How to Install a Magnetic Contactor

What You'll Need
Power wires for feed
Code approved mounting
Screws for mounting
Screw driver set
Safety goggles
Wire Stripper
Control wires
Tape measure
Wall anchors

Installing a magnetic contactor can be accomplished in a short period of time with the right preparation and tools.  When a controlled remote switch is necessary, a magnetic contactor is often used as it requires less power than other circuits may require. Magnetic contactors come in a variety of sizes and capacities ranging from palm size to ones that are several feet long. The primary use of a magnetic contactor is to override and detect an electrical motor overload. Commonly, in a home, they are used for heating and or air conditioning units. It is not uncommon to find the magnetic contactor being used for backyard units with large poer requirements such as patio and garden lighting or swimming pool filter motors.

Step 1 – Measure

You should check with the building department for all local electrical building codes before installing a magnetic contactor.  You will need a code approved containment unit to install the contactor. Measure the area you plan to install the unit before you purchase it.

Step 2 – Prepare the Work Area

It is always advisable when working with electricity to take caution and turn off any power unit you may come in contact with while installing any electrical device.

Step 3 - Mount the Magnetic Contactor

Mount the contactor housing into a stud whenever possible, with the manufacturer enclosed screws. If you are unable to mount into a stud use appropriate wall anchors. Pre drill a small starter hole into the drywall, and then carefully hammer in the wall anchor. This will make the housing secure and stable for the contactor to rest.

Step 4 – Prepare the Wiring

Prepare the wiring by using the wire stripper to remove approximately ½ inch of insulation from all ends of the copper wiring. Make sure to use the correct wire stripper. The best type of wire stripper has several notches in the cutting blade. Place the wire in the correct gauged notch, press down and slide off the insulation without damaging the wire.

Step 5 – Connecting the Control Wires

Slightly unscrew the termination screws from the coil solenoid. Carefully connect the stripped part of the control wire to the terminals. Make sure the connection is solid and all the strands, if any, are securely connected.

Step 6 – Connecting the Feed Wires

In order to eliminate interference you need to terminate the feed wires to the terminals. Begin with the far left terminal, or position T1, terminate the feed wires here. If additional terminals are needed continue to T2 and so forth.

Step 7 – Connect Feed Wires

When connecting the power feed wires, take care to match up the T connections with the corresponding L connections. The feed wires will be connected to the magnetic contactor terminals located on the top of the contactor. These terminals will be appropriately marker L 1 and so forth.