I recently moved into a house, built in 2004, and there this old looking rotary timer (T101 from Intermatic) in the garage that controls two large exterior flood lights. rotary timerenter image description here
The timer is wired with neutral, line and load wires. main wiring On closer inspection the wiring is as such:
Two sets of wires coming into the box for the time.
The first wire: white goes to neutral on the timer, black goes to load on the timer and the ground is snipped off/not connected to anything.
The second wire: white is daisy-chained so that one goes to neutral on timer and one goes to outlet; black is also daisy-chained so that one goes to line on timer and one goes to outlet; ground is tied together and only goes to the outlet.
timerconnectionstimer connections2enter image description here

There are wires from the rear of the timer that go to the neutral and line on front of the timer.timer wires

This timer sits out from the wall (not recessed). There's also a regular 110V outlet that comes out off of the timer. outlet and boxoutwires1outletwires2

The breaker shows 15A.15amps

Ideally I'd like to replace this rotary timer with a regular light switch so that I can have easier control over turning these lights on/off. I don't have a need for the plugin so that can be removed.

What options do I have for doing this?

  • Can you pull the wiring at the switch out a bit and take a clear photo of it? (with the power to the circuit off of course) May 22, 2018 at 2:36
  • Thanks for reaching of @TheePhaseEel, I've updated the question with more details about the wiring and more pictures.
    – John_Henry
    May 22, 2018 at 13:36

2 Answers 2


Just replace it with a switch. The amperage rating should match the breaker it is hooked up to. The time clock is rated for 40 amps but it looks like 12 gauge wires so i am guessing the circuit is 15-20 amps. The neutrals would get tied together, they are only there to power the clock. The line would go to one side of the switch and the load to the other. You would of course need a box to house the switch.

  • Thanks for reaching of @user76730, I've updated the question with more details about the wiring and more pictures. It does look like the breaker is 15 amps. Can you further explain what you mean by "the neutrals would get tied together"?
    – John_Henry
    May 22, 2018 at 13:38
  • @John_Henry Neutral isn't switched, so use a wire nut to connect the neutral going into the timer and the neutral going out of the timer together. May 22, 2018 at 14:41

Replace it with a switch in a surface mount box

Once you get that switch and receptacle out of there (after turning the breaker off of course), you'll need to install a surface mount box -- I'd use a 4" square box with a single gang mud ring as handy boxes get tight quickly -- and use some cable clamps to bring the existing cables into the box (one will come in from the lower left and the other from the back right, from the appearances of things). You may need a spare handy box as well in order to "jumbo pigtail" one of the cables to extend it with an extra length of 14/2 NM -- this will also be surface mounted, with a ground pigtail nutted in with the rest of the grounds and a blank cover over it.

You can then install a single pole switch -- the whites nut to each other, the blacks land on the switch hot (brass/black) screws, and the bare grounds nut to each other, a pigtail to a ground screw on the box, and a pigtail to the green ground screw on the switch. Add a switch cover, turn the breaker back on, and enjoy!

  • Well that's in depth. Looks like I'll have research to do on jumbo pigtails and such. Thanks for the detail. Will be back with clarifications.
    – John_Henry
    May 23, 2018 at 0:57

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