This diagram illustrates wiring for a 4 way circuit with the electrical source at the light fixture and the switches coming after. Two-wire cable is run from the light to SW1 and 3-wire cable runs between all the switches. The hot source is spliced through to the common terminal on SW2 and the hot terminal on the light fixture is connected to the common on SW1. The travelers run from SW1 to T1 on the 4 way and from T2 to the travelers on SW2. Note that the white wire is wrapped with black electrical tape when it is used for hot in these circuits.
A 3-wire cable runs from L1 to L2, 2-wire cable runs from there to the first switch, and 3-wire cable runs between SW1 and SW2. The source hot is spliced to the black wire running between the lights and at the last light, it is spliced to the black wire running through to the common on SW1. The white wire is marked black and spliced to the black wire running to the common on SW2.
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.
In this basic 4 way light circuit the source is at the first switch and the hot connects to the common on that switch. Three-wire cable runs between all the switches and the traveler wires are connected between the two 3-ways and the 4-way. Two-wire cable runs from the last switch to the light fixture and the common on that switch connects to the hot terminal on the light.
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