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Arcing in a old 3-way switch!

J

js5895

Jan 1, 1970
0
Hi,

I posted earlier about how a 3-way, illuminated switch works, well, I
hooked it up permanently.
One is the new commercial grade illuminated 3-way switch and the other
is an old residential
grade non-illuminated 3-way switch. I came in the house and saw that
the illuminated switch
was lit and the load was off so, I went in the house and flipped the
non-illuminated switch and all
I could hear was arcing and the load not lighting up so, I flipped it
off and it stopped, I tried it
again and the same thing happened, I tried a third time and the light
started flickering and then fully lit
up, then the arcing sound stopped, I tried 15 more times and it worked
fine, I smelled the
switch and it smells of ozone. The non-illuminated switch was lying
around in my tool box for
4 to 6 years and it had light oxidation on the terminals but, it came
from the inside, I thought maybe it was because the
load was a small fluorescent sconce but, I think it's because the up
position of the switch
probably had oxidation on the part that the actuator connected to,
because switched
down it was fine, it only did that in the up position. I think to ease
my mind, I'm going to buy
a new one, a commercial grade one, just for added security, but what do
you people think about this?

Thanks for all your help.
 
L

Larry Brasfield

Jan 1, 1970
0
js5895 said:
Hi, Hi.

I posted earlier about how a 3-way, illuminated switch works, well, I
hooked it up permanently.
One is the new commercial grade illuminated 3-way switch and the other
is an old residential
grade non-illuminated 3-way switch. I came in the house and saw that
the illuminated switch
was lit and the load was off so, I went in the house and flipped the
non-illuminated switch and all
I could hear was arcing and the load not lighting up so, I flipped it
off and it stopped, I tried it
again and the same thing happened, I tried a third time and the light
started flickering and then fully lit
up, then the arcing sound stopped, I tried 15 more times and it worked
fine, I smelled the
switch and it smells of ozone. The non-illuminated switch was lying
around in my tool box for
4 to 6 years and it had light oxidation on the terminals but, it came
from the inside, I thought maybe it was because the
load was a small fluorescent sconce but, I think it's because the up
position of the switch
probably had oxidation on the part that the actuator connected to,
because switched
down it was fine, it only did that in the up position. I think to ease
my mind, I'm going to buy
a new one, a commercial grade one, just for added security, but what do
you people think about this?

Residential switches have a pretty good safety record, but
your experience shows part of why building codes require
them to be put in a box. I would just buy a modern switch
designed for residential use and not worry about it.

BTW, the fluorescent lamp load is one of the more brutal
with respect to causing arcing in a switch. Yours probably
had some dirt in it, or even a bug.
Thanks for all your help.
Anytime.
 
J

js5895

Jan 1, 1970
0
I thought that's what it was, but, I'm very critical of my electrical
work.
I just went to the Home Depot and bought a commercial grade,
non-illuminated, 3-way switch, 20A by accident, but it's a step-up.
I wired it up and it works fine, thanks for responding so fast.

Thanks.
 
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