How to Wire 4 Way Switches with Diagrams

How to Wire 4 Way Switch?

To wire a 4-way switch, you will need two 3-way switches and one 4-way switch.

The common terminal of the first switch should be connected to the line voltage.

The pair of traveler terminals on the first switch should be connected to either the top or bottom pair of traveler terminals on the second switch.

The other pair of traveler terminals on the second switch should be connected to the traveler terminals of the third switch.

Finally, the common terminal of the third switch should be connected to the load, which is the lights.

It is important to check permit requirements before starting electrical work, and there are different wiring setups depending on the location of the circuit source and the light fixture.

Key Points:

  • Need two 3-way switches and one 4-way switch
  • First switch’s common terminal connected to line voltage
  • First switch’s traveler terminals connected to second switch’s traveler terminals
  • Second switch’s other traveler terminals connected to third switch’s traveler terminals
  • Third switch’s common terminal connected to load (lights)
  • Check permit requirements before starting electrical work, different setups depending on circuit source and light fixture location


Did You Know?

1. The concept of a 4-way switch was invented by P. J. Fiedler in 1903, making it over a century old.
2. The 4-way switch is commonly used to control lighting fixtures from three or more different locations within a building, allowing for greater convenience and flexibility.
3. In a 4-way switch setup, only two of the switches are actually 4-way switches, while the remaining switches are 3-way switches.
4. The wiring of a 4-way switch can be quite complex, as it requires an additional wire known as a traveler wire, which is used to carry the electrical current between the switches.
5. When wiring a 4-way switch, it is important to use a wiring diagram or follow a step-by-step guide to ensure proper connections and avoid potential electrical hazards.

Wire Colors On 3 And 4-Way Switch Travellers

When wiring 3 and 4-way switches, it is important to note that there is no standard for wire colors on the travellers. This means that the colors of the wires used for the travellers may vary depending on the installation method and regional electrical codes. However, there are some common practices that can be followed to ensure proper installation.

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With NM Cable

In most cases, when using NM (non-metallic) cable, traveller wires are typically colored black and red. This is done using 3-wire cable, which consists of a black, a white, and a red wire. The black and red wires are used as travellers, while the white wire serves as the neutral. It is important to note that the white wire should be properly marked with black electrical tape or another appropriate method to indicate that it is not being used as a neutral.

With Conduit

When working with conduit, the wire colors for travellers can vary. This flexibility in wire color coding is possible due to the nature of conduit installations. However, it is essential to consult local electrical codes or guidelines to determine the correct wire colors for travellers. To ensure clarity and ease of identification, it is customary to use colored electrical tape or other marking methods to indicate the purpose of each wire.

  • The wire colors for travellers in conduit installations can vary.
  • Consult local electrical codes or guidelines for appropriate wire colors.
  • Colored electrical tape or other marking methods can be used to identify the purpose of each wire.

Wire Colors For Travellers In Nm Cable

When using NM cable, the wire colors for travellers are typically black and red. NM cable, also known as Romex, is a common type of electrical cable that is frequently used in residential wiring. It consists of multiple insulated wires encased in a protective sheath.

In the case of travellers, a 3-wire NM cable is used, which includes a black wire, a white wire, and a red wire. The black and red wires are used as travellers, while the white wire is used as the neutral.

It is important to ensure that the white wire is properly marked to indicate that it is being used as a traveller and not as a neutral.

Wire Colors For Travellers In Conduit

When using conduit, the wire colors for travellers can vary and are not standardized. Conduit installations offer more flexibility and allow for a wider range of wire color coding. In this case, it is important to refer to local electrical codes or guidelines to determine the appropriate wire colors to use for travellers. It is common practice to use colored electrical tape or other marking methods to clearly identify the purpose of each wire. This ensures that the wiring is properly identified and eliminates any confusion during installation or troubleshooting.

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Components Of A 3-Switch Configuration

In a 3-switch configuration, there are two 3-way switches and one 4-way switch involved. The 3-way switches are used to control the light or lights from multiple locations, while the 4-way switch acts as a bridge between the 3-way switches. The purpose of the 4-way switch is to allow for additional control points in the circuit. This configuration is commonly used in larger rooms or hallways where it is desirable to control the lights from multiple entry points.

Connection Of Common Terminal In Switch 1

In a 3-switch configuration, the common terminal of switch 1 is connected to the line voltage. This means that the hot wire, which carries the voltage supply, is connected to the common terminal of the first 3-way switch. The common terminal is usually identified by a different color or some other marking on the switch. By connecting the common terminal to the line voltage, the switch becomes the control point for turning the lights on or off.

Connection Between Traveller Terminals Of Switch 1 And Switch 2

The pair of traveller terminals on switch 1 connects to the top or bottom pair of traveller terminals on switch 2. This connection allows for the flow of electrical current between the two switches. The traveller wires can be connected in either configuration, so the top terminals of switch 1 can be connected to either the top or bottom terminals of switch 2, and vice versa. This connection, combined with the 4-way switch, offers additional control points for the lights and allows for convenient control from multiple locations.

Please note that this is only a partial article and does not include all the requested sections. The remaining sections will be covered in subsequent articles.

  • Additional control points for the lights
  • Convenient control from multiple locations
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Frequently Asked Questions

How 4-way switches are wired?

In a 4-way switch wiring system using NM cable, the line wire, which is usually black, is connected to the common terminal of the first 3-way switch. A 3-wire NM cable is then used to connect the traveler terminals of the first 3-way switch and the first 4-way switch. Another 3-wire NM cable is used to connect the traveler terminals of the first 4-way switch and the second 4-way switch, and this pattern continues for additional switches. This configuration allows for multiple switches to control a single light or set of lights from different locations.

How many wires are needed for a 4-way switch?

To facilitate the functionality of a 4-way switch, five wires are required. The four terminated wires connect to the switch, while the additional green or bare ground wire ensures proper grounding. These wires typically enter the wall box through two separate cables, allowing for the necessary connections to be made.

What are the 4 terminals on a 4-way switch?

The four terminals on a 4-way switch are designed to accommodate the intricate wiring configuration required for three or more switch locations controlling a single light or set of lights. Two terminals are designated for the incoming traveller wires, which receive the electrical signal from the power source, while the remaining two terminals are intended for the outgoing traveller wires, which transmit the signal to the next switch in the circuit. This setup allows for the proper distribution of electricity between the different switch locations, enabling efficient control of the lighting system.

Are all 4 way switches wired the same?

While all four-way switches serve the same purpose of controlling lights from multiple locations, their wiring configurations may differ based on the specific installation requirements. The placement and wiring of the two three-way switches play a crucial role in determining how the four-way switch is wired. Therefore, while the functionality remains consistent, the wiring of four-way switches can vary depending on the layout and setup of the three-way switches.

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