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.
This is the oldest version of a wall receptacle that you will find. It lacks a grounding contact and the plug slots are both the same size. These devices did not make use of a ground wire and both plug slots were treated the same. The wires used with these receptacles were usually both black.
A 4 way switch must be wired between two 3 ways as shown in the diagrams on this page. A 4 way has five connections: one ground, and 4 circuit terminals divided into two matching pairs. Each pair of terminals should be wired to the traveler wires from one of the 3 way switches. The travelers can be wired to either terminal in a pair, but don’t mix up the pairs or the circuit won’t work properly.
This drawing shows the wiring for multiple lights in a 4 way circuit with the source and fixtures coming before the switches. More lights can be added to this circuit by duplicating the wiring shown here for each additional fixture. Here 3-wire cable runs between L1 and L2, 2-wire cable runs from the last fixture to SW1, and 3-wires runs between SW1 and SW2.
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