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Old 04-11-2016, 11:56 AM   #1
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Kitchen Light Trouble -- Light Switch?

Hello All,

Our kitchen light (fluorescent fixture, T12 lamps) is not working. At first, I thought it might be the lamps, then possibly the ballast.

Yesterday I was troubleshooting and determined power isn't getting to the fixture so I wanted to check the wall switch.

I can't figure how to get the switch out of the wall! I removed the two screws that I though held it in but it still seems to be attached somehow. I can see what looks like a couple of tabs alongside the switch -- anybody have a clue how to remove the switch?

Oh, and one of screws is covered with a black, tarry substance (as seen on the top of the switch) and it appears to have 'oozed' down from above...

Below is the switch in question:
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Old 04-11-2016, 12:36 PM   #2
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Mark,

There should be a couple of little wing type tabs on each screw. They swing towards the back of the wall when you tighten and away from the wall flat against the switch housing when you loosen the screw. You might try tightening the screws and then push against the switch when you loosen the screws again. The tabs might be catching on the wallboard or the wire. You might be able to move them with a toothpick or something similar. If all else fails I would loosen the screws until they come out, I believe the wall is foam filled and the tabs will stay in the hole when the switch is removed. You should be able to put them right back on the screws.

Terry
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Old 04-11-2016, 08:22 PM   #3
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Thanks Terry. It sounds like you are describing a setup similar to the 'old work' plastic device boxes (electrical.) I'll try the 'push the switch' idea, however I did remove the screws completely already and the switch would not come out.

I'll try the toothpick idea as well. The switch appears to be housed in a 'box' (not a regular device box) with a couple of tabs on the side. I played with the tabs a bit but wasn't inclined to push anything into the side of the switch because the power was still on (so I could see...) Wouldn't be too fun to touch a terminal screw with my screwdriver while it's energized!

I'm pretty familiar with most things electric since I work in the industry (MEPT engineering firm - I'm the 'T' guy). I've never run across a switch like this one though!
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Old 04-11-2016, 11:41 PM   #4
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Mark,

Yep, just like an old work box.

The box is part of the switch and there are two little tabs on each side that you have to push in with a screwdriver to remove the cover. They are hard to push in and push the top off at the same time, they are a POS and PITA to work with. The cover also acts as a holder of sorts to maintain contact between the conductor and the metallic contacts inside. Use a small screwdriver and push all you want, you can't get the screwdriver into the energized parts due to the way it's built. I just changed two outlets over the week end, white to black, they are pretty junky but they seem to do the job.

Good luck, Terry
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Old 04-18-2016, 12:55 PM   #5
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And more...

The saga continues.

I was able to find the replacement switch (and the same style receptacle) at Dyer's RV parts.

More or less had to pry the old switch out and to get to the wiring. I have power to the switch so that's good. What's bad is I have no continuity on the switch leg between the switch and the fixture...

We had new AC units installed last year with the new thermostat mounted above the light switch (you can just see the bottom in my original pic). I suspect that's when the light stopped working. I'm hoping the shop that installed the thermostat didn't cut the switch leg or something!

So, at this point I'm left with pulling the 'fridge out to determine what's going on with the wiring behind the switch. With the refer out I'm guessing I could pull a new switch leg over to the fixture in the ceiling void if need be.

Thought about replacing the sixteen year old 'fridge at the same time but apparently there's no direct replacement for our Dometic NDR1292 side-by-side...
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Old 04-26-2016, 09:53 AM   #6
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Hey Mark,

Just wondering how the light switch problem is going? I always get kinda curious and like to hear the solution.

Terry
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Old 04-26-2016, 12:26 PM   #7
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Hi Terry,

Haven't gotten any further with the issue. As I mentioned above, I didn't have any continuity between the switch leg and the fixture so I had planned to pull the 'fridge out and investigate the wiring.

Well, as it happened, over the weekend I stuck a 5/16" drill bit through my right hand (shouldn't work on projects when tired and in a hurry) and as such I'm pretty limited to what I can do at the moment. DW wants me to take the coach into a local repair shop and have them take care of it since we're supposed to head to Lake Havasu in two weeks and have a 2-1/2 week trip planned at the end of May.

I'm reluctant to let someone else work on it but don't think I'll be muscling the refer around with one hand any time soon!

I'll post what the outcome is either way though...
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Old 04-26-2016, 05:54 PM   #8
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Sorry to hear about the injury!
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Old 04-27-2016, 06:18 PM   #9
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Dang Mark,

It must be a defective drill. Over the last 10 or so years I've noticed a definite decline in the quality of hand tools. Examples would be, my circular saw somehow managed to make contact with 3 finger tips on my right hand, nail gun put a 3" nail through my forefinger and a defective screw driver managed to get all the way into the joint between the thumb and forefinger on my left hand.

The one tool that has never let me down is the BFH that I used to "fix" the defective tools.

I've found the best medicine to be a very cold liquid refreshment containing an adequate amount of germ killing alcohol.

Good luck with the hand and the light!!
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Old 04-29-2016, 07:56 AM   #10
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Thanks guys. I had surgery yesterday to repair some damaged nerves. The hand is wrapped up like a club for the next two weeks, so I won't be doing a whole lot of work on the coach.

I told the surgeon he saved from a gunfight this weekend - I do old west reenactments and we have a skit competition this weekend. He got a kick out that...
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Old 05-01-2016, 12:59 PM   #11
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Resolution finally! Our oldest son and his family came over yesterday and along with our youngest, pulled the fridge out.

It was just what I thought - the RV shop that installed the new AC units last year sawsall'd a larger hole for the t-stat (shown above the switch in the original pic) and sawed right through the Romex running to the light. Idiots.

We pulled a new length of Romex through the ceiling and re-terminated everything. Put everything back together and all is working correctly now.

Those IDC (insulation displacing contacts) switches sure are garbage! Wish we had room to put a shallow device box in so we could use a good switch by such was not the case.

Thanks to Terry W for the info on the switch! And, my son and his wife did all the rewiring - with my hand bandaged from the surgery all I could do is supervise!
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