Problem with changing out light switch

Discussion in 'Electrical and Wiring' started by Kierobi, Dec 11, 2018.

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  1. Dec 11, 2018 #1

    Kierobi

    Kierobi

    Kierobi

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    Hey All,

    So moved into a new house, built in the 60's and having a load of fun (NOT) with figuring out the electrics.

    Have 4 way switching for the garage lights (so three switches) and tried to replace one with a motion sensor switch but not getting any success. LED on the motion switch flashes twice eventually when I flip the breaker back on but then doesn't do anything. At all. If it makes any difference, I'm trying to connect in what looks to be the last switch in the line.

    I'm fairly new to electrical wiring in the US (originally from the UK) but really thing the wiring is all wrong for these switches. The black hot wires are joined together in each box and the switches are controlling the neutrals (white) and runners (red). Thing is the switches work as they are. Connecting the motion switch and it'll turn the lights on, flash the LED and then turn the lights off but NO switch will bring them back on again.

    Anyone got any ideas? I've run a ground wire as the instructions said there has to be a ground.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Dec 11, 2018 #2

    Snoonyb

    Snoonyb

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    Google 4way switching.

    Is your motion sensor designated to replace a 3way switch?
     
  3. Dec 11, 2018 #3

    Kierobi

    Kierobi

    Kierobi

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    When I read through the instructions it says it can be used to replace a three-way switch and "multi-locations". So figured it would be OK to install.

    As for 4 way switching, Googled that and the wires are not set up like anything I've seen online...
     
  4. Dec 11, 2018 #4

    Snoonyb

    Snoonyb

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    OK, then post photo's of the switches as originally connected and give us the brand and specs of the motion sensor, and maybe we can help.

    The red and white are travelers, and the black is common.
     
  5. Dec 11, 2018 #5

    Kierobi

    Kierobi

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    OK will try and post photos tomorrow. Am not going back out into the garage right now to take them! Even thought about taking photos earlier on as well but was losing light and patience...!
     
  6. Dec 12, 2018 #6

    WyrTwister

    WyrTwister

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    How many original switches ? How many screws / terminals on the original switches , excluding any green ground screws .

    Sounds like 3-way switches , if only two are present .

    God bless
    Wyr
     
  7. Dec 12, 2018 #7

    Kierobi

    Kierobi

    Kierobi

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    Hey Wyr

    So there are three original switches. Two are three way switches and one is a four way.

    The two three way switches have three connections each and are wired black (hot), red (traveler?) and white (neutral). The four way is wired red and white only with the blacks wire nutted together in the box. There's no green ground screws on any of the switches present.

    This doesn't seem to be correct but it works! Been asking in a few places and the consensus seems to be I need to rewire the switches to get this to work.

    Thanks for the reply
     
  8. Dec 12, 2018 #8

    WyrTwister

    WyrTwister

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    Switches with 3 screw terminals are 3-way switches . Switch with 4 screws / terminals are 4-way switches . Hot goes to one 3-way , switch leg goes to the other 3-way .

    2 screws on the 3-way will be of a different color than the third screw , Blacks go the that third screw & the red and white travelers go to the two screws of the same color . At that point and place , the whites are not neutrals , tape them a different color if it makes you feel better .

    The 4-way has 4 screws , two pairs , which the travelers go to . There may or may not be other wires to contend with . You could possibly have a lot of 4-ways between the two 3-ways . Say on a long hall . But only two 3-ways , at the two opposite end of the circuit .

    Make sure the motion switch is wired in place of one of the 3-ways and specifically designed for that application .

    Label & take photos & notes , before you start messing with wires / switches .

    Wyr
    God bless
     

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