COMMUNITY FORUM

SprungJo

12:52PM | 01/13/99
Bvelectrical
My family built a house back in 1972, and
we used Surfacepack relay switches from
Switchpack Systems. Mechanically and
electrically, they were kinda shoddy, and
we've finally run out of our stock of
original replacements. So, I'm looking for
a modern substitute.

The units are about the size and shape of
a single gang outlet receptacle. From the
back, they have three #12 solid wires, for
line, load, and neutral. on top, there are
a pair of screws where you hook up bell wire
to any number of momentary contact switches,
like doorbell buttons. When you push any of
the buttons and briefly close the low voltage
circuit, the spring loaded solenoid cycles
once, and toggles the switch from off to on,
or from on to off, like a traditional pull
the string closet light.

Does anyone know of a durable, long lasting,
modern replacement for these evil things?

Thanks --

-- John_Sprung@Paramount.com


TomR

08:59PM | 01/31/99
John:

Sounds like you and I have essentially the same system. Let me describe mine.

My home was built in 1954, and came with (even then) what was called “Remote Control Switching” from GE. It is comprised of little 24-volt (DC) rocker switches in place of normal 110v switches. When you push the rocker switch up, a relay is switched to on, and your light/receptacle is turned on. Push the rocker switch down, the reverse happens, and the power to the light/outlet is turned off. Each rocker switch has 3 wires; one is power from the transformer, and the other 2 go back to the relay. The wire is basically solid-core bell wire.

All of my relays, and most of my transformers are located in a central place, which is neat because I can add switches and power things from anywhere. I even have master switches which can turn on all lights inside and out in case of emergency. It’s only drawback is that one cannot get a dimmer switch for a light without running 110v wire and bypassing the low-voltage system, but I got around that with the introduction of wireless dimmer switches.

It was an idea that never caught on in the residential side, but it did on the commercial, so all the components are still widely available, a point which led me to decide to keep the system instead of ripping it all out, which would be very expensive to do. The switches fit in sets of 1 to 3, in a space the size of a regular outlet box, although mine use something like phone or cable TV brackets instead of actual electrical boxes. The little plate that the switches snap into lines up, screw-wise, with regular outlet box screw holes. The cover plates have the same hole pattern as décor switch plates, and although I do not know if the originals could still be purchased, I buy blank décor plates and cut out the holes, or make decorator ones out of wood. We bought the home last June, I checked, and the components cost less than in 1994 when the last owners last bought a part..

I have about 35 relays, and 50 switches, and it looks like maybe 5 relays and 3 switches have been replaced in 45 years. Does this sound like something you could use? If so, I have copies of the original installation manual, which I could fax you. You could also call your local electric supply company and ask if they can get GE low-voltage relays or switches.

At any rate, let me know more about your system. Until now, I did not know there were other similar systems out there.

TomR - Decor_DuJour@yahoo.com

ren

09:43PM | 01/31/99
As Tom said, they are a neat system except for that little part about needing custom faceplates. I had the system in a home in Lafayette, In. It was easy to work with and track problems. I had a box of GE switches in the basement that had been left by the previous owner.

In designing the electrical system for a dream house, I would consider a system like this which could very easily be controlled by computer or other systems very easily. I would look toward a company like Allen Bradley for the relays.


SprungJo

12:11PM | 02/01/99
Tom & Ren --

Thanks for taking the time to respond.

Unfortunately, mine are only a two wire
system on the low voltage side, so the three
wire G.E. relays wouldn't help.

Thanks anyway --

-- J.S.


TomR

05:51AM | 02/02/99
It sounds like you have a single-phase relay, which, when energized, the solenoid is thrown one way and simultaneously reverses it’s polarity, so that the next time it is energized, the solenoid is thrown in the opposite direction.

My relays are two-phase, in that it has separate wire loops for each direction of the solenoid. I was a little confused when you said you had three wires on the switch, as other systems that I have found with single-phase relays only have two wires on the switch.

Would you be willing to provide a more complete description of your system? I just need to know a few things, like:

* What is the voltage? AC or DC?
* How does each wire trace in the system?
* Do you have any other electrical circuitry that is part of the system?
* Anything else you think might be helpful?

While researching my GE system, I have discovered many different varieties of components from other companies. I would be willing to share what I have found, and I am sure we can find a solution to your dilemma.

Click_to_reply_button
Inspiration_banner

INSPIRATION GALLERY



Post a reply as Anonymous

Photo must be in JPG, GIF or PNG format and less than 5MB.

Reply_choose_button

captcha
type the code from the image

Anonymous

Post_new_button or Login_button
Register

Painting your front door a striking color is risky, but it will really grab attention. Picking the right shade (and finish... Built on a rocky island in the Drina River, near the town of Bajina Basta, Serbia, this wooden house was cobbled together ... Large steel-framed windows flood the interior of this remodeled Michigan barn with daylight. The owners hired Northworks A... Edging formed with upside-down wine bottles is a refreshing change. Cleverly and artistically involving recycled materials... A Washington State couple called on BC&J Architects to transform their 400-square-foot boathouse into a hub for family bea... Similar to the elevated utensil concept, hanging your pots and pans from a ceiling-mounted rack keeps them nearby and easy... For windows, doors, and mirrors that could use a little definition, the Naples Etched Glass Border adds a decorative flora... The thyme growing between these stepping stones adds a heady fragrance to strolls along this lush, low-maintenance garden ... Decoupage is an easy way to add any paper design to your switch plate, whether it is wallpaper, scrapbook paper, book page... Twine lanterns add pops of crafty—but sophisticated—flair to any outdoor setting. Wrap glue-soaked twine around a balloon ... When securely fastened to a tree or the ceiling of a porch, a pallet and some cushioning make the ideal place to lounge. V... Reluctant to throw away any of those unidentified keys in your junk drawer? Hang them from a few chains attached to a simp... A stripped-down model, sans screened porch, starts out at $79,000. Add the porch, a heated floor for the bath, and all the... Salvaged boards in varying widths and colors make up the dramatic accent wall in this attic space. The high-gloss white of... This garden shed has been decked out to the nines. Designer Orla Kiely created the intimate home for a flower trade show, ...
Follow_banner_a
Newsletter_icon Google_plus Facebook Twitter Pinterest Youtube Rss_icon
 
webapp2