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Author Topic: Wall mounted maxi controller  (Read 18117 times)

danno

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Wall mounted maxi controller
« on: February 06, 2006, 03:04:54 PM »

I would love to see the maxi controller (or
mini for that matter) have the ability to be
wall mounted.  Not that I can't make a way
but my solution is not as pretty.  One
solution I think would be great would be if
the Maxi controller mounted over an existing
wall switch that could replace the light
switch there and give you control over all
others, wired direct so no batteries and no
un-reliable RF controllers but located where
it is convenient.  I like having one just
inside the front door.  Just a thought.
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Noam

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Re: Wall mounted maxi controller
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2006, 10:36:10 AM »

Why not just remove the back, cut
two "keyhole" slots in the back, and put it
back on? You can then hang it on the wall
with two screws.
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Charles Sullivan

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Re: Wall mounted maxi controller
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2006, 03:46:19 PM »

Danno,
One problem with your "Maxi replacing wall
switch" idea is that the required AC neutral
line is not wired into wall switch boxes in
the majority of residential lighting
installations.
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roger1818

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Re: Wall mounted maxi controller
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2006, 02:22:48 PM »

There are several commercial solutions out there for this.  My favorite is SmartHome's KeypadLinc (http://www.smarthome.com/prodindex.asp?catid=32) since each button can be programmed individually in either toggle mode or grouped with other buttons.  X10 Pro (http://x10pro.com/), Leviton (http://www.leviton.com/lightingcontrols/index.html) and ACT (http://www.act-solutions.com/pdfs/PCCSpecs/TK224184384_spec.pdf) also have a bunch of different wall mounted controllers.

One problem with your "Maxi replacing wall switch" idea is that the required AC neutral line is not wired into wall switch boxes in the majority of residential lighting installations.

If you aren't going to directly control the load with the switch, you can easily re-wire the box to have a neutral wire.
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nklght

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Re: Wall mounted maxi controller
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2006, 01:20:07 AM »

In my experience,
All switch boxes have a nuetral wire in them, usually they are capped off.
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stolzb

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Re: Wall mounted maxi controller
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2006, 03:00:07 PM »

Ditto.  The white nuetral wire(s) are twisted together and capped in the back. 
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roger1818

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Re: Wall mounted maxi controller
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2006, 03:52:01 PM »

In my experience,
All switch boxes have a neutral wire in them, usually they are capped off.

This is true for some houses but not all.  In most jurisdictions, the electrical code is not specific about this and it is left to the electrician's personal choice.
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Noam

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Re: Wall mounted maxi controller
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2006, 01:30:08 PM »

After replacing every light switch and outlet in my 43-year-old house, I can tell you that not every light switch box contains a neutral wire. Only those that carry live power do. If a switch is at the end of a run, past the fixture, then in most cases it will only have two wires, and both of them are considered "hot" wires. Usually, the ends of the white wire are painted black, to indicate that it is a switched black wire, not a white wire.
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nklght

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Re: Wall mounted maxi controller
« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2006, 12:56:56 AM »

From what I understand, your experience was due to the age of your house.  I recently did some work on my Mother's house and found an intresting situation, I cut the power to room at the panel and went to change the cieling light fixture, I found so many different wires in that box it looked like a pot of pasta, and after I hooked it up it was on all the time.  I had seven wires and a ground, I tried to use a wire tracer to locate the switch that went to that box, but every trace I did went to every switch. After several hours,I went CSI on the box of limp noodles and by looking at how every wire was bent and twisted, I was eventually able to figure out which set of wires went to that fixture, and was able to get it operate with the switch.  My Mom's house is pretty old I found some areas in which it had post  and knob wiring, she wanted to change fixtures in one of these rooms, after pulling of the fixture I put it back on and told here to have the house rewired.  The room I was working was a 1960's addition and the fuse block was replaced with circuit breakers 80's because they added central air.  Modern practices include running a 3 wire including ground Romex type wiring (1 hot, 1 neutral, and 1 ground wire)  to every fixture, even though the nuetrals may not be connected to the switch and are connected in the box.  When a remote switch is used then they will use 4 wire including ground (1 hot, 1 neutral, 1 remote, and 1 ground wire)  Romex type wire, once again the neutral's are joined in the box and the remote wire usually red is connected between the switches.  Altough every area has different electrical codes, most houses built after 1980 will follow these guidelines, because I believe the Federal Government has set a minimal standard for housing; however, if your house was built before the 80's and it was remodeled during or after the 80's then the only rooms that would meet modern guidelines are the ones involved with the updating process.       
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bigbear1969

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Re: Wall mounted maxi controller
« Reply #9 on: May 06, 2006, 02:03:37 PM »

And besides all that, remember that in 99.9% of the cases, you'll find that "neutral is neatral". By this I mean you don't have to have a neutral thats part of that outlet. All you have to do is run a neutral from the maxi to the breaker panel. I don't usually even bother with going all the way back. I just run a single wire to the nearest neutral I can find. All neutrals are tied together at the breaker panel anyway.
As with all advice on this forum, check your local electrical code to be certain that a single wire run is allowed. Some areas say you either have to rewire the box or run standard cable (hot, neutral and ground) and simply don't use the hot and ground. In this situation, my 2 cents worth is if you're going to pull a full cable, you might as well rewire the whole box.
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roger1818

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Re: Wall mounted maxi controller
« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2006, 10:23:39 AM »

All you have to do is run a neutral from the maxi to the breaker panel.

I highly doubt if this would be permissable in any electrical code.  This would be like knob and tube wiring without using knobs and tubes (which are needed for safety).  Even if you did use knobs and tubes, I doubt if the electrical code anywhere in Canada or the US would let you install new knob and tube wiring (although you can keep existing knob and tube wiring if it is safe).
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nklght

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Re: Wall mounted maxi controller
« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2006, 02:21:11 AM »

If a person is wanting to update to X-10 and modern wiring practices were not followed at their location or if they live at an older dwelling, my only advice would be to consult with a licensed electrician if they are not comfortable with working with electricity or are unsure with how to wire a device.  I am a novice, and have used electrician, when I was uncomfrontable with how to do it properly.  The electrician should have the knowledge to wire the devices properly to meet local codes.  I personally wired a basement for my in-laws, but when they purchased a hot-tub I told them that they needed hire a person, because that was out of my league.  When changing my Mothers lights,  I risked electrocution to fix the problem,  I used several tools to determine what was wrong with the household wiring, and made everything work.  Yet, I told here that she needed to hire a licensed electrician and have the house re-wired.  The biggest fault I found, was bad grounds, and she lost several pieces of equipment because of it.  The  reason I told her to have the house the house re-wired, was when I went to install the new fixtures, and found a spaghetti of wires, all black.  The bathroom had a modern fixture yet the wiring was old and was covered with electrical tape With leads to the modern fixture.  Basically, if your not comfortable with working with electricity, or if you find something unusual, hire a licensed electrician to fix the problem.  It cost my Mom 5 grand to have her house re-wired and upgraded to 200 amp service, yet while she  put it off she spent 3 grand for computers and peripherals.  Thus, if in doubt hire an electrician.
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