Low voltage lighting - Indoor

I have a house that was built in the 60's. The lights in my house use a low voltage lighting system that uses relays and rocker switches. You must press down on the on side of the rocker switch to operate the associated relay and turn the lights on or the off side of the rocker switch to turn the lights off. Apparently this is an outdated system and replacement switches an relays are impossible to find. Does anybody know of a source for this type of equipment or a modern equivalent that can be used as a replacement.?
Thanks
Kramertheman
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Here is a link to a supply that I've purchased relays and switches from. I don't believe they have any plates though: http://www.dale-electric.com/index.php

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Kramertheman wrote:

This firm makes replacement relays: http://www.reliantrelay.com/page4.html
They appear on eBay as well RR7 RR8 RR9
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Replacement parts are available. Check with some of your local electrical supply companies. The relays may not be identical, but they should work. You probably will not be able to get identical replacement switches, but a substitute should be available. There are two wire systems and three wire systems. It sounds as though you have a three wire system. One common wire, one wire for off, and one wire for on.
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I'm curious about this type of system since I've never seen them. What is the purpose of the relay? Why not wire the lights to the switch directly? And if the lights operate on low voltage, wouldn't there be a high line loss, high line temperature (due to high current)?
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John wrote:

The lights are line voltage. The relay control is low voltage. The realys may be in a central location or distributed. The switch wiring is all low voltage, more like doorbell. It is easy to have multiple switches for a light, and they are all like a single pole switch, no 3-way/4-way circuits. I think low cost of switch wiring and flexibility were attractions. Some systems could have pilot lights at the switch - also low voltage. And there could be features like one switch operates like a master over multiple circuits. You could have a switch in the bedroom to turn off all lights or turn them all on in an "emergency".
bud--
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Bud-- wrote:

Should also have said - the switches were all momentary contact with latching relays. With 2 wire systems pushing the switch would change the relay/light between on and off. As John said, on 3 wire systems, pushing the on side of any of multiple switches would turn the light on, pushing the off side turns the light off.
bud--
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Personally, I can't see that there was any savings in wiring a house with this type of system but I suppose it was futuristic for it's era. Currently there are similar, more advanced computer controlled systems like Lutron Homeworks, which, in twenty years or less, will be just as much of a Pain as this old GE system is now.

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RBM (remove this) wrote:

In the 60s how else could you control a light from 7 different locations:(
the lights were line voltage just a relay at each fixture.
you know even back then the price of copper was a issue. thats a fact proven by alunimimum which caused house fires.
so the thin control wires saved money on copper.
the current computer controlled systems wouldnt be a pain in 20 years, they will have ceased to exist. computer stuff changes so fast.......
thats assuming the world doesnt war itself into destruction, and sadly i am not convinced it isnt likely:(
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You could control a light from seven locations then, same as now, with two three ways and five four ways. The fact that the current computer controlled systems will cease to exist in twenty years is exactly the "pain" I'm referring to. The "pain" is for the unfortunates that have them in their houses and can't get parts or service

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I'm a big fan of technology, provided it works with conventional wiring methods. All of these systems that can't be scrapped and replaced by conventional systems, when they fail or just become obsolete, go against my better judgment. Also John, I'm sure you've seen as I have, that no one has any respect for low voltage wiring. It gets trampled on, yanked and pulled apart by every contractor , homeowner, exterminator, etc. that has to work near it, so the stuff just lends itself to problems.

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But they're just latching relays, SPDT momentary rocker switches and a transformer (or maybe it's shared with the doorbell). It's not really fair to compare such fairly simple tech with fancy electronic controls that really will become obsolete and NLA fairly quickly compared to the life of a house's electric wiring system.
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Yes it is a simple technology. However if someone wanted to add a decorative dimmer to their dining room light fixture it would entail installing line voltage wiring and eliminating the low voltage wiring, relay, and switch. It might add up to several hundred dollars plus wall and ceiling damage just to install a dimmer.
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John Grabowski wrote:

Yes, good point. But there the solution would be to replace low tech low voltage with high tech low voltage. Obviously still a more elaborate job than replacing a switch with a $5 dimmer but to be fair, presuming the original LV setup was multipoint control, you'd lose that with a simple line voltage dimmer setup.
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Face it guys,
A low voltage relay system is not camparable to standard wiring. It is comparable to a whole house automation system. (Like X10 also old technology, Lightolier "Brilliance" or less favorably to Lutron Homeworks.)
My point is each system has its strong and week points and changing systems is pain in the drywall!
RickR
Steve Kraus wrote:

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On Sat, 26 Aug 2006 09:08:56 -0400, "RBM" <rbm2(remove

When you think you want one of these switches somewhere else, you have a lot of work. When you realize you didn't really, but liked it where it was you have some more.

--
Mark Lloyd
http://notstupid.laughingsquid.com
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this is like old cars compared to the latest ones.
in the 60s anyone could fix a car, today you take it to the dealewr who puts it on a computer that connects to detroit or perhaps japan and diagnoses the problem.......
new cars are more fuel efficent, run well, but 20 years from now no one will know much and parts will be obsolete.......
technology has it downsides.......
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