I have three switches, one is four way, two or three way, and they control two stairway lights. The four-way switch is in a bedroom in the basement. I want all the switches to work together so that when I turn off one switch both lights go off, and when I turn on another switch both lights go on. The switch in the bedroom controls nothing else but those two lights. The switches in the stairway control nothing else but those two lights.

Problem: Some idiot has miswired them, not marked them, and not kept the original switches, and now nothing works.

Solution?: I intend to find which switch is primarily connected with the hot line and route three-way to three-way to four-way with a traveler, and nut all the neutrals together, not connecting them to the switch. I'm assuming that both lights are in conjunction and not connected to individual switches in that equation.

Please provide feedback on my solution or on how you would handle the problem. Thank you in advance.

  • 1
    Let's start with pictures of every switch as they are currently wired. In particular, please identify which wires are going to each cable (unless conduit - then things are slightly different, but still fixable). Nut all neutrals together - be careful - depending on wiring scheme you may have white wires in some locations that are not neutrals. But identifying the cable bringing in power from the panel and the cable going to the lights are the first steps - just beware that things can get complicated. Commented Mar 25 at 17:17
  • 1
    Remember that neutral must be white, but white does not mean neutral. If white is on a switch, it is probably a traveller. If the switches were changed before and the wires messed up, I would run away. It might be easier to start all over.
    – crip659
    Commented Mar 25 at 17:18
  • 2
    The four-way has to be connected between the two three-ways. Commented Mar 25 at 17:40
  • So the situation right now is neither of the lights comes on no matter what the switch settings, but the breaker does not trip, correct? If not, exactly how is it behaving? Commented Mar 25 at 20:35
  • Is running new wiring an option? Commented Mar 26 at 2:17


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