# wiring a 3 position toggle switch for two devices?

I am building a plastic vacuum molding device that requires a heating source and a vacuuming source. For safety reasons I want to install an On/Off/On toggle switch so I, or whomever, am forced to have either the heating element on OR the vacuum source on...and in the middle position both devices are Off. In this mode...after the heated plastic is ready for molding, I must switch on the vacuum...and by doing so I am automatically turn over the heating element. (I have read too many times where people leave their heating source on and forget about it...I want to eliminate this hazard).

Both heating element and vacuum each use a standard 110 plug and each is connected to a separate single standard 3 pronged home wall-outlet. The wall-outlet is not the 2-in-1 type outlet you find in homes, mine are separate, single plug outlets - one each.

My 3-position toggle switch has 6 connectors at the base. And lastly, I am using a 6ft extension cord that will connect to the 3-position toggle switch on one end and into the a wall-outlet on the other end. The exposed wires on the toggle-switch end of the extension cord are black/white/green. I also have 3 feet of 16 gauge copper stranded wire (3ft of black/white/green each) to connect between the two outlets and the toggle-switch.

A. How do I wire each single port/plug outlet to the toggle switch to achieve the desired outcome? B. How do I wire the exposed end of the extension cord to the toggle switch?

Toggle Switch Diagram:

Designation:      Heat     OFF     Vacuum
TOP 3 Toggle:       ON     OFF     ON
Bottom 6 Pins:       o      o      o
o      o      o


Here is a link to the toggle switch I am using: Home Depot Toggle Swtich

Here is the link to the crude image of what I need to accomplish. Crude Drawing

Could you please fill in the blanks of which wire connects to which toggle switch pins?

Here is the diagram with pins connected. Basically, the toggle switch PINS 3 and 4 are from the source. So when then HEAT is on, current will flow from 3 to 1 and return 2 to 4. Similarly, when VACUUM is on, the current will flow from 3 to 5 and return 6 to 4.

Black wires are typically HOT and whites are NEUTRAL. Make sure all black wires are on the top (pins 1, 3 and 5) and white wires are on the bottom (2, 4 and 6).

I still recommend to connect the power plug to a power strip.

Let me know how it goes.

Sanity check: With an ohmmeter and switch not connected, check continuity between 1 and 3, then 2 and 4 with the HEAT on position. Do the same for pins 3 and 5, then 4 to 6 with VACUUM on position.

• Thanks so much Julio. I had looked up other diagrams but all seemed a bit different than mine and I "thought" the above diagram you completed was the way to go and it looks like it is. I will be wiring it this afternoon and will post the results. – rolinger Jul 28 '15 at 14:00
• No problem, do not forget to do a sanity check. – JC203 Jul 28 '15 at 14:52

What you are trying to do is connect a toggle switch that will toggle from/to ON DEVICE 1, OFF, ON DEVICE 2. The two devices will never be ON at the same time.

If I understand your question correctly, you will need to connect the toggle switch to a feed which will be the wire connected to the 110V source. Then the output of this switch will go to the two devices separately. Please make sure you are not working on live circuits/wire, this can be dangerous.

Make sure the toggle switch you have is rated for 110V and the ampacity you will use

Here is what I would do:

1. Connect a power strip to the 110V outlet. The power strip will act as a source ON/OFF for safety
2. Connect your extension cord to the power strip. Make sure power strip is OFF or 110V is OFF
3. The extension cord has Black\White\Green which is HOT\Neutral\Ground assuming the electrician wired the outlet correctly
4. You need to check with an Ohmmeter that there is continuity between each parallel pin (2 pins) when the switch is toggle from 1 to 2 to 3
5. For example, the leftmost two parallel pins under HEAT should have continuity when the toggle switch is in that position. The two parallel pins under OFF should have NO continuity whatsoever. Lastly, the right most two parallel pins under VACUUM should have continuity when the toggle switch is in that position
6. After you confirm that the toggle switch works as we are assuming, move on and make sure source is still OFF
7. Next, connect the HOT\Black wire of the extension cord to the top three pins as a bridge.
8. Cut off the plug from each device or create outlet boxes
9. Then connect the VACUUM HOT wire from the device to the VACUUM pin
10. Connect the HEAT HOT wire from the device to the HEAT pin
11. By now you should get an idea how the circuitry looks like, draw it out if don't understand it
12. Lastly, connect the White wire\neutrals from HEAT, VACUUM and from the feed all together
13. If you are placing the toggle switch in a box, connect the feed wire Green wire to the box for ground

Let me know if you need any further assistance.

• Hi, I realize my original description wasn't well formulated so I created a diagram for clarity. I edited my main post to attach a diagram of what I am looking to do as well as a link to the actual toggle switch I am using. Could you please use that diagram to help figure out which wires connect to which pins on the toggle switch? Thanks again. Understand that "wall outlets" A & B are merely the same standard home wall outlets that I am using in my project...these outlets aren't actually in a wall, they are in a custom wood control panel that sits between my heat source and my vacuum box. – rolinger Jul 26 '15 at 15:17