The magic of 3 and 4 way switches

Four way light switch

Our front hall light has three switches, downstairs, upstairs and on the landing by the front door. I finally got tired of having to run up and down the stairs to adjust the dimmer so this weekend up replaced the three rocker switches with some smarter components which allow me to adjust the light level from any of the three switches, no more running up and down stairs. Ah… laziness is such a great motivator.

Four way light switch

Replacing light switches is generally pretty simple… but replacing a four-way circuit was something new to me. A key thing to understand: the number in “3” and “4”-way switches has nothing to do with the number of light switches, it has to do with the number of switched wires. In my entryway I have three light switches… the circuit is, however, made up of two 3-way switches and one 4-way switch. I wasn’t quite sure what makes a four-way circuit work but thankfully came across an excellent animation by Rick Mathews which completely demystified 4-way switches.

So, a bit of studying on the internet, a bit of wiring, a bit of testing, a bit of finding the lights don’t work and a bit more wiring… I’m now a happy, lazy nerd.

Light switches

1 thought on “The magic of 3 and 4 way switches”

  1. Hey there happy, lazy nerd..

    I’ve put up a new site that will help you with your light switch wiring in future

    P.S. love your photos, say hi to Finney..

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *