Electric Switch Not As Expected

I'm visiting my dad and he asked me to swap out a light switch just inside the front door down stairs. There are three light switches that allow you to turn the downstairs (garage) lights on so it doesn't matter whether you flip it from any approach to the garage, the result should be the same. The switch just inside the front door had become very iffy and we both decided another switch was necessary.
He bought another on-off switch and I swapped them out. There were two white wires that I connected to the brass screws and two red wires that connected to the silver colored screws on the sides of the new switch... just like the old switch was set up. Initially, it seemed to work just fine but we later found it now acted as a sort of master switch. The other switches were no longer able to turn on the lights unless this new switch was also turned on. What in the hell happened?
I swear there were only the four wires and that I connected them in an identical way to the original switch.... white to brass. This should have been just a simple swap.
--
Mortimer Schnerd, RN

Mschnerdatcarolina.rr.com
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Did you purchase a 4-way switch?
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This is a four way switch. Some four way switches wire top to bottom, and some side to side. If you attached the R and W from one cable to the top of the switch, and the R and W from the other cable to the bottom of the switch, try removing them and installing one set to the left side and the other set to the right side

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Did you look at the switch and see how the wires were connected ? While you may have connected them to the same color screws, you may have them under the wrong screw of the same color.
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Another possibility is that he bought a double pole switch instead of a four way switch. A double pole toggle switch will say "on" "off" on the handle. This would be the wrong switch for this application, although it looks identical to a four way switch

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On Sun, 30 Sep 2007 22:36:20 -0400, "RBM" <rbm2(remove

Me too
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been there, done that. <sigh>

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On Sun, 30 Sep 2007 22:36:20 -0400, "RBM" <rbm2(remove

I never knew they made double pole switches for home wiring. What application would they be used for?

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wrote:

Switching 240V loads
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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one application i've seen it in, is a 220v light circuit.
s

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On Sun, 30 Sep 2007 22:10:56 -0400, Mortimer Schnerd, RN wrote:

Are you sure the old switch wasn't either a 3-way or 4-way switch? You state that there are 3 light switches, an indication that you might need a 4-way switch.
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i think that was a given, seeing as how he said it had FOUR wires hooked to it.
s

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Yep, and I'll bet that the replacement is a standard DPST toggle switch.
For the OP:
Both types of switches have four screw terminals, arranged thus: A B C D
A four-way switch (which is what you removed), in one position connects A to C and B to D, and in the other position, connects A to D and B to C.
What I think you probably put in, a DPST toggle switch, in one position connects A to C and B to D, and in the other position, connects *nothing*.
--
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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