Switch gangs and ways?

Could someone please explain the difference (and significance) of gangs and ways as they are used in lighting circuits.
Thanks, BraileTrail
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On 25/01/2004 BraileTrail opined:-

Gang, means the number of switches in one block or switch panel.
Ways is not quite so straight forward or clear cut..... Basically it means the number of different active positions which can be achieved by one switch. A normal room light switch can achieve two positions, on or off, but only one is active. Hence it is called a one way switch. The type of switch commonly used for stair lighting is called a two way switch, because it has two possible active positions. Both the 1 way and 2 way switch are two 'position' switches.
The type of switch used in a photographers dark room, able to switch between main lighting and safe lights, with a centre off position, would be a 2 way three position.... 1 Safe light, 2 Off, 3 Normal lights.
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Regards,
Harry (M1BYT) (Lap)
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Harry Bloomfield retched Switch gangs and ways? onto my recliner:

Isn't that a bit obvious old chap?
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Phil K.

http://philkyle2003.reachme.at /
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So, your boggest-standardest lightswitch controlling just one light is "single gang"; the thing you have in a room where one plate has a switch for the central light and a separate switch for the wall lights is "two gang" or "double gang"; one with three switches on the one plate is "three gang".
"Ways" is a separate concept, describing the number of distinct, active current paths provided. For a simple on-off function, you need just one current path which is either open or closed - that's a "1-way" switch. When you want to switch from two different places, you need a "2-way" switch, which connects one of two separate terminals to a common terminal depending on the switch position. 1-way and 2-way is all you'll ever come across in domestic mains switches, with the exotic exception of an "intermediate" switch, used in between 2-way switches to give you switching at more than two different placeses.
A 2-way switch can always be used in place of a 1-way: you wire to the Common and L1 terminals, ignoring the L2 terminal. (Or to the Common and L2 terminal, and then mount the switch upside-down ;-) Mass production and stock-holding costs mean you'll often find only a 2-way flavour available anyway.
HTH - Stefek
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Harry & Stefek,
Thanks for taking the time, I have got it now.
Regards, BraileTrail
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And just to add, as well as "ways" and "gangs", you also get "poles".
An additional pole is an additional switch that is affected by the same switch mechanism. It is different from a gang, which is an additional switch with an independent mechanism.
Light switches are usually single pole, so there is only one switch, which should disconnect the live only. Switches for power circuits are now usually double pole. This means that the one switch can turn off the live supply AND the neutral.
Christian.
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snipped-for-privacy@hp.com wrote:

Just a point of note for anyone confused - I've found that the "Select" range from Screwfix is wired t'other way about - for one way switching you wire common and L2 if you mount the switch with the legend "top" at the top! Caught me out the first few times... but for a switch less than half the price of the equivalent MK kit it's a minor inconvenience :-)
Hwyl!
M.
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