Wiring a four-way switch is easy if you are familiar with three-way switch wiring. It is just an addition of a 4-way switch in-between the 3-way switches.
A multi-way switching allows you to control light fixtures from three or more locations. They are useful on a stairway to control light from both ends and halfway.
Materials required to wire a four-way light switch
- Two 3-way switches
- One 4-way switch
- Non-metallic Romex cable
- Switch box
Electrical tools required to wire a 4-way light switch
Wiring a four-way light switch requires the following tools
- Wire stripper
- 4 in 1 screwdriver
- Utility knife
- Voltage tester
- Electrical tape
How to wire a 4-way switch with diagram
Wiring a 4-way light switch is easy for electricians. But for non-electrical workers, it may be hard. To understand everything about four-way switch wiring, first, learn how to wire a single pole light switch and three-way switch wiring.
Once you understand the wiring procedures, you will know it is very easy.
From the above diagram, the power source (black wire) from supply moves straight and connects to the common terminal of the second 3-way switch. The travel terminal with red and white wire connects to the T1 terminal of the four-way switch.
It then connects to T2 of the same switch before connecting to the traveler terminals of the first 3-way switch and the light bulb.
You can also see the earthing wires duely connected to the earth terminals.
The black electrical tape on the white wire shows that the wire is a hot-wire and not neutral.
Troubleshooting a four-way light switch
One of the major causes of power failure is a wrong connection. Make sure you wire the circuit properly by following these steps.
- Connect a four-way switch between two 3-way switches.
- Four-way switches have five terminals. One earth or ground screw, and four travelers terminals. Make sure you connect it properly by following the above diagram.
- For a four-way switch to work properly, the three-way switches must be correctly wired. Make sure that you connect the common terminal of one of the 3-way switches to the power source, and the second common to the hot terminal of the load.
- Make sure that the traveler wires connect to only traveler terminals of the switches. A 4-way switch will only be connected to traveler wires and not hot or neutral wires.
- Make sure the neutral from the source only connects to the neutral terminal of the load.
Once everything is in order, the electrical system will work. If the issue persists, test the switch.
If you have an existing switch that stopped working, it may have worn out or the terminal screw may have loosened. Check the screw with your screwdriver to make sure it is tight.
You can also test the functionality of the switch with a multimeter or continuity tester.
To test a three-way switch, connect one of the multimeter probes to the common terminal of the switch, and the other to the traveler terminal. Flip the switch toggle to view the meter. If it shows any movement, the switch is still good. Otherwise, the switch may have malfunctioned.
To test a four-way switch, connect one probe to one terminal in a pair and the other probe to the traveler terminal in the other pair. Flip the switch toggle to watch for movement. Move one probe to the other terminal and test again. Still move the second probe to another terminal for testing. If there is movement, the switch is probably good. If not, change the switch.
Frequently Asked Questions on 4-way switch wiring
How do I wire a 4-way switch?
A 4-way switch has two pairs of traveler terminals called T1 and T2. You can wire it by connecting the wires from the traveler terminals of the second 3-way switch to the T1 of the four-way switch, then connect the T2 terminals to the travelers of the first three-way switch.
You can refer to this wiring diagram if you need more insight.
What Colour is the common terminal on a four-way switch?
A four-way switch doesn’t have a common terminal, they have only two pairs of traveler terminals, one set usually black and the other one brass colour.