Is there more than one way to skin, err, wire a four way?

Reply Thu 17 Dec, 2009 05:39 pm
I wired a stair/hall light with a 3-way switch but the top of the stair's switch is too near the edge of the stairs so that folks coming out of the bedrooms have to grope in the dark for this switch at the top of the stairs, a dangerous situation.

I wired this one this way; 2 wire power feed into the bottom of the stair's switch box, then a 3-wire to the top of the stair's switch box, then a 2-wire on to the light box.

I have a diagram showing a four way switch system but it only shows one way where the power wire enters the light outlet box first, then out with 3-wire to the first switch box and 3-wire between the last two.

My guess is that this is the only way, but before I fish the new wires - it's a reno and the fish is a bit long and hard to do - is there only one way to wire up a 4-way switch?
View best answer, chosen by JTT
Region Philbis
Reply Fri 18 Dec, 2009 06:21 am

chumly prolly knows the answer...
  Selected Answer
Reply Fri 18 Dec, 2009 06:39 am
@Region Philbis,
JTT wrote:
My guess is that this is the only way, but before I fish the new wires - it's a reno and the fish is a bit long and hard to do - is there only one way to wire up a 4-way switch?
I have a hard time understanding the bold part.

Given the following diagram, what part don't you understand or what precisely you want to do?

Reply Fri 18 Dec, 2009 12:32 pm
'reno' is short for renovation, Francis. 'fish/fishing' here refers to a long fish tape, which is a piece of flexible steel tape that is used to get electrical wires into places that are covered by ceiling/wall finishes; you're probably familiar with them.

Here are some pics. I've never seen the magnetic type, the one in the first pic:



My handy dandy electrical guide only had one way of wiring a four-way and that had the power supply entering the light fixture first. The diagram that you've supplied looks like it will fill the bill and there'll be no need to remove existing wires, nor do that long fish I was talking about.

All I'll have to do is two super easy fishes. Thanks a lot, Francis. You saved me a lot of time.
0 Replies
Reply Fri 18 Dec, 2009 12:35 pm
Another question, just a theoretical one. Is it possible to switch from more than 3 locations?
Reply Fri 18 Dec, 2009 01:15 pm
I think you can put all the four-ways in series you want.
Reply Fri 18 Dec, 2009 01:38 pm
Thanks, Engineer. Have you ever seen a situation where there were more than 3 switch locations? It's certainly not your average residential situation especially considering the price of 4-way switches.

Another thing just occurred to me from looking at Francis's diagram; I had noticed the grounding screw on 3 and 4-way switches but none on regular switches. I see now, [I think] that they could be needed to maintain the integrity of the ground to the light, say, if one used plastic boxes. Confused
0 Replies
Reply Tue 28 Jun, 2011 12:12 am
!? Did you say diafram?!

God has many Mansion's


Amen Amen

Reply Wed 7 Sep, 2011 05:21 am
Still looking for help with this? I see its a few years old, I can answer just about any electrical wiring problem you have and as for how may switches can you have, you can have as many as you like and you can feed and take off from any of them it doesnt have to be at the ends or the 3 way switch. It all can be done at any switch or even the light itself. let me know if I can help.
Reply Wed 7 Sep, 2011 09:13 am
It's a done deal too, RSS, but I'm always interested in theoreticals.

If you wanted to do more locations than 3 switches, looking at the diagram in this thread, would the additional switches need to be 3 way or 4 way. If 4 way, is the position crucial?

My thinking, somewhat limited on wiring methods, suggests to me that for, at least this one scenario [the pic in this thread] no switches can be place downstream of the light.
Reply Thu 8 Sep, 2011 08:03 am
I think you are asking if more switches can be placed on the right side of the light on the diagram above? If so YES you can put any number of switches you want on either side of the light and it doesnt matter where the power comes in from. It can come in at any switch a 3 way or 4 way or even the light, all you have to remember is you need to have no more than 2 three way switches and any amount of 4 way switches and in some cases you can do some of the wiring with only TWO WIRE not THREE WIRE, it all depends on where the feed and light are located. OK I am sure now you are confused more now than before. hehehehe If you need more info let me know.
0 Replies

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