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Help Me Wire an X10 Wall Switch

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    Help Me Wire an X10 Wall Switch

    First off, I am not good with electricity. Putting in a dimmer is tough enough for me to figure out, so I am having some trouble trying to replace my first wall switch with an x10 module.

    In the box is 3 white wires tied together and capped, and 3 black wires coming out to the switch. One is on a screw and looks like it would be a ground, and the other 2 going into the terminals of the switch itself.

    I am trying to install a standard x10 module WS467, and of course there is only 2 wires coming off that switch.

    As mentioned, I am clueless without seeing what I was expecting, and this wasn't it. How do I do this without killing myself? Thanks in advance.

    Hehehe, don't really know what to tell you other than make sure you have someone there who can call 911 just in case and that you have some spare fuses handy for when you blow'em.
    All the switches in my current place have two wires. My old place had one with three wires and even though 911 wasn't needed I did need to make a couple trips to the hardware store to pick up fuses. Not sure exactly how I eventually hooked it up but you'll eventually get it right after enough trial and error.
    I'm sure someone else will have more answers for you though! (you still might want to stock up on fuses just in case)


      The wire on the screw terminal is the ground and it is not used with the X10 switches. If it was wired to code then that wire would be green. You can cap it to keep it from touching a hot wire. The two other black wires are the hot and the bulb connections. The X10 switch will have a blue which is intended to go to the bulb and a black that is intended to go to the hot. They can be swapped and it will work just as well. Use the screw caps provided with the switch to connect the blue to a black and the black to a black. The switch colors on the X10 switch may not be blue and black, but it does not matter.

      Remove power from the reciptical before playing with it. There still could be back voltage from non-standard wiring so it is best not to touch the bare wires with fingers, tongue, or anything else.


        Funny you mention about needing fuses...

        I got "impatient" and decided to try and take what we have determined to be the ground and ground it to the mounting screw.

        When I put on the power, they said there was a small flash, so I turned it off. Now there is no power on that entire circuit to all other lights. I tried resetting the main breaker and it does nothing.

        Great - WAF way down.

        On the up side, I now know NOT to use that ground for anything. How do I reset the circuit? New breaker?


          How old is your house? If it is relatively new, then go to the circuit breaker box and find the tripped breaker and click it all the way to the off position and then click it to the opposite direction and that should reset your circuit. If your house is older then you might need to go to the hardware store and buy some screw in fuses to replace the one you popped. good luck. Make sure you disconnect the wires that you hooked up incorrectly!!!!

          PS. Do a search on the internet on how to wire a switch just to learn the basics of electricity. Understanding the colors will help you understand which wire is going to a light and which one has live power to it.


            I am dumb, but not quite that dumb ... Hehehe.

            I obviously reset the offending breaker multiple times including the main switch to the house to no avail. Is it possible to actually fry the breaker itself at the panel?

            And I will take your advice and do a little more reading. I was just so damn excited to turn that light on and off with the computer ... Thanks.


              It's possible, but unlikely. If you didn't unplug your incorrect work then you will trip the circuit again and again.


                Basic Electrical Wiring.

                Here is some basic electrical information for everyone. I use to do this for a living and I know I can get into a little techie limbo, so I will try to keep this a simple as possible.


                Never try to wire anything with the power on. Most people do not realize that under the right circumstances, The electricity in a home is enough to stop a persons heart and of course kill them.

                Wire colors (By CODE)

                What I mean by code is if the electrician really knew what they were doing and didnt greese the inspector, this is what the colors should be and mean. Please be carefull though as it may not completely follow code especially in older homes.

                White Wire (and sometimes a light Grey Wire in some places) - Neautral Wire

                Green or Bare (No coating just copper) Wire - Ground

                Pretty much any other color will be hot. Most common wires are Black and Red.

                When a home in run in conduit (a pipe) alot of electricians will use a blue wire for a feed to a light, and an orange to another type of switched feed (ceiling fan, outlets and such). Usually once you figure out what was done in one room, it will follow throughout your entire home.

                For homes wired with romex (No pipe, double insulated wire) you may also see colored tape on the end of wires. Romex usually only has three color possibilities (White, Red, and Black). An electrician will sometimes put tape on the end of the wire to show what it really is. Example: The wire going to the ceiling light. I would put a piece of Blue tape on both ends of the black wire so I would know where that wire starts and stops. Always look for any tape before assuming anything.

                Becare when dealing with romex though. Because of the limit on wire colors, it is not uncommon to use a white wire as a hot. Of course it should be marked with tape (or even sometimes paint). This is fine to do even by code as long as it is marked. If you ever see a white wire coming off a regular wall switch with no tape on it, it is most likely a hot wire and the person doing the electical was just too lazy to put a piece of tape on it or the tape fell off.

                I would surely ask any questions you have before trying anything. If you are not completely comfortable doing this then dont. Its not worth loosing your house over paying someone else to do it.


                  I am suprised that someone has not mentioned this before... but YOU CAN KILL YOURSELF. You can BURN DOWN YOUR HOUSE!

                  If you are unsure about ANY part of mains wiring, then you should not even attempt it!
                  Hire someone that is qualified.
                  Skibumsplace - Locate Me


                    oh come on... that's what building codes are for. They protect us from ourselves and remove all personal responsibility. If something burns down... sue someone.


                      Thanks for the responses guys.

                      I now have everything in order, I called an electrician friend over to go over some of this stuff and I now know what is what.

                      This will make the rest of the switches much easier (and safer) to install obviously, but I am sure you can all relate to my eagerness to get started.

                      I am sitting in the family room turning the overhead lights and a lamp on and off again continuosly. I think I have the bug. How fun....


                        There you go ..Do it the legal way.. Hire a lawyer and supenoa IP address's get the owner of the forum and sue for tons, sooner or later insurnace settles.

                        Ahh.... the american way..