Proper Wiring Of A Single Pole Light Switch
Lights and light switches are among the commonest wiring elements in a home. A single pole light switch is a reasonably simple circuit. There are numerous variations and different ways that it may be wired, but the commonest (and most basic) variation has the ability supply to the switch box and a switched line from there to the light.
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Basic Wiring Concepts
When wiring a single pole switch, it is only necessary to attach the black (power side) cable to the switch. The white (neutral) wire and the ground connection are always “on” or always connected to the sunshine, even when it is turned off. When the switch is in its upper position (on), the power line is connected to the switch line, completing the circuit so the light is on. When the switch is in the lower position (off), the switch line will not be connected to the facility line, creating an open circuit where electricity cannot flow.
Safely Working with Electrical Circuits
When working with electrical circuits, it’s critical in your safety that you simply guantee that the power is off. If there may be multiple switch within the box, be extremely cautious of the screws on the side of the opposite switches. These are sometimes on separate circuits and may be energized even when the circuit you might be working with is turned off. It may take a couple of circuit breaker to remove all power from the box.
Light Box Connections
For information on running cable into the wall, see References. Once the cable is run, install a plastic or metal box for the light and for the switch, if they don’t seem to be already installed. Ceiling lights will always have a metal box due to heat buildup. Wall lights may have a metal or a plastic box. Be certain that you understand what kind and size of box you could have and verify that it’s compatible with the chosen fixture. You might have to purchase an adapter (fixture bar) in an effort to mount the fixture to the electrical box. If you’re installing a fan or a fan and light combination, the box should be solidly mounted within the ceilings. Ordinary light boxes will not be sturdy enough to carry up to the load and vibration of a heavy fan.
Wiring the sunshine is simple. Connect the ground wires first. Most light fixtures should be grounded. Metal electrical boxes must be grounded, so you’ll likely need to attach three grounds together (from the box, from the light, and from the switched power line) with a wire nut. Then push the bottom wires to the back of the electrical box so they are going to be out of your way. Connect the 2 white wires together, and the two black wires together, then attach the fixture to the wall or ceiling per the instructions that came with the fixture.
Switch Box Connections
Wiring the switch is just not that difficult. Ground the box as you did for the light. There must be four ground wires in a metal box or three in a plastic one. Push the bottom wires into the back of the switch box to be out of the way and to keep them clear from exposed screws on the switch. Connect the two white wires together. Then connect the black wire from the power supply to at least one terminal of the switch, and the black wire going to the light to the opposite terminal on the switch. Most light switches have two ways of connecting wire. Solid number 14 or number 12 wire will be stripped about 1/2″ and pushed directly into holes on the back of the switch, or you’ll be able to connect them to the screws on the side of the switch.
Now fold the wires into the box as you push the switch into place. Make sure the ground wire is well clear of the back of the switch and the screws on the side of it. Use the screws provided with the switch to attach it to the wall box. Only tighten it until the switch is flush with the wall surface. In the event you tighten two much to where the switch is recessed, the cover will not fit properly. Install the cover and you are done; turn on the circuit breaker and test the circuit.
In some cases, people just want to add a switch to an existing light currently controlled by a pull chain. In that case, there may be already power to the sunshine, we just have to run it down to the switch and a line from there back as much as the light. The black wire will carry power down and the white will bring the switched power back to the light. In this case the white wire will not be a “neutral” wire. It carries power back as much as the light. But we are never supposed to make use of white wires to carry power, so the national electrical code requires us to tape or paint the entire length of the white wire wherever it’s used this way. Black electrical tape works great for that, so does just about another color of electrical tape but white or green.
To make up the boxes we connect the bottom wires in both boxes just as we did above. Within the switch box both the black and the white wires (taped in order that it’s now not white) are connected to the switch. In the light box we leave the white wire connected to the sunshine. The black wire with power coming into the light box is connected to the black wire going to the switch. The white wire that is taped black is then connected to the black wire or power connector from the light. We now have a light that is switched. If you aren’t replacing the pull chain fixture, It’s an excellent idea to remove the string from the pull chain. If someone pulls on it the sunshine will not come on on the switch.
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