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1828 posts

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# 177374 31-Jul-2015 11:29
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What are the legalities around making/modifying some light switches around my house?

I want to have a metal plate with toggle switches instead of plastic/glass standard switches. 

I'd be happy to fit a PDL flush box, place the metal plate over the flush box, and screw it into the plastic. But can I change the switch/es to something else, or am I limited to what the manufacturer has in their range?

Thoughts?

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  # 1355881 31-Jul-2015 11:44
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That's not gonna pass NZS/AUS standards.



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  # 1355926 31-Jul-2015 12:09
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I'd worry it would invalidate my household insurance if there was fire etc.

A.

 
 
 
 


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  # 1355977 31-Jul-2015 12:51
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If you want a metal plate, you will need to earth the plate. That in turn would probably mean running an earth wire to the switch -- most light switches don't have an earth.

I guess that you could use any switch that meets the NZ standard, but IANAL and IANA electrician.

Or maybe you could use a relay instead... your light switch would switch (e.g.) 12V DC which would switch a relay to turn on/off the 230V to the lights. I don't know what the rules are about 230V relays, where they need to be and how they need to be protected, but I think you can do any 12V wiring you like. Instead of a relay, you could replace the lights themselves with 12V LEDs. Downside of either of these plans is that you need a 12V supply somewhere (in/near your meter box?) and need to wire up your lighting circuits to that. With care, the LEDs would pull less 12V current than the old wiring was designed for, so you wouldn't need to replace your lighting wiring with heavier cable.

If it was me, I'd do away with the switches altogether and use WiFi from my phone and/or motion sensors to turn lights on/off. You could even have a metal plate with a fake switch of any design you wanted on the wall.


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  # 1355984 31-Jul-2015 12:59
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You can get decorative cover plates for some existing products eg PDL. Have you checked them out?

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  # 1356013 31-Jul-2015 13:24
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frankv: If you want a metal plate, you will need to earth the plate. That in turn would probably mean running an earth wire to the switch -- most light switches don't have an earth.


Are you 100% sure of that. Pretty sure either HPM or PDL sell metal plates for their standard sockets/switches. 

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  # 1356033 31-Jul-2015 13:49
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And I have seen houses that have had "toggle" type switches installed as light switches, so there must be someone out there that produces a product meeting NZS

 

(although I suspect they are using a Chinese standard based equivlent allowed under the NZ-China FTA)



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  # 1356038 31-Jul-2015 13:58
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www.thethom.co.nz have them at about $120 per single switch... 

They're lovely pieces of kit, but at that price we were thinking we could get away with bodging something similar out of standard PDL/HPM hardware. 

 
 
 
 


gzt

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  # 1356131 31-Jul-2015 15:41
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Disrespective: www.thethom.co.nz have them at about $120 per single switch..;

Interesting. A sane looking lightswitch.

Quality of any random toggle is variable so I imagine they have selected very carefully. Simlar for fixing and fastening of toggle to plate. I wonder if the price reflects gaining an electrical approval & if it is only good for new builds with earthing provided specifically?

Have you asked if it is one for one replacement for existing?



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  # 1356157 31-Jul-2015 16:19
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Yeah, they can be put into standard wiring, but they need a UK sized flush box to be installed. 

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  # 1356161 31-Jul-2015 16:34
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lxsw20:
frankv: If you want a metal plate, you will need to earth the plate. That in turn would probably mean running an earth wire to the switch -- most light switches don't have an earth.


Are you 100% sure of that. Pretty sure either HPM or PDL sell metal plates for their standard sockets/switches. 

No, not 100% sure. IANAL and IANA electrician.


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  # 1356194 31-Jul-2015 17:21
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lxsw20:
frankv: If you want a metal plate, you will need to earth the plate. That in turn would probably mean running an earth wire to the switch -- most light switches don't have an earth.


Are you 100% sure of that. Pretty sure either HPM or PDL sell metal plates for their standard sockets/switches. 


What you have seen is decorative metal cover that clips over the standard mounting plate, what the OP is suggesting just a metal plate with his own custom switch fitted, as soon as it's only the metal plat and the switch is mounted to it, it requires an "Earth bonding"

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  # 1356231 31-Jul-2015 18:03
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gregmcc:
lxsw20:
frankv: If you want a metal plate, you will need to earth the plate. That in turn would probably mean running an earth wire to the switch -- most light switches don't have an earth.


Are you 100% sure of that. Pretty sure either HPM or PDL sell metal plates for their standard sockets/switches. 


What you have seen is decorative metal cover that clips over the standard mounting plate, what the OP is suggesting just a metal plate with his own custom switch fitted, as soon as it's only the metal plat and the switch is mounted to it, it requires an "Earth bonding"


There might be a workaround - if the toggle switches themselves are double-insulated, and modern flush boxes used which are plastic so that the screws couldn't conduct between flush box and faceplate, laminate the metal faceplate over plastic, then there's two insulation layers between live and the faceplate, so it could be okay.  Problem is that the double-insulated switches are probably going to have plastic toggles - and as such may not have the desired "steam punk" look to them.

gzt

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  # 1356366 31-Jul-2015 22:13
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Do UK light circuits have earth?

gzt

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  # 1356367 31-Jul-2015 22:19
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Hmm. It looks like many circuits do have in UK. Cant tell if it is an optional standard or a new standard, or just for specific applications.

gzt

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  # 1356372 31-Jul-2015 22:31
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In NZ it is recommended (to cater for installation of metal fittings) but other than that lighting earth is not required.

Just a side question here. If I install a ceiling metal light fitting to a two wire circuit, is it allowed & ok to run a separate earth to that fitting?

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