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This is known as "staircase wiring". It uses two two-way switches. A two-way switch has one common terminal and two alternate switching terminals. Say C1 being common, A1 and B1 are alternate terminals. second two-way switch has C2 common terminal and A2, B2 alternate terminals. Connect the live phase wire to C1. Wire up A1 to A2 and B1 to B2. Connect a load (say a lamp) to C2 and the other end of the lamp to neutral. The wiring is complete and now the lamp can be controlled by these two switches.

s for USA, Canada and countries using similar 60Hz mains suppliesIf this is a standard 120V light fixture controlled by two light switches, for more information, including a wiring diagram, see the Related link shown below.


If, and ONLY if, there is an on/off switch for a 120 Volt lighting fixture installed onto a wall box containing wires, it is possible that the Red and Black wires in this situation are:

a) the "hot" feed wire coming from the mains breaker panel to the switch and

b) the "switched hot" wire going to the lighting fixture.



Only someone who knows how to use a test lamp or voltmeter safely will be able to confirm if the Red wire in the wall box is a) and the Black wire is b), or if they are actually wired the other way round, meaning the Black wire in the wall box is a) and the Red wire is b).


A Red wire can be the first "Hot Leg" of a 240 volt supply. It could also be one of a pair of hot wires connecting two switches controlling one or more 120V lighting fixtures.

A Black wire can be the second "Hot Leg" of a 240 volt supply or the "Hot" wire of a 120 Volt supply. It could also be one of a pair of hot wires connecting two switches controlling one or more 120V lighting fixtures.

A White wire is normally the "Neutral" wire. It is common to both hot legs on a 240 Volt supply.

A Green wire (or bare wire with no insulation) is normally the local "Ground "wire.


As always, if you are in doubt about what to do, the best advice anyone should give you is to call a licensed electrician to advise what work is needed.

Before you do any work yourself,

on electrical circuits, equipment or appliances,

always use a test meter to ensure the circuit is, in fact, de-energized.




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โˆ™ 2015-07-16 18:58:05
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Q: How are the wires connected to the switches where there are two switches that can operate a single light?
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Related Questions

What will happen if the two switches connected to light up a single bulb are on?

It is dependant on whether the switches are in wired in a parallel or series configuration. If the switches are wires in parallel then both switches would have to be off to turn the light bulb off. Either switch could turn the light bulb on. If the switches are wired in series then both switches would have to be on to turn the light bulb on. Either switch could turn the light bulb off.

Are light switches connected in a series or in parallel?


You have three 3-way switches operating 3 ceiling lights you want each switch to operate each single light What do you do?

wire each switch to each light...

Suppose you have a single light that can be turned on and off by 2 separate switches if you flick both switches at exactly the same time what will happen?

The single light will not come on. The traveler legs from the two switches will have to be opened simultaneously if they are not then you will get a flick of light.

How many 4 way switches could you put on a single light fixture?

If you are talking about intermediate switches, the switches that are in the middle of the three way (UK two way) circuit, then you can add as many as your project needs. These type of switches must be in the middle, as if installed on the end, the different position switching will not operate.

Can you connect one single light switch to another single light switch to control the same light on or off.?

Yes you can. There are three ways of doing this. Two are incorrect and one is the correct way of doing it.The two switches can be paralleled together to make the light fixture respond. Both of the two switches will always have to be in the on position. Either switch will turn the light off but the second switch will not turn the light on. Very inconvenient when you enter a room through one door and leave by another.The two switches can be wired in series. Both switches have to be on to operate the light but again if one of either switch is left in the off position the other switch will not operate the light fixture. Very inconvenient when you enter a room through one door and leave by another.The correct way of wiring two switches to control a central light fixture is with a three way switching system (two way in the UK). The two positions have to have special three way switches in each position. These types of switches sort out the problems of leaving a switch in a certain position to operate properly. The only criteria is that there be a three conductor cable joining the two three way switch boxes together.See related links below.

How does a flashing indicator operate?

There is a relay switch in the circuit which switches the light on &amp; off when you activate the turn signal.

Can a single pole switch be used to control one light between two single pole switches?


How to wire single switch to operate 2 lights?

The short answer is to wire it the same way you would to operate 1 light. The second light is simply put "in parallel" with the first light.

Does a double-pole switch control lights from two locations?

No. A double pole switch would be a switch that switches 2 different loads simultaneously. 3-way switches (and 4-way switches if more than 2 are used) are what are used for controlling a light from multiple locations. While a typical single pole switch simply opens or closes a single contact, a 3-way switch provides a path from a contact point to, let's say, point A or point B. Points A and B from the first 3-way switch are connected to points A and B of the second 3-way switch and then the common contact point of the second switch is connected to your light. When more than 2 switches are desired, you can use any number of 4-way switches between the 3-way switches, but the 3-way switches MUST be on the ends of the circuit.

Where is the Location of Brake Light Switch on 2003 Chev Van Venture?

all brake light switches are connected to the brake pedal --- any car or truck or van

What is the meaning of single pole sw?

The "sw" is electrical terminology for the word "switch". A single pole switch is one that opens the circuit when in the off position and closes the circuit when in the on position. Individual switches that turn on light fixtures in your home are in the classification of single pole switches.

When controlling light fixtures from four different locations what types of toggle switches would be used?

Use three-way (as opposed to single pole) toggle switches for this application.

How do you hook up two light switches on one single home run?

See discuss question below.

What is the difference between bell push buttons and light switches?

The difference between bell push buttons and light switches is the voltage and current that they can legally handle. Bell push buttons are used on low voltage systems, usually up to 24 VAC and a current in the milliamp range. Light switches operate in the range from 120 to 347 VAC and a range from 15 to 30 amps.

Where is the brake light sensor on a 92 Honda accord ex?

All brake light sensors are switches connected to the brake pedal. its a switch that is mounted on the front of the pedal on the top.

How do you hook up one light and two switches?

You can put both of the switches conected on the light

What is meant by the terminology - pole - in switches and breakers?

It is the mechanism within a switch that opens and closes the circuit. An ordinary light switch is classed as a single pole device. Two switches with a common handle is known as a two pole device. A breaker with three switches and a common handle is known as a three pole device. The other terminology that is associated with switches is the word "throw". An ordinary light switches full name is single pole single throw. Its is in reference to the travel distance of the handle. From off position to the on position is a single throw. A double pole throw switch is one that has a stop position half way through the throw. An example is On - Off - On. On (circuit closed in the up position), Off, On (circuit closed in the down position). These types of switches have three terminals to connect to. The center terminal is the common that is usually connected to the "hot" supply or if two separate "hot supplies are connected to the first and third terminals then the load is connected to the center terminal. A perfect example of a two pole double throw switch would be a transfer switch. The utility company is connected to the top terminals, the distribution panel is connected to the second terminals and the generator is connected to the third set of terminals. When the utility power is on, the handle of the double pole double throw switch will be in the up position completing the circuit. On a power failure the handle of the switch is moved to the off position which disconnects the utility company from the distribution panel. Start the generator and move the handle to the bottom position and it will connect the generator power to the distribution panel. When the utility power comes back on line just reverse the process and you will be connected to utility power again.

Can both the red and black wires from the ceiling be connected together with the new black wire from the light fixture?

Yes, but know that both switches will have to be off for power to stop flowing to the light and either switch will turn the light on.

How do you wire 2 switches to same lights?

This is done using two two-way switches, switches with two switching position. The input live wire from the circuit breaker goes to the middle point of one switch. The output live wire to the light is connected to the middle point of the second switch. The two remaining points from one switch are then connected to the two remaining points on the other switch. The neutral from the light goes straight to the neutral bar in the Distribution Board.

Where are light switches made?

In a light switch factory......

Why do my 2 switches not work to my one set of connected hall ceiling lights?

I have trouble understanding your question. But I think you are saying that you have two switches that control one light and want to know why it is not working. More than likely is that you have two way switches instead of 3 way switches installed. 3 three switches cost a little more and are a little more difficult to install but if you recently replaced these switches you may have replaced them with the wrong type.

If you have a light in your kitchen operated by two different switches is it right that you should still get a power reading when the switches are off?

Yes, because the light is using 3-way switches. There is always "power" travelling between the switches.

How do you tell if you have single pole or 3 way switches?

If a light or set of lights is able to be switched 'on' and 'off' by more than one switch then those switches are 3-way switches. 3-way switches will have 3 screws on the sides for terminating wires as opposed to 2 screws on a regular single pole switch. 3-ways will typically have 2 brass screws and one black screw called the 'common'.

Two way switches?

The two way switches work in pairs. We find most of them in our houses where the light bulb can be operated by two switches each at the far end to the other. Each switch consists of three terminals two of which are connected. When one switch is open and the other is closed then the bulb glows and viceversa