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How to Wire a Rotary Switch [4 Easy to Follow Steps!]

Rotary switches have many advantages. You can control multiple electrical circuits using a single switch.

But many of us find it complicated to wire rotary switches.

How to wire a rotary switch?

The basic wiring process is the same for most rotary switches. First, you need to detect the output terminals for all input terminals. Prepare the wire ends and connect them with the input terminal. Connect them with the output terminal.

That is just an overview of the process. We have got a lot to share with you in detail. 

Let’s begin our journey!

2 Things to Follow Before Wiring a Rotary Switch 

Wiring anything isn’t a child’s play. Taking precautions is necessary for wiring. Before you go onto wiring, read out this segment carefully.

Let’s head on!

Types of Rotary Switches

Let us first learn the types of rotary switches. Because before wiring you must know the type of them. That will help you to connect the wires appropriately.

There are some variations of rotary switches available out there. But the basic rotary switch wiring is the same for everyone. 

We can divide the switches by the number of their poles and positions also. They can be 2 poles, 3 poles, 8 poles, etc. The number of positions can also be 2, 4, 6, and many more.

While wiring the pole number is quite important. That’s all. Now let us learn how to test a rotary switch.

How to Test a Rotary Switch?

Before wiring, you must observe if the switch is good or not. Otherwise, it can result in unwanted electrical problems at home.

To test a rotary switch you’ll need a multimeter. Test the two test probes (red and black) of the multimeter. Now set your multimeter to continuity range.

After that, rotate the switch to position number “1”. Connect the red probe to the index or common pin. Similarly, tag the black probe to the pin positioned no.1. You need to know beforehand if the pin is for position “1” or not.

Now check if the multimeter shows continuity for this position. Repeat this for all the position numbers that you’ve in your switch.

If the multimeter doesn’t show continuity for any position number, then the switch isn’t good. The multimeter can show continuity to the pins of different positions. In this case, the switch isn’t good either.

That’s how you can check your rotary switch.

You should also test wires with a megger to know if they’re okay or not.

If you’re looking for a quality multimeter, here are some multimeters I recommend:

Product 1Klein Tools MM700 Multimeter
Product 2 AstroAI WH5000A Digital Multimeter

As the products are now the top-selling items, surely they will meet your purposes.

4 Simple Steps to Wire up a Rotary Switch

We have taken all the pre-work measures to test our rotary switch. It’s time to get straight to work! 

What’ll You Need?

During the operation, you’ll need some useful tools to work with. Before wiring, you’ll have to make all these things ready. Here are the things you’ll need:

  • A Solder and soldering iron
  • Connector
  • Wire Stripper
  • Ohmmeter

Got everything you need? Great!

Follow this 4-step guideline to wire a rotary switch:

Step 1: Detect the Output Terminal for All Input Terminals

As I’ve said, you have to know the pole and position number of your rotary switch. You’ll have different output terminals for each position number. All these position numbers are input terminals. 

You need to detect the output terminal of the switch’s “1” for all input terminals. In many switches, you can find the numbers written there.

If not, then you need to detect the position number “1” pin by an ohmmeter.

To detect the number using an ohmmeter, first, rotate the switch to position “1”.

Connect one probe of the ohmmeter to the common pin of the switch. Then touch the other probe with the other pins of the output terminal one by one. If for any pin the ohmmeter shows continuity, then the pin is for position “1”. 

Step 2: Arrangements of Proper Wire Ends

Now we need to prepare the wire ends of all the incoming devices. You can do this in two ways.

One is by soldering. If you prefer soldering, then strip the insulation of wires for about ¼ inch. For stripping, you’ll use a stripper. Then solder the ends of the wire.

The second way is using a connector. You can use a terminal connector at wire ends. But it needs to be an appropriate one. 

Step 3: Attachment with Input Terminal

In this step, you need to connect the incoming device wires with the input terminals. It depends on the way you’ve prepared wire ends. Let me tell you how.

For soldering, you need to hold the wire of the power supply against the input terminal. Then solder the wire with the input terminal.

If you have used a connector, push the connector with wire to the input terminal.

Step 4: Link the Wires with Output Terminals

This is the last step of wiring. In this step, we’re going to link the wires to the output terminals.

Just like before, you can do this by both soldering and using connectors.

Connect the wire of device “1” with the terminal “1”. Then connect the other devices with the output terminals in the clockwise direction of “1”. Like, the second device with the terminal of clockwise “1”, then the third with clockwise of “2”, etc.

With that, you have successfully wired your rotary switch!

Follow the exact instructions of the guide. Not following it carefully can lead you to have similar problems like gfci wiring.

Necessary Precautions 

There are some precautions here for you to know:

  • You need to be careful while soldering. Maintain the proper soldering temperature. Use a good soldering iron tip.
  • Every rotary switch has fixed voltages and amperage. So, maintain loads of the devices with rotary switches. Here load may include voltage, current, frequency.
  • Extreme low and high temperatures are harmful to rotary switches. Try to maintain temperatures around the switches.

That’s all!


Question: What are the other names of the rotary switches?

Answer: People call rotary switches the single pole and double pole. Here the pole number indicates the number of circuits in the rotary switch.

Question: Which is the most magnetic wire?

Answer: Copper insulated wires are the most magnetic wires. People love to use them most in electric motors and bulbs.

Question: What is the fundamental design of a rotary switch?

Answer: All rotary switches have a common design. They all contain a spindle or a rotor, a spoke, a shaft. And they also have detent and wafer.


Now you know how to wire a rotary switch. Follow the steps of our guidelines to wire your rotary switch.

Be careful soldering. You may hurt yourself or damage the wire. Take the help of a professional if needed.

Until then – good luck!