09:26AM | 06/21/06
Member Since: 06/20/06
2 lifetime posts
I have a unique situation. I have a home built in 1955 that uses low voltage electricity (with relays, etc). I recently returned from out of town to find that none of the lights work from the switchplate on the wall. All outlets work fine and the 220 electricity is also fine. I have checked my fuses with a volt meter and all is well there also. There is a relay box in the attic and that doesn't appear to have a problem either.

Any light or other appliance that is plugged into an outlet is fine. It is just the touchplate lights that do not work....throughout the entire house. I have had an electrician out, who verified that the fuse box is fine and the power to the house is intact.

The only other info I have is that Touchplate Lighting Controls is the manufacturer of the relay box up in the attic. I also have 2 UPS (uninterruptible power supply) units in the house that supply power to PCs and TV/DVR equipment. Those are now showing a building wiring fault.

Does anyone out there have any ideas??? Also, can anyone explain to me how low voltage electricity works and why it is so different than today's norm? I have tried to find some information online but have had no luck.



04:36PM | 06/21/06
Member Since: 04/25/05
1918 lifetime posts
"There is a relay box in the attic and that doesn't appear to have a problem either."

Based on what? How was it tested and what happened?

I am assuming that this is what you have.

The first place is to check the transformer that supplies the power for the controls.

Is this how you lights worked. Push for On and then Push again for Off.

GE (and others) had a similar systems. But it used 3 wires and a latching relay rather than an alternating relay.

With that system you have pairs of buttons. One for ON and the other for OFF.


08:34AM | 07/06/06
Member Since: 06/20/06
2 lifetime posts
Sorry it's taken so long to get back to you. We had more electrical problems than I realized.

The relay box apparently was not fine. The friend that 'tested' it did not actually do anything other than verify the voltage going into the box. He did not open it up. I have since had an electrician who deals with low voltage electricity come out and apparently the house was hit by lightning. They said the relay box was hit and all the relays for the house are fried?

Yes, the diagram in the link you provided appears to be what we have. When you say to check the transformer, is that the same as the transverter in the diagram? If so, where would that be? I know (now) where the relay panel and breaker box are. I don't know anything about a transformer though.

Also, I need to replace one of the touch plates because it is cracked. The new plate I purchased has a yellow and white wire. The old plate that is attached to the wall presently has 2 black wires. The wires coming out of the wall are 1 green wire and 2 interwined white wires. Presently the 2 white wires are twisted with 1 black wire with a wire cap on it and likewise with the green wire and a black wire from the plate.

I have never done anything with electricity except get the living daylights shocked out of me by computer equipment. How do I replace the touchplate with the new one....preferably without getting shocked? And what equipment (wire strippers, etc) do I need?

Thanks so much for your help. :)


07:29PM | 07/06/06
Member Since: 04/25/05
1918 lifetime posts
Yes, I see that what they call the transverter is really a DC power supply. IE, a transformer and rectifier.

At the very bottom is a trouble shooting guide.

Reading that and the transverter cutsheet it seems that some of the earlier units used separate transformers and rectifiers. But later ones used the transverters.

Looking at the pictures of current stuff it appears that they mount in the box with the relays. That is the way that the GE stuff works.

With the information in that trouble shooting guide any electrican that does trouble shooting or works on control systems should be able to work on it. And Touch Plate says to contrat them for any help.

An electrican that just does new work, thought, might get lost trying to work on it.

As far as replacing the switch just connect it where the two wires from the old switch connected.

For a switch the color code does not matter. However, some of their stuff have an indicator light and it will have more than 2 wires for each switch. But it does not appear that you have those.

Get a wire stripper with a notch on it for #18 and some small wire nuts. IIRC they will be the blue ones.

When you remove the old switch some of the wires might be broken. Just strip each on to about 1/2" and twist them together and then "screw on" the wire nut.



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