Residential Wiring Model Part 2

Length of Project:
Project theme:
Suitable for grades:
Tools & Materials
Material List
  • one complete Residential Wiring Model Part 1 board
  • one low voltage motor
  • 18" 18/2 thermostat wire (brown jacket, two wires inside)
  • four+ small wire connector caps (eg orange Marettes)
  • one pipe strap (same diameter as motor)
  • ~two 8x5/8" screws
Tool list
  • Linesman's pliers
  • wire strippers
  • utility knife
  • multi screwdriver
  • measuring tape
  • Optional

  • cordless drill
  • driver bits to match all screw heads
  1. Test your motor to make sure it works: attach a small flag of electrical tape to the axle so you can see it spin. Touch the red wire to the positive terminal of your 9V, and the black wire to the negative terminal of your 9V. What happens if you reverse the wires?
  2. If your motor works, use the pipe strap and screws to mount it above the light on your Residential Wiring Model from part 1.
  3. Unhook one alligator clip from the battery on your wiring model to depower your circuit while you work on it.
  4. Cut a 12” piece of thermostat wire and remove 3” of the brown jacket from each end. Strip the last 1” of insulation from each end of the black and white wires inside.
  5. Strip the last 1” of the black and red wires of the motor. Splice them to the end of your 18/2 wire as shown. Add wire connector caps to the splices.
  6. Loosen the BX connector on the switch box.
  7. Unscrew the switch from the switch box.
  8. Figure out which BLACK hooked wire is connected to the light bulb and remove it from the switch screw. Leave the BLACK wire that runs to the octagonal junction box attached to the switch.
  9. Unscrew the wire connector cap from the white wires in the switch box and unwind or clip off the twisted wire ends.
  10. Remove the wire that is connected to the light from the box completely, then clip the end clean. Strip the 3” of jacket, and the last 1” of white and black insulation from the ends as shown.
  11. Push the wires from the motor and the wires from the light back through the BX connector into the box, then tighten the BX screw to secure the two wires.
  12. Make a "pigtail"

  13. Strip the entire jacket from the remaining 6” piece of 18/2, and remove the black wire. Strip the last 1” of insulation off each end. Hook one end.
  14. Secure this “pigtail” wire to the available screw on the switch.
  15. Use your Linesman’s pliers to splice the three white wires together, clip the end, and add a wire connector cap.
  16. Splice the three black wire ends in the box and add a connector cap.
  17. Tuck all the spliced wires into the box and screw the switch back in place.
  18. Test your circuit

  19. Clip your alligator clip back to the 9V battery, then turn your switch on. Your motor should start spinning, and the light should come on as an “indicator” light!
  20. Be sure to unclip the alligator clips from the battery whenever your model is not in use, or when you plan to transport it.
  21. Troubleshooting

  22. Do the motor or the light come on while the switch is in the OFF position? Make sure that the two black wires that are attached to the screws on the side of the switch are from the octagon box and the end of the “pigtail”. Both the black wire from the motor and the black wire from the light should be spliced to the end of the short “pigtail”, not connected to the switch.
Extension Challenges
  1. Instead of a motor, try wiring in a second light to the system.
  2. Look up “parallel” circuits and “series” circuits. What would this circuit look like if you wanted to connect your motor and light in series? What effect would this have on the rpm of the motor? On the brightness of the light? On the length of time the battery would power the system?
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