Pls. help: Single Pole Switch - baffled by wiring

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  #1  
Old 11-07-05, 01:55 PM
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Pls. help: Single Pole Switch - baffled by wiring

We have an older home, made in the 60's.
A friend installed a timer switch for the patio a long time ago. Now with our toddler, he managed to play with it so much that it doesn't work anymore.
I bought a single pole switch to replace the timer.
When I opened up the switch, the wiring just baffled me. The wiring is attached to the wiring from the timer.

There is a red, black and white wires coming from the house.
The single pole switch only has the two brass screws, one on each side, a green screw (which I assume is the ground wire), and a black screw.

I'm not sure which of the house wires attach to what screw. I remember reading somewhere that one is a hot wire (black or red?) But I'm at a loss. I hope someone can help us out. Thank you!
 
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Old 11-07-05, 05:44 PM
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You bought a three way switch. You only need single pole switch but you can still use the three way if you want.
Cap the white wire. You don't need it for at the non timer switch. Connect the red and black to the black screw and one of the gold screws. Leave the other gold screw empty. Green screw is for ground as you thought.
 
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Old 11-08-05, 04:51 AM
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thank you!

My hubby just informed me that the light in the patio shares a switch in the garage. Does the same configuration apply?
 
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Old 11-08-05, 08:49 AM
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I didn't read this the same as Joe did. It doesn't seem to me that you bought a 3-way switch.

The #1 key to any switch replacement is to carefully note and record the connections to the prior switch before removing it. Did you do that? If not, the project is twenty times more complicated than it needed to be. In fact, it can be so complicated that professional help and test equipment might be required where it would have been a simple job before.

You mentioned that there are "red, black and white wires coming from the house." Details matter, so we would need to know exactly how many of each and how they were connected. The same three colors of wires can be used for many different purposes and wired in many different configurations.
 
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Old 11-08-05, 09:28 AM
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There are 3 wires total cpming from the house: One red, One Black and One White.

The switch I bought to replace it has only the screws on the side and no wires coming out. It has 2 brass screws (one on each side), a black screw, and a green screw.

The old broken timer/switch has blue, black and red wires coming out of it.
The connections of the broken timer switch to the house wiring are as follows:
House ----- Broken Timer
RED ------> BLUE
BLACK ----> RED
WHITE ----> BLACK

This is the switch to the Patio Light, and my husband said that it is also connected to the switch in the Garage.

Thank You!
 
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Old 11-08-05, 10:41 AM
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That's great information. You did good.

But you bought the wrong switch. Rather than buying a single-pole switch, you need to buy a 3-way switch.

When you get the 3-way switch, you need to look closely at the screws. There will be four of them. The green screw is the ground. The black screw is the "common". The other two screws are the travelers.

The wire color coding for timers is not standardized, but I can make some likely assumptions. The black wire from the old timer is probably the common. The blue and red are probably the travelers. This may not be correct, so if it doesn't work when you get done, post back and we'll try something else. Also, if there are any instructions printed on the timer about what these three wires are, you should post them here before doing anything at all. If there is a make and model number on the timer, post that too, since there's a good chance that the timer instructions are on the web somewhere.

Is this a mechanical "turn past" timer? Or perhaps a sophisticated electronic timer with a display? And can you clarify what exactly you mean by "shares a switch"?

But if there are no instructions, and no make/model, then connect house white to the common (black) screw on the 3-way switch, and house red and black to the two traveler screws.

One final caveat: I cannot be sure from here that this is correct or safe. If you still have doubts, call a professional.
 
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Old 11-08-05, 11:34 AM
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I think she has the right switch (has two brass screws, a black screw and a green screw).
 
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Old 11-08-05, 02:56 PM
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Thank you for all advice. I did look up the timer's manual online (Intermatic Timer Model # SS7), and as you mentioned, the white house wire is the common wire. http://www.intermatic.com/images/ins...heets/SS7C.pdf

I attached the white to the black screw, the red and black on the other two brass screws.

I turned the electrical panel back on, but the switch doesn't work. Any idea what I might be doing wrong this time?

What I mean by "Shared" is that the light in the patio is operated by the switch in the house (which I am working on) and a switch in the garage.
The garage switch has no problem turning the light off and on, but the one in the house is still not functional.
 
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Old 11-08-05, 03:25 PM
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I just had an SS7 in my hand last week. When used as a single-pole switch, and without a remote switch, you cap off one wire. The problem is that neither a 3-way nor a single-pole switch may be appropriate here if you need the garage switch to continue to work. The first thing to determine is if the switch in the garage is a single-pole remote switch, or a 3-way. The SS7 can work with either.

Go look at the garage switch. Does the switch lever say "on" and "off", or is it blank?
 
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Old 11-08-05, 03:47 PM
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The garage switch is blank. And the SS7 is the broken one, so we wanted to just change it to a regular switch that my toddler boy can't damage.

So, the switch I bought is a Levitton Switch. Don't know the difference between single pole or 3way, however, looking at the Home Depot receipt, it says 3W 15A switch.
 
  #11  
Old 11-08-05, 06:43 PM
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Further research on this "project" led me to this: http://doityourself.com/animations/how2u/elect3.swf

My husband and I followed the combination, and WHALA! It works!
As stated in the site, the RED HOUSE WIRE was attached to the BLACK SCREW. The WHITE HOUSE WIRE and the BLACK WIRE were both attached to the GOLD SCREWS. Both the garage and the house switch are operational.

Thank you for all the help. IF you guys think that this is still wrong, please let me know. I'd sleep better knowing that the wiring is correct.

Thanks!
 
 

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