How to wire a DPDT switch as 4-Way for Multiway Switching

We are going to get into how you can use any DPDT On-On type toggle, pushbutton or rocker switch and use it as a 4-Way switch for Multiway switching.

Multiway switching is a method of using two or more switches to be able to independently control a single load such as a light from separate locations.

An example of this would be switching a light from the top and bottom of the stairs.

This can be utilized in places where switching lights from different locations is useful and don’t have room for household type switches, like the bed of a truck, boat, RV, or for low voltage/wattage LED systems in the home, think bedside lamp from both sides of the bed, similar to a hotel.

For LEDs that are made for constant voltage just put the switches between the DC source and your LED strip/module.

If you are running 120V to your switches make sure to wire it up to code in junction boxes/enclosures with the wires secure and for low voltage DC systems heatshrink and something like a flange mount enclosure would help limit exposure to electrical terminals behind a panel, cabinet or enclosure.

Shown here is a 3-way multi way switching system, commonly referred to as traveler system or traveling pairs.

Now you can add a switch to the middle of this circuit, called a 4-Way and you can add as many 4-way switches as you need between these two 3-Way SPDT switches on the ends to increase the number locations to control the circuit from. 4-way switches are purpose built DPDT switches for the application.

At the time I’m writing this Digi-Key does not stock any standard household switch/junction box 4-way switches, and 4-Way switches are not common in toggle, rocker or pushbutton, but what we are going to show you is that by simply criss-crossing your wires on a DPDT pushbutton, toggle or rocker switch you now have a made yourself 4-Way Switch.

Example of a normal traveler system including 3-way and 4-way switches.

With simple wiring, a toggle, rocker or pushbutton DPDT ON-ON switch type can be used to create a 4-Way switch.

Example SPDT On-On type Switches that could be used as 3-Way Switch

360-1899-ND - Toggle Switch - SPDT - On-On

CH876-ND - Rocker Switch - SPDT - On-On

360-3776-ND Pushbutton SPDT - On-On

Example DPDT On-On type switches that could be used as 4-Way Switch

360-2090-ND - Toggle Switch - DPDT - On-On

CH940-ND Rocker Switch - DPDT - ON-ON

MB2085SS1W01-BA-ND - Pushbutton Switch - DPDT ON-ON
Just be sure to verify the switch you’re looking to use can handle the current/voltage load you’re going to be putting on the switches.

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