Three-way switches have 3 terminals to carry circuit electricity and one terminal for a ground wire. Of the three circuit terminals, one is called the common and the other two are known as travelers. The common terminal may be labeled and is usually a different color than the traveler terminals.
Source 1 comes in at the light fixture and a 3-wire cable is run from there to the switch half on the device. The hot from the source is spliced to the black wire and to the input side of the switch at the other end. The white neutral from the source is connected directly to the light fixture. The red wire from the switch output goes to the hot terminal on the light.
When replacing an ungrounded, polarized receptacle use this type and not the grounded type above, unless it is grounded by a jumper wire to a metal outlet box that is tied to the house service panel ground through a continuos metal conduit.
Here the source is at SW1 and the light fixture comes immediately after. The source neutral is spliced through to the light fixture. At the light the travelers are splice together and run to the 4-way switch. At the 4-way, the hot wire from the common terminal on SW2 is splice through to the hot on the light fixture.
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