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This page provides a listing of all the 'Electrical Wiring Diagrams' that we have on the Home Repair Central website. Below you will find descriptions of each diagram.

Not sure if you are on the right page? See the articles 'Troubleshooting Electrical Repairs', 'Fixing Residential Wiring' and 'Basic House Wiring' for more information.

Single Pole Light Switches

Single pole light switches are the simplest switches and/or wiring devices that you are likely to encounter. All they do is interrupt the hot power supply to the light, one way, 'Power On', the other way, 'Power Off'. Simple, right?

Its fairly simple, but they can be wired in more than one configuration. One option is to have the power from the breaker box, coming into the box that has the switch. The other option, is to have the power coming into the box or boxes that contain the light fixture(s).

Single Pole Switch With Power in Switch Box

This, Single Pole Switch Wiring Diagram can be helpful if you are trying to understand how your light and switch are wired. With a single pole switch, there are two variations. One is with the power coming into the box that contains the switch. The other one, has the power coming into the box that the light fixture is mounted to.

You are going to want to look at both of them to determine which configuration that you have. Go to the 'Single Pole Wiring Diagram - Power at Light' diagram (below) for the other option. In addition, see the articles 'How To Wire an Outlet', 'Wiring a Dimmer Switch' and 'Three Way Switch Wiring' for more information.

Single Pole Switch Wiring Diagram - Power at the Switch

In this diagram we show how the wires are attached to the switch and the light. This is the 'Normal' or 'common' configuration, but this does not mean that you will always encounter this pattern. Circuit layout, wire economy and other factors will determine how the wiring is installed. For the homeowner, you just need to understand which wires are doing what, before you mess with them.

 

Single pole switch wiring diagram, with the hot wire at the switch.

With this configuration you have your hot wire coming from the breaker box inside of the light switch box. You should be able to locate it with a non-contact tester. All of the wires are hooked up the way you would expect them to be. Black to Black, White to White and Ground to Ground.

You hook a black wire that is tied to the power from the box to one pole on the switch. On the other pole of the switch, you attach the black wire that goes up to the light fixture. The white wire from the switch is tied to the white wire that goes back to the panel. The same is true of the ground from the light, tie it to the ground going back to the panel.

When the switch is off, the black wire that goes to the light has no power in it. With the switch on, it is hot.

Single Pole Switch Wiring Diagram - Power at the Light

This, Single Pole Switch Wiring Diagram can be helpful if you are trying to understand how your light and switch are wired. With a single pole switch, there are two variations. One is with the power coming into the box that contains the switch. The other one, has the power coming into the box that the light fixture is mounted to.

You are going to want to look at both of them to determine which configuration that you have. Go to the 'Single Pole Wiring Diagram - Power at the Switch' diagram (below) for the other option. In addition, see the articles 'How To Wire an Outlet', 'Wiring a Dimmer Switch' and 'Three Way Switch Wiring' for more information.

In this diagram we show how the wires are attached to the switch and the light. This configuration is not as common and can be a bit confusing. The main reason is that some of the wires don't perform the normal function. The white wire coming from the switch has to carry the power from the panel to the switch box.

 

Single pole switch diagram - power at the light

With this configuration you have your hot wire coming from the breaker box inside of the light fixture box. You should be able to locate it with a non-contact tester. From the light fixture box to the switch, you will have a white wire with black tape on the ends that carries the power to the switch.

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You hook the white wire (with black tape on it) to one of the poles on the switch. On the other pole of the switch, you attach the black wire that goes up to the light fixture. The white pole or wire on the light fixture is tied to the white wire that goes back to the panel inside of the light fixture box. The ground wires inside of each box are attached to the switch or light fixture.

When the switch is off, the black wire that goes to the light has no power in it. With the switch on, it is hot. The white wire (with the black ends) should always be hot.

Summary

For additional light switch resources, see the articles 'How To Wire an Outlet', 'Wiring a Dimmer Switch' and 'Three Way Switch Wiring' for more information.

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