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Electrical Wire and Cable

The Key to 4 Way Switch Wiring

By Dave Rongey - Summary:

How to Wire a 4 Way Switch: My old 4-way light switch broke. I bought a new switch. The new switch has 4 terminals, two on either side, top and bottom.

Guide to Wiring a 4 Way Switch

Electrical Question: My old 4-way light switch broke so I bought a new switch and I am trying to connect the wires.

This electrical question came from: Bob, a Homeowner from Newbury, New Hampshire.
Additional Comments: Thanks for the diagrams.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Bob.

How to Wire a 4 Way Switch

4Way Switch Wiring

Application: Wiring a 4Way Light Switch.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Best installed by a Licensed Electrician.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and Power Tools for installing electrical wiring, and Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience and ability to work with hand and power tools.
Precaution: Identify the lighting circuit, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring.
Notice: Installing additional 3-way or 4-way switch wiring should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.

Wiring Connections to the 4 Way Switch Screw Terminals

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MORE ABOUT THIS TOPIC: 4-Way Switch, Lighting

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2 Responses to “The Key to 4 Way Switch Wiring”
  1. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Vicki,
    Wiring a 4Way Switch
    I have updated the original article to help explain how important it is to keep the sets of wires and screws identified for the correct wiring. If the wiring becomes mixed up then try to match up a set of wires with the cables as they lead into the switch box. As you have stated, if the wiring configuration is not working right then you may have to adjust the orientation of the wires as they attach to the sets of screw terminals on the 4way switch. I have added an additional photo of a 4way switch to this article which shows how the screw terminals at the top are one color, and the bottom are a different color. Therefore the sets of wires connect accordingly, and it matters not which wire set is attached to the top or bottom, as long as the wire sets are maintained.
    I hope this helps,

  2. Vicki says:

    I have installed a new 4 way switch which is to the motion light on the deck. The problem is that the screws are all brass colored so no way to tell which way to attach the wires. The light is now always on. Should I just rearrange the wires to the opposite sides?