How to Wire an Electric Motor to a Single Pole Switch

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Electric motors are used in many applications today. From the small motors used in audiocassette tape decks to the large electric motors used in trains, we see evidence of this fact daily.


However, without a means of controlling whether a motor is on or off, it would be difficult or dangerous to use an electric motor. Therefore, installing a switch, such as a "single pole, single throw" switch, is necessary for the proper operation of an electric motor.

Things You'll Need

  • -Direct current (DC) power supply
  • -Electrical wire
  • -Direct current (DC) electrical motor
  • -Soldering iron and solder
  • -Single pole, single throw switch
  • -Wire splice connectors (if DC motor has electrical leads instead of terminals)
  • Cut a length of wire, and strip each end of the wire of 1/2-inch of insulation. Attach one end of this wire to the positive terminal on the power supply. Attach the other end to one of the terminals on the switch. Solder the wire to the terminal on the switch.

  • Cut a second length of wire, and strip each end of this wire of 1/2-inch of insulation. Attach one end of this wire to the negative terminal on the power supply. Attach the other end of this wire to the negative terminal on the motor, and solder the wire to the terminal.

    If the DC motor has electrical leads (wires already connected to the motor), splice the wire leading from the power supply to the negative electrical lead.

  • Cut a third length of wire, and strip each end of this wire of 1/2-inch of insulation. Attach one end of this wire to the unconnected terminal on the switch. Solder the wire to this terminal. Connect the other end of this wire to the positive terminal on the DC motor, and solder the wire to this terminal. If the motor has electrical leads, splice the wire leading from the switch to the positive lead.

  • To operate the electrical motor, close the switch (or move switch to the "On" position). To turn the motor off, open the switch (or move the switch to the "Off" position).

Tips & Warnings

  • If using an AC power supply and an AC motor instead of a DC power supply and DC motor, follow the above steps with a few modifications:
  • Step 1: Connect the wire end from the switch terminal to either one of the AC power supply terminals, since there are no "positive" or "negative" terminals on an AC power supply.
  • Step 2: Connect the wire leading from the other (unconnected) AC power supply terminal to the other terminal on the motor.
  • Step 3: Connect the wire leading from the switch to the other (unconnected) terminal on the motor.
  • Ensure that the switch is in the "Off" position before making any of the electrical connections.

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