Light Switch - Not sure what to do

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by coopns, Dec 20, 2009.

  1. coopns

    coopns New Member

    Messages:
    95
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    I was changing the old light switch to a new white one. The old swtich has two black and a red wire. The new light switch has just two screws brass right?

    I included some pic's of the old, new and inside the box.

    And...does it matter where I connect the white and black if only two brass screws are on the new switch?

    Please advise.

    Thanks.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2009
  2. frenchie

    frenchie Jack of all trades

    3 screws generally means a 3-way switch. Is there another switch, somewhere, that also controls that light?
  3. coopns

    coopns New Member

    Messages:
    95
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    There is. So I would need a 3 way switch?

    And, as I asked earlier, does it matter where the black, red go on the switch...black to brass, white to ?

    Thanks.
  4. codeone

    codeone Code Enforcement

    Messages:
    160
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Its hard to tell by your pictures, however on a three-way switch there is a common screw. It looks as best as i can tell the black goes on the common scerw. That is from you pics.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2009
  5. codeone

    codeone Code Enforcement

    Messages:
    160
    Location:
    North Carolina
    This looks like what you have as best as I can tell

    Attached Files:

  6. Jim Port

    Jim Port Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    156
    Location:
    Maryland
    When you get your new 3 way switch, move the wire from the black colored screw to the odd colored screw on the new switch. Now move the other two wires to the other screws on the new switch. These do not matter, only the odd colored screw matters.
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,304
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    switch

    IF your switch does not have the words "on" and "off" on it then you have a 3way switch and it DEFINITELY matter where you connect the wires to it. The two from the bright screws have to go to the new bright screws but can go to either one of the two. The dark, "common", screw is either the hot wire to the switches, or the load wire to the light, regardless of what the wire color is.
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