I have a 2-gang switch box that houses two light switches. I'm replacing one of the switches with a Honeywell Programmable Light Switch PLS751, which requires both an ungrounded (hot) and a grounded (neutral) conductor.

To add this switch, I'm thinking I should route new 14/3 or 12/3 wiring to the box. I could alternatively route a single extra wire to the box also to act as the grounded (neutral). My question is: how the heck do I get either of these wires into the existing box? I've replaced a 1-gang box with a 2-gang before and routed new wire to that, but I'm clearly going to need some trickery to get a new run into an existing box without ripping it out first and fishing for it myself.

  • 1
    "2-pole" specifically means two separate switched conductors - as in, both hot and neutral are being switched. That is extremely uncommon and thus unlikely. Since there are two switches, there is likely more than one wire now, correct? Can you explain everything coming in and going out? In most cases of having 2 switches, there will be a neutral at the switch location, which will allow you to wire your new switch. A picture (labelled, if possible) would probably help a lot.
    – gregmac
    Jan 4, 2014 at 6:43
  • 1
    You need hot and neutral. What does the switch control? Could you post a box-open-picture?
    – Bryce
    Jan 4, 2014 at 9:29
  • You have a worrisome confusion about the concept of poles on a switch and line, load, & neutral - you misuse the terms, so I have to wonder if you actually understand what you are doing? If not, you should either learn, or hire an electrician.
    – Ecnerwal
    Jan 4, 2014 at 13:35
  • @ecnerwal, I hope that I didn't cause you too much worry! Boy, not my intention! It seems my question was edited by Tester101. I don't know what the hell an ungrounded (hot) and grounded (neutral) connector was meant to imply in his edit.
    – YWCA Hello
    Jan 4, 2014 at 21:43
  • 1
    If you don't understand Tester101's edits, you probably need some professional assistance.
    – bib
    Jan 4, 2014 at 23:29

4 Answers 4


You should run a new 14/3 cable. Do not run a single wire.

You'll never be able to fish box to box with the boxes in the wall. If the distance is close enough you might get away with only removing one box, but most likely you will need to remove both boxes and replace them when you are finished.

  • What is this talk of two boxes? A little confused.
    – YWCA Hello
    Jan 4, 2014 at 6:23
  • First box is where the line comes in (fixture), second box is your switch
    – Steven
    Jan 4, 2014 at 12:59

At some point of agony, it's easier to repair drywall than to try and fish everything without opening any new holes. There may be a few situations where you can actually get the job done without opening walls, but there are a lot where that is the only option (depends on where the wires run and the construction of the walls.)

  1. Tie small magnet (small enough to fit through the boxes holes) to piece of string.
  2. Tie other end of string to end of wire securely.
  3. Send string and wire down wall near box.
  4. Insert metal rod or fishtap or something that the magnet will stick to up through hole.
  5. Move around till magnet catches.
  6. Pull magnet and string back through box hole.
  7. Keep pulling string till wire comes through hole.

Enjoy wire in existing box :)

  • Can you give a pointer to a magnet that small to which you could also securely tie a string ? Maybe a toroidal-shaped one, or drill a hole in one ? Aug 4, 2019 at 21:46

My understanding from wiring GFCI outlets is that line was power in and load was power out (to the device being controlled). If that is correct, this switch can be wired in in place of the switch. Does this PLS751 require a third wire?

  • I believe the switch needs constant power in order to function... not just when it's sending power to the load (as would be the case in a 2-pole setup).
    – YWCA Hello
    Jan 4, 2014 at 6:23

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