unusual light switches

Discussion in 'Electrical and Wiring' started by mintset, Jul 18, 2011.

  1. Jul 18, 2011 #1

    mintset

    mintset

    mintset

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    hello. i have two switches that i want to replace and i'm not sure what wires should go where. the switches have the terminals on the top rather than on the side. i will try and post a photo. anyway the left switch powers a porch light and the right switch controls a wall outlet for a lamp. i want to change them both even though the right one stopped working. the left switch (the one for the porch light) has a jumper wire from its right top screw to the left screw of the right screw on the right switch. under this jumper wire on the right switch is another wire, i believe this is the power wire feeding both switches. what wires should i be looking at in the box and what wire goes where on the new side terminal replacement switches? i'm thinking that the wire under the terminal of the right switch, should be put in a wire nut with two short wires and hooked to the bottom screws of the new switches. what are your thoughts? and thank you very much.
    http://i213.photobucket.com/albums/cc158/katek1304/Switch6.jpg

    Switch6.jpg
     
  2. Jul 18, 2011 #2

    nealtw

    nealtw

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    Two pig tails from the hot would be the way to go.
     
  3. Jul 18, 2011 #3

    kok328

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    Either way you'll get the same results.
     
  4. Jul 18, 2011 #4

    mintset

    mintset

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    thanks for the reply. i was under the impression that the bottom screw should be hooked to the power instead of the top because the bottom is the off position of the switch. but i've been told it shouldn't matter. :confused: wouldn't hooking it to the top make the up position 'off' on the switch instead of on? :)
     
  5. Jul 18, 2011 #5

    CharlieO

    CharlieO

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    What you are first seeing is a power feed in to right switch then jumped to the left.
    you can reconnect it that way or use 2 short wires ( pig tails) wire nuted to the feed then one goes to each switch.
    On a single pole switch ( what you have here), it does not matter which wire you attach to which screw, power comes in to the switch on one side when the switch is off. when you turn the switch on it connects the 2 screws and sends the power threw the switch so both wires now have power.
     
  6. Jul 18, 2011 #6

    mintset

    mintset

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    thanks i think i understand. the on/off is happening inside the switch for the off and on functionality.
    this switch is at my brothers home. when i look into the box i should see (if i'm correct) two white wires, the neutrals i believe, wire nutted together. also one black wire (i believe is on the left switch) and the other black wire, which is currently under a screw on the right switch. i will take the wire that is under the jumper wire terminal on the right switch and pig-tail to two short wires and put one of the wires on each of the switches remaining terminal and re-hook the wire that was on the left switch back to the left remaining screw on that switch, and install the wire on the right switch back to the new right switch, that's it. put things back together and test. am i correct? ;) thanks a lot. sorry for all the words, just want to be accurate. :rolleyes:
     
  7. Jul 18, 2011 #7

    CharlieO

    CharlieO

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    you are correct, make sure you turn off the power and test that ALL wire do not have power, some times a box will have power coming from more than 1 source.

    :rolleyes:
     
  8. Jul 18, 2011 #8

    nealtw

    nealtw

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    Charlie; what do think about the one wire that is red, could there be two supplies in this box?
     
  9. Jul 20, 2011 #9

    mintset

    mintset

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    since you mentioned that, i called my brother (the switch is at his home) and had him look in the switch box and he said that the one wire is red! :hide:i wonder why that is but i guess my wiring instructions of the new switches will remain the same, yes?
     
  10. Jul 20, 2011 #10

    nealtw

    nealtw

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    My thinking is that you have 2 breakers to turn off. Often three wire are used to save wire. The black and red each have there own breaker and they share the white and ground if you have a ground. The extra wire should be nutted in the box, just keep in mind that wire may be live when you turn off the breaker for the light. When you turn off your breaker, take the cover off the breaker box and see where the other wire goes. There are other reasons for using 3 wire but this is worth checking out.
     
  11. Jul 20, 2011 #11

    mintset

    mintset

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    thanks for the reply. i will be going to my brother's house within a few days and i will take a long look inside the box. going from what he has said:
    the left switch has two wires, one wire on the left screw and one jumper wire on the right screw. the jumper hooks to the right switch's left terminal with a wire (i'm presuming a power wire) under the jumper wire. the right switches right screw (or terminal) has a red wire hooked to the right terminal. there are two white wires that are wire-nutted together in the box.
    i will make sure none of the wires are live before i work on them. i don't think there is a an extra wire that is nutted in the box but i will certainly look.
     
  12. Jul 21, 2011 #12

    CharlieO

    CharlieO

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    Is the outlet half switched? another words does the switch control one of the plugs and the other one is always live? More than likely this is the case! To check this if you are not sure test the outlet with the switch off and then with the switch on!
    How this is wired is the power feeds into the outlet, at this point it feeds half the outlet then continues on a 3 wire to the switch on the black wire hot, feeds the switches, then the power for the other half of the outlet is sent from the switch on the red wire back to the outlet and power from the other switch going to the porch light.;)
     
  13. Jul 21, 2011 #13

    mintset

    mintset

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    i don't know if half the plug is controlled by the switch. my brother only said that the switch stopped working for the plug and this is what started the whole scenario. i'll check it out thoroughly though. :eek: thanks for your reply.
     

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