I'm a newbie when it comes to installing light switches. My staircase light would randomly turn on in the middle of the night and it has 3 dimmable Leviton light switches that control the staircase light. I've already successfully changed one of the three light switches to a regular light switch. However, when I'm attempting the second light switch, I'm super confused on how to connect the wires and screws.

  • 2 black wires connected to the black screw
  • 2 Red Wires connected to a copper screw
  • 1 white wire connected to a silver screw
  • 1 Copper Wire connected to green screw

Here is the original setup of the Leviton Dimmable switch: enter image description here

Here's my new switch that I'm trying to install: enter image description here

What I have attempted so far (I know I'm doing something wrong here). Please advise.

Light Switch 2 Attempt enter image description here

Back of Dimmer enter image description here

Thank you!

  • In the original case the white and black wires were on opposing sides. Why did you reverse them in your attempt?
    – isherwood
    Mar 11, 2021 at 19:27
  • I thought Red Wires were always suppose to be on the same side as the ground wire that is connected to the green screw.
    – user44775
    Mar 11, 2021 at 19:33
  • Ground wire screw placement is completely arbitrary. It tells you nothing about the other connections.
    – isherwood
    Mar 11, 2021 at 19:35
  • Post also picture of that sticker on back of dimmer.
    – user263983
    Mar 11, 2021 at 19:36
  • 1
    On switches, positioning does not matter because every model of switch is different (I even suspect you'll find the same models mirror-imaged because it's easier to stamp the parts!) Further, due to the nature of 3-way circuits, color codes are meaningless too. Yes, 3-ways where the last guy did something weird are extremely novice-hostile. Mar 12, 2021 at 17:23

1 Answer 1


Here is how "old-school" 3-way wiring works. Black is always-hot, white is neutral.

enter image description here

Here is how 4-way wiring works.

enter image description here

Note how the 4-way switch changes very little about the wiring. This second diagram shows that the wiring sequence could vary.

Your smart-switches are using the wiring in a completely different way. You will need to figure out how to reallocate the wires to find 2 "travelers".

Of course your wires are not yellow. There are no color codes for 3-way wiring. Certain wires must be certain colors because of Code requirements; the travelers get the wires that are left. I am extremely fond of re-marking them yellow using a pack of multi-color electrical tape... but they don't get that way by themselves.

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