To troubleshoot a 4 way switch, toggle the switches on and off to see if it turns on and off the light. Carry on with the process for the remaining switches. The bad switch is the one that will not turn the light on and off (when the light is turned on).
Four-way switches are usually connected to two three-way switches. That is, whenever you come across a 4-way switch, you’ll also come across two 3-way switches controlling the same light fixture.
4 Way Switch Troubleshooting
When a 3-way or 4-way switch breaks, all but one of the switches can be toggled on and off. Any switch that turns the light(s) on and off is most likely in healthy operating order. Follow these procedures to determine which of your four-way switches is broken.
Removing the Switch from the Box
Turn off the electricity to the service panel’s switches. Remove the cover plates from all of the light fixture’s 4-way switches. Determine which switches are 3-way and 4-way: Three terminals are found on 3-way switches, whereas four terminals are found on 4-way switches. Start with the 3-way switches; if none of them are broken, move on to the 4-way switches one by one.
To expose the wires, loosen the screws on the mounting strap and take the switch out of the box. There are two cables that enter the box, and the switch’s four wires are all hot. Two red wires connect to one side of the switch; two black or white recoded black wires connect to the opposite side.
Checking for Voltage and Making Sure the Connections are Secure.
By touching one of the tester probes to the grounded metal box and the other to one of the four screw terminals, you can ensure that the power is turned off. Touch one probe to the switch terminal and the other to the green grounding terminal on plastic boxes. Carry on with the procedure for the remaining four terminals.
After that, look for any loose or unclean connections. Clean the wires and terminals as needed, stripping the wires if necessary. Tighten the wire covers and terminal screws. Replace the switch in the box and turn the power on.
Testing the Switch
Use masking tape to label the wires and detach the switch to make reconnecting the switch easier. Set your tester to ‘continuity,’ and connect one of the probes to one of the upper terminals while the other is connected to the lower terminal (it should show continuity). If it still doesn’t work, try switching the switch to the other position and checking it again.
After that, shift the toggle to the other position by touching the tester probe to the bottom terminal on the opposite side. Continuity should be demonstrated by the tester. Repeat all of the previous processes on the opposite top terminal using one of the probes. Continuity should be avoided by the tester. Replace the switch if it fails any of these tests.
Replacing a 4-Way Switch
Turning off the electricity is the first step. Before proceeding, double-check that the power has been switched off. Turn on the light and then turn off the breakers or remove the fuses one by one until the light goes out.
Applying a piece of tape to the breaker handle is an excellent idea. While you’re working on the circuit, a second person attempting to switch it back on to restore lights in a separate area will recognize there’s a cause for it being off and will not put it back on.
Frequently Asked Questions
What causes light to stay on when the switch is off?
It’s possible that a light switch is turned off but the light remains on because the light is linked to a hot wire in the ceiling. For the ceiling light to function, it must be linked to the switch’s switched leg conductor.
Before troubleshooting a 4-way switch, do not forget to take precautions. Make sure your wires are capped and mark the one you’ll be working. If you are unsure about your capacity to change a light switch or handle any other aspect of this operation, do not hesitate to hire an electrician.