replacing combination 2-single pole switch

Old 07-13-03, 03:11 PM
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Question replacing combination 2-single pole switch

Hi, we have a combination 2-single pole switch - one switch controls a ceiling light and the other switch controls a wall outlet (2 plugs). The switch is faulty (one switch doesn't stay in the off position).

We got another switch but when we replaced it, one switch now controls the ceiling light and 1 plug from the wall outlet and the other switch controls the other plug in the wall outlet. When we moved the wires to other terminals, the ceiling light is always on and the outlet is control by one switch and the other switch doesn't do anything.

There is 1 black wire, 1 copper (ground?), and 2 red wires.

On the original switch, the black and 1 red wire were on the left terminals, 1 red on the right and the copper in the green terminal.
(the switch had 1 green terminal and 4 brass-colored terminals)

The new switch has 2 black, 1 green, and 2 brass terminals. We put the copper wire in the green terminal, the black wire in a black terminal, and the red wires in the brass terminals. Switch the black wire from one black terminal to another doesn't seem to make a difference. We've reversed the red wires but it doesn't help.

How should we connect the wires so we have same control we had before? (1 switch to the light, 1 switch to the outlet)

Do we have the wrong kind of switch? The light and outlet aren't controlled by anything else - just the wall switch we're trying to replace.


Old 07-13-03, 03:24 PM
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Compare the two devices side by side. You'll notice that on each switch, there is a "common" side. On the "common" side, the two screws are connected to each other with a tab. On the other side, they are not. It is possible that the "common" side isn't the same side on both switches. "Left" and "right" mean nothing.

I'm having a hard time understanding the operation you described. I can believe that there are many ways to miswire this, and many strange behaviors that might result. But the particular strange behavior you mentioned doesn't seem to fit any of the possibilities.

Here's what I would suggest. It involves some trial and error.
  • First try: Connect the black wire to either screw on the "common" side. In your new device, this is almost certainly one of the black screws. Then connect the two red wires to the two screws on the other side of the device.
  • Second try: Starting with the first try, move move one of the two red wires over to the "common" side, and move the black wire to the other side.
  • Third try: Starting with the second try, exchange the two red wires.
In all cases, the bare wire goes to the green screw.

One final question: are there any other wires in the box other than the four you mentioned? Perhaps some other wires tucked into the back of the box that weren't connected to the old switch.
Old 07-13-03, 04:40 PM
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Thumbs up got it!

Once we oriented the 2 switches to the "common" side, we were all set. I had written down before which wire went to which terminal and it was easy enough to see where to connect the wires to the new switch. By the way, your 2nd try is the one that worked.



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