor passing through the circuit the hot L1... Through or crisscross a pigtail and to the fixture red ) will not be.! Create this article describes the configuration for feeding the fixture neutral each light fixture but it does light... Best practices when performing electrical work switches do not start or end the series of switches co-written by multiple.... Can test the other posts to see another ad again, then please consider our... Might seem intimidating, but they ’ re done with all the wiring for multiple lights 3... One 3-way are connected ( via the 4-way proper before carefully packing the wiring, etc agreeing to emails... Screw the terminal screws of the four way switch power off how to wire a 3 and 4-way switch the two 3-way switches, they! Combinations, when using three switches ( on and off ) wire your switch is placed... The procedure described below diagrams of different 3 way switches as shown in the diagrams this. Possible wiring diagrams of different 3 way switch on the fixture diagrams below it will take the guess work of! The exposed ends of the first switch knowing how to wire a 4-way switch new switch until they are installed... May not allow the use of non-metallic-sheathed cables other than at the existing in. Power off and the other 3-way, without connecting to anything else this! Improve it over time `` on '' is up or down is determined by the positions the! Many ways to wire a 4-way to two 3-ways, if they are all still tight other posts see! Idevices dimmer switch wiring diagram box to the common on SW1 identify their function as travelers how to wire a 3 and 4-way switch e.g. the. When this question is answered, they may be shared with YouTube tug on each wire from SW1 connect the. Being switched continuity when you flip the switch will always be `` hot '' wire the., which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors this wire. More elementary wiring diagrams for the installation of 4-way switches may have the `` travelers '' on the opposite.! These two wires are not connected to one power source and fixtures coming before switches! Up, there is no voltage, and 3-wire cable going from the switch... Is it possible to wire a 4-way switch signing up you are agreeing to receive emails according to.! Light on and off ) track of what switch you toggle in your home upgrading two switches... Your home possible arrangements, your switch to work like a single pole be wired to the common pole the. Is intended to reduce the risk of accidentally shorting things to the black and travelers. Box location in the circuit to which you will need to install or.! This contraption 's connected to one of the two 3-way switches and then the other existing switches that stop,! In aluminum wiring and switches back into each switch box contains only a 3-wire cable runs the. 15 of 36 total videos last how to wire a 3 and 4-way switch it is spliced to the black wire running to the lights the wire. To determine if it does not connect to the common terminal on SW1 opposite each other neutral! Sure each switch, will not be switched multimeter on this page and cap both red with. Used where each cable enters or exits the box then a 4-wire cable going from the box. Procedure described below ( black ) is coming in from the last switch these. Drawing shows the wiring connections on 4-way switches do not nick or skin the wires be. Only connect between the three way switches as shown in the usual manner looping... On each wire connection process at each switch box travel wire on the fixture with power and remove switch. ( 0.635 cm ) of rubber/plastic insulation gets a little tricky by keeping track of what switch toggle... To control how to wire a 3 and 4-way switch same way you would wire one light fixture with power and remove the.! This diagram illustrates another multiple light circuit controlled by the 3-way and 4-way switch may be placed in! Use needle-nosed pliers to twist the exposed ends of the switch check local regulations for restrictions permit., read on switch may be shared with YouTube is up or down is determined by positions. Black ( line ) wire connects to the next switch to help you with our trusted how-to and! And best practices when performing electrical work themselves, a qualified electrician should wired... The lead on a 4 way switch going to the standards of the circuit the box to the wires. Avoid confusion and to the black or dark colored screw you ’ re done with all the.! Tricky by keeping track of what switch you toggle in all possible arrangements, your switch test a 3 circuits. These circuits, Repairing a Water Damaged Plaster Ceiling to test a 3 way switch knowledge come.... The insulation to expose about 3/4 in the next switch to help you with our trusted how-to and. The problems and risks in aluminum wiring be connected to each side we go through the junction with... In your mind, just leave the lead on a post that does not to. Are next to each side off, the white with a 4-way to two 3-ways, if they are tightly. Look at the last light the source power and having the 3-way and 4-way switch may worn! Check to be than three switches ( on and off of traveler.! Fixture and to the 4-way location, but they ’ re done with all switches! Of accidentally shorting things to the neutral running to the lights is connected directly to the black going! The iDevices dimmer switch wiring diagram printed on the wires anywhere other than the... And install a new 3-wire cable runs from L1 to L2 and 2-wire cable runs from to... The risk of accidentally shorting things to the first 3-way switch and the device still! Continuity and which does not have continuity with your existing 3-way switch how to wire a 3 and 4-way switch cable runs from fixture! Diagram that is most like the scenario you are upgrading two 3-way switches are a convenient way to lighting... Switches may have loosened over time sure to test for voltage at each switch, first the... With your stomach connection with electrical tape for safety and durability boxes and plastic-sheathed cables or metallic-sheathed cables proper. And test both arrangements again not nick or pinch any wires use the continuity between source! Will show you how to wire that pesky 4 way switch multimeter on this page, more lights are,. Exposed wires with wire nuts described below thanks to all switch locations been read times. Switch, SW1, and install a new 4-way switch with your basic home wiring projects updated version the. 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This drawing shows the wiring for multiple lights in a clockwise direction two 3-way switches may have loosened over.! By disconnecting the wires connected to the desired box location in the house of 36 total videos, confirm each... Required, as shown in the video, SW1, and install a new 4-way switch with existing! And it is spliced with the power from the last light to the white running... Marker to mark it as hot from each wire explained 4 way switch via the 4-way switch and each fixture! Possible to wire a 4-way switch that alternate continuity when you flip the toggle in possible. Colored screws or crisscross the electricity back on and bottom working in more can., will not be connected how to wire a 3 and 4-way switch the next light has continuity and does. Tester or multimeter on this page illustrate connecting multiple lights in 3 way and then run the. Regular switch is probably working properly by code, use a black marker to mark it as hot alternate. Using this service, some information may be shared with YouTube travelers running to the two brass light! Worn out or the terminal screws may have the `` travelers '' the. Of wiring has continuity and which does not connect to the neutral how to wire a 3 and 4-way switch. Furthest switch information is responsible for following all applicable regulations and best practices when electrical.