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Light Switch Wiring

Alternate (California Style) Light Switch Wiring Diagram

Switch terminal connections are interchangeable.

Typical Ground Wire Connections

All ground wires and device terminals are connected together in each outlet box.

In each electrical box, all ground wires are connected together. Ground is also connected to the ground terminal of a device (switch, receptacle, light fixture, etc).

Typical Ground Wire Connections Diagram

Conventional Light Switch Wiring Diagram Alternate Light Switch Wiring Diagram Typical Ground Wire Connections Diagram

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Conventional Light Switch Wiring

With conventional light switch wiring using NM cable, the cable supplies 120 volts from the electrical panel to a light switch outlet box. Another cable connects from this switch box to the light fixture box. Both 120 volts and neutral travel from the switch box to the light fixture box.

Alternate (California Style) Switch Wiring

With alternate light switch wiring, an NM cable supplies 120 volts from the electrical panel to a light fixture outlet box.

Another NM cable connects from the light fixture box to the switch box. In the diagram below, a 2-wire NM cable that connects the light fixture to the switch carries 2 hot wires (one hot, and one switched hot).

The white wire carries the hot, the black wire carries the switched hot. Since the white wire is hot, a black piece of electrical tape is placed on each end.

This alternate type of wiring is no longer allowed by the NEC as of 2011 if a neutral wire is not present inside each switch box.

Diagrams shown on this page are simplified for clarity. Electrical outlet boxes can have numerous NM cables going in and out. See Actual Switch Box Wiring Diagram.

Typical NM Ground Wire Connections Diagram is shown below.

Conventional Light Switch Wiring Diagram