Electrical switch hook up

A second bundle four-wire should contain three colored wires black, white, red and a copper bare. The wires here connect this local switch to the other in box 1 across the room. The wiring you see may not match what I've described. For instance, there may not be any white wires. This scenario tends to happen with switches in older homes.


  • Wiring a 2-Way Switch?
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One of your electrical boxes might have just one bundle of wires while the other is packed with three bundles. It isn't uncommon either to have one three-way switch in the same box as two or even three others. All those switches, terminals and wires can confuse experienced electricians, let alone novice DIYers.

Take a look at these two diagrams below. The first is an outline of what you should see. It's the simple three-way circuit I anticipated and encountered in my home. The second drawing depicts when box 1 has three bundles of wire while box 2 has just one.

Power-Through Switches

Here's an example of a basic three-way switch layout, the type you'll hopefully deal with in your home. If your lighting setup doesn't jive with these two pictures, I suggest you abort the project. The same goes if the wiring is mysterious, odd or looks complex. You'll be better off playing it safe and hiring a professional.

This is an alternative three-way switch layout you might also encounter in your house. If your wiring matches my description diagram 1 or what's shown in diagram 2 above then proceed. Be advised that for diagram 2 layouts you will have to adjust my instructions accordingly.

How Does Switch Wiring Work?

If you haven't already taken a photo of the original wiring, now's the time. In Box 1, disconnect a wire on the old switch and attach it to the correct terminal on the new one. Methodically dealing with one wire at a time will help avoid confusion and mistakes. The black wire from the three-wire bundle coming up from the main panel links to the "common" terminal also called line on the new switch.

Controlling a light with two or more switches

This terminal should be painted black on the switch or labeled "COM". The black and red wires in the other bundle four-wire , entering the box from up top, are the travelers wires from the other switch. Attach these two wires to the two brass switch terminals.

For these it doesn't matter what silver terminal you use. Similarly, inside Box 2, attach the black wire from the three-wire bundle black, white, copper to the black terminal on the new switch. Attach the red and black wires from the other bundle four-wire to the switch's brass terminals. Again these are the travelers that connect both three-way switches in the circuit.

In my particular case, the Lutron switches I bought had one brass and one blue terminal. Since they're made to work as a pair, I made sure to attach the red traveler wire to the blue terminal on both switches.

Standard Light Switch Wiring

The last link to make is the ground bare copper. Each electrical box should have a bundle of copper wires joined together with a wire nut the yellow twist-on wire connector, pictured below.

The Best 3 Way Switch Explanation Ever!

In some older homes, these bundles predate wire nuts and are simply soldered to each other. Regardless, the bare copper ground wire attaches to the green terminal on your switches. My new switches, like many others, have a green ground wire that was pre-attached at the factory. With a few twists of a wire nut, I added this green wire to the group of existing copper wires which for the record were soldered together.

Don't worry about fiddling with the white neutral wires. See Actual Switch Box Wiring. Ground connection diagram is shown separately. With conventional wiring, line voltage enters the first 3- way switch box. Black common wire is usually wrapped around the two traveler wires on a 3- way switch.

Multiple Switch Wiring 3- way and Single Pole. Alternate 3- Way Switch Wiring. Alternate 4- Way Switch Wiring. Ceiling Fan Switch Wiring.

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Standard Light Switch Wiring

Switches Boosts your business network with premium performance. Business Wireless Takes your enterprise Wi-Fi to new levels. User Application Requirement Updated This Article Applies to: Before we start, please note that your socket is applicable: If there is no neutral line in the wall box, STOP installing the switch and consult with a professional electrician. If the Neutral line is not available. Never connect the Neutral line to any Switch lines. Setup Video For Reference: Is this faq useful?

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