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Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 853
L
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Ya, I tied the occupancy sensor thing frown.
The library is just no fun anymore, unless you read fast smile.
My honey never shuts lights off anyway AAARRRGGGGG... so it doesn't realy matter at my house.

Sorry just, had to chime in!

Joined: May 2005
Posts: 706
T
Member
I installed 4-way switching for a stairs with a middle landing. The homeowner told me later he'd run up & down the stairs to set the switches all in the down position. I still think he's certifiably insane for doing this. There is no proper orientation for 3-way or 4-way switching. Get a life.

Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 354
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pdh Offline OP
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Motion detectors would be a very good way to go. But I'd still want switches for extra lighting in many cases. Either way, some kind of mechanical or electrical switching of the 120V is taking place under control of something at 12V or less. If the motion detector logic can switch it, a momentary contact switch driving similar logic should be able to also do the job. There are lots of things around that can control 120V or more from 12V or less, such as all that X10 stuff (which I don't want for other reasons), and is presumably listed. So I shouldn't need to use those expensive industrial contactors.

Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 354
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pdh Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Tiger
I installed 4-way switching for a stairs with a middle landing. The homeowner told me later he'd run up & down the stairs to set the switches all in the down position. I still think he's certifiably insane for doing this. There is no proper orientation for 3-way or 4-way switching. Get a life.

When the power is on, and you want to be sure the lights are off, the light itself is the verification. However, when the power is off, and you have a reason to be sure the lights are off without a means to verify it, having all your switches in an expected configuration is appropriate.

Another example of when one might want to do this is when the power goes out while a lot of lights were on while at home, but you need to leave for whatever purpose before the power has come back on, and want to be sure the lights are off (and other things are desired to be on, so flipping the main breaker off is undesired).

I agree with the all-switches-down must be off. It's not hard to fix since only one 3-way needs to be reversed. You just have to do it when you can verify that it's not the way you want it to be. The only extra step beyond tagging a switch to be reversed is checking behind the plate in the case of 3 or more switches controlling a light to be sure you're going to work on a 3-way one instead of a 4-way one (more hassle). Then cut power and reverse the marked switches.

pdh #182510 11/29/08 03:03 PM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,745
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G
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Quote
The library is just no fun anymore, unless you read fast smile.


I have found that even if I am not flipping pages fast enough to satisfy the motion detector my lips moving will do it. wink


Greg Fretwell
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,349
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Cat Servant
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"Switches down must be off"

What a nice idea. Oddly enough, it hasn't been "part of code" for all that long ... maybe 20 years. Even then, the rule applies to DISCONNECT switches.

While an ordinary light switch may serve as a disconnecting means, 3-way and 4-way switches cannot. There are two reasons why they cannot qualify as disconnecting means.

The first is that it's simply too easy for you to turn things off at one switch ... while someone around the corner flips the other switch "on."

The second comes from violating a much older (maybe 40 yr. old) code rule: switching the neutral.
While no longer allowed by code, I still encounter 3-way switches that are arranged in a manner that switches the neutral. This method can present a situation where the light is 'off' only because both wires -the 'hot' as well as the 'neutral'- are hot.

Others have advocated motion sensors. Another nice idea, but limited. Fluorescent lighting ... so fondly thought of by the energy code wonks ... don't like motion sensor switching. The bulbs don't reach full brightness, the ballasts' electronics have issues with the sensors' electronics, etc.
Think of it as conflicting codes - or good intentions run amok.
Then there are unintended consequences; my cat trips every motion sensor on the street as he walks by. Just think how much fun that might be in your house at night. laugh

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,745
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G
Member
I have CFLs on motion sensors in the garage and the only PAR I have, outside (the rest are softer light) and I don't see a problem. The triac should be driven to saturation, unlike some dimmers. The dog walking around does trip some of the motion sensors but they are arranged so they don't bother you in the bedroom. I masked the window of the one in the bathroom so it doesn't "see" the dog. It is under the vanity counter.
If I have the real lights on it disables the MD as does daylight.
The lights in the bathrooms are just short pieces of rope under the toe kicks and the hall lighting is rope in crown, about 4" below the ceiling for soft indirect light. In the living room, dining room and kitchen it is rope on the train tracks (another story I guess)


Greg Fretwell
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 354
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pdh Offline OP
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The purpose for being able to turn the lights off when there is no power is NOT for the purpose of formal safe disconnection so that I can work on wiring the circuits. If I had a really compelling reason to start work on the wiring while the power is out, I would switch off the main service entrance disconnect breaker.

The big reasons I can see for wanting to turn the lights off are:

1. To prevent all the lights from coming on when you are away, wasting electricity and increasing your electric bill. This applies if you need to leave home during the outage. Some people like to keep their appointments or social/family engagements even if the power is off at home. Some people like to go to work even if the power is off at home. And some people might even choose to go out for dinner because they can't cook, because ... you guessed it ... the power is off at home.

2. To prevent all the lights from coming on when you are asleep.

The situation I had with the utility maintenance going on that knocked out the power was more of a fluke. I simply took no chances and disconnected all the computers (one pull of the UPS plug since at the moment only 4 computers are in operating state), stereo system, and 4 TVs. I then instinctively went to turn off all the lights.

Perhaps I should have switched off the main entrance breaker, too.

In a previous power outage, my father had a burner element on in the kitchen. He never thought to shut it off when the power went off, despite moving the food off the burner (he decided it was done enough to eat it). After the power came back on a couple hours later, the burner stayed on, without a pan on it, for about a couple more hours. Fortunately it was on low.

So now I remember to also check the stove (which I did during this most recent event).

I did a quick survey of my 3/4-way light switches today. 2 are off when all switches are down. 3 are on when all switches are down. 1 has a push to toggle on/off rotary dimmer switch as part of a 3-way setup, so there is no way to know if it is off or not since the pushbutton state is unknown without power. So I'm going to replace that rotary with a definite up/down switch with the side-slider for dimming.

pdh #182523 11/29/08 09:25 PM
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 745
E
Member
Wow, I know that it has been fairly quiet around here lately, but...........


---Ed---

"But the guy at Home Depot said it would work."
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,213
S
Member
pdh, just wire the lights initially so that when every light switch is down, the lights are off. You may end up with some up and down during normal use, but during a power failure, put them all down, and you'll know the lights will be off when power returns. And, honestly, this doesn't even sound like a problem so much as an aesthetic preference and pet peeve- for anything actually critical, you should be securing the breaker and not relying on light switches anyhow. The electrical costs for a single light are negligible in the scheme of things, especially considering the low-likelihood of the kind of thing you're talking about. I mean, you're talking about 10 cents a day for a 60W bulb left on 24/7. About $1/month for a typical CFL. I have a bunch I just leave on 24/7 intentionally because.

3-way switches are indispensible, especially for rooms with multiple entrances. I have 4 light switches controlling my dining room chandalier, and wouldn't have it any other way. One of which is a push-button, boo-yah!

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