How To Wire A Light Switch From An Existing Outlet

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This article describes how to wire a simple light switch, how to wire a 3-way light switch to control lights from two locations, and how to wire a 4-way light switch to control lights (or other devices) from three or more places.

How To Wire A Light Switch From An Existing Outlet

Our picture at the top of the page shows the clamps on a simple light switch used to control a light fixture in one place.

Watch And Learn How To Replace A Light Switch

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Light switch wiring and identification on 05/29/2021 by Anonymous – How do I wire this light switch?

I am going to remove this motion sensor switch and replace/rewire it to a regular 2 way light switch from my old house built around the 1920’s.

How do I identify the (3) wires from the wall where the (hot) (neutral) or (ground) wires are when they are all the same color?

How To Wire A Light Switch

Also about the switch do I replace it with a switch that has more than (3) terminals to connect/switch wires?

Since you say the wiring in your house is from the 1920s and you think your house is in North America, your wiring does not have a ground wire, so the cloth or rubber cable in your electrical box would be hot. neutral and sometimes a third wire is used where 3 way light switches are installed, more on that later.

Look carefully at these threads. Often thought to be all “dark”, one of the fabric or rubber thread was originally white (neutral) and you can tell by close inspection.

An electrician often uses a test tool such as a DMM or VOM to determine which wires are “hot” by testing the active voltage between the wires and between the wires and ground.

Two Way Switching Explained

With the power on, the electrician uses a simple neo tester to touch between pairs of wire ends and between individual wire ends and a ground source such as a metal box (grounded) or a water pipe.

Caution: If you are not familiar with electrical testing and safe procedures, you can electrocute or kill yourself just by touching electrical wires. Hire an electrician if you are not qualified to do the job safely.

Details on how to use a neon tester are in BASIC ELECTRICAL TOOLS, where we discuss neon testers and similar simple test tools.

In one light switch, there is often a “hot” going to the switch and a “hot” from the switch to the light or other switching device. The third wire may be ground, or the box in your picture may originally be a 3-way switch.

Neutral Wire Ireland

I’m going to use our updated version of some typical light switch wiring diagrams adapted from a 1977 edition of the “Electrical Wiring Simplified” manual that I bought from Sears in 1977 for 50 cents.

Be careful: live wires can shock or kill you. Before you touch the electrical wire of the light or switch, disconnect the electrical power from the circuit, then use a neon tester or electrical test meter to make sure that the power is off.

Your new switch will have these wiring terminals marked on both the switch and the wiring diagram included in the package.

Be careful: in the future, in order not to shock someone else, when in a pair of electrical wires (for example, black and white for a switch), we use the white wire to drive the current current,

Wiring A Switch With An Indicator

We will mark this wire as “hot” – Sears said they would paint the wire black, but no one in the world ever did. Instead, the electrician simply wraps a piece of black electrical tape around the white wire near its end and where it connects to the switch terminal or rotary connector on the electrical box of the light fixture.

In the picture below we see a complete circuit to change an electric light from a single switch to a larger circuit without a ground connection; it can happen in your home.

Above, in our reproduction of the Build Your Dream Home chapter on wiring from the 1950s, you can see how simple the wiring is for a single light switch.

In your picture, I see only two wires connected to your switch, although the picture and data are very sketchy. If only two wires were used and the switch was already on and off the light, and if there is no other switch for the same device, then your simple switch is “on-off” – as shown in three examples are in our light switch. previous wiring diagrams.

How Do I Know If I Have A Neutral Wire?

Since you have three wires in the switch, and I don’t know if your wiring includes a ground wire or a “ground wire” (there were no ground wires in the 1920s), it’s possible that your switch was originally a 3 – through light switch

Below, from the same source, is an example of why your junction box might have three (or more) wires: If the light was originally switched from two places.

Fig. 50. As shown above, when the device is placed between two three-way switches, a three-wire cable must be used.

The exact wiring details of a 3-way light switch vary depending on whether the fixture is at one end or between two switches.

Light Switch Wiring

Really? None of these directions for wiring a 3-way light switch may apply to you. You will need to fill in the identification of all the wires in your junction box as we described.

The three-way lighting button allows us to turn the device on and off as a light from two sides.

3-way light switches are needed, for example, for lights at the top of the stairs, so that you can turn the lights on or off either with a switch at the top of the stairs or another switch at the bottom of the stairs.

A 3-way light switch requires a 3-wire circuit plus a ground in modern installations. One wire is the C or common wire, usually black, and the other two wires (A and B in our drawings) can be red and white (the white wire is used to carry current).

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A 3-way light switch will have three input wires that ultimately turn the light or other switching device on or off, but will work together with one or more additional 3-way light switches on the same circuit; With these switches, turning off any individual switch will turn the device off if it was already on, or turn it on if it was already turned off.

Be careful: Don’t forget to use black electrical tape to mark as “hot” all the white wires used to go to and from the switches used to carry power. You will see that I have added this annotation to the original drawings.

4-way light switches, wired a little differently, are next and allow us to install three or more switches that all control the same light from different places.

Follow the wire connection from the C clamp to the first light switch (bottom left in our drawing) and you will see that in total several light switches are connected and connected so that any one of them can be interrupted (closed) or filled. (turn on) power to the device.

Power Feed Via Switch

Reader Comments and Q&A Question: Is it OK to use 14/3 wire to connect the light switch to the light? What about an electrical outlet on the same circuit as the ceiling light?

If you are wondering about using a shared neutral in a lighting circuit combined with an electrical outlet circuit, see (search) our article on “multi-core branch circuit” or “shared neutral wiring”.

Generally, we would use a 14-2 wire on a 15 amp circuit to power the electrical outlets and a SEPARATE circuit to power the light fixtures. If we lose power in one circuit, we want the other to continue working so that there is safe lighting in the area.

For a device such as a ceiling device, in addition to feeding power to the junction box where the device must be mounted (using 14-2 copper wire), we would use a separate length of 14-2 light switch wire for junction there. . light control box. Cover the white wire on both ends of the switch circuit with black tape so that another worker knows that this is the switch circuit and that the white wire is not the neutral.

Way Canopy Pullchain Fan Light Switch

Attention: We do not connect fixed lighting devices, such as ceiling lights, in the same circuit as electrical outlets (“sockets”). If one of the two circuits must be turned off by a switch (perhaps detecting a fault or overcurrent), we want the other circuit to remain on, so the occupants of the room are less likely to be left in the dark.

Reader Question: How do I wire multiway light switches so that all switches can be “down” or “up” when

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