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Basic Switch Circuit

WHILE EXTREME CARE HAS BEEN IMPLEMENTED IN THE PREPARATION OF THIS SELF-HELP DOCUMENT, THE AUTHOR AND/OR PROVIDERS OF THIS DOCUMENT ASSUMES NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR ERRORS OR OMISSIONS, NOR IS ANY LIABILITY ASSUMED FROM THE USE OF THE INFORMATION, CONTAINED IN THIS DOCUMENT, BY THE AUTHOR and / OR PROVIDER.

For those that live where the new 2011 NEC code is in effect, please read

'2011 NEC New Rule 'Switch Connections'

If this applies to you, the switch wiring options that is in compliance with this new rule will be indicated bellow as '2011 NEC compliant'

Wiring a basic switch circuit is by far more simple in complexity compared to other types of circuits. Basic switch circuits can be used to control one or more lighting fixtures from one location only although they can be used to switch an outlet or half an outlet. Basic switch circuits are usually suitable for bedrooms and bathrooms (that has only one entrance door) or any other room that has only one path of travel in and out of the room or area, and the switch itself is usually located near the entrance door to the room.

In the case of a staircase or a light in the middle of a long hallway, some kind of 3 way circuit would be recommended so that the fixture can be control at both the top and bottom of the staircase or both ends of a long hallway.

Under certain circumstances where the area is massive and more than 2 travel paths are available in and out of the area, some kind of 4 way switch circuit for convenience sake could be considered.

For half outlet switched options you should refer to the article 'Outlet, half switched' on this website.

For information on wiring multiple fixture you should refer to the article 'Multiple Fixtures' on this website.

If this is a new circuit and you need to wire directly to the electrical panel then also read the article called 'Main electrical panel' found on this website.

If you have any questions or need further clarification please ask our experts on our Mega DIY Help forums.

Click on the desired selection bellow...
If 2011 NEC 404.2 (C) is not applicable to you or if you fall under an exception to this new rule 2011 NEC 404.2 (C) Complian
Power Source at Fixture

Power Source at Switch
Power Source at Fixture

Power Source at Switch

By: Donald Kerr
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