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Thread: Labeling light switches

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    Hayes, Virginia
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    Any electrical supply place will have the small binder books full of letters and numbers for wire identification. The adhesive they use is good stuff.

    You can go to our laser engraving forum here if you want something really fancy. Lots of people here who can engrave switch plates in just a few seconds each in their laser. We also have plenty of people here who own vinyl cutters if you prefer that style, check the Sign Forum.

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
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    Los Angeles, California
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    899
    I use a Brother P Touch Printer and 1/2" tape and print the circuit number for the switch and any receptacle.
    Regards,

    Tom

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    Tampa Bay, FL
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    Also use Brother P-Touch. Label everything in the shop, plus switches. Seem to last for years and years.
    - Its not that Im so smart, its just that I stay with problems longer. Albert Einstein
    - Welcome to Florida. Where the old folks visit their parents

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Longview WA
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    with as many as 14 switches* for a single light.
    Malcolm, this has really piqued my curiosity. If one switch turns the light on, will all the other switches turn the light off? This could drive a family to madness.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    64,685
    I sure wouldn't want to design the wiring for up to 14 hard switches for controlling lights on the same circuit but it's darn easy to do that with smart switches across multiple circuits since you can group things into so-called "scenes". I actually use that feature here since it allows even wireless switches that can be placed in a convenient spot, rather than governed by how a place was wired.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  6. #21
    I rehab'd an old brick building some years ago, making it into a hip office setting. All the lighting had low voltage controls such that any light could potentially be controlled from any switch location. Some switches had 7 little buttons. The electrical contractor spent about 2 days on a laptop programming everything. All the wires went to a control board in one of the few wood framed walls. Subsequently, the building was sold and a potential buyer said "Oh,we can remove this wall and open up the space." I tried to explain that this would be a VERY bad idea.

  7. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Koepke View Post
    Malcolm, this has really piqued my curiosity. If one switch turns the light on, will all the other switches turn the light off? This could drive a family to madness.

    jtk
    Yes, if this particular light is ON via one switch, any one of the (14) switches can turn it OFF (including the one used to turn it on). It is a typical 4-way switch setup: a 3-way switch on each end of the 'control string'; 4-way switches in the middle of the control sting. Use as many 4-way as needed. In my case, the control string drives a relay, and the relay switches 120VAC to the fixtures.

    The same switch setup could have easily controlled 120VAC - with no relay - direct to the fixture, so I can only guess that they opted for 24VDC to save money on wire (control string is 20ga solid 'bell' wire). ...There is clearly a LOT of it.

    Or, with the total distance of wire runs, maybe voltage drop worried them?? Only need 2A for the relay coil (vs 8-10A?? for the light). I'll likely never know reasons.
    Last edited by Malcolm McLeod; 08-28-2023 at 6:35 PM.

  8. #23
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Wisconsin
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    66
    Quote Originally Posted by Malcolm McLeod View Post
    Yes, if this particular light is ON via one switch, any one of the (14) switches can turn it OFF (including the one used to turn it on). It is a typical 4-way switch setup: a 3-way switch on each end of the 'control string'; 4-way switches in the middle of the control sting. Use as many 4-way as needed. In my case, the control string drives a relay, and the relay switches 120VAC to the fixtures.

    The same switch setup could have easily controlled 120VAC - with no relay - direct to the fixture, so I can only guess that they opted for 24VDC to save money on wire (control string is 20ga solid 'bell' wire). ...There is clearly a LOT of it.

    Or, with the total distance of wire runs, maybe voltage drop worried them?? Only need 2A for the relay coil (vs 8-10A?? for the light). I'll likely never know reasons.
    Also piqued my curiosity - where exactly is the light located, and why are there 14 switches to control it? I can only imagine that the Hearst Castle might originally have had 14 different switches in 14 different locations to turn on ALL of the outside lighting at once, but other than that...

  9. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Mason View Post
    ... where ... and why ...
    This light is a flood over the garage and is the primary approach to the house. Each of the exterior doors has a switch for it (even if you cannot see the light from the particular switch location). The primary suite and another room also have switches. It is not the Hearst Castle (alas), and I have no clue why the original owner and/or electrician made this particular decision.

    The house is in a remote, high-altitude location (snowed 5:30AM on Aug 6) and enjoys truly (inky!) dark skies - - perhaps the switches are to make sure arriving guests can be quickly 'welcomed' with a pool of light...? Works for me.

    (Apologies to Mr. Gray for the hijack; returning now to your regularly scheduled labeling thread.)

  10. #25
    Join Date
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    Or, with the total distance of wire runs, maybe voltage drop worried them?? Only need 2A for the relay coil (vs 8-10A?? for the light). I'll likely never know reasons.
    I've seen problems with voltage drop and long wire runs. During my employment at a transit agency there was a problem with gates staying open. This only happened on hot days in San Francisco. All of the stations had a switch in the agent's booth to open all the gates when needed. The wiring went from the booth at the far end of the station to the "train control room" at the other end of the station. In two stations in downtown San Francisco the control room was ~700' from the agent's booth. The wiring didn't run in a straight line and it had to go from a transformer in the booth to the control room and back. The voltage drop was just enough that on a hot day the wire resistance would rise and the relays would drop out causing the barriers to open. After many years with the problem it was handed to me to figure out. The situation and the wire resistance for the stations was documented and turned in. The powers that be were surprised it was such a simple cause. This was shortly before my retirement, no idea if it was ever fixed or not, last heard they were thinking about it.

    jtk
    Last edited by Jim Koepke; 08-30-2023 at 8:27 PM. Reason: words, words, words
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  11. #26
    The Creek has an "Engravers" section-- labels is what we do
    ========================================
    ELEVEN - rotary cutter tool machines
    FOUR - CO2 lasers
    THREE- make that FOUR now - fiber lasers
    ONE - vinyl cutter
    CASmate, Corel, Gravostyle


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