A 3-wire cable runs from L1 to L2, 2-wire cable runs from there to the first switch, and 3-wire cable runs between SW1 and SW2. The source hot is spliced to the black wire running between the lights and at the last light, it is spliced to the black wire running through to the common on SW1. The white wire is marked black and spliced to the black wire running to the common on SW2.
With this configuration any wire in the circuit may be hot at all times and there’s no protection against electrocution. When replacing an ungrounded device in an older circuit like this, use the polarized one above and not the grounded receptacle at the top unless it is grounded to a metal outlet box that is itself grounded to the house electrical system through a continuos metal conduit.
When the electrical source originates at a light fixture and it’s controlled from a remote location, a switch loop is used. The circuit pictured here is wired with 2-conductor cable running from the light to the switch location. The white cable wire in this switch loop is wrapped with black tape and connected to the bottom terminal on SW1 and the hot source at the light. The black wire is connected to the top terminal on SW1 and the hot terminal on the light fixture. The neutral from the source is connected directly to the neutral terminal on the light.
This is an older version of the receptacle in the first diagram. The slots are different sizes to accept polarized plugs, but it lacks a grounding slot. This device does not make use of a ground wire. There is no protection against electrocution as provide by the grounded receptacle.
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