dcsimg
Find Local Contractor Call: 844-251-6308
No Obligation, Free Quotes
Home > Switches & Outlets > 4-Way Switch Wiring Options > Power Source at Fixture Feed to 2nd Switch

4-Way Switch Wiring - Power Source at Fixture Feed to 2nd Switch

By Donald Kerr
4-Way Switch Wiring - Power Source at Fixture Feed to 2nd Switch

One 4-way switch and two 3-way switches

Total of 3 switches controlling same fixture, Power at Fixture, Feed to 2nd Switch

At the ceiling box - the ungrounded conductor {aka hot} from the fixture (could be a brass colored screw) connects to the black wire from the witch 2. The white wire from the circuit power supply cable is the grounded leg conductor {aka neutral} for the fixture (could be a silver color screw). The white wire from the switch connects to the black wire from the circuit power supply cable.

Wrap a piece of black electrical tape around both ends of all white wire going between the switch and the fixture to indicate that the wire is being used as a ungrounded conductor {aka hot}, also do the same with the white wire going between switch box 1 and 2, and the white wire going between switch 2 and 3 as these wires are also being used as a ungrounded conductor {aka hot}.

Bare wires are together and grounded to box (if metallic) and if the fixture has a green wire or a grounding screw, it gets grounded also. Bares and green wires are equipment grounding conductors.

Be sure to read any documentation that comes with your fixture

If you need onward power from the fixture

If only switched power required onward then at existing fixture...

  • onward cable - black/white/bare
  • connect black from onward cable to the black from switch 2
  • connect white from onward cable to white wire of the circuit power supply cable.
  • connect bare from onward cable to bare coming from circuit power supply cable and to electrical box if metallic.
  • At the onward cables destination, the black is the switched ungrounded conductor {aka hot}, the white is the grounded leg {aka neutral}, and the bare is the equipment grounding conductor.

If only unswitched power required onward then at existing fixture...

  • onward cable - black/white/bare
  • connect black from onward cable to black wire coming from circuit power supply cable
  • connect white from onward cable to white coming from circuit power supply cable
  • connect bare from onward cable to bare coming from circuit power supply cable and to electrical box if metallic.
  • At the onward cables destination, the black is the ungrounded conductor {aka hot}, the white is the grounded leg {aka neutral}, and the bare is the equipment grounding conductor..

If switched and unswitched power required onward then at existing fixture

  • onward cable - black/red/white/bare
  • connect black from onward cable to black wire coming from circuit power supply cable
  • connect red from onward cable to the black wire coming from switch 2
  • connect white from onward cable to white coming from circuit power supply cable
  • connect bare from onward cable to bare coming from circuit power supply cable and to electrical box if metallic.
  • At the onward cables destination, the black is the unswitched ungrounded conductor {aka hot}, red is the switched ungrounded conductor {aka hot}, the white is the grounded leg {aka neutral}, and the bare is the equipment grounding conductor.

If you need onward power from the switch

NOTE: Onward power is not possible from any of the switch locations due to the fact that nogrounded leg {aka neutral} is available.


The common screw on a 3 way switch is the odd color screw

If wiring multiple fixtures be sure to check the following guidelines concerning how to do it and what not to do: Wiring Multiple Fixtures.

If you are new at understanding the "politically correct" electrical terminology and need clarification of the terms used, we strongly urge you to read the Clarification of Definitions and Terminology guide. This will explain the terminology used in this article.

Also, be sure to read "Identifying the Correct Screws on 4-Way and 3-Way Switches".

Find a Pre-Screened Electrician
Enter Your Zip Code:


THIS ARTICLE IS PROVIDED 'AS IS' WITH NO WARRANTY OF ANY KIND. THE AUTHOR, THE SITE OWNER AND ITS AFFILIATES ASSUME NO LIABILITY FOR ERRORS OR OMISSIONS CONTAINED THEREIN OR FOR ANY USE OF THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS DOCUMENT. The article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice.