Residential Wiring Model Part 3

Length of Project:
Project theme:
Suitable for grades:
Tools & Materials
Material List
  • one complete Residential Wiring Model Part 2 board
  • one single gang box (metal) (aka switch box)
  • two+ 8x5/8" screws
  • two BX connectors
  • ~18" 18/2 thermostat wire (brown jacket, two wires inside)
  • one single pole toggle or Decora switch (with screws)
  • four+ small wire connector caps (eg, orange Marettes)
  • one incandescent holiday light with minimum 3" wires attached (or another motor as in part 2)
  • Optional

  • faceplate to match the switch
Tool list
  • Linesman's pliers
  • wire strippers
  • utility knife
  • multi screwdriver
  • measuring tape
  • Optional

  • cordless drill
  • driver bits that match screw heads
  • scrap wood to protect work surface
  1. Use your Linesman’s pliers to push in and remove the KO circle on the end of the single gang switch box.
  2. Use two screws to mount the switch box on the bottom right of the plywood base of your Residential Wiring Model from parts 1&2 (KO hole facing up).
  3. Remove the KO circle on the right side of the octagon box.
  4. Instal one BX connector in each space you knocked the KO circles from.
  5. Untwist the two wire connector caps from the splices in the octagon junction box.
  6. Measure the distance between the two BX connectors you installed, and add about 5”. Cut two pieces of 18/2 at approximately this length. Cut away 3” of jacket, then strip the last 1” of insulation from each internal wire.
  7. Poke the wire ends through the BX connectors: one from the junction box to the right switch box, one from the switch box upwards (this one will connect to the new light or motor you will add).
  8. At the junction box, splice the white wires together with one of the connector wires (with an alligator clip end) and add a wire connector cap.
  9. Splice the black wires with the remaining connector wire and add a wire connector cap.
  10. At the right switch box, splice the two white wires together and add a wire connector cap.
  11. Use the wire strippers to make a hook in both black wires.
  12. Hook the ends of the black wires over the screws on the side of the switch and tighten to secure.
  13. Stuff the wires into the box and arrange the switch so the screws are to the right (this will ensure that when the switch is down it is OFF). Tighten the screws to secure the switch to the box.
  14. If you have them, add a faceplate to each switch.
  15. Strip the last 1” of insulation from the wires on the light bulb, or the motor, whichever you have.
  16. Splice the light bulb or motor wires onto the end of the 18/2 coming from the switch box. Add wire connector caps.
  17. Test your circuit

  18. Make sure both your switches are in the OFF position. Clip your alligator clips onto the battery. Turn on the right hand switch; your light bulb should light up (or your motor should come on)!
  19. Be sure to unclip the alligator clips from the battery whenever your model is not in use, or when you plan to transport it.
  20. Troubleshooting

  21. Check that all your splices are tightly twisted and capped. Use a multimeter to check the voltage of your 9V.
Extension Challenges
  1. Try wiring in a dimmer or spring wound timer into your single gang boxes instead of light switches.
  2. Experiment with wiring in other electrical objects where the motor and lights are. Try wiring in a signal light for a car or trailer. What about a 9V smoke alarm? Try a string of LEDs (make sure you look up resistance before you go ahead with this, as if you use too much voltage, you can burn out the LED bulbs).
  3. Ask an electrician if you can watch them wire up a switch in a house. You might see some similar tools and skills that you learned in this project series, as well as learn some new things! For example, residential wire has THREE internal wires inside the jacket, not just two. Ask the electrician to tell you about what a “ground” wire does.
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