The switch for our Garbage Disposal is in an inconvenient spot. I was
considering the following and want collective input about my idea:
I will buy a relay with contacts rated high enough to handle the
disposal motor inrush. (calculating this is not something I know how to
do) I would power the low voltage side with a leftover cell phone
charger, through a doorbell switch which I would mount in a convenient
and safe location. (safe means not where I could turn on the disposal
by leaning on it accidentally) I would put the relay and charger cube
under the sink, and be able to control the disposal with low voltage
and low current.
So what am I overlooking? Any input on specs for the relay?
P.S. I saw a TOH where they installed an Air Switch which inspired this
idea. I would use that solution but I do not have a hole in my granite
counter top to accommodate the air switch.
Just run a 120 volt rated #12 cable from where the switch is now to where
you want it.
It's not much more trouble to run #12 as to run low voltage wire. You are
only going a few feet.
But if you insist upon a relay I believe there are special relays that
effectively have the transformer built in. One design has a coil which is
always energized but which has two potential flux paths. The higher
"reluctance" path is via the armature when controls the load. The lower
"reluctance" path has a few turns of wire which are connected to the low
voltage switch. When you close the switch the low reluctance path has a
"shorter turn" so the magnetic flux goes through the armature and turns on
But I still recommend you just put a 120 switch exactly where you want it.
That sounds dangerous to me, not electrically, but mechanically. Maybe
you don't have kids in the house.
All this talk makes me think how absurd it is that garbage disposals are
installed as they usually are--that is, with a wall switch, often next
to other switches that control lights, with absolutely no marking or
difference of any kind to distinguish it from a light switch. (Like that
TV commercial for Roto Rooter showing the guy fumbling for the disposal
switch, with the sink all full of crap, but hitting a light switch instead.)
If I were writing The Code, I'd put something in there to make disposal
switches clearly identifiable. They should probably be a whole 'nother
type of switch, ideally some kind of momentary switch that can't be left
on, and is far enough away from the sink to prevent any part of the body
from contact with spinning blades.
Just as McDonald\'s is where you go when you\'re hungry but don\'t really
care about the quality of your food, Wikipedia is where you go when
I don't like the idea.
1. you are now relying on a relay to break a circuit. If the relay
fails, you have a problem. A switch is less likely to fail and if it does
it almost always well fail open, not closed. I have had relays fail closed.
2. Why is it inconvenient. Will the new location meet the usual
requirements for the switch. Frankly you want it to be inconvenient. You
don't want to switch it accidentally or have a kid flip it. I really hated
the way our builder put the switch next to the switch for the overhead
light. Very bad idea. It has been flipped several times by accident, even
after I painted it red.
I am considering putting in a more secure switch; some sort of momentary
contact with a cover. Maybe I will add an additional standard switch that
can act as a safety. Thinking about this there are some good ideas if I can
find the right parts. One switch that would close the circuit for a limited
amount of time like 60 seconds and a momentary switch to activate the
We just got rid of one of those although it was working just fine. It
was just so horribly INconvenient: there is no way to run the water and
switch on the disposer, then gradually feed a large quantity of stuff
through it. The only possible value I can see in such a thing is to
prevent little children sticking their hands in a disposer while it's
That is why they call it a batch feed. You put in a batch, let it go, then
add more if needed. Frankly, I've never had more than what fits in a single
batch at a time. They make different models for different people, but me,
I'd only buy the batch feed type. If you have loads of stuff to get rid of,
you should look into trash or a compost pile.
Also less chance of spoons ending up down in the disposal.
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