Installing a digital timer in a junction box with two switches

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by Wiregirl101, Apr 1, 2012.

  1. Wiregirl101

    Thread Starter New Member

    Apr 1, 2012
    I want to install a digital timer in a junction box with two switches. I've replaced the switch that is staying just an ON/OFF switch and it works.

    My question is about the switch that I'm changing to a timer. The original switch had a hot wire in the top and bottom of the switch using the holes in the back of the switch. It also had a third hot wire that had a small chunk of insulation removed that was wrapped around the bottom terminal screw that jumped(?) to the second switch.

    I'm not 100% sure how to handle the third wire that jumps between the two switches. My timer doesn't have any terminal screws on the side of it so doing the same thing as the old switch isn't an option. Can I cut that hot wire with the chunk of insulation removed in two and cap it with one of the two hot wires of my timer or does it need to stay completely separate from the other two hot wires like it is in the picture I've attached?

    PS - I ok with the ground and neutral wires.

    Thanks for your help! I haven't been able to find anything in my wiring book or on the Internet that addresses this situation.
  2. R!f@@

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 2, 2009
    U better show us everything if we are to address ur situation.

    Ur explanation does not make sense to me.

    Show us better and complete pictures
  3. BSomer


    Dec 28, 2011
    I'm guessing that this is for the lights in a room of your house. That being said, how many cables go into this box? As Rifaa said, more complete pictures would help greatly.

    Again, just guessing, I think what you may have there is the one wire by itself going into the back of the switch is for the lamp or outlet that the switch controls. The other two wires (one going into the back, and one looping around the screw) are the "hot" wires that supply power to the switch in the picture then go off to supply power to other switches or devices.

    If the above is correct, then yes you can take the one wire that is looped around the screw and the one in the back at the bottom of the switch and tie them together with a wire nut. You can then take another wire from that wire nut to the new timer switch.

    However, I must reiterate that more pictures and a description of what these switches are for will help in a more complete and safe guide.

  4. wayneh


    Sep 9, 2010
    It'd also be helpful to get yourself a circuit tester or ohmmeter. They're very inexpensive (less than $5) and can help you understand what is connected to what, when.