Double Light Switch Wiring Explained

Published: 24th May 2010
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As the name implies, a double light switch is used to control two lights or any other appliances from the same switch board. A double light switch is different in the sense that one of the two lights connected to the switch will work at one time, and both lights cannot be turned on together. For instance, to monitor two lights that are positioned far away but you would like to turn them off; a double light switch will come in handy. A few basic tools shall be required to install such a switch in your house, and this activity shall require a few hours of your time.



Understanding exactly how a double light switch works will prove to be extremely beneficial if the need ever arises to fix a double light switch. Therefore, the following section will discuss the functioning of such a switch in great detail.

Application



It is necessary to first ensure that the place where the double light switch is to be installed, four cables which include the grounding wire are already present. This is essential so that when one switch is turned on or upwards, the other switch clearly be in the downwards or off position. Hence, an extra wire is required for this. If only two wires exist in the wall, it might have to be re-wired altogether.

Live, Neutral and Ground Wires



Even for a basic circuit to work, there are two kinds of wires needed; live and neutral. Both of these wires are normally connected to the light switch, and when the switch is turned on, the light bulb will automatically flicker. However, in a double light switch, the dynamics are slightly different and are also a bit more complicated. Two lights bulbs are connected to three different sets of wires. The live wire, which is often red in color is attached directly to the tip of the bulb, whereas the neutral wire, which is often black in color is attached to the side of the bulb. The third wire which is normally green or green & yellow in color is known as the earth wire which grounds the electric current back to the ground.

Electric Current and the Circuit



When a regular switch is turned on, the electrons flow from the switch towards the bulb, and light it up. However, this process is entirely different for a double light switch. In these, when the light is switch is turned on, the current moves rapidly from one wire to the other. When both switches are connected to the same wire, the current can easily go through and light up the bulb. However, when the switches are connected on different wires, this makes much a much more difficult task for the current to pass through. To completely understand how a train works, it would be useful to compare it to a train switch. A train switch directs different trains onto different tracks. The light switch is the train switch in this context.



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