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
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
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
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
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
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 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*.
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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