Electrical Wiring in the Home/light switches

Advertisement


Question
Hi, I am trying to figure out why my hallway lights dont work,, I replaced all the switches 4 but 2 of the old ones had 4way wiring,, its an 1950s ranch,, and I think its origanal,   there are 2 about 15 ft apart on the same wall, with the same heavy gauge wires, but the one closest to the batroom has 4 wires with 2 black capped off behind the switch,, then the hall Ts off to the front door, with a switch n the other side  and I dont know how they are powered,, before I disconected them,, the one by the front door, had 122 volts,, then after I changed the switch, I cant get it to read mor than 3 volts,,they must be hooked in series,, but I am no electrician,, any help?

Answer
Unfortunately, colors really don't mean much when it comes to 3 way and 4 way switches.  Every multiple switch circuit has 2 3-way switches.  Any others are 4 way. One screw is a different color on each 3 way switch.  The odd color screw goes to the black power source on one side, and to the black fixture wire on the other.  The other two screws have wires that go only to the other switches.  If you don't put the right wires on the right screws, they will not work.

Also make sure that you did not knock any wires loose when you replaced the switches. Recheck the wires on the screws, and check the wires connected to each other with wirenuts.
About Electrical Wiring in the Home
This site answers questions related to home electrical wiring, home wiring, general electrical help,and other electrical questions related to aleternating current (AC). You can find help on the National Electical Code, home electrical issues, wiring electrical outlets, installing lighting, electrical grounding, and general electrical help for do-it-yourself projects not require an electrician. If you do not see your home electrical wiring question answered in this area then please ask your electrical wiring question here

Electrical Wiring in the Home

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Bob Sponaugle

Expertise

Just about any home wiring question. (not appliance repair) I have done all kinds of home wiring for myself, including adding a new breaker box, etc. Please, questions from North America only. Please be specific with details.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.