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July 24, 2013

Determined to make my dollhouse as fancy as possible without installing plumbing (DON'T TEMPT ME), I purchased quite a few of the Cir-Kit CK1011 slide light switches.  I thought I understood how it worked, but the instructions that came on the tiny piece of paper folded up with the switch really threw me for a loop. The pictures were hard to see, and the multiple options confused me.  Eventually I figured it out, but not before melting one switch and possibly shorting out another. Yikes!  I am sharing these hints so you'll have an easier time of it!  You might find it useful to be looking at the original instructions while reading this, as it's possible I may have missed a step, and I don't feel like telling you just how wide the gaps should be, etc. ;-)

Electricity runs in loops. It needs to return to the source in order to keep the power 'flowing.'  (The bulbs act as a bridge between the two lines.)  This is why there are two lines of copper foil in the tapewire, to send power to the lights and bring it back again.  They are color coded so you can don't accidentally switch your flow around or miss connecting one of the lines, but the color actually means nothing.  It is exactly the same copper foil on both sides.  I am referring to the foils as wires in my instructions because 'foil' confuses me a bit.

The switch works by interrupting the power flow in one of the tape wires. The instructions that come with the switch provide two ways to do this.

Option 1 is useful for mostly horizontal wiring.  Use it if you don't plan on having ceiling lights, or most of your lights will be attached in the lower half of the room.  You CAN, however, attach your ceiling lights or sconces in this option.  Everything will come on at the same time.

I think what threw me off with this is the color coding.  What they actually want you to do is 'stretch' your upper wire up to the switch and then back down again.  They want you to cut a 4" piece of tapewire and attach it over a narrow gap you have cut in the top wire, and ONLY the top wire.  This is one of the few instances where you can attach a pink wire to a blue.  Again, color does not mean the two wires are different.  Just pretend both wires are pink on that 4" strip.  Or, actually cut two pink wires and trim off the blue if it will help you.

Option 2 is for vertical tape runs, and lighting that is mostly in the upper part of the room.  This is also useful if you have a room that is mostly doors and windows and the easiest way to get power to other side of the room is to go up and over.  You can also use this to provide on/off power above but not below.

In this option, you cut a narrow gap in one wire of your tape run right behind where the switch is.  Both nails of the switch go in the same wire, one in the top half of the gap, one in the bottom half.  (Think of the switch as a bridge connecting a road on two sides of a gorge.)

The instructions have you place the tape wire and then drill the holes for the eyelets, but I found this to be messy and it also can tear up the foil a bit.  What I found easier was to cut off a small square of the tape wire for reference, decide where I wanted my switch to go, hold the tape wire sample over that spot, and then push the switch nails into the wood and the sample hard enough to leave an indentation.  (check and be sure the nail hits the wires soundly on both sides.)  THEN I drilled the holes.  After that it was easy to run the wiring over them, using the pilot hole punch (or a heavy needle) to pop a neat hole in the tape wire that covered the holes.  In go the eyelets, neat as can be.  You can pop the switch into the eyelets to test, and then easily pull the switch out again before putting up wallpaper or paneling.

They also provide instructions for how to narrow the gap between the two wires, but in the end I realized I didn't actually need this.  Good to know, though!

I hope this makes more sense to you now, if you were somewhat overwhelmed after staring at all those little diagrams on the provided instructions.  It seems like there were so many steps, but they opted to explain EVERYTHING, including how to attach tape wires to each other.