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I have 2-pole wiring in an old house and the switch is in a weird place. The Illumra wireless switch kit looks easy, but didn't want to overload anything and was wondering if it's safe to wire? (Think it's called 2-pole when you only have a black and white wire)

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What safety problems do you for see? I don't think anyone one the net can really answer this without being there to inspect the installation, review loads, etc. In general though, swapping one switch our for another, assuming done properly, shouldn't cause any issues. – Steven Jan 27 '14 at 1:37
I think Bib answered it for me, but thanks. The safety issue I was wondering about was that the Illumra directions referred to a box with more wires coming in than the basic black/white +ground... So I wasn't sure I there was some inherent red-flag I didn't know about... I didn't want to assume anything... – Satelite45 Jan 27 '14 at 1:44

Assuming you have a conventional wiring setup, yo are looking for a single pole switch to control simple on/off of a single fixture. (Double pole or 2-pole refers to one switch controlling two separate lines or devices.)

In the US, the black and white wires would indicate that you are dealing with 120 volts. The black wire should be hot and the white wire should be neutral. If there is a bare wire or a green wire also present, that would be ground, a safety feature (but many older houses do not have these). A hot line can also be red, and two hot lines (red and black) are sometimes present.

A switch breaks or interrupts the flow of current on the hot. In wireless switch systems of the type you describe, the physical switch itself is not connected to the circuit at all. Instead, it controls a relay (called a receiver) that is inserted into the circuit that acts as a switch, making and breaking the flow of electricity.

INSTALLATION: The following instructions assume that there are two cables coming into the switch box and there are both a black and a white wire present.

If you want to use the wireless switch system in place of the existing switch, you can take out the existing switch and mount the receiver in that box. You will later cover it with a blank plate.

The receiver in that system has three wires. The red wire is the hot power going into the receiver. It is connected to the hot line (black) at the switch. The Receiver's white wire is the neutral and is connected to the white wire in the switch box. Note that the existing white wire in the box is probably not connected to the old switch but goes on to the fixture. You need to connect both the fixture white wire and the receiver's white wire to the incoming white wire. The receiver's third wire (black) gives power to the fixture and is connected to the black wire going to the fixture.

If you are not sure which black wire is hot (coming from the main power source) and which is the line to the fixture, this can be tested with a non-contact tester.

Once the wires are installed, the receiver is paired with the remote switch. The switch will then control the receiver and the fixture.

These types of switches are rated for 120 volts and up to 500 watts. Just be sure to order the right type.

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Very thorough feedback - I feel like I just bought an electrician a beer... :-) Only one black wire and one white (no grounds) so based on your explanation it seems straigtforward. I pulled both switches into a double box, but it's in a location where I want to slide in a set of shelves without having to punch back into the wall and move the box again. My olace was built back in the '20 by a man who worked at the local lumber mill. The walls are old 16 inch tongue & groove flooring... and a pain to dig back into... The voltage ino helps. Thank you for sharing your expertise... – Satelite45 Jan 26 '14 at 22:56

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