A rheostat, or dimmer, makes it possible to vary the current flowing to a light fixture thereby varying the intensity of the light. The dimmer switch will have stranded wires that must be sliced to the solid cable wiring with a pigtail. A device like this should only be used with an incandescent light fixture and not with a ceiling fan or other motor. See wiring a speed controller for wiring a rheostat to control fan speed.
The 4 way comes right after the light fixture, but before the second 3 way switch, making it fall between the two 3 ways as needed. It could also be installed on the other side of the light and the effect would be the same.
Three-way switches allow for controlling a light fixture from two separate locations, these are usually used at the top and bottom of a flight of stairs or at two different entrances to a room. On this page are several wiring diagrams that can be used to map 3 way lighting circuits depending on the location of the source with relation to the lights.
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.
The traveler terminals will always be connected from switch to switch. Travelers never connect to a device load or to a source wire. It doesn’t matter which traveler terminal is used for which traveler wire, reversing them should make no difference.
Here a receptacle is added to the circuit before the first switch. It is not controlled with the switches but is instead always hot. The source hot, neutral and ground are spliced to a 2-wire cable that runs to the new outlet. The 3 way switches and light are then wired in the usual way with the common on SW2 spliced to the source hot and the light hot wired to the common on SW1.
This is another option for wiring a combo device where two sources are used. In this arrangement the connecting tab between the hot terminals on the device is broken off to separate the two. The switch controls a light and the receptacle half of the combo device is always hot.
With this configuration any wire in the circuit may be hot at all times and there’s no protection against electrocution. When replacing an ungrounded device in an older circuit like this, use the polarized one above and not the grounded receptacle at the top unless it is grounded to a metal outlet box that is itself grounded to the house electrical system through a continuos metal conduit.
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