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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys I'm back again with a question. I've been trying to find some general principles to go by when wiring 3-way/4-way lighting circuits, because I know just memorizing colors is not a solid way of understanding how to wire a 3-way/4-way switch lighting circuit.

So far this is what I've come up with by looking at diagrams where the source comes in at either a switch box or at the light:

1. One of the two 3-way switches will have their common connected to the power source.

2. The other 3-way switch will have its common connected directly to the light/load.

My question is, from what I just wrote is there a situation where those two principles would not hold true? Like would adding a certain amount of 4-ways or having the source come in at a specific device location make it so 1&2 are not true?

Once again thanks for reading this and I appreciate any info/advice.
 

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just remember one switch has a power leg, and the another switch has a a switch leg actually controlling the lights, and don't get your travelers mixed up.
 

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I own stock in FotoMat!
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The best way to understand how to wire 3-way and 4-way switches is to get one of each and take a continuity tester to them.
 

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My father once told me that there are 11 ways to wire a 3 way switch configuration. I know of 7 that I have done. I alway look at the 4 way as being in series of the wiring. Keeps from making it complicated.

Your 3 ways are the key. Using 3 wire, your hot and switch leg can be in any of the switch boxes (pretty much) to make any configuration work.

I trouble shoot some where the 3 wire for the 3 ways goes through the light box for which they are controlling.

Boss calls it a 3 up-3 down method.
 

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Except when you have the switch leg and feed both in one box and you have to send over the feed (or switch leg) to the other box.

In that case you would tie the feed on to the common terminal, the red and black of the 3 wire between the boxes as the travelers and the white of the 3 wire spliced to the switch leg.
In the other box, the travelers are still travelers, and the white would be your common.
 

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There are a lot of different ways to wire them but my preferred method is:

Power in at 3way #1

14-3 daisy chained between all the 4-way locations terminating at
3-way #2.

Power out to lights from 3-way #2

Easy to trim out and you don't end up with a pile of conductors in your ceiling box. JMHO
 

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I hate the setup you've mentioned. I like to feed and leg out of the same box. Dead end the way on the other end.
I thought in the NEC, you had to have a neutral at every outlet, or something like that?

I'm asking because I am not knowing the NEC. Just curious. I do the dead end thing often, but with the new occupancy sensors now available, I think twice. ;)

Borgi
 

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I thought in the NEC, you had to have a neutral at every outlet, or something like that?

I'm asking because I am not knowing the NEC. Just curious. I do the dead end thing often, but with the new occupancy sensors now available, I think twice. ;)

Borgi
That's coming next code cycle for me, and often if it's a two three or for gang, it won't matter because chances are there will be a neutal they're anyway.
 

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I hate the setup you've mentioned. I like to feed and leg out of the same box. Dead end the way on the other end.
So you end up with (2) 14-2 and (1) 14-3 in a single gang box and that's assuming it's a circuit dedicated just for that lighting string. Like I said, it's just my preference. I like to try to keep the boxes as empty as possible.
 

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I never had any idea that there were 11 different ways to wire a 3 way circuit. Learn something new EVERY day....
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for the info guys. Can anyone do me a favor and link or upload an image of the circuit mentioned which involves a 14-4 wire? I have never come across this before.
 

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An old foremen of mine always said " there are two ways of doing it, my way and the Navy way. And my way is the Navy way"!
 

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Thanks for the info guys. Can anyone do me a favor and link or upload an image of the circuit mentioned which involves a 14-4 wire? I have never come across this before.
14/4 is used for a dead-end 3-way because the NEC requires a neutral there.
 
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