50+ Year Old Home-all Light Switches One-way? - Electrical - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum


Go Back   DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum > Home Improvement > Electrical

CLICK HERE AND JOIN OUR COMMUNITY TODAY...IT'S FREE!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 06-21-2008, 05:02 PM   #1
one determined mama
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 35
Rewards Points: 25
Question

50+ year old home-all light switches one-way?


I have a bit of a conundrum on my hands. We moved into a 50+ year old house about a year ago and lately we have been trying to do some simple updates before our first child is born Now here's the issue: We want to replace the light switches in our hallway, but here's where it gets fun. We have 2 light fixtures (both light at the same time as if one fixture) and there are 4 light switches in the hall ( as well as a button that turns the light(s) on located on 3 light panels that control all the lights in the home). All the existing switches appear to be single pole switches...only 2 wires each (both black it appears) and nothing else (no ground etc.). Am I just crazy *scratches head* or does this sound a little off? Is it just the fact that the wiring is ancient and very very basic? I'm no electrician, so please be kind. I'm just going on what my research has turned up so far. So, any ideas about what's up with the switches? I'd love to get these replaced soon, and if they are single poles rather than a 3 or 4 way...it will be much cheaper and easier! Advice?

Advertisement


Last edited by mudpaw; 06-21-2008 at 05:23 PM.
mudpaw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-21-2008, 06:48 PM   #2
Electrician
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Connecticut, Litchfield
Posts: 2,015
Rewards Points: 1,000
Default

50+ year old home-all light switches one-way?


Do the switches look like normal switches?

Advertisement

chris75 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-21-2008, 10:25 PM   #3
one determined mama
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 35
Rewards Points: 25
Default

50+ year old home-all light switches one-way?


what do you mean by "normal" ? They are not you classic toggle switches, no. They are a rectangular push button type (never seen anything quite like then before-push to turn/push again to turn off) but it looks some what like a standard switch behind the switch plate (other than the fact the wires aren't attached by screws or inserted into the back. The switch itself has 2 wires riveted to the back and then those wires are twisted and taped to the two black wires coming from the wall/box. They have a little copper strips inside that the button push against to make the connection and complete the circuit) Are they some sort of weird switch that is going to be uncooperative when is comes to putting in modern switches? Every switch in this house is one of these odd push button ones. Would a photograph help ?
mudpaw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-21-2008, 10:40 PM   #4
Advice worth 2 cents!
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Quebec, Canada
Posts: 229
Rewards Points: 150
Default

50+ year old home-all light switches one-way?


Wait a second. don't get too wordy. Your off to a good start but, don't try and second guess everything.

If the switches have only 2 wires they are single pole just like any switch in the world (old or new) if they have 3 wires they are 3-way switches.

That said, do you have low voltage wiring in the house? relays?

There are "systems" that are more advanced that control lights a bit different. What gives? is this a typical house or is it something special?


__ pete
__________________
---pete
HandyPete is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-22-2008, 02:21 AM   #5
" Euro " electrician
 
frenchelectrican's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: WI & France { in France for now }
Posts: 5,369
Rewards Points: 2,000
Default

50+ year old home-all light switches one-way?


What the OP did gave away is the locations and the number of wire on each switch so i am leaning more like low voltage switching set up.

I know there is two verison of low voltage relay in the system one is three wire type and other one is two wire type which the OP have the latter one.

It should find a master relay box it will be near either fuse box or in attic space one of the two locations.

If the OP need the relay .,, The GE RR7 and RR5 is on market for replacement { RR7 is triwire while the RR5 is duex wire}

Merci,Marc
frenchelectrican is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-22-2008, 07:14 AM   #6
Electrician
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Connecticut, Litchfield
Posts: 2,015
Rewards Points: 1,000
Default

50+ year old home-all light switches one-way?


Quote:
Originally Posted by mudpaw View Post
what do you mean by "normal" ? They are not you classic toggle switches, no. They are a rectangular push button type (never seen anything quite like then before-push to turn/push again to turn off) but it looks some what like a standard switch behind the switch plate (other than the fact the wires aren't attached by screws or inserted into the back. The switch itself has 2 wires riveted to the back and then those wires are twisted and taped to the two black wires coming from the wall/box. They have a little copper strips inside that the button push against to make the connection and complete the circuit) Are they some sort of weird switch that is going to be uncooperative when is comes to putting in modern switches? Every switch in this house is one of these odd push button ones. Would a photograph help ?
Thats the info I needed, tell me if these are installed.


http://touchplate.com/cutsheets/touc...07_low_res.pdf
chris75 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-22-2008, 07:32 AM   #7
Member
 
joed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Welland, Ontario
Posts: 8,378
Rewards Points: 3,550
Blog Entries: 4
Default

50+ year old home-all light switches one-way?


Sounds like you have a low voltage lighting system. Somewhere (attic? closet? basement?) you have a master control panel that is full of relays that turn on the lights. You are not going to be able to change your swithces unless your rewire your entire house.
joed is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-22-2008, 07:40 AM   #8
Electrician
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Connecticut, Litchfield
Posts: 2,015
Rewards Points: 1,000
Default

50+ year old home-all light switches one-way?


Quote:
Originally Posted by joed View Post
You are not going to be able to change your switches unless your rewire your entire house.

You can replace the switches with any momentary type switch to match your decor.
chris75 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-22-2008, 08:15 AM   #9
Newbie
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 2
Rewards Points: 10
Default

50+ year old home-all light switches one-way?


FYI,,, my 60 year old house has this type of system, (which I am slowly changing out). I do not have a central relay panel, there are single relays through out the house stuck inside the junction boxes. When a relay goes bad I have someone work the switch and I walk around listening for a clicking sound to track down where the relay is!
johnj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-22-2008, 12:00 PM   #10
one determined mama
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 35
Rewards Points: 25
Default

50+ year old home-all light switches one-way?


ok, so I have one hum-dinger of a system apparently (though this is just your average 50's ranch home). From what I'm gathering by the replies, we have a low-voltage system with single pole momentary switches that cannot be replaced by standard switches. I also have 3 touch plates (relays?) that control all the interior and exterior lights(the exterior lights are ONLY controlled on there touch plates) Do they even make momentary switches anymore? Many of these existing switches are fairly dangerous right now ( cracked face plates and buttons with holes that a child's finger could easily slip into or the buttons gone all together), but yet I most likely will have to rewire my house before this can be fixed? I'm I pretty much getting this right? Please tell me if I'm wrong, I'm not an electrician or anything anywhere near one...I need this dumbed down as much as possible

Thank you everyone who has replied so far with any kind of answer...you don't know how long I have been pulling out my hair trying to figure out what is up with this house...apparently they thought they were ahead of the curve when they built this house, but so far everything "state of the art" they did has made updating this house very difficult and costly
mudpaw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-22-2008, 12:57 PM   #11
Electrician
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Connecticut, Litchfield
Posts: 2,015
Rewards Points: 1,000
Default

50+ year old home-all light switches one-way?


Quote:
Originally Posted by mudpaw View Post
ok, so I have one hum-dinger of a system apparently (though this is just your average 50's ranch home). From what I'm gathering by the replies, we have a low-voltage system with single pole momentary switches that cannot be replaced by standard switches. I also have 3 touch plates (relays?) that control all the interior and exterior lights(the exterior lights are ONLY controlled on there touch plates) Do they even make momentary switches anymore? Many of these existing switches are fairly dangerous right now ( cracked face plates and buttons with holes that a child's finger could easily slip into or the buttons gone all together), but yet I most likely will have to rewire my house before this can be fixed? I'm I pretty much getting this right? Please tell me if I'm wrong, I'm not an electrician or anything anywhere near one...I need this dumbed down as much as possible

Thank you everyone who has replied so far with any kind of answer...you don't know how long I have been pulling out my hair trying to figure out what is up with this house...apparently they thought they were ahead of the curve when they built this house, but so far everything "state of the art" they did has made updating this house very difficult and costly

Your system is very safe because its low voltage, and actaully I wish my house had your system installed, some people dislike it because they dont understand it nor how to troubleshoot it, but the system is a good one.... you just need to do a little more research on what system is actually installed in your house, but check out this site for some really good information... http://www.touchplate.com/
chris75 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-22-2008, 02:50 PM   #12
one determined mama
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 35
Rewards Points: 25
Default

50+ year old home-all light switches one-way?


Quote:
Originally Posted by chris75 View Post
Your system is very safe because its low voltage, and actaully I wish my house had your system installed, some people dislike it because they dont understand it nor how to troubleshoot it, but the system is a good one.... you just need to do a little more research on what system is actually installed in your house, but check out this site for some really good information... http://www.touchplate.com/
Well, that's good to know I do hope I can find some momentary switches somewhere so I can stop having to poke a finger into the broken switches and triggering the copper plate :p The only thing I worry about it that this is the house's original system (making it over 50 years old now) and many of the wires look to have their insulation (which looks almost like paper or braided fabric) dry-rotting (mainly visible when we looked behind some lighting fixtures to see if we could put in ceiling fans). Another weird thing, I assume this house originally had a fuse box, but it has been retrofitted with breakers (maybe 20 years ago give or take a few years) and I was told it was unusual and a bit dangerous to do that without replacing the wiring (I know this is a bit off-topic from the original question about the lights, sorry). Is it still relatively safe or do I have a fire hazard hiding in my walls?
mudpaw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-22-2008, 02:54 PM   #13
Electrician
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Connecticut, Litchfield
Posts: 2,015
Rewards Points: 1,000
Default

50+ year old home-all light switches one-way?


Quote:
Originally Posted by mudpaw View Post
Well, that's good to know I do hope I can find some momentary switches somewhere so I can stop having to poke a finger into the broken switches and triggering the copper plate :p The only thing I worry about it that this is the house's original system (making it over 50 years old now) and many of the wires look to have their insulation (which looks almost like paper or braided fabric) dry-rotting (mainly visible when we looked behind some lighting fixtures to see if we could put in ceiling fans). Another weird thing, I assume this house originally had a fuse box, but it has been retrofitted with breakers (maybe 20 years ago give or take a few years) and I was told it was unusual and a bit dangerous to do that without replacing the wiring (I know this is a bit off-topic from the original question about the lights, sorry). Is it still relatively safe or do I have a fire hazard hiding in my walls?
You would really need to call someone and have them check out the existing conditions of your wiring.
chris75 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-22-2008, 02:57 PM   #14
one determined mama
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 35
Rewards Points: 25
Default

50+ year old home-all light switches one-way?


Quote:
Originally Posted by chris75 View Post
You would really need to call someone and have them check out the existing conditions of your wiring.

Thanks

Advertisement

mudpaw is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Low Voltage Light Switches...40 year old house derekspudich Electrical 28 08-22-2011 01:34 AM
Separating Fan and Light Switches GeauxCajuns82 Electrical 11 08-26-2008 01:03 AM
3 switches 1 light. need 2 lights 2 switches. Im desprete s richards Electrical 6 07-19-2008 04:18 PM
light switches wired in series -- why? magnolia Electrical 2 05-11-2008 12:16 PM
2 switches to same light use 1 for another light gmcclel Electrical 9 05-29-2007 02:30 AM




Top of Page | View New Posts