Wiring Instructions for a Rocker Switch

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A rocker switch is an electrical switch that you press to turn on and off rather than flip up and down to operate. Internally, it contains contact points and an armature that rocks across a pivot point. Many homes use single-pole single-throw rocker switches to operate a lighting circuit. Some rocker switches control two or more load circuits; a single-pole double-throw rocker switch operates two load circuits, a single-pole triple-throw rocker switch powers three load circuits, and so on. One contact point, the "Common" or "Input," connects to the switch's power supply and the other contact points wire to the switch's load circuits.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver set
  • Terminal connectors
  • Turn off the rocker switch's power supply. If the rocker switch wires into a high-voltage circuit, turn off the appropriate circuit breaker. If the rocker switch controls a battery-operated circuit, disconnect the battery's terminals.

  • Inspect the rocker switch's terminal chart, if equipped. A single-pole single-throw rocker switch has two interchangeable terminals and usually does not use a terminal chart. A multi-throw rocker switch labels the "Common" or "Input" terminal and each load terminal.

  • Attach the power supply wire to the rocker switch's "Common" or "Input" terminal. If wiring a single-throw rocker switch, choose either terminal. If the rocker switch uses screws to hold the wires in place, insert the power wire into the terminal and tighten the screw with the correct screwdriver. If the rocker switch uses terminal connectors, press a terminal connector onto the power wire then push the terminal connector onto the correct terminal.

  • Secure the load wires to the rocker switch's load terminals. If wiring a single-throw rocker switch, connect the load wire to the remaining switch terminal. Connect the wire to load 1 to the rocker switch labeled "Load 1." Attach the remaining load circuits to the respective rocker switch load terminals, using the rocker switch's terminal chart for guidance.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images
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