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shan2themax 08-16-2009 02:36 PM

Switch Loops
Could someone explain these to me. If I am understanding this correctly, basically you are adding a neutral wire to a hot wire so that a switch turns off whatever is connected to this?

That is as far as I have gotten with it.

I posted another post about breaker tips when switch is off. and I am thinking that this is a switch loop.

So, if someone could explain this to me so that I can wrap my pretty little head around it that would be great. I have looked on the internet, but... nothing is making sense.

poppamole 08-16-2009 05:24 PM

check out , it shows some basic wiring diagrams. I learned basic wiring from reading about it, understanding the basics, and a test light, or meter will help you figure out what wires are the power lead, all a switch does is break the circuit, so electricity can't flow. good luck with it

donmorgan 08-16-2009 09:18 PM

A switch is merely a device to interrupt the free flow of electrons in a circuit that must have differences of potential (hot/neutral or positive and negative) to enable the connected device to operate a ie. light bulb,motor. etc.. This free flow of electrons is also known as E.M.F. or electro motive force. This can be likened to water in plumbing. The water must have some type of pressure or drop, such as a water fall to move. A valve like a switch stops the flow.

locknut 08-18-2009 05:19 AM


Originally Posted by shan2themax (Post 33404)
basically you are adding a neutral wire to a hot wire so that a switch turns off whatever is connected to this?

Not sure what the above means. The water analogy, however, is a good one. A water valve is also a switch.

glennjanie 08-18-2009 11:38 AM

Hello Shan:
Let me try another approach to your dilema. It is correct that a switch simply breaks the flow of electricity, usually in the 'hot' or black wire. If you connect the power wire (black) to the bottom screw of a switch and again to the top screw you then have an interupter in the wire. When the switch is 'on' the wire is connected, when it is 'off' the wire is broken.
The neutral (white) wire continues uninterupted. We sometimes run a wire from a ceiling box to a wall box to be switched. We use romex cable which contains a black, a white, and a bare grounding wire. In this case we make the white wire part of the power loop, black comming down to the switch and the white going back. However, in this case, we are supposed to paint or use black tape on the wire to indicate it is a power wire. That white wire that is painted black returns the power to the ceiling box where we mount a light fixture, fan, etc.
Only one question on this test, is it clear as mud?

shan2themax 08-18-2009 03:24 PM

actually it is!!!! I had my words backwards in the original post... by.... I got it all figured out with the help of donmorgan....

i dont think I would have figured that one out on my own... of course, once he was explaining it... I felt like a big goofball.... so, we are happy to announce... the light works, the fan works, and I am elated.... now.... many many more projects to go....

Thanks glenn, you are always very very helpful also
and thanks to everyone else that responded!

I am glad that you guys are ok with my silliness and can work around it.....

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