On Thursday, June 27, 2013 11:03:22 AM UTC-4, Robert Macy wrote:
F for a 'total' of 16 patterns.
s are of interest and appreciate hearing to better understand why the world
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?
' light switches. There are multiple switches to turn ON/OFF the same light
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]
ight 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
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.
light switch panels have one order of control, but when exiting the room t
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.
le switches in each panel that arbitrary positions of the switches are inde
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.
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.
On Thursday, June 27, 2013 12:44:40 PM UTC-4, dpb wrote:
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
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
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.
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
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
Next time, I won't explain 'why' I want to tar the drywall in my living roo
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.
Yet one more good reason for Americans to finally recognize the inherent
superiority of the Robertson drive screw.
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.
That's greatest schematic I've ever seen! One glance and you easily see how the
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
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.
This is untrue.
Want proof? Set it up so that the lights are off when all four switches are
Now turn one of the switches upside down. The lights are still off, but now
there are three
switches down, and one up.
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.
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.
down position. Normally can be downe by just removing the switch and tur
ning it 180deg and putting it back in the box. But it sounds like his wi
res are a bit short for that.
multiple switches is so you can turn the lights on or off from any of the
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.
down position. Normally can be downe by just removing the switch and turni
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.
multiple switches is so you can turn the lights on or off from any of the
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.
On Mon, 17 Jun 2013 18:56:00 -0700 (PDT), Robert Macy
One other suggestion that may help you if you want to change the
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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