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Old 03-05-2010, 08:18 AM   #1
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What the Heck is this?


In working in a home, I was asked if this contraption could be removed or replaced. Apparently it can turn on and off lights from this location for security purposes. What is it called and can it be replaced (easily) with something newer looking?
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Old 03-05-2010, 08:36 AM   #2
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What the Heck is this?


that's kind of cool. i'd keep just for the neat factor

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Old 03-05-2010, 09:06 AM   #3
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What the Heck is this?


Have you looked at the wiring behind it ?
Seems like an old contactor setup that uses relays (?) to control devices
I have heard they can be a royal PIA to trouble shoot
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Old 03-05-2010, 09:14 AM   #4
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What the Heck is this?


I think it's called a dual dial 12 station light control panel. From what I've read it's connected to a selinoid somewhere. It still works, but it's kind of an eye sore. I just wondered if there was some sort of newer looking replacement. I also wanted to know if it can just be disconnected.

I've looked at the wires, but can't relly tell much. It's got low voltage wires running to the back of it, but I can't tell where it ends up.

The regular wall-mounted switches that operate the lights that this control panel operate are rocker-like switches and when switched on and pushed a little past the on position the lights make a funny-buzz like sound.

I don't know if those switches can be replaced with regular ones?
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Old 03-05-2010, 09:18 AM   #5
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What the Heck is this?


Some friends of mine have that exact system installed in their house. I don't know the specifics, but basically, all the switches are low voltage switches. They are wired to a panel in the basement located next to the breaker panel. The romex for the lights/outlets that our controlled by these switches are also run to this extra lighting panel. It is kind of neat, but not really worth the trouble and all the extra wiring (now you need to wire the switch AND the light all the way back to the panel).

It doesnt seem like the switches are wired like...say a doorbell. Since there's a set "on" and "off" direction of the switch (the switch is of the 'return to neutral' variety) it seems that there's constant low voltage power at the switch when the light is on, and disconnected when it's off.

I've asked them if I could take one of the switches off so I could see how it's wired (just to fill my curiousity) but they are worried that if something gets broken on one of them they won't be able to find a replacement.
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Old 03-05-2010, 09:40 AM   #6
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What the Heck is this?


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Originally Posted by secutanudu View Post
Some friends of mine have that exact system installed in their house. I don't know the specifics, but basically, all the switches are low voltage switches. They are wired to a panel in the basement located next to the breaker panel. The romex for the lights/outlets that our controlled by these switches are also run to this extra lighting panel. It is kind of neat, but not really worth the trouble and all the extra wiring (now you need to wire the switch AND the light all the way back to the panel).

It doesnt seem like the switches are wired like...say a doorbell. Since there's a set "on" and "off" direction of the switch (the switch is of the 'return to neutral' variety) it seems that there's constant low voltage power at the switch when the light is on, and disconnected when it's off.

I've asked them if I could take one of the switches off so I could see how it's wired (just to fill my curiousity) but they are worried that if something gets broken on one of them they won't be able to find a replacement.

I wonder if I could just replace the switch with a standard one? I would think that the current switch is what is needed to control the switch. By replacing the switch i would remove the ability for the control panel to control the switch, thereby disabling it? I guess I would have to remove the power to the low voltage though? There must be a solenoid somewhere that has to be disconnected.
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Old 03-05-2010, 09:43 AM   #7
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What the Heck is this?


There is no NM cable running in that switch box, just low voltage. I suspect the control panel(s) like the one in your picture are also run with low voltage to the central lighting panel.

I don't think anything will work right if you just swap out the switch for a normal one. THe light switches in the house (and the control panel in your pic) are simply sending an "on/off" signal to the panel. The panel is what's doing the actual switching (connecting/disconnecting) of the house power to the light and/or switched outlet.
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Old 03-05-2010, 09:45 AM   #8
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What the Heck is this?


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Originally Posted by secutanudu View Post
There is no NM cable running in that switch box, just low voltage. I suspect the control panel(s) like the one in your picture are also run with low voltage to the central lighting panel.

I don't think anything will work right if you just swap out the switch for a normal one. THe light switches in the house (and the control panel in your pic) are simply sending an "on/off" signal to the panel. The panel is what's doing the actual switching (connecting/disconnecting) of the house power to the light and/or switched outlet.

Oh that's great!
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Old 03-05-2010, 09:48 AM   #9
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What the Heck is this?


Keep in mind, this is all speculation on my part since I've never actually seen behind one of the switches. But I have seen the panel with lots of low- and line-voltage wire connected.
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Old 03-05-2010, 10:00 AM   #10
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What the Heck is this?


What is the significance of the dials if the rocker switches above can turn each circuit on and off independently?

Now the rocker switches could work like doorbell buttons, each powering one of a pair of solenoids momentarily to turn the respective switch down by the panel on or off.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 03-05-2010 at 10:04 AM.
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Old 03-05-2010, 10:03 AM   #11
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What the Heck is this?


The dials are centrally located, in their house, one in the kitchen and one in the master bedroom.

You can, say, push the OFF wheel in and spin it around, and every light in the house goes off. Useful right before leaving or going to bed.

Or, in the bedroom, do the same thing when you hear a noise in the middle of the night, but with the ON wheel. The whole house is instantly lit.
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Old 03-05-2010, 10:12 AM   #12
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What the Heck is this?


That is the GE RR lighting system. It operates on 24 Volts, and uses momentary contacts to operate mechanically held latching remote relays.

A standard switch would not work, unless it was a momentary type. Imagine a 3-way switch that you could press up, or down, and when you let go of it, the toggle handle would spring back to the center position. That is what you would need here.

Goggle on GE RR7 for some ideas.

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