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I have a 4-way switch I want to replace with a dimmer. I understand I can put the dimmer at one of the other 3-way switches, but they're more out of the way. Does such a device exist? If not, what are my other options?

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Looks like I will put 3-way dimmer switch (slide & switch type) at one of the 3-way locations; not ideal, but cheap and not TOO much out of the way. – hometoast Feb 4 '11 at 15:09
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I've used Smart Home's Insteon switches to do this. The switches are a bit pricey, but work well. You don't need to rewire the entire house, just replace individual switches as you need to. One of the additional benefits is that you don't need to constrain yourself to how the original switches were wired up. If you want to control a particular light that wasn't originally wired up as a three-way, its easy to do. One thing that I did was add control of the outside lights to a tabletop controller next to my bed. That way I can turn on the spotlights without going downstairs.

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Thanks. Those do look nice, but they're definitely above my budget for now. – hometoast Feb 4 '11 at 15:04
Marked as answer because this gave me the best specific alternative. – hometoast Feb 4 '11 at 15:09
+1 for the Insteon solution -- I've used them for a stairway with three switches, and it's nice to be able to dim from any of the locations. You do need a neutral wire at each location; if you have one in at least one location, you may be able to convert one of the travelers to a neutral, but you should not attempt that unless you completely understand what you're doing. – TomG Dec 27 '12 at 1:01

Have a look at some of the remote control systems for lights that can dim. You don't need to limit your options to wired switches.

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my problem is then I would need to remove a wired switch to put a remote switch up somewhere. I don't want to have a remote control laying around either. – hometoast Feb 4 '11 at 15:05
@hometoast, you can get remote controls that look like normal switchs and stick to the walls with double sided tape. – Walker Feb 4 '11 at 15:47
Yeah, I'm aware of those, but just not ideal for me. would need another location still. – hometoast Feb 4 '11 at 16:06

You would normally need to put the dimmer at the start or end of the multi-way chain where there is one active for the rheostat. Intermediate switches have two actives so for a dimmer to work there, it would need to be dual-gang, which is extremely unusual for a light fitting.

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this is what I was afraid of. – hometoast Feb 4 '11 at 15:06
It might be a difficult option, but you could alter the wiring run so that the intermediate switch is changed for an end switch. Then you could put a conventional dimmer there. – staticsan Feb 7 '11 at 0:46

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