Pushbutton Wall Switch


My house, built in 1960, has several wall switches actuated by rectangular pushbuttons that fit the same switchplates as normal toggle switches. One switch is now sticking.
Any idea how I can fix it?
And who sells replacements? (Home Depot does not)
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*I am having trouble remembering what they look like and who made them. A posted picture would be helpful. I presume that they are line voltage and not low voltage switches that actuate relays.
Offhand I know that Lutron has these as dimmers and switches: http://www.lutron.com/faedra/?s 000&t200
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wrote:

You need to do some google searching or stop by a real electrical supply. the kind that deal with professionals. It wil cost a bit more than you might expect, but that is where they will be found.
You might even find them in an acturactual supply store.
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Sounds a lot like the X10 light-switch in my house which was supposed to leave the lights on for one minute whenever we had the security system switched on. It failed recently and the security company said that this isn't unusual. It's replaceable with a conventional switch, with with the existing switchplate or a new one if you change styles.X10s should be available at places like Radio Shack.
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If you remove the cover plate and look carefully, you just might see a name on the switch. If not visible, then kill power to the fixture and remove the two mounting screws (top and bottom) and look carefully at the rest of the switch for some id. I've never seen a switch that did not have the manufacturer's name on it somewhere.
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wrote:

Are they white rocker switches that run relays on 24vac (the GE RR7 system) If you have the old style switch they usually are just binding on the cover. The newer ones are a tad smaller.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

What the other guy said about opening the box and looking for a manufacturer name. Assuming they are 1960-vintage original equipment to the house, I think OP is probably out of luck. Remember, this was 2 years before The Jetsons came on the air- ultramodern-look house features and design gadgets were real big back then. Too bad they were made with stone-age (by modern standards) technology, and once the fad died down, replacements and repair parts were hard or impossible to come by. (Pity the poor soul with a kitchen full of early-1960s built-in small appliances. Anybody remember built-in blenders and such?)
-- aem sends...
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aemeijers wrote:

yeah, sadly, the 1920's style two-button light switches are easier to find and have been reproduced to boot. I know I've lived somewhere that had the switches the OP described, or at least had a friend that did, but I can't rememeber where - and I don't think I've ever seen those switches for sale in any store.
nate
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Maybe the OP will do what I suggested and open things up and then tell us what he finds.
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I just remembered where I saw them, it's in the house that my grandparents bought after they moved out of the old farmhouse they'd lived in for years.
I know, that's not helpful, but it was bugging the crap out of me. I believe that it was built within a few years of 1960. Still has the original kitchen cabinets and countertop, of which I am quite envious.
nate
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On Jan 19, 10:50pm, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

I don't believe these are for relays--I have replaced a few others in the house with X10 switches, and they were just conventional switches except for having a rectangular button instead of a toggle. I prefer not to use x10 in this application, though. And the switch still binds even with the cover removed, so that's not the problem.
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On 1/20/2010 9:36 AM Ivan spake thus:
>

As others have stated here, you need to find a real electrical supply place. Contrary to what others have said, I've found it easy to purchase supplies at such places--they're not just for contractors spending $thousands. And sometimes they're even cheaper than Home Despot. Plus they actually know about what they sell.
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Ivan wrote the following:

I can't picture square buttons in a standard toggle switch plate. You mean there are two small square buttons in the 3/8ths inch by 1" hole in the switchplate?
--

Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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no, I know exactly what he's talking about. It's an ivory (or other?) colored single pushbutton, the exact size and shape of the hole in a traditional toggle switch cover plate. Push on, push off.
My suggestion would be to buy a good toggle switch in the same color as the other switches while searching for a replacement, 'cause I suspect it's going to take a while. If the OP is not enamored of the old school flavor of the house, a 10-pack of spec grade toggle switches is likely under $20 at a good electrical supply, and then he can sell the still-working switches that he removed and replaced on eBay.
nate
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Oh, forgot to mention. Would be worth checking before driving to the electrical supply to determine what the wiring material is in said house. I believe that 1960 falls within the period where Al wiring was sometimes used in residential construction; if this is the case, the OP needs to make sure that the new switches that he purchases are Cu/Al rated - most are not. The other option is to pigtail all the wiring with copper, using Cu/Al rated wire nuts and the special magical paste.
Completely as an aside, does anyone know when it ceased being common practice for the individual conductors in a cable to be tinned for soldering? I've got a mix of both in my house (1948/49 vintage.) The BX and 14/3 NM is pretinned, while the 14/2 is not.
nate
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N8N wrote:

this was bugging me enough to do some research myself... Hubbell PresSwitch seems to be similar to but not exactly the same as the ones I remember
http://www.hubbell-wiring.com/Press/PDFS/WDKCatalog/page0153.pdf
does this help?
nate
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Thanks. The Hubbell seems slightly different, a similar shape but a rocker rather than a pushbutton. Luckily, I found another of the original switches, which I had replaced with an X10 wallswitch,
The original switch was a Rodale Touchette, but there seems to be nothing left of Rodale Mfg except an EPA superfund site.
And my wiring is all coopper.
Thanks,

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