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Old 07-04-2009, 12:07 PM   #1
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Replacing Toggle Switch with Rocker Switch


I'm trying to replace a toggle switch with a rocker switch. I thought it would be easy. Now I have 3 wires connected on the toggle switch---red and white at top and black at bottom On the rocker switch, directions call for black which is the hot wire and white which is neutral. What do I do with the red one? Where do I connect on the rocker switch? Directions in these items never include all the variances. Can someone help me?

I have a 4 switch plate--3 lights and 1 ceiling fan. This switch is for a light.

Last edited by dogsitter; 07-04-2009 at 12:41 PM.
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Old 07-04-2009, 12:17 PM   #2
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Replacing Toggle Switch with Rocker Switch


Is this low voltage DC or 120 VAC. What was the toggle switch for. Does the rocker have a lighted indicator in/on it??
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Old 07-04-2009, 12:32 PM   #3
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Replacing Toggle Switch with Rocker Switch


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I'm trying to replace a toggle switch with a rocker switch. I thought it would be easy. Now I have 3 wires connected on the toggle switch---red and white at top and black at bottom On the rocker switch, directions call for black which is the hot wire and white which is neutral. What do I do with the red one? Where do I connect on the rocker switch? Directions in these items never include all the variances. Can someone help me?

What does the switch control? Is the device also switched from a different location? Sounds like you need a 3-way switch, not a single pole. 3-ways are for lights that are controlled from two different locations. A 3-way switch will have 3 terminal screws on it. Wire it just like the existing toggle switch.
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Old 07-04-2009, 12:44 PM   #4
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Replacing Toggle Switch with Rocker Switch


This is for a light so AC
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Old 07-04-2009, 01:02 PM   #5
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Replacing Toggle Switch with Rocker Switch


If it is only for turning a light on/off you should only need the black and red wires, assuming the white is common. The white could also be the common coming back from your light so wire nut it until you know. Your other two wires -red--black- should be 1. 120vac from your panel and 2. the wire to your light. Basicly just connect the red or the black to one terminal on the rocker switch and the other lead to the remaining terminal. Try turning the light on. If it works just put your switch and box back together and leave the white wire nutted. If it doesn't; hold the white wire copper lead to ground and try the switch. If the light works you will need to extend your white lead to any other group of white leads in a nearby junction box.
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Old 07-04-2009, 01:14 PM   #6
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Replacing Toggle Switch with Rocker Switch


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abRC3Dzyob8 How to wire a single pole switch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDyvcM0gcVs How to wire a 3way switch
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Old 07-04-2009, 02:42 PM   #7
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Replacing Toggle Switch with Rocker Switch


I think some folks here have missed the point. It sounds like you are attempting to replace a 3-way switch with a single pole switch?

Is there another switch elsewhere that controls the same light?

Was there a terminal on the original switch that was marked "common?"
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Old 07-04-2009, 05:16 PM   #8
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Replacing Toggle Switch with Rocker Switch


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If it is only for turning a light on/off you should only need the black and red wires, assuming the white is common. The white could also be the common coming back from your light so wire nut it until you know. Your other two wires -red--black- should be 1. 120vac from your panel and 2. the wire to your light. Basicly just connect the red or the black to one terminal on the rocker switch and the other lead to the remaining terminal. Try turning the light on. If it works just put your switch and box back together and leave the white wire nutted. If it doesn't; hold the white wire copper lead to ground and try the switch. If the light works you will need to extend your white lead to any other group of white leads in a nearby junction box.
A white wire attached to a switch terminal cannot be simply treated as a neutral, Do not extend it to other white leads.

Disconnect all three wires from the old switch but remember what terminals they were connected to. Do not take apart anything else in the box.

If none of the switch terminals was stained dark colored or marked "common" then you will need to use a multimeter or ohmmeter to test the continuity between the switch terminals. With the switch in one position, two of the terminals will be shorted together. With the switch in the other position, a different pair of terminals will be shorted together. Mark the terminal that was always shorted one way or the other with a piece of tape or a dark ink marker. Also mark the wire that was connected to the dark terminal or the terminal you just marked.

Get a 3 way rocker switch. One terminal should be dark or labeled "common", if not then repeat the above continuity test.

Connect the marked wire to the dark or marked terminal of your rocker switch. Connect the other two wires to the other two terminals in any order.

The common terminal in this situation does not necessarily take the white wire but it might.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 07-04-2009 at 05:23 PM.
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Old 07-04-2009, 05:24 PM   #9
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Replacing Toggle Switch with Rocker Switch


I did need a 3-way switch. Thanks to all who took time to reply. I ended up returning the single pole and getting a 3 way. It works beautifully!
Have a Happy 4th!!!
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