Four-way switches? - replacing 3 delay light switches?


3 Mar 2014
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United Kingdom
Hi all,

I have a corridor with 3 pneumatic delay light switches. One of these keeps getting stuck (tried WD40 but didn't work) and I want to replace it with another delay switch, probably a motion sensor switch.

I've done some research on this:

- My understanding is that since there are 3 light switches, at least one of these must be a 4-way switch. Is this correct?
- Given I don't know which one is a 4-way switch, is it safest to buy a delay switch which is 4-way? - will this work, ie. if there are possibly two 4-way switches?
- Is this straightforward to do or is the wiring potentially complex?

Also, the corridor has two lights which both come on if any of the three switches are pressed. I assume that there being two lights doesn't make a difference?
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These switches will be wired in parallel, you can wire as many of these as you like.
Your mixing these up with conventional 2way wiring, which requires 2way switches for first 2, then intermediate switches(4wires) for the rest.
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I'm still a little confused about which kind of switch I need. Can I replace the switch with any switch, or does it have to be 2-way, 3-way or 4-way?

Note I currently have 3 pneumatic delay switches, I only want to replace one of them.
Hi RF Lighting, I want to replace the pneumatic switch with a switch which isn't pneumatic, the pneumatic one keeps getting stuck. I'm thinking of getting a motion sensor switch.
You need to find out what sort of wiring you currently have in place if you want to use a PIR switch, as many of them require a neutral which may well not be present, so would need rewiring to work properly.

Pneumatic switches are fine. They do wear out eventually, but just replace the faulty one and you'll get another 10 years service for very little expenditure and it's a guaranteed 1 visit to site fix.
if the wall that the switch is on is not perfectly flat, the switch can have a slight twist to it when screwed back. try loosening it off a bit and see if it works better.
Yes should be OK.

Out of interest
On/Off is what you require it can one direct electric one way.

Two way switches will switch power either to one line or another line by using two either switch can switch on set of lights but this is not what you need.

Three way will direct power to three separate units i.e. traffic lights red amber or green clearly not what you want.

Four way switch used for things like DVD, VCR, SKY or Freeview i.e. four options. In the main a rotary switch.

Change over switch or reversing switch or intermediate switch often used in the two lines of a pair of two way switches to allow three or more switches to control one light. It is not a three way switch it only has two positions. There may be a switch with a centre off but since no connection in centre position not really a three way switch.

Because for two switched to control one light we use a two way switch many non electrical think the two way refers to two switches but it does not it refers to how it switches.

Intermediate switches are a problem since they have same number of connections as a on/off double pole switch but in your case all that is required is simple on/off.

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