3-Way Switches And 4-Way Switches
These pages describe how to use 3-way and 4-way switches to control lights from two or more locations. That is the primary of several related pages explaining how to control lights with multiple switches. Unless you have already got a superb understanding of the intricacies of 3- and 4-way switches, it is best to read not less than the first three of those pages in order.
Tutorial: How 3-way and 4-way switch circuits work. This is a basic explanation of how to turn lights on and off from more than one location.
– 4-way switches — an animation. This one-minute animated tutorial is my clearest presentation of 3- and 4-way switches in action.
3-way switch variations. Several example circuits using two switches to manage a light. Some have the light between the switches, while some have the light at the top. These illustrations show code-compliant wire colors.
4-way switch variations. An identical collection of circuits for those who need three or more switches.These illustrations show code-compliant wire colors.
Controlling multiple lights from multiple switches. When you need to manage several light fixtures from one set of switches, this explains how.
– Disconnected your switches and can’t figure out how one can replace them? See My 3-way switches do not work, or
My 4-way switches don’t work.
A completely Different Approach: Radio Remote Control
Disclaimer: I have no experience with X10 automation. I only offer this section after getting a number of questions from people who find themselves in a situation that’s difficult to handle with conventional passive switches. I don’t have any recommendations or endorsements to offer for particular brands.
Oops! You installed the wiring, covered all of it with dry-wall, and have now discovered that you just did not pull 3-conductor cable everywhere you should have. Is there any hope in need of tearing out dry wall? Yes: X10 home automation products. You may install one standard switch that may also be remotely radio controlled from a second switch anywhere in your house. See, for example, this page on Three Way Switch Emulation with X10 products. You might also do an internet seek for “X10 home automation.”
X10 automation appears to be a good alternative when retrofitting a home for second or third switches to regulate a light or lights. X10 is costlier than standard switches, but demands less wiring. Basically, you replace the first switch, add a control module, and add a remote unwired switch. With minimal programming, your system should work with nothing but 2-conductor cable.