I removed a dimmer switch controlling 5 canister lights in my kitchen, and saw three black wires coming out of the wall box. Two of the black wires were connected to one of two black wires on the dimmer switch, and the third was connected to the second black wire on the dimmer. The ground coming out of the wall was connected to the ground on the dimmer, and all of the white wires in the wall box were terminated in a wire nut.

I used a three pole toggle switch and connected the lone black wire to the common black screw in the toggle switch, and each of the two black wires that were wired together with one of the black dimmer wires to the remaining brass colored posts on the toggle switch. Finally, I connected the ground to the green screw and didn't do anything with the white wires except put them back.

Everything works, and the place isn't in flames. My question is, has anyone seen a setup like that, and did I use the right toggle switch (3 pole) to make the conversion?

  • You are describing what is often called a 3-way switch, not a 3 pole switch (3 poles would have three separate circuits and at least 6 wires).
    – bib
    Dec 17, 2014 at 16:59

1 Answer 1


Why would you replace a single pole dimmer with a 3-way switch?? I pity the next person who tries to figure out what the heck is going on with this.

Correct replacement would have been - leave the wires that are connected to each other connected to each other. Remove dimmer with one in, one out - replace with switch with one in, one out, connecting wall wires just as they were connected to the dimmer.

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