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Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 1,498
C-H Offline OP

now here is another (weird) idea that ties in with my earlier ones. Single sockets next to the light switch have become very popular in recent years, often integrated in a common frame. If you wanted to install very basic electricity in a home, it seems like an easy way would be to use integrated sockets and light switches (surface mounted) instead of standard light switches.

The Brits and Aussies have switches on many socket outlets. Could this little switch be used for switching the ceiling light instead of the socket? The unit will need three terminals: L + N + Lout.

How is the switch designed on the British and Australian socket outlets: Can it be disconnected or is an integral part of the socket?

[This message has been edited by C-H (edited 02-25-2004).]

Joined: Aug 2002
Posts: 1,691
This device is commonly used in bathrooms here in countries that use USA style wiring devices & practices.

Nowadays it's supposed to be GFCI-protected if used in a bathroom:


The switch and socket are independent devices but depending on how it's wired you can have the switch control just a lightbulb, just the socket or both. The third screw on the left side is a ground (earth) terminal.

I don't like them. They're expensive to replace and it only gives you one socket. This example costs almost anywhere from US$7.00 to $10.00 at D-I-Y sheds and hardware stores.

A regular duplex receptacle can be had from anywhere from 50 cents for the really cheap & nasty "residential grade" garbage, to US$1.50 or $2.00 for a good-quality heavy-duty "commercial grade" device.

Industrial and hospital-grade devices cost more, naturally but the "commercial" devices are an excellent price/quality compromise. And it allows you to plug in two appliances at the same time, so you're kind of minimizing the potential use of usually bad-quality triple-taps.

It would be better for the end user to have basic, easily obtainable and replaceable devices that don't cost much.

Keep in mind that if something breaks, the typical customers you have in mind are more likely to want to tackle the repair job themselves because they probably can't afford to hire a "licenced professional."

I have a Malaysian-made BS-546 5-Amp socket with a switch. It's a self contained unit mounted on a plate and the connections between the hot side of the socket and the switch are concealed with a non-removable plastic cover.

The switch only controls the socket....and there's only one set of terminals that are used to attach wires to the socket.

[This message has been edited by SvenNYC (edited 02-25-2004).]

Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 1,498
C-H Offline OP
Excellent reply Sven! That was exactly what I was looking for. But you are right. With such a price tag attached, I can scrap this idea.

If I go for standard components, the choice would be a standard socket and a standard switch in a combination frame in a surface box.

Ironically, the cheapest way of wiring could very well be to use grounded devices and cables. It seems like 1.0 mm2 T&E is about the cheapest that cable can be had. The grounded schuko sockets are no more expensive than the ungrounded, due to the difference in sales volume.

Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 1,498
C-H Offline OP
If I put the pieces together:

(Prices from a Polish manufacturer, in zloty. Just for a change [Linked Image] )

Double box 12.38
Double frame 1.60
Socket 6.77
Switch 7,17
Button 3,50

Total: 31,42 zloty

Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 134
As Sven said, British Standard (1363 & 546) switched sockets are a composite unit with only 1 set of supply terminals: L, N & E.
They can't be altered on site to use the switch for any other purpose.
Modular devices like the Polish ones you described are available here, but are very expensive compared to the standard switched sockets.

Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 1,250
djk Offline
I don't know about elsewhere but Light switches in Ireland now have to be mounted no lower than 900 mm and no higher than 1200 mm. Sockets are generally higher than they used to be too.

The idea being to make it easier for disabled / movement impared people to use electrical appliences. Basically you should be able to switch on a light or insert a plug comfortably from a wheelchair in any new building.

Mounting the whole lot on one unit at 900 mm might actually save a lot of time in some rooms...

e.g. in a hallway you could easily provide a couple of sockets along side the light switches for general purposes. Vacuuming etc..

Obviously the sockets and lighting would have to be on different circuits but it would save cutting a lot of holes in the wall [Linked Image]

Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 177
We have this: not flush mounted:
or this flush mounted:

these links are also interesting (pdf)

You can chek the prices at u can select the site in English.

[This message has been edited by Belgian (edited 02-26-2004).]

Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,407
The switches we have in our Socket-Outlets are permanently linked into the socket wiring and cannot be removed.
But we do have socket-outlets here that have an extra switch installed into the socket plate.
Here's one below:

[Linked Image]

The switch in the middle of the plate is used to control a seperate circuit.
We use them here, in kitchens, where a Dishwasher or under-sink Waste Disposal unit needs to be switched on and off and this method saves on extra plates, etc.
Also, the switches themselves can be replaced with an Engraved type which could read D/W or LIGHT or whatever!. [Linked Image]

[This message has been edited by Trumpy (edited 02-26-2004).]

Joined: Sep 2002
Posts: 1,498
C-H Offline OP
Great response to this topic!


I believe there is a requirement in the Swedish building regs to have a socket for vaccum cleaning at about a meter above floor. Typically this is mounted below the switch. As the same circuit is used for both lights and sockets, wiring is pretty straightforward.


that was exactly what I was looking for! Is this device common? By the way, it was some time since I saw your posts last. Nice to know you are still hanging around!

Wow! That thing looks rather funny, but it too would do.

Joined: Dec 2002
Posts: 1,250
djk Offline
Over here, and in the UK lights and sockets are normally completely seperate circuits

Lighting circuits are radial and usually protected by a 6A - 10A MCB/Diazed Fuse depending on the wiring used and the lighting load.

The only "semi-acceptable" way to connect a light to a socket circuit is via a fused connection unit carrying a fuse rated 3A, 5A or up to 13A depending on load and cabling.

In theory any touchable Class I light fitting or lighting socket should be connected to an RCD too.

It makes combination light/socket plates rather more complicated! [Linked Image]

Newer consumer units / distribution panels have a lot more than the old single 30mA RCD on the socket circuits, water heaters etc.. manditory since 1980.

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