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Modular home electrical switches - is there an easier way to change them?

Modular home electrical switches - is there an easier way to change them?


  #1  
Old 01-19-16, 04:40 PM
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Modular home electrical switches - is there an easier way to change them?

Let me preface this by saying that I'm a former Electronics Research & Development Technician with an ASEET ( Associate in Science in Electronics Engineering Technology ).

We bought this UBC ( universal building codes ) modular in 2005 and had it placed on a foundation in the west Denver area of Colorado. UBC homes are allowed by local codes, to be put on foundations and become nearly like a "stick built" home in appearance and value. This home was built by Clayton in Kansas and shipped here.

But one of my biggest frustrations is that they used probably THE cheapest electrical switches that money can buy, to the point of them seeming hazardous at times. I have one in one of the bedrooms that can easily sputter and spark if you switch it off too slowly and it lingers in the middle.

Now the problem is that it was a huge hassle for me to replace one in another room. I had to remove the old one from the harness, strip the wires, THEN cut the wall out to JUST the right size, to put in a plastic electrical box that could hold a conventional switch ( couldn't find a plain old replacement, of higher quality, for the modular one that was in there! ), then install the new conventional switch. BIG hassle. I've done two of these and they take me about an hour each, plus parts.

BUT are there higher quality direct replacements available that HAVE screw terminals on the back, so I can just take the old ones out and strip the harness wires and attach them to screw terminals instead, without having to cut the wall for a box and all that?

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Last edited by Melissa2012B; 01-19-16 at 05:03 PM.
  #2  
Old 01-19-16, 05:29 PM
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What brand are the ones you have? Pass and Seymour makes replacement modular switches and receptacles. I haven't had any experience with those in particular, but have used other P&S products and been satisfied with them....

https://www.starsupplyusa.com/produc...switch-es-2329
 
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Old 01-19-16, 09:25 PM
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No idea what the present ones are, and cant find out without removing one. As you can see, they're really in there. I've always liked Leviton but don't know if they make them for modular.
 
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Old 01-20-16, 05:14 AM
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Wow! Never seen anything like those,I have a modular home in NH and all the devices are standard,when you remove the device there are terminals inside the box,is there a plug connection in the back of the box?if there is I would think the best solution would be to find a better grade switch and install it before altering any connections.
 
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Old 01-20-16, 06:47 AM
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Leviton doesn't seem to make them. But Hubbell does:

http://www.hubbell-wirecon.com/liter...ationGuide.pdf

As with the P&S, haven't used Hubbell's self contained switches, but their standard products are top notch.
 
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Old 01-20-16, 08:09 AM
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You might be able to see if standard switches could be used after removing the switch that is there. Hard to believe the finish work is so sloppy. Perhaps you can remove the switch and show us the switch and also the box behind the switch?
 
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Old 01-20-16, 10:21 AM
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No, not a plug in the back - a wire harness that's jammed into the back of the switch and has, on a couple of them, been slightly loose and a little hazardous seeming.

As far as Hubbell, if they're the same company I used to see in electronics, they were top notch. But what I want to do is find something that can fit the current enclosure ( just dry wall? ) and yet have terminals in the back, instead of those flaky knife blade push-in contacts ( like shown in that Hubbell switch you linked here ). But I suspect that I'm stuck with having to do the whole procedure of cutting the wall and adding a box, for every one I change to a standard switch.

PCboss: It appears to be that these are just mounted in the drywall, with flipper blades holding them in place and a harness behind them jammed into contacts. It's shabby. This is why I've needed to cut out a hole and install a box, to use a conventional switch replacement.
 
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Old 01-20-16, 11:20 AM
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I haven't seen any self-contained switches (the "technical" term for mobile home switches) that have screw or clamp terminals, they all have the insulation displacing prongs. If you want to step up to regular style I think you are stuck with putting in a remodel box so you can install standard devices, as you did before...
 
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Old 01-20-16, 01:55 PM
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I haven't seen these self-contained devices before, what is the regular NEC codes opinion on them? Since they are self-contained and don't have a box behind them I really don't believe they could ever be made with conventional connectors unless the connectors were inside since the device itself acts as the box.
 
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Old 01-20-16, 02:18 PM
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FWIW, Hubbell references 1999NEC section 300-15(e).
 
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Old 01-20-16, 06:21 PM
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I haven't seen these self-contained devices before
I haven't seen them either, but they scream CHEAP to me!
 
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Old 01-20-16, 06:43 PM
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I would like to see the back of the switch.
 
 

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