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Old 06-21-2010, 05:47 PM   #1
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120Volt rocker switch for kitchen ceiling

The rocker switch that operates the kitchen ceiling light is 'heading south' on me. Pulled it out and have never seen such a switch. Unusual wiring. Does anyone know where to get a replacement? WRV sure didn't leave any extra length to the heavy wire. Might be tricky to replace.

Gary
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Old 06-21-2010, 06:12 PM   #2
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Gary - I believe it is a standard light switch. You can get them at Home Depot, Lowes, etc.
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Old 06-21-2010, 07:55 PM   #3
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Steve, I really don't think so. I tried that and didn't like what was happening so put the old one back in. The new worked fine when the light was turned on but when I turned if off, wierd things happened. The gen definitely acted like it was upset by the way I wired it!.

I'm not too experienced in this field but when looking at the way it is wired, it is almost like a 3 way. I am wondering if because it works both on the gen / city or inverter, it might be wired differently than what I am used to.
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Old 06-21-2010, 09:40 PM   #4
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The switch for the kitchen 120VAC fluorescent fixture should be a 15A 120/277V SPST Decorator style rocker switch. Only thing different about this switch is how it mounts as compared to a residential application but it can be modified. These devices are available at Lowes, HD, Ace, etc. If OEM type is required for mounting purpose, find a local electrical supply house and have them identify mfg (Cooper Wiring, Leviton, P&S, Bryant, etc) and part availability.
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Old 06-21-2010, 10:01 PM   #5
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120volt kitchen light switch

Gary - how many wires are going to the switch? if its three then you may have a three way circuit with another switch near the coach entrance (for night time entry) or the bedroom/hallway for entry from the bedroom into the kitchen at night- - I have seen this setup used for other entry lights mostly near the coach door (12 volts) and a couple like yours for 120 volts.
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Old 06-21-2010, 11:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lundy View Post
Steve, I really don't think so. I tried that and didn't like what was happening so put the old one back in. The new worked fine when the light was turned on but when I turned if off, wierd things happened. The gen definitely acted like it was upset by the way I wired it!.

I'm not too experienced in this field but when looking at the way it is wired, it is almost like a 3 way. I am wondering if because it works both on the gen / city or inverter, it might be wired differently than what I am used to.
lundy,

You suggest the switch is wired differently due to working off "...both on the gen / city or inverter...". If it is, indeed, wired differently, it certainly is not because of the "gen / city or inverter". You have both a transfer switch for city/generator AC power and an inverter/charger/transfer switch in the basement that together do the job of transferring 120 VAC between "gen / city or inverter". Electricity to the switch in question is always either none at all or 120 VAC, whether from "gen / city or inverter".

If your coach is plugged into a pedestal for city AC, your switch in question gets 120 VAC. If your coach generator is running, your switch in question gets 120 VAC. If your coach is set for inverting, your switch in question gets 120 VAC. So, what I'm saying is that the switch in question is downstream from any switching/inverting that occurs in the basement, so the switch in question is not involved in any such switching or inverting.
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Old 06-22-2010, 12:29 AM   #7
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Guys,

There are 2 sets of 3 wires (Copper, black, white). The OEM joins the 2 sets within the switch box. One problem is that one set is too short to connect to anything but an OEM style switch.

It looks like #14 wire and is stiff and difficult to work with. They are joined end to end, but not connected except through a common post; except the grounds overlap.

If I used a typical rocker switch, could I just find a way to connect the whites, join the grounds, and wire the switch to the common? I really don't know where the 2 sets come from because they disappear in a conduit. I really not sure I understand what I am asking.
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Old 06-22-2010, 08:35 AM   #8
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Kitchen switch

Gary -it sounds like you have a simple circuit and the switch interupts the power wire going to the kitchen light - in other words one wire coming in provides the power (black) and the white (neutral) and ground (bare copper) are just continued to the light fixture- you said "they are joined end to end but not connected except through a common post" - please clarify this - which wires are connected to the switch? - it sounds like the circuit is already connected the way you want to connect it with the switch interupting the power wire - you can verify this using your multimeter - put it on the 120 volt scale and test the wires going to the switch - if you have only the two black wires going to the switch then one will be the power circuit (LINE) and the other will go to the light fixture (LOAD) and the switch disconnects that power and you can connect a replacement switch to that circuit the same way - if it is not wired like this let us know exactly how it is wired (if all wires go inside the switch and are pressed in then you have an RV type switch) - you can also add a small amount of wire to the short wire to give you extra length to work with - also how do the wires attach to the switch? are they fastened to screw terminals or are the wires 'pressed' into brass bars inside the switch just like an RV outlet? (these are used to save time on the production line) - if they are pressed in then you can change it (if you have enough room inside the switch box) to a standard rocker switch with screw terminals as you mentioned - those RV outlets and switches that you press the wires into cause a lot of problems and if there is enough room in the box I usually replace them with the standard setup with screw terminals ( this is not always possible since the boxes they use for these outlets and switches are usually very shallow to fit into RV walls and ceilings) - this is a common problem in older houses built in the 40's and 50's that have thin walls - in those cases you can install regular size residential box and add a decorative box extension that will cover the part of the box that sticks out past the wall or ceiling - Home Depot - Loews etc. have them and then you can install any type of switch you want-if you do replace the box use a plastic box approved for high voltage- H. Depot has them near the regular metal boxes - the RV boxes also usually have little 'wings' that move sideways and grab on to any surface beside or around the box- this is for installing in an RV wall where there is nothing to fasten the box to but a thin wallboard - you may have to add something for a replacment box since they usually fasten with screws- there are also different types of boxes available for drywall and metal stud installation in houses and these boxes have brackets attached to them for this purpose - whatever you use make sure the wires are inside a protective box - also check that short wire where it comes through the ceiling to make sure it is not chaffed or cut through - I have seen many that have had cuts or have worn through the wiring insulation because the person that installed it stretched the wire to reach the box.
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Old 06-22-2010, 07:00 PM   #9
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Lundy,

Assuming that the bare copper wires are grounds, the #14 solid cu whte wires are the neutrals and the #14 solid cu black wires are the hot legs & the switch is SPST (only has 2 terminals plus a gnd terminal) then try wiring it like this:
  • Join the 2 bare solid cu wires in the J-Box, (use green wire nut with hole in center) with one leg long enough to attach to ground terminal on switch
  • Join the 2 #14 solid cu white wires with a wire nut and leave coiled up in J-Box
  • Attach 1 of the black #14 solid cu wires to one of the switch terminals and the other black wire to the remaining switch terminal
This would be typical wiring if one cable is the supply from the load center and other cable goes directly to the light fixture.
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Old 06-22-2010, 10:20 PM   #10
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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.
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Old 06-22-2010, 11:14 PM   #11
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Dale,

WOW! All of those types of switches only operate 12 volt lights or other 12 volt items in my '04 coach. All the 110 volt stuff used what looks like standard home outlets and switches with standard Romex wiring. (Just not in boxes all of the time.) The switch you show operates my 12 volt fluorescent lights only, not the big 110 volt kitchen fluorescent light. I guess they really changed things!! 120 volt circuits wired like you show would scare the hell out of me.
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Old 06-23-2010, 12:09 AM   #12
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Today, I found the exact replacement for the switch. It seems that the traditional electrical box is just too deep for the space available. Thus, the need for an electrical switch which that is contained within its own box. Home Depot and Ace Hardware did not know what I was talking about and I stumbled upon an RV Parts store that had it in both white and off-white!! Now all I have to do is to extend the wires to make it work. Through all your postings, I determined what I was doing wrong trying to make a conventional plug work. I think I could have used it, but it would probably not be safe because there would be no box to 'stuff' it into. BTW it is manufactured by Pass and Seymour legrand.
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Old 06-23-2010, 12:36 AM   #13
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Kitchen switch

Gary as a side note- Home Depot does carry a shallow plastic box (usually gray in color) that will fit in the walls and ceilings of RV's - I have used them in the past and there is a little more depth than the standard RV box and you can use a standard electrical switch or outlet in them- these shallow boxes have an upper and lower wing on one side that can be used to attach them to anything inside the wall - in some cases there is absolutely nothing to attach to inside the wall and in that case I epoxy a peice of wood (as big as I can get through the original hole in the wallboard to one side) and then fasten/epoxy the plastic box to it and epoxy the box to the wall in behind if possible - this is a big improvment over the 'winged' RV boxes that hold on to nothing more than the standard RV wall board in most RV's- the RV type of box is not to bad for a switch but when you are pulling an electrical cord in and out of a receptacle, they can get loose.
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Old 06-23-2010, 12:55 AM   #14
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Fortunately, this particular switch is installed in a solid wall (at least 1/2 " thick); just not deep.

Gary
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