What does a relay do?

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  #1  
Old 01-26-11, 07:01 PM
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What does a relay do?

Hello Forum

Could anyone tell me what a relay is? I have a box in my basement labeled "Midget Relay."

What does it do? I ask because the thing vibrates and makes an incredible amount of noise. I would LOVE to make it go away if possible.

Also, the light switch you see in the photograph operates nothing. I've turned it on and off and can't find anything in the house that it controls.

Thanks in advance.



Relay3.jpg picture by MetroCP - Photobucket

Relay4.jpg picture by MetroCP - Photobucket

Relay1.jpg picture by MetroCP - Photobucket
 
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Old 01-26-11, 07:55 PM
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A relay is a switch that is controlled by an electric signal. In other words it turns something off and on. The toggle switch next to it seems to be what opens and closes it. Does the noise stop when you turn the toggle switch off.
 
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Old 01-26-11, 08:21 PM
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Nope. Nothing at all happens anywhere in the house when the toggle switch is opened or closed.

BUT, I failed to mention in my previous post: There are several lights on the exterior of the house that come on when the sun goes down. The noise coming from the relay begins when it gets dark out and the exterior lights go on.

So, the relay gets an electric signal from the sensor that tells it to activate and supply power to the exterior lights?
 
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Old 01-26-11, 09:39 PM
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You may want to try replacing the relay. Arrow Hart Products | Authorized Parts

 

Last edited by ray2047; 01-26-11 at 09:59 PM.
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Old 01-27-11, 06:11 AM
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Ray, I have to jump in here and ask, why would they engineer somthing that seemingly complicated just to turn dusk to dawn lights on rather than the simpler setup of the sensor activating the circuit right at the lighting?
 
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Old 01-27-11, 07:30 AM
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Do the outside lights come on during the day when the switch is in the ON posistion. I have a feeling its an override setup. They used a relay instead of using a SPDT switch. I had a customer once that wanted outside lights with a photocell and the option to override the sensor and turn the lights on with a switch. Middle posistion was OFF, top was ON by photocell and down was always on. The relay here probably does the same thing. opening up the switch box and seeing whats in there would help figure things out. Theres only 2 wires going to the switch, and alot more going into the panel. Im wondering if the lights feeds are coming out of the panel box and not the switch box.
 
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Old 01-27-11, 06:42 PM
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I suspect ElectricJoeNJ is correct that the switch is simply an override to the photocell to check the lights during daylight hours, this arrangement is very common in commercial buildings. I also suspect ray is right and the contactor needs to be replaced. I noticed the panel in picture 5 is not the same panel as in picture 4, is picture 5 relevant to the question on the contactor? Picture 5 shows a panel with no grounding conductors whatsoever that we discussed in an earlier thread.
 
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