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

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On Thursday, June 27, 2013 11:03:22 AM UTC-4, Robert Macy wrote:

is the way it is.

The problem is, that as the problem was described and as most of us understood it, there was no factual way to achieve it. Also, if someone asks something that seems odd, it would seem better that we try to fully understand what it is they are trying to accomplish, rather than just giving directions. If someone asked how to best apply tar coating to the drywall in their living room, what would you do?

placed 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 SAME light switch is the most likely pattern of switch use. Many of the ro oms have more than 3 such entrances/exits. and it is handy to be able to le ave the switch in a known pattern. During the day, it is somehow pleasing t o look about and see that all the light switches are in the OFF possitions, and all the little mounting screws are in the 12-6 position to add a touch of neatness and professionalism to the installation. [the screws were all placed in the identical positions by the original contractor, which I inter pret as a sign of quality workmanship and attention to details]

t want to turn ON the major overhead lights, or one of the bedroom reading lights, or the ?? light as I fumble about at night trying to remember which switch will turn OFF the light [albeit I had just turned the light ON minu tes before], which, yes, I can clearly see is now ON.

And again, that works assuming the other switches that control that light are in the down position, or one of the other possible combinations.

he order is reversed. Yes, I knnow that left is still left and right is sti ll 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 swi tch UP is ON and a swtich DOWN is OFF, then there is NO thinking, simply hi t the switch when going by.

It's when you male statements like the last sentence above that we seem to be heading back to square one. It works only if the other switches are in the right position.

ed a 'no never mind'
It's that way in all homes. In fact, the larger the home the more switches you have on an n-way, the more any or all of the switches could be in any position.
In a previous post you said that the electrician didn't pay any attention to which way the switches were oriented to one another. I'll bet you can't find an electrician that paid any attention, because of the reasons already discussed.
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On 6/27/2013 10:03 AM, Robert Macy wrote: ...

Can no be done other than by other logic (positions, that is) as has been beat to death by now.
IMO the thing to do is to have the positions from left to right in the gang switch boxes make physical sense as from "inside-out" be associated from near-to-far (or vice versa, your choice, but to me it makes more sense for the closer to be the outer simply because that's the way Dad did it for the ones here so it's what I grew up with but either works you just need to be consistent and learn the pattern) at each doorway. Then, w/ time you should learn innately which is what and the thinking part goes away.
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On Thursday, June 27, 2013 12:44:40 PM UTC-4, dpb wrote:

+1
That's how I do it too. And it that regard, it would be nice if electricians put them in that way to begin with. A classic example is I have two switches here in one spot. One controls the lights on the front porch. The other controls a ceiling light near the closet by the front door. I would have put them in so that the switch for the porch light is closest to the front of the house. It's the opposite. I was too lazy to move it, but I know there are two such instances in the house where they are like this, ie the opposite of what you would expect. I have no problem identifying what switch works what.
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[snip]

And here, I think, we finally have the *real* issue.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obsessive%E2%80%93compulsive_personality_disorder
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Personally, I do not think it is a disorder! However, there may be times when it could pose a problem.
Back in the 60s, I worked for a company that sold equipment to the military for use in Viet Nam. They had a rash of problems in the field with new equipment that had worked perfectly at final test. The equipment would be returned, re-aligned, and then be defective again when received back in the field. They finally traced the problem to a mechanical inspector who lined up all the screw slots before it was packed for shipment.
My stairway has three-way switches at the top and bottom, set so the light is on when both switches are in the same position. I'm the only one here, and always use the light when using the stairs. The switch where I'm at is always up-for-on/down-for-off.
Fred
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Fred McKenzie;3085078 Wrote: >

> light is on when both switches are in the same position. I'm the only > one here, and always use the light when using the stairs. The switch > where I'm at is always up-for-on/down-for-off.

Sorry Fred, but if you flip the other switch, you'll find that the switch where you're at is always up-for-off/down-for-on.
That's just the nature of 3-way switches.
--
nestork


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On Thursday, June 27, 2013 9:58:34 AM UTC-7, Doug Miller wrote:

I should have remembered the old rule, never complain, never explain.
Yes, I was wrong for even thinking about trying to change my light switches . After all, it's always better to live in this world by accepting everythi ng presented. Instead of flailing at the impossible, it is always better to change one's own attitude towards the situation.
Wait, this wasn't 'impossible'! As a matter of fact, I now have not only wh at I wanted all along but additionally have some insights into light switch controllers not even thought of before, thanks to the many excellent contr ibutions.
My 'problem' was solved *and* my horizons expanded. Talk about win, win. We ll, almost, feathers slightly ruffled by the chidings, but small price to p ay, eh?
Next time, I won't explain 'why' I want to tar the drywall in my living roo m.
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On 6/27/2013 9:03 AM, Robert Macy wrote:

So a few times a day go through the house and turn all the switches down. If a light is on turn one of the controlling switches upside down (only has to be done once).
If you want to know if the lights are on or off replace the switches with switches that have pilot lights in the handle.

I certainly wouldn't interpret that as a sign of quality workmanship - may or may not be.
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bud--;3085463 Wrote: >

> details]

Yet one more good reason for Americans to finally recognize the inherent superiority of the Robertson drive screw.
[image:
http://www.instructables.com/files/deriv/FYK/LN10/FOWZOS0I/FYKLN10FOWZOS0I.LARGE.jpg ]
The Robertson drive has FOUR identical screw head positions with each screw rotation, thereby doubling your chances of achieving perfect screw head alignment amongst multiple screws.
--
nestork


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On Tuesday, June 25, 2013 1:26:07 AM UTC-7, nestork wrote:

http://ezdiyelectricity.com/images/wiringdiagrams/switches/4-way-switch-wiring-diagram.jpg ]

That's greatest schematic I've ever seen! One glance and you easily see how the multi-switch works.
Exactly what I've got. The 'X' switch is a piece of cake to swap. I'll have to examine the SPDT to see how they're marked, maybe it's obvious there too.
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On 6/26/2013 9:46 AM, Robert Macy wrote:

Of course they are; how else would anybody wire them? The common is different from the two travelers; the location of which terminal is common is _not_ necessarily the same physically on various switches.
But, see the comments earlier--it still doesn't matter how you arrange the travelers or orient the switches themselves in the boxes _unless_ you're also willing to only use them under very restrictive operating conditions--otherwise they'll migrate to alternate positions w/ time as the various ones are operated to turn lights/appliances/whatever on/off individually. Soon unless you again do the exercise of placing them all individually back to the one known state you still don't have the desired result in general. That result is just not possible(+) w/o those kinds of restrictions (which pretty much defeats the whole point of having multiple locations to begin with).
(+) Again, w/ conventional house wiring using 3- and 4-way switches. It could be done as others have noted w/ additional relay logic or such.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote in

This is untrue.
Want proof? Set it up so that the lights are off when all four switches are down.
Now turn one of the switches upside down. The lights are still off, but now there are three switches down, and one up.
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On Wednesday, June 19, 2013 12:57:58 PM UTC-4, Doug Miller wrote:

So do you wander through the house flipping switches over in electrical boxes on a daily basis?
If he wires it up so that all four are down and the lights are off, and LEAVES THEM ALONE, then the lights will be off with the switches in three states:
1. Four down. 2. Two down. 3. Four up.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote in

Do try to pay attention here. The *only* purpose of that statement was to point out your error.

Yes, of course -- but that's not what you said at first. You said "with an even number of switches, you will always have an even number of switches in a certain position with the lights off" -- and that just is not true. It's quite possible to have three up and one down, with the lights off.
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ning it 180deg and putting it back in the box.  But it sounds like his wi res are a bit short for that.

locations.  You enter the hall at one end in the dark so you turn the lig ht on.  When you exit the other end you turn the light off.  Now you ha ve two switches in the up position but the lights are off.
Even if he starts off with all the switched "aligned", operating any two switches will put you back to square one but with the switches now misaligned, so pointless pursuit even trying.
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ng it 180deg and putting it back in the box.
No, it can't be done. Have you used a multi-way switch, eg 3-way? That uses just two switches, but the system AFAIK is the same as with his 5 way. With a 3-way, with switch A, whether the light is on or off when switch A is up or down depends on the position of switch B. You can turn them upside down all you want, it does not change that. As soon as someone moves switch B, then the operation of switch A reverses again.
But it sounds like his wires are a bit short for that.

locations. You enter the hall at one end in the dark so you turn the light on. When you exit the other end you turn the light off. Now you have two switches in the up position but the lights are off.
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On Mon, 17 Jun 2013 18:56:00 -0700 (PDT), Robert Macy

location of the switches in the box would be to use stranded wire as a jumper wire. If the wire connected to the switch goes to a wirenut, replace that short wire with stranded wire.
To be able to splice stranded wire to solid wire, a little trick is to twist all the solid wire together first. Then, when you add the stranded piece, make sure the stranded wire is sticking up just a little farther than the solid, so the wirenut grabs the strands of copper just before it bites into the solid.
You also need a special type switch so that the stranded wire goes behind a pressure plate instead of trying to twist it around a screw.
They also sell a stranded wire in green that comes with a screw on one end and a terminal lug on the other. If there is a screw hole in the box you can just screw the bonding wire directly to the box and attach the switch screw directly to the green. (You need to make sure the bundle of bare wires is bonded to the box)
Take pictures of what you have before you change anything. Mark everything. A gang of 4 switches is going to be pretty confusing unless you know where every cable in the box goes.
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wrote:

used to working at hospitals where the boxes are metal. Your house will probably not have metal boxes.

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Its probably easiest to run this setup on a X10 remote OR have momentary contact switches drive a relay.
both would cost less to install and be easier to trouble shoot in the future
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