I have a 4-way switch system with 4 switches that controls the lights in my MBR. Picture shows 2 switches side by side - one is for hallway and one for MBR. There are 4 such switch sets. One of the 4-way switches has lost some spring tension and the switch is a little flaky - it has to be pushed into a specific spot for it to work.

I tried replacing the 4 way switch with a new one and it does not work as expected. Thinking I might have mixed up some wires or maybe the new switch was faulty, I re-installed the old switch and the system works as expected. I had bought 2 of the new switches and I tried both - neither worked as expected. The likelihood of 2 switches being faulty is simply too low. This leads to the question :: Are there different types of 4 way switches ?

I have yet to pull all the other switches to identify the line, load and the 2 traveler switches.

The new switches are :: Eaton 4-way decorator switches.

The old switches are UND Lab : enter image description here enter image description here

  • Are you matching screw positions or screw colors between the old and new switches? Commented Nov 25, 2023 at 2:35
  • I am matching screw positions. On the old switch the 2 screws on one side are gold and 2 screws on the other side are copper color. On the new switch the upper screws are gold and lower screws are black
    – Vasuvius
    Commented Nov 25, 2023 at 2:40
  • Interestingly, Legrand 4-way switches do not have color coded screws. But the box has a wiring diagram on the back.
    – Vasuvius
    Commented Dec 2, 2023 at 15:58

1 Answer 1


Match colors, not positions

While many things about multi-way switches are standardized, which screw winds up where on them is not. So, if you try to replace a multi-way switch by matching which wire goes to which screw position, things won't work very well much of the time. You instead need to take note of which wires went to the black screws on the old switch and put those wires on the black screws of the new switch, and likewise with brass screws.

  • Thank you @ThreePhaseEel - That helped. I’ve got the system partly working. 3 switches work as expected when 4th switch is in 1-position. When 4th switch is in the other position, light is off and none of the other switches can turn it on. More troubleshooting to follow till wife gets tired and calls an electrician.
    – Vasuvius
    Commented Nov 27, 2023 at 21:58

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