3 way dimmer on 4 way circuit


From the symptoms you describe, it sounds like the switches are all wired in series, since all switches (including the dimmer) need to be on for the light to be on.

If the switches are not so-called "3-way" switches (you can tell because 3-way switches have 3 terminal screws), then there is no way you can wire them up to do what you want. The good news is that is indeed possible to do what you want, and that the switches required to do the job are standard (but not "garden-variety") products, and they'll be more expensive.

If you want to have 3 switches all be able to turn a light on/off independently, you need to buy 2x 3-way switches and 1x 4-way switch. If you want to have 4 switches all be able to turn a light on/off independently, you need to buy 2x 3-way switches and 2x 4-way switches. If you want to have 5 switches all be able to turn a light on/off independently, you need to buy 2x 3-way switches and 3x 4-way switches. I'm sure you can detect the trend...

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I have a Legrand (Pass & Seymour H703P) dimmer that I installed in a 4 way circuit. This dimmer has its common connected to the line so it's 1st in the circuit line and not in the middle or end. This dimmer also has a green indicator light that goes ON when the lights are off and goes OFF when the lights are on.

Why does the indicator light on the switch only go dim when the lights are on as opposed to going completely off? The other 2 toggle switches work perfectly as does the dimmer itself in the grand scheme of things but just the green indicator on the dimmer has me concerned with only going dim when on and not completely off.

I have this same dimmer on another circuit but it's a 3 way circuit and it works like it should with the indicator light off when the lights are on. Is this because it's on a 4 way circuit and that it is expected to be dim when on?

Thanks in...

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Wiring 3Way and 4Way Dimmer Switches

Electrical Question: How can I wire a 3way dimmer switch to one of the switch locations?

I want to add a dimmer switch to one of the switch locations. I replaced one of the three way switches with a 3 way dimmer switch.

I have a four way switch set up like your diagram shows and it works great. The dimmer switch now acts like a master switch. As long as the switch is on, the other switches in the circuit work and I can dim the lights. However, if I turn the dimmer off, the other switches will not turn the light on. Is there a special type of dimmer switch in this circumstance?


This electrical question came from: Terry, a Handyman from Bermuda, New York.

Additional Comments: Great Website.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Terry and Mary.

How to Wire 3Way and 4Way Dimmer Switches

Application: Wiring a Dimmer Switch.
Skill Level: Beginner to...

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For a 3 way (2 switches) or 4 way (3 switches) circuit, you need to replace both/all switches with INSTEON switches. The master switch that controls the load can be a dimmer, relay switch or keypad. The remote switches(s) can be keypad or similar switch/dimmer to the main switch.

You will then re-purpose the existing traveller wires so that only one switch controls the load and the 'remote' or 'slave' switch is simply provided with hot and neutral. Then create an INSTEON link back and forth between the switches/dimmers. This can be expanded to create 4 way or larger circuits. And by design you can also simply add another switch anywhere in the house, give it power, and link it to create 3 way switching where none previously existed.

The 3 way kit 2494M4 they mention in this video is no longer available. Simply purchase 2 or more insteon switches, dimmers or keypads.

PLEASE NOTE: Electrical work can be dangerous and is recommended to be performed by qualified...

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More Three-Way and Four-Way Switch Circuits

Which One Should I Use, Part VII (Preamble)

Welcome back to HTI. Even though you are reading this in February (most likely), I am actually writing this at the Las Vegas airport the day after the Winter 1998 CES convention. I have a few hours before my plane takes me back home so I am sitting on the floor next to gate #3 typing on my laptop. Bob Hetherington (HTI founder and all round nice guy) sent me an email before I came to Las Vegas and reminded me that February is just around the corner. So here I am, sitting on the floor, writing as fast as I can.

First let me tell you about CES which ran January 8-11. As always, it was huge. Most of it was in the Las Vegas Convention Center, with a major part in the nearby Hilton (more on that later) plus the Sands plus a few other hotels. (A few years ago, they moved all the "adult" stuff to one of the hotels. Now I can no longer pretend that I just accidentally walked by.)...

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Was it a standard dimmer switch, rather than a 3-way one?

When replacing an on/off switch with a dimmer switch, you must make sure the type of switch (standard, 3-way, 4-way) matches. They make all three types of on/off switches, but I've only ever seen standard and 3-way dimmers. I figure the rarity of use for 4-way dimmers, combined with the rarity with which they would be purchased, make them not worth manufacturing.

Anyway, in a 4-way circuit (or more-way), you can replace either 3-way on/off switch (which will either be the first or last switch) with a 3-way dimmer. But it must be a 3-way dimmer, not a basic dimmer.

I refer you to some excellent diagrams on wikipedia to see how multi-way circuits work. Note the difference between how a 3-way and 4-way switch work. If you can find a 4-way dimmer switch, you could replace any 4-way switch in a multi-way circuit with it. Otherwise, it's either got to be the first or last...

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Replacing a Switch with a Dimmer Switch

Hi i'm trying to wire in a dimmer switch.

The dimmer has a turn switch and a normal switch.
There are 2 loads and 2 lines with in this switch.
The old dimmer only has 1 line and 1 load on it and there are only 2 wires in the wall red and blue.

The new dimmer wont work properly when i connect and use jumpers, what am I doing wrong?

Dave's reply:
The switch that you purchased is really two switches in one, and it appears that this switch has a dimmer for lights and a speed control.
This combo type switch is normally used to control a ceiling fan and light.
It would be best to purchase a single dimmer switch that will have the same wiring as found with the original switch.
Make sure the dimmer switch will be compatible with the lamps that are in the light fixture.

Recent Questions and Comments

Troubleshooting Light Switch Wiring


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How complicated can 3 way switch troubleshooting be? Consider this. Since a 2-switch system has 3 wires to be connected to 3 terminals at each box, it works out that only 1 out of 9 possibilities will work. Each 4 way switch in-between would worsen the odds by a factor of 3. And any defective switch or connection further complicates things. What is going to be easier -- trial and error or understanding the 3 way switch system? ... (Or maybe calling an electrician in your area?)

Terminology and How a 3-Way System Works
Generic 4-Way and 3-Way Switch Diagrams
Wire Colors in a Multiple Switch System

The Basic 3-Way Switch Arrangement
3-Way Switch Variations

The Basic 4-Way Switch Arrangement
4-Way Switch Variations

3 Way Switch Troubleshooting

Terminology and How a 3-way System Works

Multiple switches may be located at several approaches to a room in order to turn the room's lights on or off from any one of...

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The AC light dimmer circuit can control light bulb or speed AC motor, we use triac and SCR as main,and adjust potentiometer and switch,more projects circuits below:

AC Dimmer for Lamp 6.3V

This the circuit AC dimmer low voltage For lamp 6V. While this friends may don’t see the advantage of this circuit. But I thinks first step advantage be something get learn the work of Triac. And have tall safety , because of use AC Low Voltage. Which the work is simple be The UJT Q1 will do the frequency give Triac work or make Lamp the bright. By have work rate of Triac can control with R1 or Be something dimmer there. You will may apply with the size Voltage the other all right. The Q1 use UJT – 2N4891 or other. A friend may gain an advantage from AC Dimmer for Lamp 6V , please sir.

Very cheap ac light dimmer

You may had saw to a complicated AC light dimmer circuit ago. Now let’s look simple, but useful, fairly good.
This circuit uses a capacitor in...

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–Check local regulations for restrictions and permit requirements before beginning electrical work–

The wiring diagrams on this page make use of 4 way switches, between two 3 way switches, to control lights from three or more locations. A 4-way dimmer diagram is included as well as an arrangement to control the lights from four different points. Check here for 4 way switch troubleshooting and help with 3 ways switches here. For circuits that control lights from two locations only, check the wiring diagrams at this link.

Source at First Switch

In this basic 4 way light circuit the source is at the first switch and the hot connects to the common on that switch. Three-wire cable runs between all the switches and the traveler wires are connected between the two 3-ways and the 4-way. Two-wire cable runs from the last switch to the light fixture and the common on that switch connects to the hot terminal on the light.

Source at the Light


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–Check local regulations for restrictions and permit requirements before beginning electrical work–

Three-way switches allow for controlling a light fixture from two separate locations, these are usually used at the top and bottom of a flight of stairs or at two different entrances to a room. On this page are several wiring diagrams that can be used to map 3 way lighting circuits depending on the location of the source with relation to the lights. Included is a diagram for a 3 way dimmer and an arrangement to control a receptacle from two locations. For more information about these circuits and troubleshooting tips check below.

Source at First Switch and Light at the End

In this diagram the electrical source is at the first switch and the light is located at the end of the circuit. Three-wire cable runs between the switches and 2-wire cable runs to the light. The black and red wires between SW1 and SW2 are connected to the traveler terminals. The hot source...

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A 3-way lamp, also known as a tri-light, is a lamp that uses a 3-way light bulb to produce three levels of light in a low-medium-high configuration. A 3-way lamp requires a 3-way bulb and socket, and a 3-way switch. Unlike an incandescent lamp controlled by a dimmer, each of the filaments operates at full voltage, so the color of the light does not change over the three steps of light available. Certain compact fluorescent lamp bulbs are designed to replace 3-way incandescent bulbs, and have an extra contact and circuitry to bring about similar light level control. Some do consume more current and some don't.

Lamp bulbs with dual (carbon) filaments were built as early as 1902 to allow adjustable lighting levels. Large lamps of 500-watt rating were used for street lighting in France, which had a second filament at 200 watts to reduce lighting costs. In 1933 in the United States, Westinghouse announced a dual-filament lamp for commercial lighting and a smaller lamp for...

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