How to Wire Rope Lights to a Switch


If you have a house with a lot of outdoor space, there’s a good chance that you’ve thought about ways to make your backyard more inviting. One way to do this is by adding rope lights. You can use them for accent lighting, or they can even be used as the primary light source for your yard! Rope lights are easy to install and don’t require any wiring knowledge at all. 

Ropelight installation is pretty straightforward… but it does involve working with electrical cords and power sources, so you must take precautions when installing these lights to avoid injury (or worse). In this article, I will discuss how to wire rope lights to a switch. So let us get started.

How to Wire Rope Lights to a Switch

A Detailed Stepwsie Guide on How to Wire Rope Lights to a Switch:

Step 1

Turn off the power supply before beginning any wiring project.

Step 2

Make a small mark on the casing of the existing light switch so that you can easily find it when putting everything back together, and then shut off the power at the circuit breaker.

Step 3

Remove the existing light switch from its box by unscrewing or prying off both sides with a screwdriver.

 *NOTE: In most cases, you’ll be replacing your overhead lights with rope lighting, which means you will need to run new wiring from your house’s main power box into your closet to provide electricity for these lights. This requires running conduit from the power box into your closet and is a job best left to a professional electrician.*

Step 4

Once you have determined where you want to place your rope lighting, plug a power strip into the nearest wall plug and then run a heavy gauge wire from the main house’s circuit breaker box to this power strip. Make sure you have enough wire so that it can reach anywhere in your closet without straining.

     *NOTE: Before purchasing the rope lights you need for this job, determine how long of a wire you will need by first measuring the distance between where it is plugged in and where you will be placing it. Also, keep in mind that on some light switch boxes, there may not be room for two light switches, so if yours is like this, you’ll need to purchase at least one longer cord or use another extension cord with slide-on connections to provide electricity for your rope light.*

Determine Where  to Place Your Rope Lighting

Step 5

Once you have the conduit installed and run the wire through it, remove about 2″ of sheathing to expose about 1/2″ of copper wire. Then strip 1″ of insulation off each end.

     *NOTE: If your conduit does not provide enough room for your wires to slide through, use a pair of wire cutters to carefully snip away at the tubing until there’s enough room for both wires to fit inside. Also, note that if you use two separate extension cords, connect one end of each cord instead of cutting up the sheathing.*

Step 6

Twist around 3 or 4 strands of black wire onto one screw on the light switch, making sure none is touching another wire. Then do the same with 3 or 4 strands of white wire onto another screw on the switch, and make sure none is touching another wire.

     *NOTE: Note that you must use a lighter to burn off all of the plastic coating (sheathing) from both ends of each wire strand before twisting it around the screws, as this will assure sufficient electrical contact when you attach them to your light switch.*

Step 7

Tighten down the screws with a flathead screwdriver.

     *NOTE: If using two extension cords, connect one end of each cord by either attaching an extension cord plug or simply twisting around the exposed copper wires together. This will provide electricity for your rope lighting.*

Step 8

Locate any excess wire within the conduit and cut it off.

Step 9

Place the light switch back into its box, screw on both sides, and then restore power to your circuit breaker.

Step 10

String up your rope lighting any way you want along the walls or around shelving units.

     *NOTE: If using two extension cords instead of one longer cord, make sure that they are spaced far enough away from each other while remaining close enough for your switches to reach them easily.*

Step 11

Turn on your lights!

Step 12

You’re done! Now sit back and enjoy all of the compliments you’ll get when people see how cool these lights look. They are super easy to operate, too… turn them on with either the nearby light switch or conveniently located wall plug.

     *NOTE: If you want to turn the rope lighting on and off with a nearby light switch, make sure it’s installed high enough up on the wall so that it won’t be exposed to moisture when you water plants.*

Rope lights should only be used indoors

You Can Check It Out to Splice Wire Rope

Precautions While Wiring Rope Lights to a Switch:

1. Turn the power off to the circuit you are working on at the breaker or fuse box before beginning your work. If this is not possible, turn off the power at the plug by unplugging it from its electrical outlet.

2. Some types of rope lights used with extension cords will burn out if cut. Make sure you use rope lights made for permanent installation and do not require a different line for operation.

3. Use caution while wiring rope lights around nails, staples, or sharp edges of metal objects as it may cause damage to the insulation on the wire and result in shocks or short-circuits

4 . Never put yourself in danger if you must be near any water faucet during this process. If you should accidentally get shocked by the wiring, water will help reduce the impact of any electrical shock on your body.

5. Rope lights should only be used indoors unless otherwise noted by their manufacturer .6. Please keep in mind that this article is for reference only and does not consider all possible ways of installing rope lights to switches or other objects. Please consult with a professional electrician if necessary before attempting this project yourself.

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I hope you have obtained a clear conception of “How to Wire Rope Lights to a Switch.” Ensure all the precautions while performing the process.

Jennifer Branett
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