In a bedroom a “friend“ removed the light switch. I have no idea if it was a single or double. There are 3 cables coming into box with 3 wires each, black, white and copper. One of the black is constant hot. I have read many articles looking to put in a single pole ( or double) pole light switch and I am so confused. Could you “dumb down” an answer for me. There are 3 outlets and an overhead light, 2 of the outlets work. Thank you for any info you can give me.

  • Chances are one of the cables is a switch loop to the fixture. You'll need to determine which one. The third cable probably passes on to another light or outlets.
    – isherwood
    Aug 1, 2019 at 19:42
  • FYI, the ground conductor isn't counted when describing cables. You have "12- or 14-2 with ground".
    – isherwood
    Aug 1, 2019 at 19:44
  • 2
    Get rid of this "friend".
    – JACK
    Aug 1, 2019 at 20:03
  • assuming you are referring to the switch box (you didn't say), the constant hot is likely the source of power. do you know which breaker cuts it off? have you tested that? is the other cable never hot? it may feed the light fixture, making this not a switch loop.
    – Skaperen
    Aug 1, 2019 at 20:35
  • 1
    Can you post a photo of the inside of the box please? Aug 1, 2019 at 22:49

1 Answer 1


If you are sure that there is only 1 (one) always hot black wire, then follow these steps:

  1. Turn off power at the breaker.
  2. Connect all of the ground wires together with a wirenut and stuff them in to the box.
  3. Connect all of the white wires together with a wirenut and stuff them in to the box.
  4. Get yourself a 6 inch piece of black wire and strip the ends. You've just made yourself a pigtail. Match the gauge of this wire (12 or 14) to the gauge of the wire already in the box. Connect one end to the switch.
  5. Connect the other end of the pigtail to the always hot black wire and one of the other black wires with a wirenut.
  6. Connect the remaining black wire to the switch.
  7. Install the switch and cover.
  8. Turn on the breaker.
  9. Turn the switch on and off. If it controls the light, you are done.
  10. If the switch doesn't control the light, turn the breaker off and repeat from step 5 but swap the two black wires that are not always hot.
  • assuming the other 2 black wires are never hot.
    – Skaperen
    Aug 1, 2019 at 20:41

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