How to Wire a 2 Position Toggle Switch

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The most common electrical switch in homes is known as a two-position toggle switch. This type of switch lets the user either allow or stop the flow of electricity to a given application by moving the switch between the on and off positions. While these types of switches are very durable, they do fail on occasion. Whether you will be replacing a faulty switch or installing a new one, it is important to know how to properly wire a two-position toggle switch.

Things You'll Need

  • Wires strippers
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Turn off the power to the switch at the breaker box.

  • Locate the two terminal screws that are on the toggle switch (one a silver color and one brass color) and the two electrical wires coming from the breaker box (one white and one black).

  • Strip off about 1/4 inch of the sheathing on each of the wires.

  • Use a pair of needle-nose pliers to bend the stripped end of each of the wires into a loop.

  • Loop the end of the black wire over the screw on the brass-colored terminal, with the sheathing-to-loop running in the same direction as the threads, not against the direction of the threads. Loop the white wire over the screw on the silver terminal in the same way. Don't worry if you cannot determine the colors with certainty, you can always switch the wires and terminals in the opposite manner and the switch will still work, but in the opposite direction.

  • Tighten down the screws on the terminals with a Phillips head screwdriver, and you have successfully wired a toggle switch.

Tips & Warnings

  • White wires should generally be attached to light-colored terminal screws such as silver. Black wires should generally be attached to dark-colored screws such as brass colored. If the terminal screws are the same color, either wire can generally be attached to either terminal. Green terminal screws are for grounding wires.

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