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Old 06-23-2010, 08:05 AM   #15
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lundy,

Since your Alpine Coach is a 36 ft 2006, your switch might be wired the same as my 36 ft 2006 Alpine Coach. If so, then the pictures below of the subject switch in my coach might be helpful. As you can see the rocker switch on the left is for the outside Security "scare" light; ignore it. The rocker on the right of the same plate is for the inside 110V overhead kitchen florescent light. The picture of the wiring shows two white wires together on one terminal of this switch and one wire on the other terminal of the switch. If WRV had used standard color coded wires, it would have been helpful, but they didn't. The pinkish wires on the left rocker are for the outside Security "scare" light; ignore them.
BOY, did I ever screw up in my comments above! The picture of the switch I showed is for the 12V florescent lights in the kitchen area, NOT the 110V lights. Sorry for the misinformation.
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Old 06-23-2010, 11:02 AM   #16
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A switch has basically 3 ratings..

Amps
Volts
Configuration

Amps is a "Or less" so if the switch is rated for say 15 amps and the load is drawing 4 amps. That's' cool, no problem

Volts is an "OR LESS" so if the switch is rated for 120 or 240 volts and the circuit is a 12 volt NORMALLY that is cool. (There is one exception but this is not it)

Configuration.. Well your switch is SPST (Single Pole Single Throw) I won't go into the thousand or so different configurations, Multiple poles, Multiple positions and such.

So, any switch that fits the box will do, provided it is a SWITCH, this includes fan switches, light switches, toggle switches automotive or electronic switches.. So long as the current rating is at least 2x what you need (no need to tax it) and the voltage rating is at least 24 volts (or 12 volt if automotive automotive type or rated)
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Old 06-23-2010, 11:39 AM   #17
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Dale,

I suspected that was the case. You are forgiven.
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Old 06-25-2010, 01:44 AM   #18
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I think the point that is causing the problem is that residential 110v wiring is in a J-box that is sealed on six sides when done. RVs often use a sealed switch to obviate the need for a box, due to thin walls. Therefore a switch designed for RVs is necessary or a full residential J-box can be adapted to make up for it's extra thickness.

The RV switch also has built-in wings to secure it to the wall as opposed to screws to a stud.

However you cannot use the thin winged boxes with no backside and a residential switch as an open box is a fire hazard. Those are designed for mounting plates for cable TV, speakers and other low-voltage wiring, not 110 volt. Therefore you are forced to use a residential J-box if you use a residential switch.

The RV switches (and outlets) have the actual connection to the wiring inside the switch, are difficult to attach and are available from RV supply houses.

If you absolutely cannot get the length of existing wiring to connect to the new box, you will need to add a J-box or run a new length of wire, as you cannot safely just add a chunk of wire to form an extension. That joint needs to be in a J-box.
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Old 06-25-2010, 02:44 AM   #19
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Kitchen light switch

takepride - there are certified boxes available from Home Depot that are certified for residential and any other application using high voltage- my terminolagy was incorrect using the word 'winged' - I should have said mounting flanges on one side of the box - these are fully enclosed -5 sided boxes and are for residential switches and outlets and are more shallow than the standard residential boxes but have more room than the standard RV applicable boxes (if installed) -these boxes are a usefull and certified alternative to the regular 'winged' RV boxes, switches and outlets that are installed in RV's as original equipment and you can add an extra length of wire to extend a too short peice of wire that was installed at the factory and all the connections will be inside the box when the installation is finished- many times we have had customers come in with an outlet or switch that has been pulled out of the wall because of lack of wall support for the electrical device/box and these plastic boxes are a real life saver when you are dealing with the type of RV construction of the modern RV's-check them out- they are available at Home Depot and Loew's .
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Old 06-25-2010, 10:15 AM   #20
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It may not be the best looking, but I am now back in business. I found a OEM box and extended the short wires so to replace. I used 'butt connectors' (?) to extend the short line and completely electrical taped the connectors. Thanks for all your help.

You may not of learned much from me, but I learned at lot from you. This is a great forum because no one makes you look foolish asking, what some people would think, simple questions.

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Old 06-26-2010, 12:17 PM   #21
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RVMT:

Yes, I've seen those boxes as well. I have also seen truly winged, shallow mounting boxes, too, only when I'm not looking for them. I've been checking HD and Lowe's and they haven't been carrying them. I ordered one from an RV supply place and they substituted a standard plastic box, no wings, flanges, brackets, nothing.

I am still holding out for the shallow, winged box since I want to install dimmer switches on my 110v lights without modifying the existing standard wall cutout. Naturally that means my next step will be to find a shallow rheostat that will heat-sink out the front.

On my last coach (Vectra) the OEM outlet in the kitchen was a standard residential box, trimmed with a spacer trim. Looks terrible (even with the wallpaper covering).

I've seen plenty of DIY's and even RV service companies use the low-voltage mounting boxes (no back). Considering that I feel the RV Industry-approved switches aren't exactly great (safe) and how prone RVs are to fire, I try to keep to residential code only in all my wiring if possible (except ground requirements), and adding tape over all nuts to compensate for vibrations.

Thanks for your comments here. Your ideas to mount flanged boxes is a great idea. I cannot think of a good reason not to epoxy (or block and epoxy) them in. Maybe they'll work out for my project.


Lundy:

I am not sure what the RV industry standard is for butt-splicing Romex, but it doesn't fly for (our local) residential installations. Too much voltage through a connector not designed for it. The aluminum barrel does not pass current as well as direct connection of the two copper wires. There may be an appropriate butt-splice connector available (that I'm not aware of), however barring that, I would change it to a regular twist-on wire nut, even though you may not have lots of wire to work with. If it just cannot reach, you may need to re-pull one of the wires.
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Old 06-26-2010, 01:26 PM   #22
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Takepride,

Are these legal where you are?

Amazon.com: Gb-Gardner Bender Push-In Wire Connector 3 Wire 10-PC3: Home…

The last recessed lighting cans I bought used this type of connection. Quick and easy and rated for the application. They should be easier to use than wire nuts in a confined area. My friend said his licensed local electrician uses them in switch boxes. Hopefully they are legal!
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Old 06-26-2010, 03:12 PM   #23
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I would imagine they are legal as they are designed for 600 volt copper to copper connections. However, inspectors will look for an authorized certification like UL (or several others). Naturally they are MOST interested in CYA. Of course it still needs to be inside a j-box or fixture box.

It would be nice to find a similar product that would allow ends to butt so that shorter wires could be extended. I seem to run into the same problem as Lundy, on a regular basis.

Otherwise, those connectors are just a spendy version of a wire nut, though quicker to install and maybe easier in tight spaces where hands don't fit so well. I can see them being used in retro-fits, but are expensive for builds.

Thanks for pointing them out. I may pick up a few.
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Old 06-26-2010, 03:36 PM   #24
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Prior to this 'final' fix, I used a wire nut for temporary fix. Well, when I found the correct box and made the change, the wire nut that I had used, too easily pulled apart! The butt connector (recommended by the ACE Hardware guy), stayed together after a hard pull. I still covered wire and connector with electrical tape and now feel much more secure after seeing how relatively easily the nut pulled apart. Besides, getting to it with wire crimper was significantly easier that my 'fat hands' twisting a nut in the wall. From what I could see, running a new wire would be 'complicated'.
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Old 06-26-2010, 07:20 PM   #25
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It would be nice to find a similar product that would allow ends to butt so that shorter wires could be extended. I seem to run into the same problem as Lundy, on a regular basis.
Close enough?

IDEAL INDUSTRIES, INC. - SpliceLine™ In-Line Wire Connectors
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Old 06-26-2010, 08:10 PM   #26
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NICE! And UL listed. It has a 20 amp max, but will work for most things. Ideal is carried at HD, too. I can just place an order.
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Old 06-27-2010, 04:36 AM   #27
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120 volt rocker switch

Takepride - thanks for your comments - outlet and switch boxes can be a problem in RV's as well as residential homes of the 50's and 60's and even into the 70's because of the thin walls - an extra inch or two added to the RV walls would be very helpfull for this- HD and Loew's have cut down on their inventory of everything - electrical, plumbing etc. and a lot of the contractors have had to go to the independant wholesalers to get what used to be on the shelf at the larger stores - this is what we do for everything on the RV's including the plumbing and electrical, TV, cable and stereo suppliers etc. and we can repair problems much faster by having these required items on hand - in addition to the splice connectors listed on some of the posts on this topic there is an aluminum wire connector that is used for the softer aluminum and has an insulating 'heat shrink' wrap around it to prevent the corrosion of aluminum wires and it is a butt style connector and can be used for copper wires as well and is available through the electrical suppliers - here is a website that you may be interested in - www.inspectapedia.com - it is residential contractors site with lots of info on houses from everything like electrical (including aluminum wiring problems with photos of defective alum. wiring fires) to plumbing to insulation to to asbestos insulation etc.- an interesting site!
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Old 06-28-2010, 12:58 AM   #28
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RVMT:

Okay, thanks for that web address. I just spent an hour browsing. I could probably spend the next few weeks there, what with all the links and references. It's a bit disjointed, but one could certainly find out about most everything construction and where to buy it.

I, too have been going back to the specialty wholesale houses more often, or designing my work around what is available at Home Depot. Maybe there is hope in finding my new dimmers.
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