How to remove this unusual light switch?

I need to replace a broken light switch, and I can't figure out how to remove the thing.
The switch is a "rocker" type, but the rocker covers the whole front of the switch box. Thus there's no cover plate, and there are no visible screws; just the rocker, and a thin black plastic bezel.
Here are some pictures:
http://www.jhsachs.com/images/LightSwitch1.jpg
http://www.jhsachs.com/images/LightSwitch2.jpg
http://www.jhsachs.com/images/LightSwitch3.jpg
There's got to be some way to remove the rocker so that I can get at the screws that hold the switch in the box, but I can't figure it out.
Does anyone have experience with this type of switch?
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I would first turn the light on.
Then start flipping breakers until it goes off. Leave that breaker off, and tape it for safety.
Then use a sheetrock knife and cut a small border around it. You may find some mounting screws.
Have a great day, Andy
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On Wed, 17 Nov 2010 03:24:41 -0800 (PST), Andy

I'd do the first 3 steps, then stab the switch with a screwdriver and yank off the front. It's junk already, right? With the front off the switch you WILL find a way of removing it.
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I've seen them, but never worked on one. I would slip a screwdriver under the rocker plate and pop it off. The mounting screws should be apparent underneath
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Andy wrote:

Thank you for pointing out a problem I hadn't considered. I'm replacing the switch because it is broken. Because it is broken, I can't turn the light on! How can I tell when I've found the right switch?
I can test the potential across the terminals with a volt meter, but it's a three-way switch, and I'm not sure how the test works with them... at least, not sure enough to want to bet my life on it.

Maybe I will. But the switch frame is exactly the size of a standard cover plate, and if I do that I'll have an open hole around the cover plate when I'm done. I guess I could cover it with an oversize plate, but that seems like a heck of a way to treat my house. My wife will see me doing this -- I got a reputation to protect!
RBM wrote:

That sounds like the best approach so far. I still hope to hear from someone who's done it, though.
HeyBub wrote:

Do you mean, it might not be attached except by paint? That doesn't make sense from the POV of the designer of the switch. Also, I've can rock the switch enough to break the paint bond, but the frame still seems firmly attached.
Another possibility occurred to me. I could go to a real electrical supply company, instead of a home improvement store, and see if they know what to do. If they do I'll buy a switch from them.
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Like Bill said... turn off the house at the breaker.

Hmmm. Maybe this thing _is_ a cover plate? Maybe the knife would slide in flush with the wall, rather than going into the wall? Pop that rocker off with a screwdriver. You'll learn what you need to know. It's broken anyway...
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On 11/17/2010 6:24 AM Jonathan Sachs spake thus:

I don't think that advice (to cut a hole in the drywall around the switch) was very good. At least not until you've exhausted other, less destructive approaches.
I would ass-u-me that either the rocker or the plastic frame around it is removable, so as someone else said here, try to get something underneath and pop it off. One or the other probably snaps in.
Think of it this way: someone had to install the damn thing, right? They had to be able to pop something in to hold it, so the reverse--popping it out--should work too.
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On Wed, 17 Nov 2010 10:49:29 -0800, David Nebenzahl

That was the trick. The rocker turned out to be a thin piece of molded plastic that was held onto the switch mechanism by a couple of posts. I didn't need a tool pop it off; fingernails were sufficient. And lo, beneath the rocker were the screws.
So... I removed the main fuse plug and replaced the switch with a new one. And the light still didn't go on.
It turned out that the ptjer three way switch was broken. The one we never use. The one we didn't even know the location of. The one that took a week to find, hidden behind the refrigerator.
Tonight I removed that one and replaced it with the unbroken one that I originally replaced with a new one. Now the lights are on, and everybody's happy.
I'm glad I removed the main fuse plug instead of playing with the breakers.
I'm also glad I didn't attack the original switch with a screwdriver.
Thanks to everyone for the advice.
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Glad I could help.
I would follow the other poster's advice about shutting off the whole breaker box.
Or maybe cover it with a picture and run a whole new circuit.

Maybe tell your wife, "Honey, I like learning and repairing things. But we could call someone for this job. What do you think?"
Have a great day, Andy
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On 11/17/2010 8:24 AM, Jonathan Sachs wrote:

Pull the main.
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Use a non-contact voltage tester? Check to see if it indicates AC-present, then flip breakers until it indicates no AC.

If it's a three-way, doesn't the other switch turn the lights on (and then flip breakers until lights out)?

Hammer. Strike switch with gusto. ;-)

If your electrical supply house deals with individuals, that's a good way to go.
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Jonathan Sachs wrote:

Is it possible the "frame" for the switch was floated over to blend in with the wall and the results painted over?
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*That looks like the light switch I had in my room as a kid. Just wedge a small flat screwdriver behind the rocker and gently pry it out. The rocker cover is installed by just pushing it onto the switch assembly mounted in the electrical box.
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On 11/17/2010 9:22 AM, John Grabowski wrote:

I also have some decora switches here that the coverplate just snaps on.
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It's broken. You've got nothing to lose. Jam a screwdriver in there and bust it apart.
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On 11/17/2010 12:32 AM, Jonathan Sachs wrote:

if you're replacing it, just beat it with a hammer. Could have been done quicker than asking. <G>
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