How to install door switch?

Reply

  #1  
Old 03-11-09, 08:50 PM
wgc
wgc is offline
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: New England
Posts: 362
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
How to install door switch?

I'd like to install a door switch, so that when a closet door is opened, the light automatically comes on (like a refrigerator door) and was hoping someone can help with detailed steps and/or a picture of how it should look. I'm pretty comfortable with the actual wiring, so this is more about the physical installation.

At my local home center, I found a gsw-sk door switch (Door Switch GSWSK by Gardner Bender | DoItYourself.com). The directions are very brief but it looks like it wants to be embedded in the door jamb on the hinge side, and the wiring would be behind the frame. The problem is my closet door has a steel remodel frame and I'm not going to take it off.

- Even if I could figure out how to cut the hole in the jamb, how would I fish wiring back there and how would I countersink (?) the front plate so it doesn't interfere with door operation? It seems like for a steel frame you'd really need to take off the frame and mount such switch on the inside. I'm not sure I'm up for that.
- It looks like there are screw holes in the side of the box. Would it be reasonable to just screw the box sideways to the frame and maybe use AC cables?
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 03-11-09, 09:07 PM
Member
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 3,946
Received 2 Votes on 2 Posts
Not sure I can help you out much, but I thought of doing the same thing to my basement utility door. However, I was going to modify a magnetic window/door sensor to switch the light on. This would involve mounting a SPST relay inside the junction box, and running a low voltage wire pair to the magnetic door switch, which would simply mount to the inside of the door frame. Not sure if you are up to it, but I would be glad to explain how to do the install. Perhaps it's not the best method, but it's cheap and I'm always looking for a new project.
 
  #3  
Old 03-11-09, 09:51 PM
wgc
wgc is offline
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: New England
Posts: 362
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
maybe

That's an interesting idea ...

- What do these magnetic sensors look like and where can I find them? Assuming a home center carries something like that, would I look in electical, doors/windows, or near alarm systems?

- Can a relay really just sit in a junction box with other wiring? I was planning on surface mounting a 2 gang box where the existing exposed wire comes through the ceiling, then using an exposed work cover with a simplex receptacle. A cheap fluorescent fixture can just plug in. Would a relay fit? Does it mount somehow or just sit there?

- What kind of wiring goes to these sensors? How does it need to be clamped/protected?
 
  #4  
Old 03-12-09, 07:10 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 4,847
Received 43 Votes on 41 Posts
Originally Posted by wgc View Post
At my local home center, I found a gsw-sk door switch
As you've probably figured out, the wiring of these door switches is pretty straight forward. The hard part is mounting them, even in a wood door. I installed one recently, it required a jigsaw, drill, and quite a bit of chiseling. A router probably would have been a better solution, but difficult with the frame already mounted. The NM cable then gets fished down the wall and into this large cutout in the side of the door.

As for a metal framed door, personally, I wouldn't even try it.

I can't comment too much on the magnetic sensor idea, though I think the idea is to use a mag switch (like would be used for a security system to monitor a door or window). These switches are only rated at ~24v, so you'd need to provide a 12-24v power supply and wire the switch to trip the relay. The relay would then be able to switch the 120v light. Good hobby project, though I'm not sure if I'd want to permanently install that in my house unless it was very well built (safe).
 
  #5  
Old 03-12-09, 10:16 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,597
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
I would suggest using low voltage lighting in the closet. You can then use a surface mounted low voltage normally closed momentary contact switch either mechanical or magnetic and low voltage wiring. You want something with relatively low current draw, good light output and cheap so I'd suggest a 12v fluorescent light such as used in motor homes.

I am not suggesting battery powered but using a 12v plug=in power supply (AKA, wall wart, power brick.) You just need to make sure its volt-amp rating is high enough for the light you use. If there is a receptacle in the closet (unlikely) or one on a wall opposite a closet wall it could be used or the light in the closet could be converted to a receptacle.

Same principle as previously suggested but a bit simpler because no relay needed and all wiring could be surface run inside the closet or contained in surface race (Wiremold). Of course low
voltage lighting for home use could be used too but it may draw more power and you might have to use a hard wired transformer. Also higher power requirements mean a heavier duty MC switch.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 03-12-09 at 11:15 AM.
  #6  
Old 03-18-09, 08:23 PM
wgc
wgc is offline
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: New England
Posts: 362
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
angle brackets

I'll have to look into the low voltage lighting option: that seems like an easier compromise than the relay and switch.

A friend of mine also came up with a possibility. While that switch I found is designed to fit in the door frame, it is a steel junction box. It looks like I can look for angle brackets of the right size, mount them on the surface of the jamb, and screw the front face of the switch to that. It would be exposed, but it is a steel box and I would probably use AC to wire it (if it can bend enough). It would be a bit ugly, but it's a closet.
 
  #7  
Old 03-18-09, 08:50 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,597
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
Actually I like your friends idea. You could remove the trim to fish a cable, replace the trim and surface mount a handy box. Use a blank cover plate, drill a hole in it for the switch button, and mount the switch to the backside of the cover plate. Mount near the top of the door it would be out of the way.
 
  #8  
Old 03-19-09, 10:04 AM
Member
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Racine, WI
Posts: 4
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Motion Sensor

If it is in a closet, why not just use a screw in motion sensor. You could blank of the wall switch if there is one. Now everytime you open the door, light comes on. After closing the door light will remain on for a few minutes, then turns off. Seems much easier than dealing with a door switch.
 
  #9  
Old 03-30-09, 08:38 PM
wgc
wgc is offline
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: New England
Posts: 362
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
no motion sensor

No, the screw in motion sensor idea won't work for me. This is not a walk-in closet. It's pretty small and has a light on the door header, with no direct view of the door opening and closing. Also, while this is still a simple bare incandescent fixture, the plan is to replace it with a covered fluorescent for safety.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: