Mobile home switch replacement

Old 06-21-05, 01:36 AM
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Mobile home switch replacement

I own a 1986 mobile home where all the light switch and outlets are the all one piece that screw mount to sheetrock (example
And honestly I hate them and slowly replacing them with normal switches and outlets that screw mount into a box with a face plate.
My question is, how do the one piece units like that work? I have a bedroom light that has three wires out of it, two from the bottom one from the top, and I assume the top one goes to the light and the other bottom two would be a hot comming in and the other one would be out to the next outlet in line.
I don't understand how the all one switch would be wired to keep continual current to the outlet and be able to control on/off of the light. To replace the switch with a normal single pole switch, would I need to make a junction box to connect the continual hot to the outlet? I havn't tore into this yet til I get a better understanding of it, It is impossible to tell where the two bottom wires go unless I remove the whole sheetrock panel and as far as I can tell the top wire goes to the ceiling. This is all copper wire by the way, I just hate the all in one units made of plastic that wears out faster, if you pull on something plugged in too hard it will pull the entire outlet out and away from the sheetrock making repair a pain and your stuck with the plain color covers all thru the house.
I have little know how of wiring so bare with me...many thanks...
Old 06-21-05, 07:27 AM
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Dry Side of Washington State
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Do any of the switches operate receptacles or just lights.

Normally it's one cable for power, one cable on to the next outlet and the last cable is for the light.

There are cases where the switch will operate lights and one or more receptacles.

Got a voltmeter handy?
Old 06-21-05, 07:53 AM
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Yes I have a tester, it is hard to test each line unless I unhook them from the switch and I didn't want to do that til I had a better understanding of how to swap it out. they fit into the all in one switch like a splice, you push the wire inbetween the two copper tongs and it will cut the plastic sheath on the wire to get a connection. so the white wire from both bottom lines run thru and connect with the white one from the top wire, the black wires from the two bottom lines connect together at the bottom and the black wire from the top line connects by itself and I hope that made sense to you. Of course the copper ground on all three runs down the middle of the switch. If I can determine what bottom line is the hot line then do I go with a junction box to connect it to the line to the outlet then wire in the switch? I want the outlet to be always hot and the switch for the light only. That is where I get real fuzzy and I just want to do it right the first time.
Yes, one switch in my living room operated a wall outlet at one time but it is disconnected and I don't use that switch or outlet. There is three switches next to the front door, one for pourch light one for ceiling fan the last was the outlet, and I didn't see how they wired the switch for that mess so when I had trouble with the outlet I just disconnected it and left it alone. At one time it was three seperate switches and I swapped it for a single switch assembly with three switches on it. I don't know the terms to use so just use your imagination! I dind't see how they wired that back, but it all worked at one time. The outlet quit because it had a prong broke off in it and it needs replaces.
The wiring diagram for mobile homes are totally crazy.

So how do I do the light switch?
Old 06-22-05, 08:44 AM
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Can I take the hot line, a few inches below the end sticking out of the wall and connect the outlet line to it with wire nuts. Then take the remaining wire from the hot line and wire to the switch along with the line running to the light? Tuck the wing nuts inside the box with the light switch and if they won't firt I can install a small junct. box under the switch box to hold them and do they need that? Is this the right way to do this? I won'y tear into this until I know I am doing it right.
\ Thanks...and anyone else out there hate them one piece switches and outlets they made for mobile homes as much as I do??

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