If your switches stop working they may be worn out or the screws may have come loose. If you’ve wired a new switch correctly and the circuit still doesn’t work, the switch may be defective. Check that all connections are tight. Check the switch, remove it from the circuit and test for failure with a continuity tester or multimeter set on the Ohms setting.
The common terminals will always be connected to a hot wire, either from the source or on the light fixture. These connections can be reversed if it’s more convenient, as long as one of the 3 way common terminals connects to the hot source and the other one connects to the hot on the load, these circuits will work properly.
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.
This is an updated version of the first arrangement. Because the electrical code as of the 2011 NEC update requires a neutral wire in most new switch boxes, a 3-wire cable runs between the light and switch. The red and black are used for hot and the white neutral wire at the switch box allows for powering a remote controlled switch.
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