Low-voltage house wiring from hell

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We recently inherited a house and are in the process of fixing up a house so it can be sold. We knew a few light switches weren't working so I started to try and track it down. Some lights were always on, some lights wouldn't come on. This is an old low-voltage system by Touch-Plate.
Finally found the problem in a closet in the basement. View at your own risk. These pictures could cause you to go blind or cause insanity.
Randy http://members.aol.com/rsmeiner
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Sorry, I finger farted my previous post. Heres the part of the post that I didn't get typed.
Caution: these pictures could make weak people faint.
http://members.aol.com/rsmeiner/wiringhell /
So, I need help. Serious help. I'm looking for an electrition in the Omaha, Nebraska area that understands low-voltage system.
Randy http://members.aol.com/rsmeiner
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Sorry , can't help here, but that is the funniest thing I have seen in a long time...
RSMEINER wrote:

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I was thinking it was just sad. Funny might work also.
Randy http://members.aol.com/rsmeiner
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I can't help ya .. but umm .. cut the red wire? Or call an electrician.

so
started
wouldn't
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Would love to call an electrician. But would the average electrician have knowledge on this kind of system ?
Fortunatly that rat's nest of wires only controls the light switches in the house. Everything else is standard wiring.
Randy http://members.aol.com/rsmeiner
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We have the same system in our house, and that photo looks very familiar. We did find an electrician who is familiar with the low voltage system. I would specifically suggest that you find someone who was working as an electrician in the 60s, the apparent heydey of these monstrosities.
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My father inlaw was the original builder and only owner of the house. He was originally a plumber but belonged to this group of good old boys from all the various trades. The electrition that did the install was part of that group. But he died years ago. In fact, I think the entire group of good old boys has long since passed away. But their sons are still around and have their own group. I'm going to contact a few of them today and see if they know of anyone.
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RSMEINER wrote:

You have my sympathy. We recently sold our 1964-ish house in NJ with a low-voltage system in it.
We found an electrician who works on this type of system by calling around to the various electricians in the area. If the manufacturer is still in existence, you might be able to get the names of local electricians who work on their systems from them.
Besides relays going bad, another problem we had was with switches that stuck. There is a flat switch that has a tendency to "hang" one of the corners when pressed in, and this caused the whole system to lock in its current state (some lights on, some off). The fix was easy - go around pressing switches until you find the one that's stuck and press it again to release the hung-up corner. And then replace the switch with a different type!
One thing I miss: Some of the lights were wired up to be controlled by five or six different switches, and there was a master control panel in one bedroom that was hooked to nearly every light in the house.
Good luck!
FurPaw
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Yes, it is easy to fix this once you realize what the problem is. The first time it happens and you don't know that there is a stuck switch is enough to drive you batty. It happened here only a few weeks after we moved into this house, and we absolutely panicked. Now when it happens (not a lot, but maybe a couple times a year) we know what to do.

I do like this feature. We have two master panels in our house: one in the master bedroom and one in the kitchen, it is handy to walk in from outside and be able to switch on most all the lights in the house.
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Manufactuar doesn't have a list of electritions that work on their stuff. To bad, that would have made it much easier. They suggested I go to a electrical supply house and see if they know of anyone. Could do that.
I pressed every danged switch in the house. And it's a big house and lots of switches. None were sticking.
Randy http://members.aol.com/rsmeiner
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040810 2301 - FurPaw posted:

If you have a large house, those low voltage remote switching systems are really great, and, as noted, in a master bedroom, a selector switch and button arrangement can be installed to turn on or off just about any light in the house or outside lights. It is a shame that someone has wired such a mess as illustrated, but, and again, as noted, it is not a disaster, and it can be repaired.
A remote low voltage switching system would be extremely desirable in the case of long corridors in large buildings to control the corridor lighting from several different places rather than using the usual 3-way and 4-way lighting switching systems to reduce the voltage drop on the long runs of lighting wiring.
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It is also used for energy management. Computerized BMS systems (Building Maintainence Systems) control the lighting levels based on occupancy and ambient daylight.
In a residential setting, master stations of 16-24 zones allow one to actually see which rooms are lit and which are not.
The OP is lucky that his system has one central location for the relays. This arrangement defeats one of the acclaimed benefits of a LV system - saving wire.
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I have found 1 location so far. Could be more. This is the house from hell and it is just packed full of "stuff".
Randy http://members.aol.com/rsmeiner
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Ding Ding Ding. We have a winner. We found a master board with a ton of buttons on it behind the curtins in the master bedroom. None of the buttons are marked of course so it will be trial and error to figure out what is what.
Thanks
Randy http://members.aol.com/rsmeiner
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Figuring out what button is for which light is much easier if you have a small child handy. You stand there and push buttons and have small child run from room to room to see what has turned on or off.
It took me forever to figure out which button was which on other master panel. When we figured out what was what, I took an index card and made a diagram of the panel and wrote above the area of each button what lights were controlled by that button. I then put the index card on the wall above the panel. Eventually you won't need it anymore, but we still have it on the wall for when other people are here - somehow they like to be able to turn the lights on and off without assistance <G>
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My patience is bad enough, a small child would probably send me over the edge. I will send the wife running instead.
In those pictures of the wiring from hell, there is a list of numbers and locations. As none of it matched up with the boxes, I'm hoping it matches up with the control panel upstairs. I can hope anyways.
Randy http://members.aol.com/rsmeiner
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Tracey wrote:

We borrowed walkie-talkies from our neighbor's kid to do this. Cell phones are even better.
FurPaw

Some of ours were marked with label-tape when we moved in, but they weren't all correct. Nor were the circuit breaker labels. We ended up having to remap the entire layout. But that paid off handsomely later in time saved troubleshooting.
FurPaw
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Without walkie talkies, I can scream at my wife. Certain satisfaction in that these days. The house from hell belonged to her parents.
Randy http://members.aol.com/rsmeiner
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Update: I think we have now found an electrition who has worked on this type and brand of low-voltage stuff.
Time to celebrate.
Randy http://members.aol.com/rsmeiner
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