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How can I safely wire a momentary switch to a floor lamp? Answered

How can I safely wire a momentary switch to a floor lamp? For instance, while the momentary switch is depressed, the lamp is on, when the button is released it cuts power?


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11 years ago

At least as importantly, the switch must be rated for the voltage and current you want to control. Otherwise you risk the switch burning out, welding shut, or heating up and becoming a fire hazard.

If you aren't sure how much current will flow, remember that power in watts is volts times current in amps, so current is power over volts -- for example, each 100 watt bulb on a 120VAC circuit draws 100/120, or about 0.83, amps. (Motors are more complicated since they often draw more power when first starting up than they do once running. But that's not relevant to your question.)

If the switch you want to use isn't rated for the voltage and amperage you want to control, you need to either get another switch, or use the switch to control a relay which is rated for that load.

As far as how to wire it: The simplest answer is to put the momentary switch in a box that plugs into the wall and has an outlet on it that you can plug the lamp into. (Or, equivalently, wire this control box into the lamp's power cord.) Then turn the lamp's own switch on, and control the lamp from the momentary switch.

If you want either the switch on the lamp or the momentary switch to be able to turn the lamp, the two switches have to be wired in parallel with each other. (In this configuration, if the main switch is on the momentary switch has no effect.) Depending on where the lamp's existing switch is, this may be much more difficult to achieve.

Hope that helps.