A dipole switch is so-called because it has two settings-- "ON" & "OFF".  A dipole switch is used to interrupt the flow of current to a component  By convention, dipole switches are installed to interrupt black wires only. That id to say, only black wires should be attached to switches.  The corresponding white wires are connected  together with a wire nut.  Similarly, ground wires are connected by wrapping one around the other and connecting these to the ground screw
Of the two black wires, one will be "hot", coming from the power source; the other will be "cold", leading to the component being controlled..  The "hot" wire may be connected to either screw, "cold" wire to the other.
The switch is usually installed vertically and either possible orientation will allow the switch to function..  The common convention is that the "UP" position is "ON".  If the switch says "NO", you have installed it upside down

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last edited 12/24/05