Monday, May 13, 2013

4 way (revisited)

I finally finished wiring up a circuit in my Baltimore house. I felt I should revise my earlier post based on what I learned.

updated wiring
What we have is a circuit with three switches controlling two lights. I made two mistakes in my wiring.

First, the lights were in series instead of in parallel, like they should be. This meant that each light only got half the voltage that they should. I remember reading about this in electronics books, but it never really applied before. The power wasn't enough to get compact florescent bulbs to light up, but normal incandescent bulbs did light up very dimly.

Second, I misunderstood how the 3 way switches worked. They have one screw on the left and two on the right. I assumed power ran from one side to the other. Instead, I had to apply power to the lower screw so it could run to the two upper screws. Similarly, the power in the 4-way switch runs from top to bottom. But it's labeled clearly on the back so there was no confusion.

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