Wiring a Time Switch for a Outside Light Fixture
How can I replace a wall switch with a time switch for my outside lights? How to Wire a Timer Switch for Outdoor Lights, The Most Common Wire Colors and Connections for a Time Switch and How to Connect Them.
Wiring a Time Switch
Electrical Question: How can I replace a wall switch with a time switch for my outside lights?
- I have a wall box with two switches. One controls a light in the hall way and the other controls the light outside.
- I wanted to replace the switch to outside light with a timer. The strange thing is, the cable into the wall box is only one way – i.e., the cable goes in from one side of the box, connects the two switches, and there is no cable going out from the other side of the box.
- The cable has 4 wires – black, white, bare copper and red.
- The timer has 4 wires – black, white, green and red. The timer’s instruction indicates to connect black power wire to black wire of the timer, and the black power wire at the other end of the box to the red wire of the timer.
- Since I do not have the black power wire at the other end of the box, I disconnected the two switches and connected the timer to the cable – black to black, white to white, green to copper and red to red. But doing so I lost the control to the indoor light. Is this the correct way to do it?
- Why does the wall box has only one power in, but no power cable out?
This electrical wiring question came from: Susan.
Thanks for your electric wiring question Susan.
How to Wire a Timer Switch for Outdoor Lights
Application: Wire a Time Switch to Control Outside Lights.
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate – Best performed by a licensed electrician.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience and ability to work with tools.
Precaution: Identify the light circuit, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring.
Notice: Installing additional fixture wiring should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.
Materials: Make sure the replacement light switch has the same amperage and voltage rating as the original switch, and is fully compatible with the electrical circuit, the light fixture and the type of light bulbs being used.
Time Switch Wiring Connections
- The Most Common Wire Colors and Connections for a Time Switch
- The Black wire is for the Line, also known as the Power Source.
- The Red wire is the Load, which is the Light Fixture.
- The White is the Neutral Wire which is required for both the Timer and the Light Fixture.
- The Bare Copper wire or Green wire is the Ground wire which is required for both the Timer and the Light Fixture
- Due to some home electrical wiring variations may differ, especially when only one cable is found in the switch box.
- It may be found that the White Wire is not a Neutral Wire but is instead being used as a Switched Leg, or the power loop which is used only for the switching process.
- The exact wiring configuration is best discovered using a voltage tester.
More about Cables and Wiring Light Switches
Wiring a Light Switch – Diagram 1
- Wiring Diagrams
- Fully Explained Light Switch Wiring Diagrams. Detailed Electrical Wiring Diagrams and Pictures assist your Home Electrical Projects.
Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.
The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wiring!The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester, [amazon.com], I use for the detection of Standard Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.
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