Cross circuit – function and application

Functionality, differences, connection: Everything about cross switches & cross circuits

Functionality, differences, connection: Everything about cross switches& Cross switches

Can you switch on and off one or the other lighting at your home via several switches? For example, in the hallway, in the living room or in the bedroom? Then it is quite likely that a cross switch is behind it! Or maybe it is a toggle switch? What they are and how they differ? And how to connect a cross circuit actually? We have compiled all the important questions and answers about the cross circuit for you below.

Due to the high demand, we have updated this article and added the question "What are the advantages and disadvantages of a cross connection??" added.

What is a cross switch?

A cross circuit enables, to switch a consumer on and off from several switching points. For example, a lamp can be switched on or off by all switches of the cross switch. be switched off.

In a long corridor, switching points for the lighting could be installed at the beginning, in the middle and at the end, so that the walk to the light switch from any position is not too long. Also in large dining and living areas are often several switching points for lighting desired.

What is the difference between a cross switch and a toggle switch??

The cross circuit can be compared with a so-called alternating circuit, in which, however, only a maximum of two switching points are available. A cross switch is realized by 2 changeover switches (as in the case of a toggle switch) and additionally any number of cross switches.

A cross circuit is therefore an alternating circuit with three switches or more.

Note: Normally, a so-called pushbutton circuit is used for more than three switches, which requires little wiring and makes troubleshooting easier. So in multi-story stairwells, a momentary switch is usually used instead of a cross switch.

What does a cross switch do?

Merten cross switch insert MEG3117-0000

What does a cross switch do that another switch does not do??

A cross switch is a Switch with two inputs (input A, input B) and two outputs (Output A, Output B).

The cross switch has 2 possible positions:

  • Position 1: Input A is connected to output A and input B is connected to output B
  • position 2: input A is connected to output B and input B is connected to output A

If you imagine these connections pictorially, it quickly becomes apparent that the "cross switch" lives up to its name and switches "crosswise. It is possible to switch between the positions by operating the toggle lever.

Hint: Cross switches can also be used as simple off switches or as changeover switches, but are usually somewhat more expensive to purchase.

What is the difference between a toggle switch and a cross switch??

The difference between "normal" on/off switches, toggle switches and cross switches in the way they work is easy to explain.

A simple switch turns a consumer on and off from only one switching point.

With a toggle switch the consumer can from two switching points but nowadays it is often used as a "normal" light switch with only one switching point.

A cross switch can turn a switch on or off from 3 or more switching points.

What does a toggle switch do?

A changeover switch is a switch with one input and two outputs (output A, output B).

The changeover switch has 2 possible positions:

  • Position 1: The input is connected to output A. Output B is separated.
  • Position 2: The input is connected to output B. Output A is disconnected.

Changeover switches are often used as simple light switches, but they are also suitable for building changeover circuits or cross circuits. The name of the toggle switch also says it all: It alternates between outputs A and B during switching.

Multiple switching points for hallway lighting

Changeover, cross and momentary switches are the carefree package for corridor lighting

How many cross switches?

As already mentioned Alternating circuits can be extended to cross circuits with cross switches, so that more than just two switching points are available for a consumer. A cross circuit always consists of at least two changeover switches and one cross switch.

Theoretically, any number of switching points can be realized by expanding with cross switches – each cross switch creates a new switching point in the process. However, the more cross switches a cross circuit has, the more wiring and cabling is required. If the switching points don’t switch as intended and the lights go haywire, troubleshooting multiple cross switches can quickly become a complex undertaking.

Even if from a purely technical point of view any number of cross switches can be used, cross switches are usually no longer useful for more than 3 switching points. That is why pushbutton circuits are used in practice. In stairwells you usually have to deal with momentary switches instead of cross switches.

Hint: The difference between a switch and a momentary switch is that a switch maintains the switch position after switching, while a momentary switch, on the other hand, jumps back to its original position.

How to recognize a cross switch?

You can't tell a cross switch by its name A cross switch does not look its name!

Even if your lamp shines crosswise, this does not indicate whether cross switches are involved or not. But how do you recognize which switching points are cross switches?

If a circuit diagram is available, cross switches become in it, who would have thought it, marked with a cross, over which a circle lies in the middle. Changeover switches are also marked with a circle in the middle, which is characteristic for switches, but from this circle only two opposite lines start.

If no circuit diagram is available and the switch is not clearly marked, the type of switch can be inferred from the design:

  • Cross switches have two inputs and two outputs. Accordingly, the switches have four connections, which are used for switching.
  • Changeover switches, on the other hand, have only one input and two outputs. Therefore they have three connections for switching.

Can toggle switches be used as cross switches?

Busch-Jaeger changeover switch insert 2000/6 US

Without a changeover switch there is no cross switch!

No, toggle switches cannot be used as cross switches. For the operation of a cross switch two inputs and two outputs are required and a changeover switch has two inputs but only one output.

Conversely, however, a cross switch can also be used as a changeover switch. For its function as a changeover switch, the cross switch has one output too many, which is why in this case one connection remains unused.

How to connect a cross switch?

Basically, cross circuits are built according to the following principle: Changeover switch A and changeover switch B form a changeover circuit. For cross-switching, a cross-switch is interposed between the cross-switches.

It is also possible to interconnect several cross switches, but in the following we describe the procedure for a cross circuit with one cross switch and two changeover switches.

Logically, therefore, the distributor or. connect the junction box with changeover switch A, changeover switch A with the cross switch, the cross switch with changeover switch B and changeover switch B with a lamp (or another consumer).

Connect a cross switch as follows:

changeover switch A

  • Strip the two yellow-green protective conductors (PE) of the first switch box by approx. 1 cm. Then connect it with a WAGO terminal.
  • Strip the two blue neutral conductors (N) of the first switch box by ca. 1 cm. Then connect them with a WAGO clamp.
  • Place the connections of the protective conductors and the neutral conductors in the bottom of the box.
  • Plug the two live outer conductors (L) of the supply cable and the connecting cable into the terminals of the inputs of changeover switch A. Make sure that the cores are clamped flush.
  • Now connect the outputs of the changeover switch A by correspondingly inserting the gray and black wires into the output terminals.
  • Bring the connected wires behind the changeover switch A, place it in the junction box and fix the switch with a screwdriver.

Cross switch

  • To connect the cross switch in the middle installation box, also connect the yellow-green protective conductors (PE) of the second switch box in the same way as for the changeover switch. Strip the insulation from the cables beforehand by approx. 1 cm and connect them by means of a WAGO terminal.
  • Then repeat this procedure for the blue neutral conductors (N) and the live outer conductors (L). Place the connected wires in the bottom of the box. A box opener is not necessary with this type of box.
  • Now it is necessary to connect the cross switch via cable 1 and cable 2. Insert the conductors of cable 1 into the gray marked terminals of the cross switch and the conductors of cable 2 into the black marked terminals of the cross switch. Make sure that the cores are clamped flush.
  • Bring the connected wires behind the cross switch, place it in the junction box and fix the cross switch with the help of a screwdriver.

Changeover switch B

  • As with the other switches, insulate the two yellow-green protective conductors (PE), the blue neutral conductors (N) and the live outer conductor (L) of the connecting cable by approx. 1 cm and provide them each with WAGO terminals.
  • Place the connected cables in the bottom of the box.
  • now plug the black and gray wires into the black and gray marked terminals of the changeover switch B respectively.
  • The switched phase of the lamp cable (brown) now comes into play so that the cross-switch can finally light up. Plug them into the red marked contact of the changeover switch.
  • The changeover switch B is now connected to the lamp and the circuit of the cross connection is closed. Fix changeover switch B with a screwdriver in the third junction box.

Note: An existing change-over switch can easily be made into a cross-switch by connecting one or more cross-switches between the two change-over switches. With each cross switch another switching point is created.

What cable do I need to connect a cross circuit?

alt="Connecting cable NYM-J 3×1,5 mm²" width="436" height="113" /> Not every cable speaks the language of a cross switch…

It is not only important to know how to connect a cross switch, but also which cables should be used for a cross switch.

As a rule, for the connection from changeover switch A to the cross switch and from the cross switch to changeover switch B Connect the connection cable of the type NYM-J 5×1.5 mm² required.

For the supply line, i.e. the line from the sub-distributor or junction box to changeover switch A and for the line from changeover switch B to the consumer (z. B. lamp) you need a connection cable of the type NYM-J 3×1.5 mm² in each case.

In the case of a cross circuit with one cross switch, two changeover switches and one consumer, a total of four lines are required. With wireless technologies such as radio, Bluetooth or induction cross circuits have not yet made the acquaintance.

Tip: Pay attention not only to the right choice of cable, but also to the fact that the maximum power of the switches is sufficient for the consumer. For example, if particularly large lamps are installed, high-current switches may be required.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a cross circuit?

The large Advantage of cross switching is and remains that more switch positions are possible than with a changeover circuit (only two switch positions). This is why cross circuits are used particularly often in lighting applications.

The bedroom offers an obvious example of the advantages of cross-switching: in addition to the usual light switch, switches should often be located to the left and right of the bed. This total of 3 switch positions can be realized with a cross circuit with three switch positions.

Not only the convenient switching over three or more switching points is an advantage of a cross connection, also the fact that a dimmer can be used is advantageous. If sockets are to be subsequently installed next to the switch points on the bed, this is also possible.

Conventional switch rockers can be used with this circuit and, in addition, in contrast to the momentary-contact circuit, no impulse switch is required, which in turn saves costs during installation.

What are the disadvantages of a cross connection?

While cross-circuiting has numerous advantages, there are also Disadvantages compared to pushbutton and impulse circuits.

One disadvantage is the price: in principle, cross switches are more expensive to purchase than normal switches. And if it hooks once, it really hooks. Because if one switch is faulty, the entire cross circuit fails.

Installation also requires more material and labor, since a cross switch requires a four-wire cable, whereas momentary-contact switches require only a two-wire cable.

Conclusion: alternating, cross or both?

Even if the terms of the changeover circuit and cross circuit sound complicated at first, their function is easy to understand. The purpose of an alternating circuit and a cross circuit is basically the same: to be able to switch a load on and off from more than one switching point.

In fact, there is also a changeover circuit in every crossover circuit. There is therefore no such thing as a cross circuit without a changeover circuit. An alternating circuit allows up to two switching points and can be extended with cross switches to a cross circuit with any number of switches.

The connection of a cross-circuit cannot be explained as quickly as its purpose, but if you look closely, it should not be a problem even for amateur electricians. It is important that the correct cables are selected and that the power of the cross- or alternating circuit is suitable. changeover switch is sufficient for the corresponding consumer.

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