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        posted
        I am changing 2 light switches in a condo kitchen that control the same lights, They are double switches. One of the three- ways has 4 wires connected to 4 different poles on one side. From top to bottom they go: Black, Black, Red, Red. On the other side are 2 blue wires.
        Any new switch I look at has only 3 screws or poles for the black, black, red, red wires. Can anyone tell me what to do? The old switch does date back to 34 years ago.
         
        Posts: 6 | Location: South Florida | Registered: Jun 17, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        It sounds like you have a lighting circuit controlled by 3 light switches not two. Here is a simple diagram of how they are wired. Common circuit found in houses being built today and 70 years ago.


        General Disclaimer

        Any advice given here is general in nature and is not necessarily valid for your given area. If in doubt check with your local codes enforcement department for what is required when doing electrical, plumbing or structural work on your house. Permits may or may not be required in your area and home owners may not be able to DIY some tasks. I have no way of knowing if you have the skills needed to complete the tasks you are asking about, when in doubt seek professional assistance.

        My advice may be worth exactly what you pay me for it. :-) For the record I did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.


         
        Posts: 853 | Location: Cary, NC | Registered: Aug 17, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        Here are the switches at Lowes. They are available in many different colors and in "Deco" styles as well.

        http://www.lowes.com/pd_70592-...Bswitches&facetInfo=


        General Disclaimer

        Any advice given here is general in nature and is not necessarily valid for your given area. If in doubt check with your local codes enforcement department for what is required when doing electrical, plumbing or structural work on your house. Permits may or may not be required in your area and home owners may not be able to DIY some tasks. I have no way of knowing if you have the skills needed to complete the tasks you are asking about, when in doubt seek professional assistance.

        My advice may be worth exactly what you pay me for it. :-) For the record I did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.
         
        Posts: 853 | Location: Cary, NC | Registered: Aug 17, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        the middle switch in the diagram is called a 4-way. check the diagram in the box to make sure the poles are brought out like the diagram says.


        sig: if this is a new economy, how come they still want my old-fashioned money?
         
        Posts: 5820 | Location: North Burbs, MN | Registered: Mar 14, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        Thanks for the response, but I have not seen a diagram anywhere that shows how to take the 4 wires
        from the present switch and attach it to a new switch that only has 3 pole connections
         
        Posts: 6 | Location: South Florida | Registered: Jun 17, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        Thanks for the response, but I still don't see a combination switch (2 separate switches) with 4 poles on one side. The problem I still
        have is where would I attach the 4 wires I now have to a new switch that has only 3 poles?
         
        Posts: 6 | Location: South Florida | Registered: Jun 17, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        I appreciate what you sent, but it still doesn't explain what I do with the 6 wires now connected to the present toggle wall switch.
        One side has 4 separate poles 2 with black wires and 2 with red all coming to the same side of the switch. The other side has 2 blue wires attached and none of the diagrams that
        I have encountered show me how to take that jumble of a mess and connect to a modern switch that has only 3 poles.
         
        Posts: 6 | Location: South Florida | Registered: Jun 17, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        A 4 way switch would have 4 connections plus the ground connection. If you have the proper switch all you need to do is take the wires off of the old switch one at a time and connect them to the corresponding connection on the new switch.


        General Disclaimer

        Any advice given here is general in nature and is not necessarily valid for your given area. If in doubt check with your local codes enforcement department for what is required when doing electrical, plumbing or structural work on your house. Permits may or may not be required in your area and home owners may not be able to DIY some tasks. I have no way of knowing if you have the skills needed to complete the tasks you are asking about, when in doubt seek professional assistance.

        My advice may be worth exactly what you pay me for it. :-) For the record I did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.
         
        Posts: 853 | Location: Cary, NC | Registered: Aug 17, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        quote:
        Originally posted by biologic:
        They are double switches. One of the three- ways has 4 wires connected to 4 different poles on one side. From top to bottom they go: Black, Black, Red, Red. On the other side are 2 blue wires.
        The old switch does date back to 34 years ago.


        I think this is adding a lot of confusion, maybe Biologic you can post some pictures. If this is what I'm thinking, the only one that is going to be able to help you is an 'on site' electrician.

        I'm thinking these are stacked double switches that are also 3 way switches, from 34 years ago, are those available today, I avoid installing such things.

        But if I'm right, then you need similar switches -- or you have some remodel wiring to do. And for that, you'll need someone knowledgeable in electrical installations.

        It sounds like you're trying to update the switches, but the new ones you have are different than the old ones, and that won't work.

        This message has been edited. Last edited by: Re-mdlr,
         
        Posts: 977 | Location: No. California | Registered: Mar 24, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        Thanks for responding. I think you're right. An electrician needs to look at what was done and figure out where
        to go from there. The people who redid my Mom's kitchen probably left the old switches in because they couldn't figure it out either.
         
        Posts: 6 | Location: South Florida | Registered: Jun 17, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        And a kitchen remodel is a perfect time to update the wiring to avoid problems like this that might arise.
         
        Posts: 977 | Location: No. California | Registered: Mar 24, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        and if you do a rewire, might as well make the kitchen outlet circuits 20 amp with new 12-gauge wire, and two or three of them, so you can have all the fondue, roaster oven, crock-pots, and stuff for those family buffets on without popping a breaker every 5 minutes.


        sig: if this is a new economy, how come they still want my old-fashioned money?
         
        Posts: 5820 | Location: North Burbs, MN | Registered: Mar 14, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
        posted Hide Post
        I appreciate the advice. Time to call in an electrician
        or just leave it alone.
         
        Posts: 6 | Location: South Florida | Registered: Jun 17, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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