How to Hook Up a Toggle Switch

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Soldering iron
Soldering iron (Image: morguefile)

A toggle switch is a switch with two positions. In one position, it connects electrical power to a device. In the other position, the power to the device is disconnected. The toggle switch has a tab or small lever that can be raised or lowered to place the toggle switch in its two positions. This connects and disconnects the contact points within the toggle switch. An example of a toggle switch is a light switch. It connects power to a light bulb and disconnects it depending on the position of the switch. If you have a toggle switch and need to hook it up, all you need are a few simple items.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Wire strippers
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Soldering iron
  • Lead-free solder

Remove all power from the device in which you're going to hook up your toggle switch. The best way is to unplug the device. If its power is hard-wired in, you'll need to turn off the circuit breaker.

Gain access to the toggle switch once power is removed by removing the housing on which the toggle switch is installed. Housings are usually secured with housing screws, so simply unscrew the housing and pull it away.

Take the wire with the power coming into the housing, usually the black wire, and use wire strippers to strip a small length of insulation from the end, enough to wrap the exposed wire around a terminal. Wrap the wire around the center terminal on the toggle switch by using needle nose pliers.

Strip a short length of insulation from the wire that goes to the device the toggle switch is designed to turn on. Wrap the metal end of the wire around the upper terminal on the toggle switch.

Turn on the soldering iron. Solder the two wires at the two toggle switch terminals. For each terminal, touch it with the hot tip of a soldering iron while at the same time applying a short length of lead-free solder to the terminal. Once the solder melts, remove the rest of the length of the solder and the soldering iron.

Turn off the soldering iron. Return the housing to its original position and secure it with the screws you removed. Return power to the device by plugging it back in or turning on the circuit breaker. The toggle switch will now turn the device on or off.

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