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Thread: Trailer Light Switch

  1. #1

    Default Trailer Light Switch

    Anyone know the secret to wiring up a trailer lightswitch that comes in its own box?

    I've been "practicing" with some 12 gauge romex, but I can't get the individual conductors to snap into the brass clips. Are these things made for 14 gauge only?
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  2. #2

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    God I hate that crap. Impossible to troubleshoot. The last triler I was in, I had to replace a crapload of boxes and regular outlets trying to find a fault.

    I pass on the trailer service calls now.

  3. #3
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    Try some AWG14 and see if it snaps in. If it does, I think you've answered your own question. Since it's a light switch, they probably assume the wiring will always be 14. Lots of "conventional" backstab devices will only accept 14 as well.

    I agree with Alectrician about how hard it is to work on this stuff, but in terms of driving down costs, the manufactured home industry has been pretty effective.

  4. #4
    Jack of all trades frenchie's Avatar
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    I know nothing about trailers, but backstabs only take for 14 gauge, because they're only rated to 15 amps. I remember this from the Great Sparky Backstab Debate at JLC...

    http://forums.jlconline.com/forums/s...ad.php?t=36942

    Oh, they aren't done yet - there's another 5 pages in part II (aka, "Why You Should Never Argue With Mike"):

    http://forums.jlconline.com/forums/s...ad.php?t=37266

    Master Plumber Mark:

    there is nothing better than the
    manly smell of WD 40 in the air
    while banging away on brass with a chisel and hammer...

    it smells like......victory......

    do not hit your thumb...
    __________________
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  5. #5
    Architect Spaceman Spiff's Avatar
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    It should say right on it what type and gauge wire it will accept...
    That being said, your pic is the first time I've seen the back side of one of those switches... Never dealt with those before.
    Spaceman Spiff aka Mike

  6. #6

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    It does say that it is rated for 15 amp 120 v. So, I'll have to buy some 14 AWG. to practice with.

    It's similar to back-stabbing, but a bit different. The main difference is that I don't see a release button, so I might not even be able to re-use it once I figure out how to connect the darn wires.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alectrician View Post
    God I hate that crap. Impossible to troubleshoot. The last triler I was in, I had to replace a crapload of boxes and regular outlets trying to find a fault.

    I pass on the trailer service calls now.
    A lot of people own trailers around here, so I can't afford to pass on those calls.

    One time, I had to crawl under a double-wide to find a loose connection between the two halves of the trailer. There were mice, snakes, skunks, lizards, broken beer bottles, old pizza, dog crap, and every other kind of "trailer trash" you can imagine under there.
    Last edited by Verdeboy; 11-07-2007 at 09:42 AM.

  8. #8
    Electrical Contractor jbfan74's Avatar
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    Are you replacing or adding this switch? If you are replacing, the wire will still be there for you to reconnect the switch to. If you are adding, why not use a cut-in box and put a regular switch in.
    Yes I am A Pirate-Jimmy Buffett

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by jbfan74 View Post
    Are you replacing or adding this switch? If you are replacing, the wire will still be there for you to reconnect the switch to. If you are adding, why not use a cut-in box and put a regular switch in.
    Replacing. I just wanted to figure out how the thing worked ahead of time, so I didn't look like a complete idiot once I got started.

  10. #10
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Verdeboy View Post
    so I didn't look like a complete idiot once I got started.

    Have you tried combing your hair?

    One trick that I try is dressing up but then that would depend on what you were planning on doing.
    I mean one would still look like a complete idiot if they wore a tux to a dicth digging.

    Sometimes looking like an idiot comes in handy, take me for example, no one ever asks me to help do anything so I just stand around looking.... well you know at least I am not the one working their butts off.

  11. #11
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    Those special switches and outlets without a real box are sometimes all that will fit in the thin walls in those trailers. The cable is clamped between the two pieces of plastic and you don't need to meet any "box volume" requirements.

  12. #12
    Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek Mikey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Verdeboy View Post
    I don't see a release button, so I might not even be able to re-use it once I figure out how to connect the darn wires.
    Looks like the rear half of the case pushes the wire down between the two prong-thingies that go through the insulation and contact the wire, much like communication wiring uses a punchdown block and tool. When you separate the back of the box from the front, you should be able to pull the wires out from the prongs with pliers. Whether the thing is reusable or not I can't say, but I reuse Cat5 punchdown connectors regularly, even the small plastic individual jacks.

    Ca't really tell from the pictures, but it looks like the hard part might be pulling the two halves of the box apart -- those one-way snap-together pieces are a little scary.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikey View Post
    Ca't really tell from the pictures, but it looks like the hard part might be pulling the two halves of the box apart -- those one-way snap-together pieces are a little scary.
    That's actually easy. There's just a couple of tabs that you can pry open with a screwdriver. It's removing the wires from the brass clips that I'm worried about.

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