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Can I replace 2-3way switches with 2-4way switches as I have a couple of new 4ways just sitting around and the 3way switches are the older style ( every other switch in the house is the new style)

  • Seems like a strange question as most 3-way switches can be installed as 4-way switches (multi). The only time I've seen this not be the case is with a z-wave device, but I don't do this kind of stuff often. What exactly are you trying to replace and with what? – virtualxtc Mar 26 '14 at 17:04
  • Right now I have toggle style 3way switches, but all others in the house are the new push switches. I have new 4way push switches and was just wondering if I can replace the 3 with the 4. – user20676 Mar 26 '14 at 18:13
  • my guess is the toggles you have can be used as 4-ways as well; but that's not really your question. bcworkz pretty much answers your question; one connection on your 4-way will just be left empty. – virtualxtc Mar 26 '14 at 18:43
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Sure, a 4-way is essentially two 3-ways in one device. Connect travellers as usual, then connect the power or light wire to one of the remaining terminals, leaving the other empty.

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Background Information (if anyone cares)

The following illustration demonstrates the internal workings of each type of switch in a conventional installation. You should be able to see how a 4-way (middle )is functionally two 3-ways (left and right switches) overlaid.

enter image description here

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  • @bib - Thank you! Much better. I reorganized rather than replaced because I thought it may be useful for some to see how each type is normally used and how the functionality is related. – bcworkz Mar 28 '14 at 17:17
  • Looks good and has addt'l helpful info. Deleted orig comments because they might confuse. – bib Mar 28 '14 at 18:28
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A fourwsay is not two threeways in one device. It can be described as complimentary single pole switches. It is possible but you would not leave a terminal unused. You would tie the common wire to the two non-continuos terminals.

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