changing an older switch to a decora triple

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  #1  
Old 11-19-01, 05:24 AM
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changing an older switch to a decora triple

I have a pair of older triple switches that I'd like to change to a pair of leviton decora triple switches. When I took off the switch plate and looked at the way the old setup was wired it looks as if each triple switch receives its own set of wires to each individual switch - In fact it actually looks like each individual switch component of the triple switch is its own seperate switch. On the "new decora triple switch it looks more like one unit. On the back there appears to be only one common incoming hole and than 3 seperate outgoing holes ( One for each button). Can these decora triple switches be substituted for the older switch setup or do I need a different kind of switch. Thanks
 
  #2  
Old 11-19-01, 10:43 AM
Wgoodrich
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If you bought one triple switch device that has three toggle switches built into one device you probably will have to take it back. The way that you discribed it you have three separate switches under a three gang switch plate in a three gang swtich box.

What you discribed as I understand it is a single switch device with three toggles stacked up and down from each other.

What you need is three individual switch installed in a row side to side.

Before you buy anything, you should look at the switches you want to replace. The switches may have three screws, or four screws, or two screw on each switch. Each new switch must have the same number of screws on that new switch that your older switches have. The wires must be connected also matching where they were originally connected on the old switch. If you have an older switch that has three screws pay close attention as to the conductor connected to the odd colored screw and put a piece of tape on that conductor identified as the common conductor. Two of the screws are the same color and they should be what is called travelers and one odd colored screw that will be the common. When you install the new switch that has three screws on it you will need to know which wire was connected to that odd colored screw on the old switch device. That is the most important info you will need to know when installing the new switches.

You should be able to go back to where you bought that triple switch decora device and buy three separate decora switch devices. Don't forget to buy a switch plate that will match up to the new decora switch devices once installed.

Hope this helps

Wg
 
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Old 11-19-01, 10:54 AM
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I think what he is talking about is a device where you can snap in 2 or 3 different devices (ie. switch, outlet, pilot light).It fits into a single gang box.
 
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Old 11-19-01, 11:18 AM
Wgoodrich
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PentaVolvo, I didn't read it the way that you did. However I went back and suspect you may be right that he is talking about a single triple switch device.

I am still confused if these are truly a single triple switch device as to whether they are in the same box or not. Boy that would be a lot of wires in one double gang box.

I suspect he or she needs to come back in and give us more precise dicriptoins as to what is present that is being worked on. A double box with two single triple devices or three separate switches mounted separately.

I am totally confused now as to what we have on this post.

Wg
 
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Old 11-20-01, 04:05 AM
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First - Thank you very much for your replies.

Let me try to clarify the situation if I can - bear with me My electrical knowledge is somewhat basic.

The current switches that are in there appear to be in a box that would normally accomodate 2 single switches(Is that what you mean by a double gang box). Instead of 2 switches however what you have is 2 sets of " what I am calling triple switches" - Each of these "triple switches"contain 3 smaller than normal switches stacked one on top of each other. In total 6 seperate lights are being controlled by the two "triple switches". Switches work by moving side to side - not up & down as a tradional switch might work. When I took the switch plate off it appeared that as if each individual switch is wired seperately - Alot of wires in there. Within each "triple switch"it appears that the individual switches are connnected in the sense of all being part of the same "holder" but that you just could popout an individual switch if you needed to replace just that one switch.

The new decora switches I bought are as you described - 3 toggle switches built into one device. The toggle buttons are stacked one on top of eachother.

So I think pentavolvo might be right in terms of what I was originally calling a triple switch.

So i hope this clarified the situation somewhat. If it did - can I use these new decora switches? (I very much doubt it). If I can't -what can I do to update these old switches to a modern decora look and yet keep it all within "the double gang box"?

I will try to take some digital pictures of this and attach it as a file unfortunately I'm not home currently & have not yet taken pictures.

Thanks for any help you can offer.
 
  #6  
Old 11-20-01, 12:36 PM
Wgoodrich
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REMEMBER TO TURN OFF YOU BREAKER AND MAKE SURE ALL CONDUCTORS IN THAT BOX HAVE NO ELECTRICITY.

On the old switch you should find on one side of that triple stacked switch three screws with one wire connected to each screw. Notice that on the side of that older switch the screws do not have any metal strips connecting those three screws together.

On the other side of that switch you should find a metal strip connecting all the screws on that side of that older switch together as one entity electrically.

The side that has all the screws connected with metal strips between the screws connecting these screws as one entity, no matter how many wires that are connected there, you should disconnect those wires. Then make a pigtail [6" piece of insulated wire] Take a wire nut and connect all those wires together with that new pigtail. Then connect that other end of that pigtail to the single hole of that new decora switch that should be the power in feeding power to that switch.

Then take the three conductors on the oppisite side of that older triple stacked switch and connect them individually with one conductor pushed in each hole of the three remaining holes in that new decora switch.

Turn on the power and see if all works fine.

If all works fine then repeat the same process on the second older triple stacked switch device. Again test the second switch and see if all works fine.

Now if all does not work correctly after installing the first new decora triple stacked switch when you test its operation. Then make note what each of the three switches turns on what and when, noting all the info you can collect. Then come back in and give us that report. We will try to figure out what went wrong.

You should be fine when you test the first new decora switch. If so then install the second new decora switch. If all works fine don't forget us. Reply back in and tell us we did good. OR BAD.

Hope this helps

Wg
 
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Old 11-20-01, 01:40 PM
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Thanks

I will take a better look at the switch and see if it is wired as you say. If so I will try what you suggested & get back to you to see if it worked. Thanks again
 
  #8  
Old 11-20-01, 06:39 PM
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Here's some pictures of my situtation
 
 

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