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.
Here two 4 way and two 3 way switches are used to control lights from four different locations. The source is at SW1 and the hot wire is connected to the common terminal. Three-wire cable runs between all switches and 2-wire cable runs from the last switch to the light fixture. The light hot connects to the common terminal on SW2.
When using this device for heavy appliances like washing machines and microwaves, it should be connected to a dedicated 20-amp/120-volt circuit breaker. As of 2014, a GFCI receptacle is now required in a laundry room for the washing machine.
The source in this circuit is at the first switch and the light fixture is located between SW1 and SW2. Three-wire cable runs between each switch and the light fixture. The hot source wire is connected to the common terminal on SW1. The common terminal on SW2 is connected to the hot terminal on the light. The traveler wires are spliced at the fixture box to run between the traveler terminals on the switches.
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