Wiring for multiple control [4 switches control one set of lights] light switch !!!

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On Friday, June 21, 2013 4:13:02 AM UTC-7, Doug Miller wrote:

begin with. If the light can be turned on OR OFF from any of multiple switches, WHO CARES which switch turned it on? It. Does. Not. Matter.
WRONG! Yes, it does matter. see other replies.
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switch turned it on? It. Does. Not. Matter.

OK, fine, explain why it matters -- why you [think you] need to turn a light off using the same switch that turned it on.
Make sure your explanation takes into account the fact that, if a light is controlled from multiple locations, it can be turned either on OR off by ANY of the switches.
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On Thursday, June 20, 2013 7:11:20 PM UTC-7, Fred McKenzie wrote:
om>, Robert Macy wrote: > As I said, if light switches can be made > to be all down when off; it's easy to tell which light switch > activated the lig ht. But, when you have a rack of switches in arbitray > positions and all y our lights are out but one... Robert- I missed the earlier comments, but I see a point of confusion. Do you want any one switch to be able to turn off the light if a different switch turned it on? That requires a string of sw itches, with the end switches in a SPDT configuration. Any intermediate swi tches would be in a DPDT configuration. (There may be some 4 terminal switc hes intended for this function.) As mentioned, you could swap two wires at any one of the switches to give you "All Down Equals OFF". But that would b e of little value if you want to know which one switch was responsible for leaving the light on. For that, you would simply connect all SPST switches in parallel. All switches in the up position would need to be turned off fo r the light to go off. Then you would not have "N-Way" switches where one o f N switches could turn off a light another switch turned on. Fred
Fred, can't understand the source for this confusion. I want any switch to be able to turn ON/OFF the lights as before. It's just that I need to be ab le to 'set' them all up at least once in their lifetime so that late at nig ht it's easier to figure out which switch turned on the light. Hopefully so mebody read my replies and can see how it can get out of hand when you have MANY, up to 5 switches in a single row, as to figure it out easily. like s econd nature, oh that switch is up therefore that's the switch to turn it b ack off. don't have to think about it. You have no idea what it's like to b e confronted with five switches all set to arbitrary positions to quickly s hut the one you want off - without turning on one you don't want.
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I see and understand what you want.
Now you have to understand that it is not possiable to get you what you want.
That is not in a simple way. You may be able to go to either a computer (PLC) type controler or a bunch of relays to do that, but it will require a lot of money and major rewiring.
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(1) You CAN'T figure this out by looking at only one of the switches. It simply is not possible. (2) If the light can be turned on by any of the switches, it can also be turned off by any of the switches -- which means it does not matter which one turned it on. You can turn it off from ANY of them, not just the one that turned it on.
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On Saturday, June 22, 2013 9:23:06 AM UTC-4, Doug Miller wrote:

This whole thing is amazing, isn't it? At one point, Dennis had me half convinced that Robert knows how these switches work, but that for some OCD reason, he just wants then arranged so that one possible way for the lights to be off is for all of the switches to be down. Like if all switches are down at every location, then he knows everything is off without any further checking. There is actually a usefullness to that. If, for example, you were leaving for a trip you could just visually look at all the switches at every wall plate involved. If they are all down, then everything is off.
But, from everything he's now saying, it sure looks like he thinks he can just tell from the one switch plate which switch controls the light because if the light is on, the switch must be up. Of course it doesn't work that way. I think that was what we were all questioning, before doing this re-arranging, he should understand the very limited effect he's getting.
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On Sat, 22 Jun 2013 07:33:45 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net"

flipping 3-way switches. I am going to try it.
The house I live in now, I moved into when I was 12. I have since inherited it from my parents as they are both dead. My sister and I had a shared bathroom. On the door going into the bathroom from my bedroom there is a 3-way switch for an overhead light and a single pole switch for the medicine cabinet.
At the other door coming from my sister's bedroom there is only a 3-way switch for the overhead. With both lights off and both switches in the down position on my side of the bathroom, the switch in my sister's bedroom is off in the up position.
So for some 40 years now, the switch on my side of the door seems to be in a constant state of one switch up and one switch down when both lights in the bathroom are off. Although I have never asked her, it seemed to me that she was intentionally causing the light switch to be down in her room when the light is off.
I am going to flip the position of the switch on her side and see it that changes how the order of switches ends up on my side of the bathroom. My niece (her daughter) currently using her bedroom today. My old bedroom is not being used, but guests still enter that bathroom from my old bedroom side.
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On 6/22/2013 12:07 PM, Metspitzer wrote: ...

For the case of only two 3-ways, sure, because there are only the two cases. It will, however, still be the case that the two can be in opposite positions on your side 'cuz after the flip the light will be off when both are up as well as both down.
But, when more than two locations are on a circuit it is simply not possible to have fixed orientation and allow the other switches to be used individually moving any will change the direction sense of the subject one.
There's a similar situation in the house here but it's never bugged me enough to do anything about it--the basement has one long room that's half the width and full length of the house that has the lights in two banks and there are two doors. Obviously there are two switches at each door. So, one pair is always in synch and one pair is always out of synch when lights are on/off. I like to keep the pair at the middle door in synch 'cuz that's the way I go in/out when heading to/from the change room to outside and I always turn both on/off every time. The wife is oblivious and almost always will get those switched every time she is in/out. (The _really_ annoying thing is she has a penchant for leaving one in the in-between state where one then has to go to the other wall plate and turn it either on/off to make the circuit function at all :) ).
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<<Snip

dbp,
I'm confused. You describe a room with two doors and then you refer to a "middle door."
I think that I understand that your room has two groups of lights. Some of these lights are wired together all on one circuit and so turn on and off together. The remainder of the lights are wired together all on a second circuit and so turn on and off together. The two groups of lights are completely independent of each other.
Further, the room has two doors and four light switches. Each door has two light switches. A switch at each of the two doors works together with a switch at the other door to control one of the groups of lights. The other two switches (one at each door) work together to control the second group of lights.
Thus, one of the switches at each of the doors turns one of the groups of lights on and off. The remaining switch at each of the doors turns the other group of lights on and off. It is possible to turn a group of lights on at one door and off at the other door.
Does your wife come in (and turn lights on) at one door then go out (and turn lights off) at the other door?
Will you please say more about the "in between" state of the light switches where you have to go to the "other light plate" make things work?
khc
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On 6/24/2013 2:05 PM, khc wrote: ...

OK, not, perhaps as clear as could have been--one door is at one end of the room and the other is towards the middle of the room. It (the 2nd door) is the one I was referring to but "middle" was referring to location in general position along length of room rather than being in middle of a group of doors.

Yes

On occasion she manages to flip one of the switches into a no-man's land of be in between -- it's broken the contact so the light went out but didn't actually go completely to the other position. Hence, it's open between both sets of contacts. In that case, and if it's the one at the other location from where one is, then ya' gotsta' go and flip that one to one position or the other...some switches are difficult to get to stay in a position like that, some less difficult.
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I'm sure that you're aware that the "no man's land" switch is broken and needs to be replaced.
I have no idea what you can do to prevent your wife from entering (and turning the lights on) at one door and exiting (and turning the lights off) at the other door, thus getting the switches "out of sync."
When I was younger I had troubles with my wife. I tried many things, but none of them worked. Finally, I tried a divorce, and that worked very well indeed.
--
Best wishes,

khc

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On 6/24/2013 6:16 PM, pilgrim wrote: ...

No, it's not...it is just one which has a design in which there is if one doesn't push it past half will stay on TDC. A brand new one of the type will do the same. It's not being changed 'cuz it matches the rest...and I'm sorta' AR that way about symmetry.
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Robert:
Imagine this diagram with the middle "Four way switch" missing so that the top yellow terminal on the left switch connects to the top yellow terminal on the right switch and the bottom yellow terminals on both switches are connected together too.
[image:
http://ezdiyelectricity.com/images/wiringdiagrams/switches/4-way-switch-wiring-diagram.jpg ]
That is the wiring you have when you have two separate "three way switches" controlling the same light. And, as you can see, no ONE switch determines whether the light is on or off. Both switch toggles have to be in the up position, or both in the down position, for the light to be on. So, fliping EITHER switch toggle turns the light off, and flipping it again, or flipping the other switch toggle, turns it back on again. So, with two "three way switches", both switches have two different "ON" positions instead of an ON and an OFF position like a normal toggle switch. And, whether or not the light is ON or OFF depends on the position of BOTH switches.
Now, if you want a third switch to control that same light, you still need both three way switches, but you also need something called a "4 way switch" shown in the middle of that diagram.
If we number the contacts starting with #1 in the top left corner of the 4 way switch and going clockwise, when the toggle of a 4 way switch is in one position, it connects contacts 1 and 2 together and 3 and 4 together. If you flip the toggle to the other position, it connects contacts 1 and 3 together and 2 and 4 together. That way, regardless of what position the two three way switches are in, flipping that middle 4 way switch will turn the light on, or turn it off.
In fact, of you wanted MORE than three switches, all of which would turn the light on or off, you'd simply keep adding 4 way switches between the two three way switches. That way, no matter what position the two three way switches were in, flipping any of the 4 way switches between them would turn the light on or turn it off.
So, it seems to me that you SHOULD be able to do what you're wanting by:
1. Inspecting each switch that controls that light to determine which are your two three way switches, and which are the 4 way switches.
2. Checking each of the intermediate 4 way switches to find out which toggle position results in terminals 1 and 2 being connected and terminals 3 and 4 being connected together. You want each intermediate 4 way switch to connect 1-2 and 3-4 when the toggle is in the down position.
3. Now, just turn EITHER one of the two three way switches on the end upside down. That way, when it's toggle is in the down position, the light will be off, and flipping the toggle of ANY other switch will turn the light ON.
Now, the wiring can get pretty hairy because the power won't necessarily come into the electrical box at one end of the room. The power could come in at the light's electrical box, or at the electrical box of any of the switches.
But, as long as you understand the principle involved here which is to set up all your switches so that the power goes through all the top terminals when the toggles of the two three way switches are up, and through all the bottom terminals when the toggles of the two three way switches are down (and you may have to turn some 4 way switches upside down to ensure they're all oriented the same). In that situation, with the toggles of both 3 way switches on the end in the down position, the light will be ON. By turning either three way switch upside down, having the toggle in the down position will interrupt voltage getting to the lamp, so that with one three way switch upside down, ALL toggles in the down position means the light is OFF, and flipping ANY switch turns the light ON.
Hope this helps.
Maybe draw the terminals of 4 switches (two three way switches on the end and two 4 way switches between them) and connect the terminals with lines to show where the electricity will flow, and you should see how the above plan will work. Or, at least, it seems to me, how it should work to accomplish what you want.
--
nestork


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On 6/25/2013 3:26 AM, nestork wrote: ...

It doesn't, really... :)
You also have to add the condition that he also never uses the other switches than the particular panel location in question to control the light as would be normally done--for example, use one near an entry door to turn on as entering and another near the exit door to turn off as leaving. As soon as that is done, he's now got a case where one's up and one's down and the light's off again. As the pattern ensues of more-or-less random movement between locations, the states again become also, more or less random as to which is up and which is down when the light is off.
It's just not possible to have it wired conventionally no matter what the initial configuration is w/o adding very heavy constraints on usage and retain the possibility that turning any one switch in the down position turns off an on light--the one closest by at the time may already be 'down'.
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On 06/26/2013 09:32 AM, dpb wrote:

Just came across this thread...
I remember switching the travelers on the 3-way switch in a friend's condo's bathroom (there's a door from the bedroom hallway as well as from the main entrance as there's only one bathroom) so that it would be possible for both switches to be down when the lights are off. (of course, it's also possible for both switches to be *up*, and I had to explain that to her...)
I actually get it. I (and my friend) must have some light form of OCD.
nate
--
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
http://members.cox.net/njnagel
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On 6/26/2013 9:21 AM, Nate Nagel wrote:

Actually, the case above starts out w/ all down so when the second turns the light off the case is that now there are two up in that room and the rest are down. So, "off" is always going to be in pairs, but those pairs are distributed semi-randomly owing to usage and so after a period of time the state of any given on is indeterminate as is its control action when changing state...the point still being that it takes severe constraints on usage that make the point of having multiple switch locations essentially moot to achieve the goal of always just turning "off" a switch having the action of turning off the light.
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dpb;3084483 Wrote: > It's just not possible to have it wired conventionally no matter what

>

No, you're never going to be able to wire it so that no matter what the other switch toggle positions are, that you can always shut the light off by flipping any switch's toggle down. That won't work.
But, you can always return to the original situation where the light is OFF with all switch toggles down, and flipping ANY switch's toggle up turns the light on, which is what I think he wanted.

> how the multi-switch works. Well, you're doing better than me. I had to look at it for a while to understand that it couldn't "not work", and HAD TO work.
Think of it this way:
A) The two 3 way switches on the end are easy enough to understand. You have two conductors connecting the same terminals on both switches, and whether the light is on or off depends entirely on whether or not the two 3 way switches are set to send and recieve power through the same terminal on each switch or not.
B) The 4 way switches (however many you have of them) simply divert power to the "other" conductor every time their toggles are flipped.
So, regardless of how the two end 3-way switches are set, flipping the toggle of any of the intermediary 4 way switches will send power down the "other" conductor to the "other" terminal on the end three way switch, thereby turning the light on or off.
It's simple once you understand it. But, so is everything else on this good Earth.
--
nestork


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Nonsense. Of course it will: changing the position of *any* of the switches changes the state of the light. If it's on, and any switch is up, flipping that switch down will turn it off.
That, however, is not what the OP is asking to do.

No, that is not what he wanted. He made it very clear that he wanted to know by looking which specific switch turned it on, *and* turn it off using that specific switch -- and does not (and apparently cannot) understand that the first of these is impossible and the second unnecessary.
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On Wednesday, June 26, 2013 9:32:59 AM UTC-4, dpb wrote:

I'm amazed at how many people proceed with the "how to" without understanding that they are tilting at windmills. The most you can get with any of these rewiring attempts is to get one defined position. If, for example you want that one position to be that the light is off with all switches in a down position, you can do that. Cool. But just take out a piece of paper and make a table. With 4 switches, there are 16 possible combination of switch position. List all 16 together with if the light is on or off. With the rewiring or rotating of the switches, you get ONE of those table entries to be all switches down, light off. But that's all you get. There are other table entries with the light off and the switches in various states.
As I said previously, I can see achieving that to be of some small value. For example, if you're leaving the house for vacation and you want to look at each switchplate in the house prior to leaving, if they are all down, then all the lights are off. But you can't determine squat from looking at one switch. And almost all of us would just look at the light.
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On Thursday, June 27, 2013 6:38:30 AM UTC-7, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Glad they did. Learned a lot about wiring and potential wiring examples.
Being pedantic, four light switches yield 8 patterns ON and 8 patterns OFF for a 'total' of 16 patterns.
Of little value? I asked for factual help, not opinions, although opinions are of interest and appreciate hearing to better understand why the world i s the way it is.
To better understand importance to me: again this home has many 'courtesy' light switches. There are multiple switches to turn ON/OFF the same light p laced about home as a 'courtesy'. What I mean is, is that the likelihood of entering an area, using the light switch, exiting the area and using the S AME light switch is the most likely pattern of switch use. Many of the room s have more than 3 such entrances/exits. and it is handy to be able to leav e the switch in a known pattern. During the day, it is somehow pleasing to look about and see that all the light switches are in the OFF possitions, a nd all the little mounting screws are in the 12-6 position to add a touch o f neatness and professionalism to the installation. [the screws were all pl aced in the identical positions by the original contractor, which I interpr et as a sign of quality workmanship and attention to details]
As far as looking at the light to see if it is ON, yes, one can see the lig ht is ON, but late at night in the attempt to turn that light OFF, I don't want to turn ON the major overhead lights, or one of the bedroom reading li ghts, or the ?? light as I fumble about at night trying to remember which s witch will turn OFF the light [albeit I had just turned the light ON minute s before], which, yes, I can clearly see is now ON.
Maybe a better explanation is that, when in a hurry, when entering a room l ight switch panels have one order of control, but when exiting the room the order is reversed. Yes, I knnow that left is still left and right is still right, but that requres one to 'stop' and face the panel set, and 'think' about it. That's what I want to avoid. I want the simple menomic of a switc h UP is ON and a swtich DOWN is OFF, then there is NO thinking, simply hit the switch when going by.
I understand that in smaller homes with 'tubular' hallways that have single switches in each panel that arbitrary positions of the switches are indeed a 'no never mind'
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