4 Way Switch Wiring

Traveler screw terminals

Grounding wires

Two-wire cable

Three-wire cable

Four-way Wall Switches

Four-wa\ switches have four screw terminals and do not have ON-OFF markings Four-way svutches are always installed between a pair of three-way switches This switch combination makes it possible to control a set of lights from three or more locations Four-way switches are common in homes where large rooms contain multiple living areas, such as a kitchen opening into a dining room Switch problems in a four-way installation can be caused by loose connections or worn parts m a four-way switch or in one of the three-way switches (page opposite)

In a typical installation, there will be a pair of three-way cables that enter the box for the four-way switch With most switches, the white and red wires from one cable should be attached to the bottom or top pair of screw terminals, and the white and red wires from the other cable should be attached to the remaining pair of screw terminals. However not all switches are configured the same way. and wiring configurations in the box may vary, so always study the wiring diagram that comes with the switch

Typical Four-way Switch Installation

Building Wiring Instillation

Four wires are connected to a four-way switch The red and white wires from one cable are attached to the top pair of screw terminals, while the red and -vhite /.ires from the other cable are attached to the bottom screw terminals

Four wires are connected to a four-way switch The red and white wires from one cable are attached to the top pair of screw terminals, while the red and -vhite /.ires from the other cable are attached to the bottom screw terminals

Switch variation: Sorie four-way switches have a wiring guide stamped on the back to help simplify installation For the switch shown above one pair ol color-matched circuit wires will be connected to the screw terminals marked LINE 1 while the other pair of wires will be attached to the screw terminals marked LINE 2

Home Wiring Central

NOTE: Position of the screw terminals on switch may vary depending on manufacturer

Way Switch Terminals

Single-circuit wiring: Three black wires are attached to the switch The black feed wire bringing power into the box is connected to the side of the switch that has a connecting tab The wires carrying power out to the light fixtures or appliances are connected to the side of the switch that does not have a connecting tab The white neutral wires are connected together with a wire connector

Way Switch Terminals

Separate-circuit wiring: Four black wires are attached to the switch. Feed wires from the power source are attached to the side of switch that has a connecting tab. and the connecting tab is removed (photo, right). Wires carrying power from the switch to light fixtures or appliances are connected to the side of the switch that does not have a connecting tab. White neutral wires are connected together with a wire connector.

Double Switches

A double switch has two switch levers in a single housing It is used to control two light fixtures or appliances from the same switch box.

In most installations, both halves of the switch are powered by the same circuit. In these single-circuit installations, three wires are connected to the double switch. One wire, called the "feed" wire, supplies power to both halves of the switch. The other wires carry power out to the individual light fixtures or appliances.

In rare installations, each half of the switch is powered by a separate circuit. In these separate-circuit installations, four wires are connected to the switch, and the metal connecting tab joining two of the screw terminals is removed (photo below).

Removing The Tab From Two Pole Switch

Remove the connecting tab on a double switch when wired in a separate-circuit installation. The tab can be removed with needle-nose pliers or a screwdriver

Remove the connecting tab on a double switch when wired in a separate-circuit installation. The tab can be removed with needle-nose pliers or a screwdriver

Pilot-light Switches

A pilot-light switch has a built-in bulb that glows when power flows through the switch to a light fixture or appliance. Pilot-light switches often are installed for convenience if a light fixture or appliance cannot be seen from the switch location. Basement lights, garage lights, and attic exhaust fans frequently are controlled by pilot-light switches.

A pilot-light switch requires a neutral wire connection. A switch box that contains a single two-wire cable has only hot wires and cannot be fitted with a pilot-light switch.

Switch/receptacles

A switch/receptacle combines a grounded receptacle with a single-pole wall switch. In a room that does not have enough wall receptacles, electrical service can be improved by replacing a single-pole switch with a switch/receptacle.

A switch/receptacle requires a neutral wire connection. A switch box that contains a single two-wire cable has only hot wires and cannot be fitted with a switch/receptacle.

A switch/receptacle can be installed in one of two ways. In the most common installations, the receptacle is hot even when the switch is off (photo, right).

In rare installations, a switch/ receptacle is wired so the receptacle is hot only when the switch is on. In this installation, the hot wires are reversed, so that the feed wire is attached to the brass screw terminal on the side of the switch that does not have a connecting tab

Pilot-light switch wiring: Three wires are connected to the switch One black wire is the feed wire that brings power into the box It is connected to the brass screw terminal on the side of :he switch that does not have a connecting tab. The white neutral wires are pigtailed to the silver screw terminal. Black wire carrying power out to light fixture or appliance is connected to screw terminal on side of the switch that has a connecting tab

Switch/receptacle wiring: Three wires are connected to the switch/ receptacle. One of the hot wires is the feed wire that brings power into the box. It is connected to the side of the switch that has a connecting tab. The other hot wire carries power out to the light fixture or appliance. It is connected to the brass screw terminal on the side that does not have a connecting tab. The white neutral wire is pigtailed to the silver screw terminal. The grounding wires must be pigtailed to the green grounding screw on the switch/receptacle and to the grounded metal box

Wiring Single Pole Switch Metal Box

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screw terminal

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Way Switch Wiring House

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Neutral wires

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Grounding wires

Specialty Switches

Specialty switches are available in several types. Dimmer switches (pages 60 to 61) are used frequently to control light intensity in dining and recreation areas. Timer switches and time-delay switches (below) are used to control light fixtures and exhaust fans automatically. New electronic switches (page opposite) provide added convenience and home security, and are easy to install. Electronic switches are durable, and they rarely need repair.

Most standard single-pole switches can be replaced with a specialty switch. Most specialty switches have preattached wire leads instead of

Single Pole Neutral Wire

screw terminals and are connected to circuit wires with wire connectors. Some motor-driven timer switches require a neutral wire connection and cannot be installed in switch boxes that have only one cable with two hot wires.

If a specialty switch is not operating correctly, you may be able to test it with a continuity tester (pages 52 to 55). Timer switches and time-delay switches can be tested for continuity, but dimmer switches cannot be tested. With electronic switches, the manual switch can be tested for continuity (page 55), but the automatic features cannot be tested.

Timer Switches

Timer switches have an electrically powered control dial that can be set to turn lights on and off automatically once each day. They are commonly used to control outdoor light fixtures.

Timer switches have three preattached wire leads. The black wire lead is connected to the hot feed wire that brings power into the box, and the red lead is connected to the wire carrying power out to the light fixture. The remaining wire lead is the neutral lead. It must be connected to any neutral circuit wires. A switch box that contains only one cable has no neutral wires, so it cannot be fitted with a timer switch.

After a power failure, the dial on a timer switch must be reset to the proper time.

Time-delay Switches

A time-delay switch has a spring-driven dial that is wound by hand. The dial can be set to turn off a light fixture after a delay ranging from 1 to 60 minutes. Time-delay switches often are used for exhaust fans, electric space heaters, bathroom vent fans, and heat lamps.

The black wire leads on the switch are connected to the hot circuit wires. If the switch box contains white neutral wires, these are connected together with a wire connector. The bare copper grounding wires are pigtailed to the grounded metal box.

A time-delay switch needs no neutral wire connection, so it can be fitted in a switch box that contains either one or two cables.

Wiring Home Construction

Automatic Switches

An automatic switch uses a narrow infrared beam to detect movement. When a hand passes within a few inches of the beam, an electronic signal turns the switch on or off. Some automatic switches have a manual dimming feature.

Automatic switches can be installed wherever a standard single-pole switch is used. Automatic switches are especially convenient for children and persons with disabilities.

Automatic switches require no neutral wire connections. For this reason, an automatic switch can be installed in a switch box containing either one or two cables. The wire leads on the switch are connected to hot circuit wires with wire connectors.

Motion-sensor Security Switches

A motion-sensor switch uses a wide-angle infrared beam to detect movement over a large area and turns on a light fixture automatically. A time-delay feature turns off lights after movement stops

Most motion-sensor switches have an override feature that allows the switch to be operated manually. Better switches include an adjustable sensitivity control and a variable time-delay shutoff control.

Motion-sensor switches require no neutral wire connections. They can be installed in switch boxes containing either one or two cables. The wire leads on the switch are connected to hot circuit wires with wire connectors.

Programmable Switches

Programmable switches represent the latest in switch design. They have digital controls and can provide four on-off cycles each day.

Programmable switches frequently are used to provide security when a homeowner is absent from the house. Law enforcement experts say that programmed lighting is a proven crime deterrent. For best protection, programmable switches should be set to a random on-off pattern.

Programmable switches require no neutral wire connections. They can be installed in switch boxes containing either one or two cables. The wire leads on the switch are connected to hot circuit wires with wire connectors.

THE DALLES-WASCO COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY 722 Court St.

Motion Switch Wiring For Dual SwitchesDoes The Neutral Wire Carry Current

Probe

Low-voltage bulb

Testing Switches for Continuity

A switch that does not work properly may have worn or broken internal parts. Test for internal wear with a battery-operated continuity tester. The continuity tester detects any break in the metal pathway inside the switch. Replace the switch if the continuity tester shows the switch to be faulty.

Never use a continuity tester on wires that might carry live current. Always shut off the power and disconnect the switch before testing for continuity.

Some specialty switches, like dimmers, cannot be tested for continuity. Electronic switches can be tested for manual operation using a continuity tester, but the automatic operation of these switches cannot be tested.

Everything You Need

Tools: continuity tester.

How to Test a Single-pole Wall Switch

Continuity tester uses battery-generated current to test the metal pathways running through switches and other electrical fixtures. Always "test" the tester before use. Touch the tester clip to the metal probe. The tester should glow. If not, then the battery or light bulb is dead and must be replaced.

Attach clip of tester to one of the screw terminals. Touch the tester probe to the other screw terminal. Flip switch lever from ON to OFF If switch is good, tester glows when lever is ON. but not when OFF

How to Test a Three-way Wall Switch

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Responses

  • walter
    How to wire a single pole switch and pilot light?
    4 years ago
  • Ulrich
    How to use a continuity tester on wires?
    2 years ago
  • LOBELIA
    How to wire a double switch with common feed?
    2 years ago
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    1 year ago
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    Can a single wire carry two buildings conveniently?
    12 months ago
  • primula
    How to wire a double switch to two separate lights diagram?
    10 months ago
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    How to connect a double switch for four lights?
    9 months ago

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