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Old 03-05-2010, 11:49 AM   #1
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How can I wire up an antique pushbutton light switch?


Hi guys,

I purchased this switch for our living room. I love the old world feel of the solid ceramic switch. Heard the repros were just too lightweight and flimsy feeling.

It was advertised as a 2-way. From what I read, that nomenclature means it's SPST, which is what I want, because I have a single switch in the room. It's a Perkins. I believe the model is 2033. Haven't been able to locate any info on it yet. There's a wiring diagram on the ceramic, but it's hard to read.

Does that sound right for the picture?

Does that mean the third connector is a ground?

Or, is that not a ground, and I'd need to add a ground by drilling/tapping a new hole on the frame? If it's not a ground, and it's really a 3-way, am I screwed? Can it still be used as a SPST?

Thank you!
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Old 03-05-2010, 12:06 PM   #2
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How can I wire up an antique pushbutton light switch?


From a logic stand point, you can still use a 3-way switch as a simple on/off switch, just use the common and either of the contacts.

Not sure if any of this would be a code violation or not. Obviously a 3-way switch isn't labeled "ON/OFF" and neither is this. I seem to recall NEC doesn't like a switch to be mounted up-side-down (don't want switches labelled NO/FFO).

Otherwise, a meter with a continuity option would let you quickly determine if this is a 3-way or single with a ground.

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Old 03-05-2010, 12:10 PM   #3
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How can I wire up an antique pushbutton light switch?


You know, when I first ordered this, I had no idea there might be a legal issue. How naive!

Seems that if this really is a 3-way, I'd want to somehow insulate the second hot terminal, as well as grounding what little metal there is on the switch (the tab).

Apparently, the terms 2-way and 3-way are often mixed up, from what I an tell.
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Old 03-05-2010, 12:15 PM   #4
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How can I wire up an antique pushbutton light switch?


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Originally Posted by tbeaulieu View Post
Seems that if this really is a 3-way, I'd want to somehow insulate the second hot terminal
Why? If it's properly protected inside a junction box. I don't see that as being any different than the screw terminals of a modern duplex receptical.
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Old 03-05-2010, 12:22 PM   #5
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How can I wire up an antique pushbutton light switch?


Maybe if I had put even a little thought into that switch before I ordered it, this would be easier!

He's got this switch for sale, too. Maybe I'll just buy this one.

I'd love to have a 3-way setup in this room, but don't feel like opening that can just yet.

Thanks.
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Old 03-05-2010, 12:42 PM   #6
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How can I wire up an antique pushbutton light switch?


Older houses where the electric is considered "historic" can be exempt from a lot of codes - IE they are allowed to replace older switches etc with period authentic replacement devices
I always liked the push button switches..but they are more expensive

When mounted vertically ON must be up - section 404.7
If mounted horizontal there isn't a preference listed

Hard to tell from the pic the depth difference of the screw terminals
I would think they are far enough back that a face plate would not hit them
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Old 03-05-2010, 01:14 PM   #7
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How can I wire up an antique pushbutton light switch?


Thanks Dave.

Logic tells me NONE of the terminals could hit the face plate, or the switch would be useless to begin with, so I guess I *could* leave one exposed.

But ... There's no on/off, or up/down, so I guess this would be a problem.

I am going to try to call the wiring inspector tonight 7-8 is the window we're given.

I suspect that, best case, I'll have to buy a "1-way" switch, which *I assume* is marked. I know the button colors clearly indicate which is on, which is off.

Although our house is far older than electricity, it's been upgraded allready, so I assume we wouldn't be grandfathered.
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Old 03-05-2010, 01:24 PM   #8
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How can I wire up an antique pushbutton light switch?


404.7 does state that they must clearly indicate if they are in the ON or OFF position
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Old 03-05-2010, 02:36 PM   #9
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How can I wire up an antique pushbutton light switch?


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404.7 does state that they must clearly indicate if they are in the ON or OFF position
If this is indeed a 3-way switch and you want to "get around" this requirement, you could always just wire it up with a normal 3-way switch located somewhere else.
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Old 03-05-2010, 02:38 PM   #10
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How can I wire up an antique pushbutton light switch?


Or buy another of these...

Expands the scope of the simple "swap out" project. I would like two switches someday...
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Old 03-05-2010, 10:04 PM   #11
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How can I wire up an antique pushbutton light switch?


Post #5 has the Mother of pearl inlay for the "on" position. The other switch was a 3-way. Switches weren't required to be grounded until the 70's.
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Old 03-06-2010, 02:08 PM   #12
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How can I wire up an antique pushbutton light switch?


Quote:
Originally Posted by tbeaulieu View Post
Hi guys,

I purchased this switch for our living room. I love the old world feel of the solid ceramic switch. Heard the repros were just too lightweight and flimsy feeling.

It was advertised as a 2-way. From what I read, that nomenclature means it's SPST, which is what I want, because I have a single switch in the room. It's a Perkins. I believe the model is 2033. Haven't been able to locate any info on it yet. There's a wiring diagram on the ceramic, but it's hard to read.

Does that sound right for the picture?

Does that mean the third connector is a ground?

Or, is that not a ground, and I'd need to add a ground by drilling/tapping a new hole on the frame? If it's not a ground, and it's really a 3-way, am I screwed? Can it still be used as a SPST?

Thank you!
Very cool switch, I like vintage electrical stuff too.
I'm almost certain it's a three way.
You absolutely can use it as a single pole.
Do not drill or tap anything into any part of the switch. You don't need to ground that switch. Install away. Do you have a cover plate for it?
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Old 03-07-2010, 11:31 AM   #13
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How can I wire up an antique pushbutton light switch?


Quote:
Originally Posted by tbeaulieu View Post
Hi guys,

I purchased this switch for our living room. I love the old world feel of the solid ceramic switch. Heard the repros were just too lightweight and flimsy feeling.
I have a bunch of the new switches in my house. They are not as solid feeling as the old versions but they are not terrible. Once they are installed a lot of the flimsy feeling goes away. You can buy 3-way push button switches as well as dimmers (they are expensive) and a few more exotic options. The electrician that did the installation didn't even know they made push button switches

If interested I got mine from House of Antique Hardware.
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Old 03-08-2010, 02:41 PM   #14
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How can I wire up an antique pushbutton light switch?


And the saga continues ...

I ordered another 3-way switch. Figured I'd get started with the wiring. Installed the second box in the wall. Of course, I couldn't reach the town inspector and he hasn't returned my call yet. Doubt he will.

I've been reading the many write-ups on 3-way. They're all geared towards lights, while my set up includes wall outlets (the top or the bottom half - forget which).

I haven't taken anything apart yet to investigate the existing wiring.

Do you guys think this is going to be tricky for me to do? I suspect this wiring diagram is most appropriate for me:

http://www.homeimprovementweb.com/in...ch-option2.htm

My assumption is that the 2-wirecomming into the first switch (right) is what I've got now at my only switch. In other words, I believe I only need to run a 3-wire (plus ground) to the new switch.

I believe I found something claiming I'm not allowed to mark the whites on the outlets with black take, as is shown at the light in the diagram.

Anyone familiar with this? I called a couple of electricians this morning, considering hiring someone so I can watch, but of course ... no responses yet.

@cellophane ... it's still a real possibility that I wasted $50 on these switches and will end up buying reproductions!
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Old 03-22-2010, 02:04 PM   #15
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How can I wire up an antique pushbutton light switch?


The new switches look and work great. We bought some heavy brass switch covers for the antique look.

I had an electrician come in and finish the job for me. He did a good job, chaining from the first switch, to the second and then back to the original line that feeds the outlets.

It was pretty cheap, since I already have the wire run and ready for him.

Thanks for the help guys!

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