Double Pole switches


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Old 01-13-04, 05:20 PM
U
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Double Pole switches

Hi-

I went to the local Home Depot to buy switches (i.e. one switch controls one light) for my basement project. I accidentally picked up "double pole" switches instead of what my electrical how-to book refers to as "single pole" switches. Can someone tell me what the difference is between a "single pole" and a "double pole" switch is? Can I use these double pole switches in lieu of single pole switches or should I go return them and buy the single pole switches? If I can keep the double pole switches, can someone point me to an internet site that shows me how to wire them?

Thanks,
Steve
 
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Old 01-13-04, 05:30 PM
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I don't think you mean double pole switches, I think you mean three way switches.

You can use a three way switch just like a two way switch, by using two of the terminals instead of all three. Two of the terminals will be the same color, which will be a little different than the other terminal. (I am not referring to the green ground connector, which is different.) Connect your switch wires to one of the two similar colored terminals and to the odd color terminal.

You will have to experiment with the switch to get it so that the power is on when the switch is up and off when it is down.

Be aware also that some municipalities may not allow this, as they require the ON and OFF markings that are on a regular switch, which are not on a two way switch.
 
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Old 01-13-04, 05:32 PM
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double pole

Hi:

A double pole switch interrupts the contact of two conductors (hence the name). A single pole switch interrupts one conductor.

A double pole switch would be used to control, for example, a 240-volt appliance where you have to interrupt both hots to turn it off.

I would return it and get a single pole switch. Using the double-pole switch outside of its listing is a code violation even if you could get it to work properly.
 
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Old 01-13-04, 05:44 PM
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Thanks

Actually, I really did mean a "double pole" switch and not a 3 way switch. I will return them and get the proper switch. Thanks.
 
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Old 01-13-04, 06:48 PM
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Besides, the double pole switch is probably 20 times the price of a standard SP switch!
 
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Old 01-14-04, 12:50 AM
georgekopf
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Double Pole vs. Three way

I'm glad you asked this question. I pulled out my electrical books and think I know the answer.

You should return whatever you have and get a single pole (2-way) switch. This switch has 3 terminals and is marked on-off.

A 3-way switch has a single common terminal and two traveler terminals and is used in multi-switch configurations. This switch will not have any on-off markings and has 4 terminals.

A double-pole is really two single pole switches and will connect two circuits. They are used to connect a 240 volt circuit or two separate 120 volt circuits under one switch. This switch will be marked on-off and has 4 terminals.

A 4 way switch is used in conjunction with two 3-way switches to control a single fixture. This switch has no on-off markings and has 4 terminals.
 

Last edited by georgekopf; 01-14-04 at 01:10 AM.
 

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