Need a switch or cover to discourage people from turning off lights

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I'll pull through. Thanks for asking. :-)

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On Thu, 21 Oct 2010 14:32:29 +0000 (UTC), ShadowTek

Pictures of your actual switch setup always help. Maybe I missed it, but I don't know if the "security related" switch is in a different box with a different plate. Decor might enter into it too. Don't recall you saying if it's in a living room or a mud room. My wife prefers certain plates and switches. Sheet metal guards wouldn't do. Somebody mentioned a cabinet for the switch in question, and I'll suggest a variation of that. Might work and might not. Frame the switch with a hinged decorative item - painting, small jewelry box or whatever. Something the lady wants up there. Easy enough to do even on a multi-switch box, whether you replace the face plate or not. Glue edges to wall if it's light enough, or bracket and screws inside. Get creative instead of catalog parts technical.
--Vic
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I wasn't specific about my current switch setup since I'm going to be adding a number of new lights in the near future, so I was trying to get ideas about what would be practical and effective in general.

Yes, there's a picky woman in the house, and she doesn't like stuff that looks "junky".
The switches will all be near outside doors, one of which *is* in the living room.
A lot a good ideas have popped up in this thread, and that'll help me to figure out what will work best.
Thanks.
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ShadowTek wrote:

http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1vZ1xg1/R-100628705/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId051&catalogId053
http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1vZ1xg1/R-100662997/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId051&catalogId053
The ones I bought do have an open side. You CAN manipulate the switch without removing the cover. The description of the first reference implies that it LOCKS the switch into position do that the switch can't be operated without removing the cover.
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On 10/20/2010 7:36 AM, HeyBub wrote:

The ones I've used in the past came with short plastic posts that you mounted on the switch plate with longer screws which replaced the original ones. Then a plastic cover just snapped over the switch with the posts providing a little tension. Once it was mounted, no tools were ever needed to operate the switch and its appearance was quite neutral... would not catch the eye as being out of place or odd. At the same time, there was no way anybody could mistake your intent by having the guards in place.
Unfortunately, I can't remember where I got them.
If you will do a google search for "switch guard", dozens of options will present themselves.
Jay
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responding to http://www.homeownershub.com/maintenance/Need-a-switch-or-cover-to-discourage-people-from-turning-off-590056-.htm Nestor Kelebay wrote:
ShadowTek:
Might sound like a dumb idea, but on those switches you don't want people to mess with, can you not remove the switch plate cover and mount a steel cover with no opening in it? Just use longer 6X32 screws and some short pieces of 1/8 inch ID rubber tubing to mount the steel cover so that it's above the switch toggle. That is, if you use two 1 1/4 inch long 6X32 machine screws and two pieces of 1 inch long rubber tubing per switch, you can mount the steel cover 3/4 to 1 inch in front of the electrical box. That still allows sufficient room to flip the switch toggle under the cover, but prevents inadvertant flipping of the switch by persons to busy to be careful in what they do.
------------------------------------- ..in solidarity with the movement for change in Iran.
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On Oct 19, 11:57pm, nkelebay_at_ilos_dot snipped-for-privacy@foo.com (Nestor Kelebay) wrote:

So you're recommending that someone reach _inside_ an electrical box to operate one switch out of a bank of switches? What about the other switches in that bank? Besides looking weird, making all of the switches difficult to use, having the person operate switches blind, and requiring the insertion of some sort of tool to flip a flippin' light switch, it's against code. You were right, it is a dumb idea.
R
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The switch cover mentioned in another thread should be fine for the typical single-pole, vertical switch, but I might have to rig something else up for multi-pole, horizontal switches (none of which I have at the moment. I could try something like Nestor says for that, by leaving the underlying coverplate in place, replacing the cover plate screws with longer ones, locking the inner cover plate in with locknuts, and setting the outer cover plate to the desired distance with the right spacers.
It would look strange, but it should have the desired effect of keeping out wandering hands.
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Multi-pole switches? Do everyone, particularly yourself, and post a picture. The setup will have everything to do with the solution. Label the switches in the photo.
R
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On 10/20/2010 7:09 AM, ShadowTek wrote:

Look for 'thermostat tamper guard' or 'switch tamper guard' online. These are the clear plastic boxes like over classroom thermostats. They sell many sizes and shapes, and they aren't terribly expensive. Just find a style with a 2-position lock or a removable lock cylinder, so you don't have to mess with hunting for a key. Being clear, they won't look TOO industrial, but they will get the message across.
Or you could easily make your own- a scrap of plexi with polished edges big enough to cover the switch plate, a 'picture frame' rectangle of hardwood with an opening the same size and the appropriate finish to go with the trim in the room, and a metal or plastic piano hinge in the appropriate color to hold the the top edge of the plexi so it falls shut when not in use. If you make it so the plexi sits in a rabbit, you may want a knob or finger hole to aid in opening it. If you don't want to mess with the piano hinge, and have access to a table saw, make the picture frame/plexi a little bigger, and slot the wood so the front panel rides in it. Fasten it to one edge to use as a handle, so you can slide it open to reach the switches, but not drop it on the floor. Think office-style room number/door signs with the slide-out panel so you can stick your own printed sign inside, and still have it look fancy and be protected from finger prints. (Or as we call them, the cell number/prisoner ID signs.)
In short, although I realize these group brainstorming sessions are fun, don't over-think this. There are dozens of approaches that would work, from commercial off-the-shelf, to creative modification of something like a small picture frame, to total home-brew. (Given an hour, I could probably make one from stuff laying around here, and I don't even have a shop, just a mound of junk and tools in the basement.) The suggestions above would likely be cheapest, and not require altering the wiring. They are also easily reversible, if SWMBO or next owner decides that ugly outweighs the protection offered.
--
aem sends...

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You might also make do with a piece of scotch or masking tape.
--
There are no stupid questions, but there are lots of stupid answers.

Larry Wasserman - Baltimore Maryland - lwasserm(a)sdf. lonestar. org
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I've done that before, but the adhesive wears out after a while and simply gives way and lets the switch flip sooner of later. Tape only really works well if you intend to never toggle the switch position, so that you don't have to unstick/restick the tape repeatedly.
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On Thu 21 Oct 2010 07:19:16a, ShadowTek told us...

Duct tape the switch flippers' hands behind their backs and be done with it.
--

~~ If there's a nit to pick, some nitwit will pick it. ~~

~~ A mind is a terrible thing to lose. ~~
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ShadowTek wrote:

I had a similar problem with a switch (in a triple switch plate) which controlled power to the floodlight over our home's garage doors.
When I installed a motion operated floodlight set I wanted to prevent someone accidently turning off the power to it.
I just bent a strip of 3/4" wide aluminum sheet metal into a sort of flattened omega shape, put a pair of holes in the ends to match the wallplate to switch screws, and mounted it over the switch lever. A little white paint to make it look pretty and the job was done.
The switch can still be operated "from the side" with a finger, but it's unlikely anyone will do that accidently.
Works for me.
Jeff
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Jeffry Wisnia
(W1BSV + Brass Rat '57 EE)
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wrote:

You can buy those strap style switch guards at any decent electrical supply house. Even a mediocre one would order them for you. By gripping the toggle from the side between the thumb and forefinger you can then perform the rapid switch operations needed to place the motion sensor into it's constant on mode. -- Tom Horne
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I believe he has the double switch that uses an outlet faceplate and has two switches that are moved side to side for on/off. And I've not see any covers for those. All the covers I have seen have been singles.
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Tom Horne wrote:

Thanks Tom. That's good news for someone who doesn't have the capability of making one like I did. I don't think I spent more than 10 minutes on it and I would have used far more time (and a few bucks) shopping for one. <G>
Jeff
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Jeffry Wisnia
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ShadowTek wrote the following:

How about red toggle switches for the outdoor motion detectors? One would have to ignore the color to tun it off accidentally. http://www.emisupply.com/catalog/leviton-1221plr-toggle-switch-20a-120v-pilot-light-red-p-7637.html?utm_source=googprod&utm_term 21-PLR
or: http://tinyurl.com/24br3hp
--

Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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http://www.emisupply.com/catalog/leviton-1221plr-toggle-switch-20a-120v-pilot-light-red-p-7637.html?utm_source=googprod&utm_term 21-PLR

That might be helpful for reminding *me* which switches go to what, but visual indicators don't seem to have any effect on the wandering hands of others.
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Check this product:
http://www.kidsafeinc.com/product/01729/01729---Child-Proof-Light-Switch-Guard.html
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