Duplex Toggle Switch- Stumped


Old 07-13-14, 10:29 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 3
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Duplex Toggle Switch- Stumped

Hello everyone,

I know that I will appear as new to the forums but I had to make a new account because my brain cannot find my original account's login information.

I have experience with electricity but I am by no means a professional. A friend of mine has a duplex toggle switch in his bathroom and asked for my help to replace it. There are three wires in the box that connect to the duplex toggle switch with the insulation colors being: black, white, and red (there is no ground in the box). The tab was not broken on the original switch so it doesn't seem to be a multiple circuit setup plus there are three wires and not four.

The original switch had the black insulated wire (negative/live I believe) and red insulated wire connected on the side of the brass plated screw terminals while the white insulated wire (neutral I believe) was on the side of the zinc plated screw terminals. The unusual part was that the open zinc plated screw terminal had very thin bare copper wires connected to it and to the neutral wire's terminal acting like a bridge.

I have removed the old switch and disposed of the thin bare copper wires. I wired the new duplex toggle switch the same but when done only one switch worked and it turned on both fixtures simultaneously.

From what I have read, there should be one live wire and two fixture wires while the neutral wires are connected together by a wire nut. The live wire should go on the side of the tab while the fixture wires should go on the other side.

I tried wiring it again but ended up with one switch having to be on for the other to work. I am stumped as to how I am to go about wiring this.
Sponsored Links
Old 07-13-14, 10:33 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 53,522
Received 408 Votes on 384 Posts
Welcome back to the forums under your new name.

The white wire in that application is the hot wire. There is no neutral there as it's not needed.
We recommend recoloring the white wire as another color, like in your case blue, so that it doesn't get confused in the future as a neutral.

So white goes on the side of the switch with the two screws that are closer together and have the jumper between them.

The red and black go to the other side.... the load side of the switch.
Old 07-14-14, 08:20 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 3
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thank you for the welcome and for the reply. I followed your advice and it worked successfully. I never would have thought that the live wire was actually the white insulated wire.

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Your question will be posted in: