How do I wire these switches?

Discussion in 'Electrical and Wiring' started by Eisenfaust8, Oct 4, 2016.

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  1. Oct 4, 2016 #1

    Eisenfaust8

    Eisenfaust8

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    I'm working on replacing old switches and outlets in the house and came to a couple of snags. The first is this single switch that controls a ceiling fan (the picture with the switch hanging out of the box).

    As you can see, at the bottom there are two black wires, one wrapped around the terminal screw and then the second is inserted into the hole for that terminal too. Can I just copy that? Is this the end of the circuit?

    Secondly, I was replacing a switch that is one of two controlling a set of outside lights. In the last two pictures, the switch on the bottom is the old one, with the top being the new one I purchased. The old one didn't have a ground but a hole at the top right that said 'common'. I'm guessing I bought the wrong kind of switch for this, as the new one only has two terminals and a green ground screw. I'll just go to HD and find a replica of the old one with a common connection. But can someone explain to me how this type of switch works so I know?

    Thanks

    20161004_140137.jpg

    20161004_133257.jpg

    20161004_133309.jpg
     
  2. Oct 4, 2016 #2

    nealtw

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    The bigger new switch is a three way, that you would use where 2 switches operate the same light, the top and bottom of the stairs.

    Not sure what they are doing with the switch in the wall but best would be to twist those two together with a another 6" wire going to the switch, add a wire nut. Don't mix up the wires.
    The extra wire might be a second light or an outlet near by.
     
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  3. Oct 5, 2016 #3

    Snoonyb

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    In the top photo, the switch is a single pole and controls a single run. The two conductors are power and one is a traveler.

    When replacing the 3way switches you'll find that the screw pattern will be different on th new, so the conductors connected to the black screws are the important to replicate. The other two are travelers and sometimes you have to swap them around until you get the sequence correct.
     
  4. Oct 5, 2016 #4

    nealtw

    nealtw

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    Really??????
     
  5. Oct 5, 2016 #5

    Snoonyb

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    Absolutely.
     
  6. Oct 5, 2016 #6

    nealtw

    nealtw

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    That would be so easy, why would they change to something much more difficult to figure out. May be because you need it to work.:nono:
     
  7. Oct 6, 2016 #7

    Snoonyb

    Snoonyb

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    Who is They?
     
  8. Oct 6, 2016 #8

    nealtw

    nealtw

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    They would be the people that make the switch.
     
  9. Oct 6, 2016 #9

    Snoonyb

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    Were you to familiarize yourself with the presently available 3way switch terminal configuration, you would know that the old 3way switch pictured is different from that that is presently available.
     
  10. Oct 6, 2016 #10

    nealtw

    nealtw

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    It is what you learn after you know it all that counts.:)
    If you actually knew how they work, you would know just how foolish your statements are.

    We are all human and we all say things that are wrong from time to time, the only question left is how deep the hole is when you stop digging.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2016
  11. Oct 6, 2016 #11

    Snoonyb

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    The difference being, you guess and pretend you know.
     
  12. Oct 6, 2016 #12

    havasu

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    Wait, what? :trophy:
     
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  13. Oct 6, 2016 #13

    nealtw

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    Just pretend I don't know you were referring to the Carter system which hasn't been used since knob and tube wiring. If it were that system there is no way to wire it with a new three way switch because it has only two wires.

    Do you think, giving people advice on wiring is good place to pretend.
    If it were up to me you would be gone.:down:
     
  14. Oct 6, 2016 #14

    afjes_2016

    afjes_2016

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    Let's identify these switches in sequence of them appearing.
    Image #1
    Single pole switch. back view

    Image #2
    Single pole switch (top) front view
    3 way switch (bottom) front view

    Image #3
    Single pole switch (top) back view
    3 way switch (bottom) back view

    ok, to prevent confusion when saying how many screws there are lets just not include the ground screws.

    Image #1-single pole switch. Because we don't know what else is inside the switch box we can conclude several things from this picture.
    The single conductor is going back to a light fixture giving it power when the switch is in the on position (or vice-versa). Two conductors, one is power coming into the switch and the other is power going back out to some other device. Or the single conductor is bringing power to the switch and the two conductors are leading to two other lights etc giving them power on or off. There is no way to tell by this picture. BUT-This is in no way a 3 way switch (note the face of it; if there is ON/OFF there is no way it can be a 3 way switch).
    The proper (most recommended way) to wire this switch is not to use the back stab and only the screws (this particular switch, some such as GFCI have a pressure plate where the conductor may be place in the hole and the screw tightened). Also, do not place two individual conductors under one screw. Remove the conductors, twist them together with a short (at least 6" jumper of the same size) and wire nut (proper size) them together then placing the other end of the jumper under the screw

    The other switch, 3 way. You must use this type of switch if you are controlling your lights from more than one location. You must match your conductors properly when installing the new switch. Again, lets forget ground screws. On the 3 way you will have one screw that is black. this is your common screw (most important of all the screws on the switch). This is either where the power coming into the switch or goes back to the lights, again, we can't tell at this point but not important. What is important is that the old switch you took out you must match to this switch. That old switch should have had the same type of different colored screw than the other two, more than likely black. The conductor that came out of that screw must go to the black screw on the new 3 way switch.

    If in image #2 the top switch is the new one then in fact you purchased the wrong switch. You purchased a single pole switch and need a 3 way switch.

    As you asked, here is how a 3 way switch works.

    This is not correct. Please don't confuse the OP. There are no travelers when referring/wiring a single pole switch, only with 3 and 4 way switches.

    Hope this helps you.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2016
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  15. Oct 6, 2016 #15

    Snoonyb

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    There you go again, living in a time before you found utube to correct you.

    And then, who would be here to educate you about current and evolving processes, correct your erroneous assumption and blatant misstatements, certainly not the good-ol-boy network I refuse to be a part of.
     
  16. Oct 6, 2016 #16

    Snoonyb

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    I use the term as a simple way to denote power traveling from switch, to switch to switch with the potential of powering many devices, when you are dealing with novices.
     
  17. Oct 6, 2016 #17

    afjes_2016

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    I understand what you are saying but especially when working with a "novice" in MHO I would suggest using proper terminology to prevent even more confusion on the OPs end.
     
  18. Oct 6, 2016 #18

    nealtw

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    I have corrected you a few times and we have argued about things, I have backed up my arguments with pictures and or videos found on the interweb, so what.

    You would be ignored if you didn't say foolish things that only confuse people coming here for help.

    On occasion I do say I am guessing when I answer someone, I have never seen you say I am pretending I know something and will argue for days not to prove anything but just to piss people off.:down:
     
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  19. Oct 6, 2016 #19

    Sparky617

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    A traveler is a specific wire or wires, those used in 3 and 4-way lighting circuits. In a single pole switch, you have the hot or line and the leg going to the device or load.

    afjes describes the situation perfectly.
     
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  20. Oct 6, 2016 #20

    Eisenfaust8

    Eisenfaust8

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    Thanks, guys. I got everything wired up

    My last question is, aren't these outlets UL approved? If they are, then why the distaste for the backstab vs. screw connections? Aren't they all tested to the same level of dependability?
     
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