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Old 12-05-2019, 01:30 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by chevydan3 View Post
What the hell is a 5 way switch?
It’s what you use to select pickups in a Strat. Useless for lighting control at line voltage.
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Old 12-05-2019, 02:17 AM   #27 (permalink)
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Meh, done three way stuff for years, no big deal.
Like, with 2 chicks or another dude?

(not judging you )
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Old 12-05-2019, 08:06 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by M92pv4u View Post
My wife and I bought the house we live in, the handyman changed all of the light switches and 'fixed' a lot of little things the lights don't work correctly. I've been avoiding the three way switches. So how do you figure out which one is the traveler wire?
easiest way to find power is remove both 3-ways and find out which wire shocks you by touching it and the neutral/ground. the other two wires would be your travelers. this is assuming everything else was hooked up correctly in the first place though. if it’s been butchered, your job just got a lot harder as there is 24 different ways to hook up two 3-way switches and a light.
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Old 12-05-2019, 08:18 AM   #29 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by HUSSLR187 View Post
easiest way to find power is remove both 3-ways and find out which wire shocks you by touching it and the neutral/ground. the other two wires would be your travelers. this is assuming everything else was hooked up correctly in the first place though. if it’s been butchered, your job just got a lot harder as there is 24 different ways to hook up two 3-way switches and a light.
Thanks for the reply, I think I'm going to try this on Saturday. The handyman was a fuckin idiot.
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Old 12-05-2019, 08:39 AM   #30 (permalink)
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My wife and I bought the house we live in, the handyman changed all of the light switches and 'fixed' a lot of little things the lights don't work correctly. I've been avoiding the three way switches. So how do you figure out which one is the traveler wire?
Truthfully... without a multi meter its difficult because there are a few ways to wire in a 3 way.

"new work" can take a little longer than old work. Old work generally you're just trying to trouble shoot what configuration the wires land on the new switch because the old switch already worked


Best way to do it, is to work 1 switch at a time. Land all of the wires on a terminal,

Cycle both switches off/on to see if you can get the lights to come on. If nothing happens, move the wires to a new terminal.

Once you can get the lights to come on in one configuration move over to the other switch and rotate wires till the switch works as it should
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Old 12-05-2019, 08:45 AM   #31 (permalink)
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Thanks for the reply, I think I'm going to try this on Saturday. The handyman was a fuckin idiot.
there are two sides to a 3-way switch, top and bottom. depending on how your looking at it one side will have one terminal, the other side will have two terminals. the side with two terminals are for your travelers, the side with one terminal is for your power. this terminal is usually a different color than the travelers as well. one thing you may see depending on the setup is a hot white wire as the power. in this case one of the boxes has a white wire tied in to a black which looks wrong but “might” not be. shit like this is what your handyman runs into and “fixes” when he doesn’t understand how it works in the first place. then the breaker keeps tripping and he doesn’t know why.
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Old 12-05-2019, 08:58 AM   #32 (permalink)
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Thank you Doc Holiday 13 and HUSSLR187 I do own a multimeter and other testers.
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Old 12-05-2019, 09:05 AM   #33 (permalink)
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3 way switches must be hard. Of the 3 sets that were installed in my house none of them worked. 2 of them the wires were wrong. Another I haven't fixed, but its a 3 way setup with 2 regular single pole switches. I'm not sure I want to know how they wired that one.

They also wired the patio light and the end of the driveway light to the same switch. Since when you walk on the back patio you need to see at the mailbox. And there isnt a photocell on the driveway light. More stupid to fix
if the house was built 2000-09 most of the electricians were morons hired to fill a demand for the housing bubble. only a few understood how it works exactly. I did commercial for a year after the housing crash but got out after people started bidding at cost just to stay in business. there wasn’t much money left in my area after 08 so i gtfo
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Old 12-05-2019, 10:16 AM   #34 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by HUSSLR187 View Post
there are two sides to a 3-way switch, top and bottom. depending on how your looking at it one side will have one terminal, the other side will have two terminals. the side with two terminals are for your travelers, the side with one terminal is for your power. this terminal is usually a different color than the travelers as well.
Just a note, pretty much every switch I have wired has had the travelers at one end of the switch and the common at the other end of the switch.
Something like this:

Or this:

I haven't seen any where the travelers are both on one side and the common is on the other (other than possibly a switch that has wires coming out instead of screws/push in connectors on the sides).

Aaron Z
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Old 12-05-2019, 10:34 AM   #35 (permalink)
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What the hell is a 5 way switch?
you use 2 -3 way switches wired with 2- 4 way switches. So you have 4 switches on a single light circuit.

If you can't handle a 3 way switch you don't belong in the same room as a 5 way.


Edit- I have to say they are not simple at all. I only had to learn about them when I put all new switches in my house.
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Old 12-05-2019, 10:40 AM   #36 (permalink)
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Despite what some are saying there is only one way to hook up a 3way. Power on one common of the switch, the other common goes to the light and hook up the travelers. Everytime no matter what.

3ways work in pairs. So you can only have 2 at a time. Anymore than 2 switches controlling a light will also be using a 4 way. So 2 switches controlling a light is 2 3 ways, 3 switches is 2 3ways and 1 4way, 4 switches is 2 3ways and 2 4ways ect. 4 ways will always wire in between the 3 ways. Only travelers land on a 4 way switch.


Every pair of 3ways will have a hot, switchleg to the light, and two travelers.

Here is why some people get fucked up.

1. The hot and switchleg can be in the same 3way box.
2 The hot and switchlegs can be in separate 3way boxes
3. The hot and switch leg maybe brought into the same 4way box if one was used.
4. The hot maybe in one 3way box and the switchleg is in the 4way box.
5. The switchleg maybe in one 3way box and the hot at the 4way box.

In any case it doesnt make a squirt of piss which configuration you have if you understand what needs to go where. Simplest diagram shown in the picture.

Also they are called 3ways and 4ways for the switch design it has nothing to do with how many locations you can control a light from.
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Old 12-05-2019, 10:50 AM   #37 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by RANGERROD View Post
I roughed in a job. Guy that followed me on trim calls “hey I can’t get three ways and four ways to work. Why is one wire wrapped around the other?”

Me “tell me you didn’t Untwist them?”

5 hours later ringing stuff out they worked!
I'm a shade tree electrical guy. I can safely wire a home service to end. But I never did it for a living. Only to help myself and a few friends out.

What do the twisted wires mean? In case I ever finish a job for a real electrician... I wouldn't know what to do with the twisted wires.


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Originally Posted by trackerbcker(fvckVS) View Post
I'd hate to see you get into a box with a 4 way switch, being fed (ie powered) and switched (ie switch loop) going to it. Or a switch powered at the light(somewhat common in older homes), or switched outlets...or electrical

#doneSDCJing
The power for one of my 5 ways comes from a single bathroom light on its own switch. I lived for WEEKS with the bathroom light and the 5 way switch only working if the bathroom light was on and one of the 5 way switches was on. It would work or not work in odd switching combinations.

ended up pulling all the switches and connectivity testing each wire until I found out what was going on

It was a mess
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Old 12-05-2019, 01:09 PM   #38 (permalink)
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Usually two wires with one wrapped around is a three way. The one wrapped around with land on the black screw (common) the other two on the gold screws.
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Old 12-05-2019, 01:16 PM   #39 (permalink)
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Usually two wires with one wrapped around is a three way. The one wrapped around with land on the black screw (common) the other two on the gold screws.
I will squirrel that tid bit away & I see why the guy caused hours of work.
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Old 12-05-2019, 01:36 PM   #40 (permalink)
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Never in my 37 years in the Electrical Trade have I ever heard of a 5 way switch.
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Old 12-05-2019, 06:20 PM   #41 (permalink)
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Despite what some are saying there is only one way to hook up a 3way. Power on one common of the switch, the other common goes to the light and hook up the travelers. Everytime no matter what.

3ways work in pairs. So you can only have 2 at a time. Anymore than 2 switches controlling a light will also be using a 4 way. So 2 switches controlling a light is 2 3 ways, 3 switches is 2 3ways and 1 4way, 4 switches is 2 3ways and 2 4ways ect. 4 ways will always wire in between the 3 ways. Only travelers land on a 4 way switch.


Every pair of 3ways will have a hot, switchleg to the light, and two travelers.

Here is why some people get fucked up.

1. The hot and switchleg can be in the same 3way box.
2 The hot and switchlegs can be in separate 3way boxes
3. The hot and switch leg maybe brought into the same 4way box if one was used.
4. The hot maybe in one 3way box and the switchleg is in the 4way box.
5. The switchleg maybe in one 3way box and the hot at the 4way box.

In any case it doesnt make a squirt of piss which configuration you have if you understand what needs to go where. Simplest diagram shown in the picture.

Also they are called 3ways and 4ways for the switch design it has nothing to do with how many locations you can control a light from.
this is what I was referring to when I said there were 24 different ways it can be done. yes the switches themselves only work one way but the path it travels to do so can be various depending on how the house was wired.
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Old 12-05-2019, 09:13 PM   #42 (permalink)
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Don’t forget a California 3 way will fuck up someone who’s never seen it. As much as I dislike them, they’re useful.
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Old 12-05-2019, 09:51 PM   #43 (permalink)
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Never in my 37 years in the Electrical Trade have I ever heard of a 5 way switch. <a href="https://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/images/smilies/rolleyes.gif" border="0" alt="" title="Roll Eyes (Sarcastic)" >:-)</a>
Lol. Wrong terminology but 5 switches.
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Old 12-05-2019, 11:02 PM   #44 (permalink)
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you use 2 -3 way switches wired with 2- 4 way switches. So you have 4 switches on a single light circuit.

If you can't handle a 3 way switch you don't belong in the same room as a 5 way.


Edit- I have to say they are not simple at all. I only had to learn about them when I put all new switches in my house.


Yeah, that’s just a regular old 4-way setup. Nothing that complicated about them, just extra switches in the travelers.
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Old 12-28-2019, 09:08 PM   #45 (permalink)
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Update on my 3-way switches they were shortened internally so I just kept track of the wires and now everything works like it should.
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