4 way switch troubleshooting

4 way switch troubleshooting. I was at my home; it was getting late for me to sleep. My home has 3 floors, and each floor has a 4-way switch. I was about to sleep, the lights on the top floors were switched on, and I was tired enough not to go up on the floor to switch off the lights.

I had a 4-way switch, and I tried to avail it because it would have not only gotten me the desired result, but at the same time, it would have also saved me some time. But when I tried to use it, I found out it wasn’t working for me.

It was indeed something unacceptable for me at that moment, because I had to go to the top floor to switch off the lights.

From this experience, I learned that we should know a little about our home electric system; we shouldn’t be totally dependent on professional electricians because sometimes, blue electrical systems can demand quick troubleshooting and repair.

I then got some understanding of the wiring work of the 4-way switch, and this helped me in life a number of times whenever I faced any sort of problem with it.

You may also have gone through similar experiences like this, and in the future, you also you can have such experiences again.

Therefore I am here to share my research with you about wiring and troubleshooting so that when you face it next time, you can do it on your own without the help of professionals and spending some money.

4 way switch troubleshooting

4 way switch troubleshooting

Now below, we discuss how to troubleshoot a 4-way switch.

Troubleshoot a 4-way switch

In the following points, you will be able to understand how to troubleshoot a 4-way switch.

First, you need to find space between two 3-way switch terminals, and there, you have to connect the 4-way switch.

In the 4-way switch, you will get to see 5 terminals, one terminal is a ground terminal, 2 terminals are traveler terminals, and 2 terminals are common terminals. What you have to make sure about them is that they are properly connected.

If you want to see your 4-way switch working properly, then you have to make sure your 3-way switch is working properly. What you have to make sure of here is that you connect the common terminal of one of the two 3-way switches to the power source.

Another point that should be kept in mind is that traveler wires should only be connected with the traveler terminals of switches. Many people often end up connecting traveler wires with common terminals and ground terminals which makes their efforts futile.

You also have to make sure that 4- the way switch is connected only to traveler wires, not to other types of wires such as hot and wire that is neutral.

If you know everything is well in order, then it should be smoothly functioning, but if you see the problem still there, the problem persists, then you must test the switch.

Testing switches

testing switches

If despite seeing everything in the switches well in their position, you still see the problem, then there are chances that it may have malfunctioned or probably the terminals screws have loosened.

If you see a problem with loose screwdrivers, then you can tighten them up to get the desired result.

What is the 4-way switch?

It’s a switch that is electrical in nature which helps the light to turn off and turn on in 3 or more 3 places.  This is definitely more than the older wiring system 3-way switch, but you won’t get to see them more often than 3 way-switch.

In the 4-way switch, you will get to see 4 brass terminals of the screw and whereas in the 3-way switch, you will get to see 3 brass terminals of the screw.

How many terminals does a 4-way switch have?

The 4-way switch has 5 terminals, and they are mentioned below.

  • 2 traveler terminals
  • 2 common terminals
  • 1  common terminal.

What is required for the four-wire switch?

You need the following things to wire the 4-way switch

  • Bulb
  • Box for switch
  • Cable that is non-metallic
  • 2,3-way switch
  • 1, 4-way switch


Before you do any work on the electrical system, it is the best idea for you to turn off the main power and also to wear a protective glove in order to prevent yourself from any electric shock.

Wiring for professionals and laities

Doing any electrical work is indeed very easy for professionals, but for laities, it can be a challenging task. Therefore it is a must for you to get some basic understanding of wiring.


4-way switch troubleshooting. In this article, you have learned why you need to know the basics of wiring and troubleshooting. You have learned the basics of wiring and troubleshooting.

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