Replacing emergency lights in small office condo

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Old 02-01-19, 12:25 PM
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Replacing emergency lights in small office condo

I have a small office condo, and I wanted to replace the emergency lights. They're old and dated. I thought it was a simple replacement, but I see 5 wires coming in through one of the knockouts - 2 black, 2 white, and 1 copper/ground. It's on a 20-amp circuit, so I believe that the two 12AWG wires are the hot and neutral. The other two wires appear to be 14AWG. They are terminated on the L+ and L- on the board inside the emergency lights. Can someone help me to understand what these secondary wires are for? Are the 120v connections usually made inside the casing of the emergency lights? I was under the impression that they should be in the junction box in the wall. I have pictures below. As an aside, is it better to have metal emergency lights? I bought a smaller plastic unit on Amazon, but I'm thinking about returning it for metal.
 
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Old 02-01-19, 12:38 PM
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The blue and the yellow wires on the left are lights on the unit. should be 12 volts. The black and white on the same terminals are for additional light. There must be at least one light remote from the unit that these wires feed.
The blue and the red on the right are battery inputs for when power goes out to power the lights. The battery is not connected and appears to be leaking.
 
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Old 02-01-19, 12:44 PM
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Actually looking at the battery the lights might be 6 volts not 12v.
 
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Old 02-01-19, 03:06 PM
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All our emergency lights are 6vdc. You need to replace that unit with a unit that allows remote head connections. As joed pointed out..... that emergency light is powering at least one remote head. This will eliminate using a basic emergency light replacement.
 
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Old 02-01-19, 03:07 PM
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Joe, thank you for your help. It appears that these wires feed the exit light that is over the door. Is that possible? You're right, the battery is definitely leaking. I am going to order a whole new unit. Are the wiring connections for the hot/neutral supposed to be inside the metal enclosure, or should they be in the junction box?
 
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Old 02-01-19, 03:12 PM
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Why not just replace the battery?
Electrical connection are acceptable in the unit or in the junction box.
 
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Old 02-01-19, 03:23 PM
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I guess I could just replace the battery, but I was hoping to switch it to one of the newer NiCad units. I don't see remote heads anywhere. Is it possible that this is feeding the exit sign over the door? Both are on the same circuit.
 
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Old 02-01-19, 04:45 PM
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The lead acid batteries are far superior in that type of application.
That battery is over 21 years old.

6v 8AH is not a common size in standard lead acid. You can also use a monobloc battery. That's a battery that looks like 3 D batteries attached.

If the battery was working.... you could see which lights came on when testing that unit.
 
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Old 02-01-19, 05:56 PM
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Lead acid is proven to be simplest, low maintenance and cheap technology. Although it is one of the oldest type of rechargeable battery, it is still used for back-up power such as emergency light you have.

6V 8Ah battery can be ordered on-line if you cannot find locally (which usually is also cheaper).
You don't have to get 8Ah. You can get larger one as long as it fits in the box. You will be able to get away with 7Ah as well, which is more common size.
 
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Old 02-01-19, 08:35 PM
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I would just measure the size of the space and get a 6 volt battery that fits. My supplier has 6 volt 7.2 Ah on the shelf. I just bought 6 of them.
 
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Old 02-02-19, 05:23 AM
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One advantage to a newer light is the light source will be LED instead of an incandescent bulb and will place less demand.on the battery so the battery is much smaller.
 
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Old 02-02-19, 06:14 AM
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You have to get the same kind and amperage rating of battery because the system built in charger might not be compatible with something different.
 
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Old 02-02-19, 02:31 PM
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You have to get the same kind and amperage rating of battery because the system built in charger might not be compatible with something different.
Not for lead acid. Lead acid charger doesn't require complicated charging circuit. Often, they are just simple constant voltage power supply. More complicated fast charge circuit will charge at higher voltage and checks current instead. But even with this circuit few Ah difference doesn't make any difference.
 
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Old 02-03-19, 06:13 AM
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I would not bother repairing these lights. New LED exit/emergency lights are not that expensive and will outlast any repairs you make to these old lights.
 
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Old 02-05-19, 09:36 AM
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Thank you everyone for all of your input. I'm still trying to figure out what additional light these emergency lights are feeding. I checked everywhere (it's a small office condo), and we don't have any other lights. The only thing I can think of is our outside light, but that's a normal 120v fixture. I did notice that at the top of our door frame, we have a small black button. It's about 7' up the wall (above the fire alarm, burglar alarm, and to the right of the exit sign). Is this perhaps some kind of test button? I'm afraid to hit it in case it controls the fire or burglar alarm. We're connected to other offices, so the last thing I want to do is set off something.

I have been trying to post a picture, but it is saying I'm over my quota. I'm not sure how to delete older attachments.
 
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Old 02-05-19, 10:59 AM
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I'm still trying to figure out what additional light these emergency lights are feeding.
I thought you said
It appears that these wires feed the exit light that is over the door.
That would make sense. The exit light would light up when power goes off. Open the exit light and look. The emergency light will be off when power is on.
 
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Old 02-05-19, 11:24 AM
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Joe - I found out today that those wires are not feeding the exit sign. I disconnected them and then restored power. The AC light on the exit sign came back on.
 
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Old 02-05-19, 01:00 PM
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Disconnect AC power the unit. Connect any 6 volt battery and see if any lights come on. Do it at night for better results. As long as AC power is off the charger won't kick on so any 6 volt batty will work. Even 4 flashlight(D CELLS) would probably work.
 
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Old 02-07-19, 11:04 AM
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I noticed in the old unit that I removed, there was no push-in connector or clamp in the metal knockout. The wires were just inserted right through the metal hole. The new unit is the same way. Is that how it is normally done with emergency lights, or should I install some type of connector on the back?
 
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Old 02-07-19, 12:07 PM
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There should be a connector/cable clamp to hold the cable.
 
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