Using Dimmer Switch In A 4+ Way Circuit

 
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Old 03-01-2008, 09:13 AM   #1
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Using Dimmer Switch In A 4+ Way Circuit


finishing up a small job on my house and adding accent lighting to multiple rooms and want to control the lighting from multiple points. I've got the wiring down and understand using dimmers as the 3-ways is ok but question how the 4way's and 3way's will work in unison.

Let's say one of the 3way dimmers (first in series) is turned on 40%, and one of the 4way's is switched, the switch leg is powered off. Now switch the other 4way, does the light turn on at 40% or 100%?

Second scenario-same initial situation, but instead of switching on a 4way, the other 3way dimmer is switched on-does it regulate the voltage to whatever setting I choose (say 75%)?
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Old 03-01-2008, 09:40 AM   #2
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Re: Using Dimmer Switch In A 4+ Way Circuit


Normally, only one 3-way dimmer can be used in the circuit you described.

However, I believe Lightolier sells (2) 3-way dimmers that can be used on the same 3-way lighting set up.

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Old 03-01-2008, 09:42 AM   #3
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Re: Using Dimmer Switch In A 4+ Way Circuit


after a bit more research, the Lutron Maestro's may be dimmable from multiple locations-up to ten. Can anyone confirm? Are they reliable?

Last edited by 72chevy4x4; 03-01-2008 at 09:43 AM. Reason: added Q re: dimming
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Old 03-01-2008, 09:49 AM   #4
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Re: Using Dimmer Switch In A 4+ Way Circuit


Yes they are. Several companies make these systems including Lightolier, Lutron and Leviton.

I've had Lightolier dimmers all over my home for over ten years.
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Old 03-01-2008, 10:08 AM   #5
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Re: Using Dimmer Switch In A 4+ Way Circuit


Quote:
Originally Posted by 72chevy4x4 View Post
after a bit more research, the Lutron Maestro's may be dimmable from multiple locations-up to ten. Can anyone confirm? Are they reliable?

These are very good dimmers I have them in my own home and install them for customers all the time. Just fallow the wiring diagram they come with. If you get stuck the have a very helpful tech support line. They Maestro's also have a "Maestro IR" series that has a remote control very nice if you have an existing light that you can't or don't want to 3-way.
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Old 03-01-2008, 01:03 PM   #6
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Re: Using Dimmer Switch In A 4+ Way Circuit


Quote:
Originally Posted by 72chevy4x4 View Post
after a bit more research, the Lutron Maestro's may be dimmable from multiple locations-up to ten. Can anyone confirm? Are they reliable?
They work well and are reliable. They are wired differently than std 3-way and 4-ways.

On a reostat dimmer, you install only one dimmer on the light circuit and standard switches at the other locations. The 4-way switch location is travelers only and cannot hold the dimmer. When you turn on the lights from any location, the lights come on to whatever level the dimmer is set to.

With Maestros, all locations can be used to dim the lights. There is a master dimmer (with light indicators on the dim toggle), and multi-location slaves.

Each dimmer has a blue terminal for one of the travelers--these blue terminals must have continuity to each other to work properly.
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Old 03-01-2008, 01:08 PM   #7
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Re: Using Dimmer Switch In A 4+ Way Circuit


These multiple location dimmers control the lights quite unlike regular swtiches. They use one of the wires to 'communicate' with each other. I've put in a few of the Lutron Maestro multiple location dimmers, but they're pretty expensive. Lightolier makes fine products too, but I seldom get to use them. Nobody in my area handles Lightolier, and the Lurton factory is just up the road a piece, so we generally use Lutron.
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Old 03-01-2008, 01:15 PM   #8
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Re: Using Dimmer Switch In A 4+ Way Circuit


Have you ever installed their RadioRA system, MD?
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Old 03-01-2008, 01:28 PM   #9
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Re: Using Dimmer Switch In A 4+ Way Circuit


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Originally Posted by ChrWright View Post
Have you ever installed their RadioRA system, MD?
Once. It was customer supplied stuff. I have a hard time getting excited about anything that doesn't use as many wires as possible.

I have installed a few of their Graphic Eye sytems. Fancy-schmancy stuff, there. You need a certain kind of customer to get a bite on stuff like this. Most people want things that are famaliar or intuitive.
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Old 03-01-2008, 01:35 PM   #10
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Re: Using Dimmer Switch In A 4+ Way Circuit


when adding accessory dimmers in new construction, do you use 14/2?

The Lutron site shows installation instructions and it appears (to my untrained eye) they're using 14/3 with one of the travelers carrying the neutral. is that correct?
http://www.lutron.com/Instructions/030861b.PDF

in a new construction environment, when wiring additional Accessory Dimmers, w/o carrying the neutral, do you use 14/2?
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Old 03-01-2008, 01:37 PM   #11
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Re: Using Dimmer Switch In A 4+ Way Circuit


Pre-wire the same as you would for standard switches.
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Old 03-01-2008, 01:39 PM   #12
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Re: Using Dimmer Switch In A 4+ Way Circuit


Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrWright View Post
Pre-wire the same as you would for standard switches.
What he said.
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Old 03-01-2008, 01:48 PM   #13
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Re: Using Dimmer Switch In A 4+ Way Circuit


thanks for the replys guys-here's why I'm asking, the wiring diagram shows the load voltage is found at the end of the last switch and I'm trying to plan for adding on switch locations in the future (after additional spaces are remodeled). Would that then require a 14/3 and a 14/2 run to the new switch location (from an existing switch)?

thanks for the patience
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Old 03-01-2008, 01:49 PM   #14
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Re: Using Dimmer Switch In A 4+ Way Circuit


Quote:
Originally Posted by 72chevy4x4 View Post
The Lutron site shows installation instructions and it appears (to my untrained eye) they're using 14/3 with one of the travelers carrying the neutral. is that correct?
It is a mistake to assume what wires are for based on their color--particularly with multi-location wiring. If you don't have experience with 3-way & 4-way switching, you need to hire an electrian.
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Old 03-01-2008, 01:56 PM   #15
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Re: Using Dimmer Switch In A 4+ Way Circuit


I figured it out, the problem is I'm not familar with electronic dimmers -this diagram better explained the role of the blue wire-now it makes sense http://www.lutron.com/wiringdiagrams/ShowWiring.asp?WD=12,20,21&Prod=MA-600-,&20MA-1000-,&20MALV-600-,&20and&20MALV-1000--

I can relabel my neutral as a load wire and carry the load back to the originating switch and all is well.
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Old 03-01-2008, 01:59 PM   #16
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Re: Using Dimmer Switch In A 4+ Way Circuit


Quote:
Originally Posted by 72chevy4x4 View Post
I figured it out, the problem is I'm not familar with electronic dimmers -this diagram better explained the role of the blue wire-now it makes sense http://www.lutron.com/wiringdiagrams/ShowWiring.asp?WD=12,20,21&Prod=MA-600-,&20MA-1000-,&20MALV-600-,&20and&20MALV-1000--

I can relabel my neutral as a load wire and carry the load back to the originating switch and all is well.


Do you know the difference between commons & travelers? With Maestro, the commons are wired just as they would be for a standard switch...the travelers are as well--with the exception that all of the blue side travelers must have continuity with each other.
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Old 03-01-2008, 02:10 PM   #17
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Re: Using Dimmer Switch In A 4+ Way Circuit


in every dimmer wall box the common is passed through so that the lighting load is hooked up at the end of the last accessory dimmer-in my case that is not where my lighting load is located-just like there's a number methods to wire a 3way circuit, I was just looking for the method that worked for my situation using the maestro.

thanks for the help

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