Tip & How-To about Electrical Supplies
A switch loop is a technique that is often used in home wiring to cut back on wire used and to make the circuit less complicated. In a normal switching circuit power comes into the switch box with the white wires tied together and black wires on the switch and then continues to the lighting box where black is connected to black and white is connected to white. With a switch loop the power starts at the lighting box in the black wire that does not go to the switch. That black wire is connected to the white wire that goes out to the switch (note the white wire must be taped with a small piece of electrical tape to show that it is now a powered wire). At the switch both black and white wires must be connected to the switch (the white wire here must also be taped). So now back at the light box you should have two wires. A white wire from your incoming power cable and a black wire from your switch cable. Now all you need to do is tie black to the black of your light and white to the white of your light (note: if you have terminals, white goes to the silver terminal and black goes to the brass terminal.) The wiring is done in this manner because in electrical work black and white make a light, and the the colors are never mixed up because it allows the next person to diagnose any problems much easier.
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Turn off the power to the receptacle that will be replaced by switching off the circuit breaker in the fuse box. Check that the battery is good in a circuit tester. If not, replace the battery. Place the tester's two ends in one set of the receptacle's slots, then the other set. The light on the tester should not come on. If it does, the correct circuit breaker has not been switched off.
Take off the receptacle's face plate by first removing its screw. Detach the two screw securing the receptacle to the box and pull out the receptacle. Loosen the receptacle's terminal screws and pull away all wires from the back of the receptacle. Take out the receptacle (if working properly, it can be reused). If the ends of the wires are chewed up after removing them from the existing receptacle, cut them off with wire cutters. Strip off 1/2 an inch of insulation from the ends, using wire strippers. Bend them into loops with the pliers.
Bend the copper ends of all wires into a loop, using a pliers. Connect the white wires to the silver terminal and tighten the screw to the wires. Connect the black wires to the gold terminal and tighten the screw to the wires. Connect the bare ground wires to the ground terminal and tighten the screw to the wires.
Push all cables into the back of the box, followed by the receptacle. Attach the receptacle to the box with the two screws. Hold the new faceplate in position and install the screw. Turn on the power at the circuit breaker.
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