When the electrical source originates at a light fixture and it’s controlled from a remote location, a switch loop is used. The circuit pictured here is wired with 2-conductor cable running from the light to the switch location. The white cable wire in this switch loop is wrapped with black tape and connected to the bottom terminal on SW1 and the hot source at the light. The black wire is connected to the top terminal on SW1 and the hot terminal on the light fixture. The neutral from the source is connected directly to the neutral terminal on the light.
The diagrams on this page illustrate connecting multiple lights in 3 way and 4 way switch circuits. Check below for more details about these circuits and some troubleshooting tips.
If the switch is good and things still don’t work, check the wiring to be sure the hot source is connected to a common terminal and the light fixture hot is connected to a common terminal. Likewise, be sure the traveler terminals are connected between switches only and not to any hot wires or the load.
This page contains wiring diagrams for most household receptacle you will encounter including grounded and ungrounded duplex outlets, ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) as well as 20amp, 30amp and 50amp receptacles for 120 volt and 240 volt circuits.
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.
Depending on the manufacturer, the travelers may be on opposite sides of the device or the two terminals may be on the same side. In any case, the common terminal will be distinguished from the travelers in some way.
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.
At the receptacle the black cable wire from SW1 is connected to one of the hot terminals and the red wire is spliced to the white wire on the 2-conductor cable running to SW2. The white wire is wrapped with electrical tape to mark it as hot. The black wire is connected to the second hot terminal on the receptacle and to the top terminal on SW2 at the other end.
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