keeping lights on during certain hours

Ordinary light switch controlling a few fixtures. I'd like to keep these lights from being turned off during business hours. After hours it can follow the position of the switch. What are my options? I could get a miniature digital timer switch but those generally have a manual override switch. Maybe there is a version without one and settings hidden from casual users but I doubt there is one where there is a manual control that is only active when the timer is off. So here are some thoughts.
Mount a timer or timer switch elsewhere and parallel it with existing toggle. As long as timer is on the lights stay on. Requires adding wires to conduit and new conduit & box at timer location.
Shove a low voltage relay in the back of the box to parallel with existing toggle. Power relay with LV supply plugged into simple wall timer or from other equipment that is always on when business is open.
Replace SPST toggle with SPDT. Lights wired to pole. Existing power to one throw, other throw is fed from a switch at an inaccessible location, timer, or simply a circuit that is live when the business is open. Requires only one new wire to switch but possibly other conduit or wire work.
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Steve Kraus wrote:

I think you have covered most if not all the possibilities. I will add one idea as a part of one of your solutions. You can get one of those thermostat control locking covers. Also you could replace the existing work box with a larger one or add one right next to it.
You might want to look at www.smrthome.com for some additional ideas.
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Joseph Meehan

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On Wed, 22 Feb 2006 14:18:45 GMT, "Joseph Meehan"

Just get a switch with a lock-out.
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Keyed switch would be easier in my opinion. Manual on manual off simple and cheap compared with your proposal.
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Yes. But doesn't allow for unrestricted control outside of the keep-on- during-business-hours period.
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You're just itching for an excuse to put in a high-tech toy, aren't you? :^)
Most people would use a sign, or one of those switch-guard flip-open cover things. Is it customers or employees who you want to keep from messing with it? I'd make a joke out of it- a shadow box about an inch and a half deep around the switch, with a sliding or hinged clear plastic lid, and some joke warning message on the lid. Maybe a toy padlock you put on in the morning as the coffee is perking, and take off on your way out the door at night. (Or like the other guy said, one of those thermostat box things.) I would NOT try for any home-made high-tech solution, especially if this is a store or other space the public passes through. It WILL fail at some point, and you will either be dead in the water, or have people stumbling in the dark.
I'm sure a real electric supply house (not a big-box) will have all sorts of multi-function switches and timers, but it may be hard finding one to fit a single box- it'll probably stick out some. A floodlight timer with an override button comes to mind. 'On" during a set interval, 'Off' otherwise, but also has a 'test' setting for the guy that changes the bulbs. If you have employees or general public in the space, talk to your insurance agent before you install any home-made (aka non-UL) electrical devices.
aem sends....
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X10 is a solution that will work here. You can replace the existing std or 3way switches with X10 ones. The switches can still be operated normally, but also controlled via an X10 signal on the AC line. There is an X10 mini controller available that looks like a digital clock that you plug in anywhere in the building. You can use it to control switches (4 max I think) and tell them when to go on or off. There is also an interface to connect to a PC, so that can be used for control too, as well as motion sensors, etc. Check out smarthome.com. There are also vendors on Ebay.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

On second thought, Never mind! I guess I needed a second cup of coffee before I woke up. X10 can do many things, but it won't keep someone from manually turning off the light switch during business hours.
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I have on X-10 switch and it has a slide lock on it. While it does not prevent it from being turned off as anyone can just move the slide, it does stop you from just tapping the switch absentmindedly.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net writes:

sure it can... if the light switch triggers a conditional macro... but i digress. ;)
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On 23 Feb 2006 12:07:06 -0500, Philip Lewis

That's when the X10 switch the user can operate is not the same one that directly controls the light. If the light is controlled by a module at address L8, and the switch the user has access to is at C5 the macros could be set up something like:
IF C5 on OR time becomes 8:00 THEN turn L8 on
IF C5 off AND ((time<8:00) OR (time>17:00)) THEN turn L8 off
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On 23 Feb 2006 07:57:52 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

It would if you used an inline module rather than a regular switch module.
Anyway X10 has a lot of reliability problems, and probably isn't suitable here.
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On Thu, 23 Feb 2006 02:50:38 GMT, Steve Kraus

Leave the key in the switch when you go home for the night. Or give a key to each employee.
Put in a locking and non-locking switch to OR the power to the light. Either of these two arrangements ought to work:
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parell 2 switches one a timer in a enclosure or secure area, leave the other available for regular use
a buddy has a office building with a long hall. he leaves just a few lights on for security, has a timer on all the rest that goes off during non peak hours and motion detectors to trip all lights on during activity, they turn off after 15 minutes
cut his electric bill nicely
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wrote:

A timer that is supposed to be continuously running (to keep track of time). Will it continue to run when shorted by the manual switch?

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