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Old 12-05-2020, 07:39 AM   #21
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Cole Hersey makes switches for marine use. They cost a bit more than house stuff , but are frequently water sealed and have better contact points.

Heavy Duty Switches and Electrical Products - Cole Hersee

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Cole Hersee are recognised as the leading manufacturer of heavy duty battery master, rocker and toggle switches and electrical products.‎Toggle Switches · ‎Rocker Switches · ‎Solenoids · ‎Connectors and Electrical
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Old 12-05-2020, 08:10 AM   #22
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I would not hesitate to use a regular switch in my RV if I had a place for it. Like mentioned earlier- they are cheap and easy to replace IF they fail which I would be very surprised if they did.
LED low amps lights are not a big deal.

When was the last time you "wore out" a switch in your car??
Door dome lite? Heater fan? They aren't super durable, they just don't need to be.
Don't sweat the small stuff.
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Old 12-10-2020, 07:55 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by nomad297 View Post
ON...I mean NO. LOL

The reason it says “NO” is because the picture is upside down. That is actually “ON” on the switch in the picture. The other side will say “OFF”.

Bruce
Not if it is upside down too!
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Old 12-10-2020, 08:28 PM   #24
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I’d use a “normal” switch if I felt the need to replace what I have. But it’s your call. Leviton does make a “paddle” type switch that’s DC specific.

https://www.leviton.com/en/products/56021-2w
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Old 12-10-2020, 08:38 PM   #25
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Cool DC Switches

All electrical switches are metal contacts that are told to come together by some means.

Arching is common with inductive loads, motors and transformers, for both AC and DC circuits. Arcing increases with high voltage. Arcing can "burn" contacts and cause high resistance contact.

12VDC lighting is a low voltage resistive load and should cause very little arcing. Your typical house paddle switch should outlast your tires. The one on your water pump may go a week sooner. Fret not, low voltage wiring does not need a wall box. Near the switches in Home Depot, you will find plastic frames to screw switches and wall plates on to.

Happy Land Cruising

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Old 12-10-2020, 11:33 PM   #26
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An old style tuneup was always Points, Plugs, Condenser, Cap and Rotor. Sometimes Spark Plug Wires and a Carburetor rebuild. The price was always the same for the basic tuneup with additions for the other work. Never heard of anyone replacing ignition components without a new condenser.
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Old 12-11-2020, 12:19 AM   #27
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Now that I think about it, I’ve already installed two “regular” switches in my trailer. Forest River doesn’t think it’s important to light the pass through storage area, so I added lighting right after I bought the trailer almost 3 years ago. I used a
3-way setup so that I can switch the lights from either side. Zero issues so far.
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Old 12-11-2020, 01:45 AM   #28
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Although there is arcing within DC switches, don't think that arcing doesn't occur in AC switches. Look at an AC relay or contactor sometime, they're designed to operate thousands of times and not be destroyed by arcing. They do of course burn up over time. Also look at the brushes on your motor of choice, they arc constantly and survive a very long time without being dangerous.

Which has more power? 12VDC at 5A or 120VAC at 5A. Correct, the AC carries more power, Volts x Amps.

Honestly, the little DC switches in RVs are just that, little enough to fit anywhere that a full size house switch won't fit. And those little DC switches are sealed, unlike house switches that require a housing to confine the tiny sparks created when the contacts open and close.

The statement that AC is like 0 volts is just wrong. The sine wave swing is centered on 0 volts, but 120VAC constantly varies between +120V and -120V. Try touching either the white wire or the black wire, you'll get shocked. An RV 12VDC plug won't shock you. That's one of the reasons it's such a commonly used voltage.

If a switch can handle 120VAC at 15A, it can handle 12VDC at 15A.
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Old 12-11-2020, 06:10 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by NavyLCDR View Post
Thank you for the correction! I do have a question about the Amazon link, though. It shows the switch labeled "NO" in the down position. If you flip the switch to the up position, will that label be "YES"?
NO means normally open or off
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Old 12-11-2020, 12:29 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by NavyLCDR View Post
Thank you for the correction! I do have a question about the Amazon link, though. It shows the switch labeled "NO" in the down position. If you flip the switch to the up position, will that label be "YES"?
I believe the pic is upside down, therefore the word is "on". JMHO
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Old 12-11-2020, 12:38 PM   #31
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Also, be happy you have switches!! My new FR doesn't except within the light themselves. So if you are short, you better have a flashlight by the door. I installed some of those battery jobs with a normal looking switch. They are awful bright however, but beats walking into a dark TT and needing a light to see the switch way up on the side of the cabinet. I must admit though after a summer of use I pretty good at finding the right one in the dark! They are momentary switches so you can't tell by looking if they are on, so sometimes the so called convenience light on the back side has been on all night! The awning light a couple times too!
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Old 12-11-2020, 01:10 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by WarpedJester View Post


i so want switches with yes and no now.

now i need to see if this company makes them in the "paddle" style now.
Damn, now I want one that is a three way with ‘Yes, No & Maybe’. Maybe would have to be an intermittent on or off that’s effected by smacking the wall beside it.
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Old 12-11-2020, 01:45 PM   #33
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Although there is arcing within DC switches, don't think that arcing doesn't occur in AC switches. Look at an AC relay or contactor sometime, they're designed to operate thousands of times and not be destroyed by arcing. They do of course burn up over time. Also look at the brushes on your motor of choice, they arc constantly and survive a very long time without being dangerous.

Which has more power? 12VDC at 5A or 120VAC at 5A. Correct, the AC carries more power, Volts x Amps.

Honestly, the little DC switches in RVs are just that, little enough to fit anywhere that a full size house switch won't fit. And those little DC switches are sealed, unlike house switches that require a housing to confine the tiny sparks created when the contacts open and close.

The statement that AC is like 0 volts is just wrong. The sine wave swing is centered on 0 volts, but 120VAC constantly varies between +120V and -120V. Try touching either the white wire or the black wire, you'll get shocked. An RV 12VDC plug won't shock you. That's one of the reasons it's such a commonly used voltage.

If a switch can handle 120VAC at 15A, it can handle 12VDC at 15A.
It's not totally the arcing but also the unidirectional flow of electrons. In a DC circuit they are flowing in the same direction and arcing can erode the contact on one side only, depositing it on the opposite contact. This principle is exploited in DC welding by using straight polarity (electrode negative) or reverse polarity (electrode positive). AC welding just relies on the heat generated by the arc.

There is a very good reason that switches are rated for AC and DC which is pretty much due to the quality of the contacts.

Use what you want and who knows, you may get away with it. Some may not and will end up replacing switches more often than they wish.

To me it's not how cheap I can do the job but rather "how right" I can do it.
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Old 12-12-2020, 09:41 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KyDan View Post
I would not hesitate to use a regular switch in my RV if I had a place for it. Like mentioned earlier- they are cheap and easy to replace IF they fail which I would be very surprised if they did.
LED low amps lights are not a big deal.

When was the last time you "wore out" a switch in your car??
Door dome lite? Heater fan? They aren't super durable, they just don't need to be.
Don't sweat the small stuff.
Happy camping!
Dan,

It's been a few years, but I once bought a 250k-mile '89 Ford van for occasional use that the owner warned me the heater switch always wore out within a few weeks. Turned out they all did because the northland spec fan motor was so x-tra large and drew so many amps on high, that it fried contacts with only a few uses. Here in ND the fan was always left on high in the winter. After I fried a HD generic 12v switch, I blocked the high (4) and used only speeds 3,2,or 1 and it was fine.

Which brings me to the point that only amps melt switches, although voltage will began to throw the arc sooner which accounts for making the contact as fast as possible. Watts = volts x amps. So 12v switches always use more amps for the same wattage device to make up for the lack of high volts. Welders specifically only use enough voltage (maybe 40vdc) to weld through high resistance corrosion etc. But the real secret to melting metal is in the amp setting.
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TRIVIA:

Warped Jester,

I once bought an old '60's street-able dirt bike that had been used as a flat-tracker. The OEM headlight and headlight switch were long gone. To fix it, I affixed an old used '57 automotive headlight bucket to the forks with plumbers pipe-hanger strap and most importantly, my fabricated switch became one of two wire nuts that directly connected what was left of the automotive light harness to the generator wires hanging loose out of the bike crankcase.

I'd quit using an expensive wet battery because the plastic battery-case broke about every other crash and I crashed a lot because the bike had little, or no, suspension. I added a electrolytic capacitor to absorb a steadier system voltage for the ignition. But then with no full battery, after just a fraction of a second, the dang bike would no longer idle when the headlight was on and sucked out all the ignition power.

So to turn the headlight on, I had to stop and use both hands to twist the wire nut on to make contact along with an invariably dead engine. Then because I couldn't generate enough system voltage to start it by kicking it over, I had to put the 4-speed in 3rd gear, run like heck beside it and pop the clutch and jump on, all while keeping the throttle at a fast idle setting to keep it from popping and dying. Those were the days.

Anyway for your RV, using such a wire nut, normally stored (for "OFF") on the hot wire which is left hanging out the RV wall, and then twisting it back on to both wires instead (for "ON"), would be the cheapest, most reliable switch to get rid of those damnable OEM bathroom rocker switches, unless you're usually in a hurry to go.

Hard Way Wes
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Old 12-14-2020, 09:40 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by TitanMike View Post
DC arc's more than AC which has a natural 0 voltage point in it's sine wave. The arcing of DC eventually destroys contacts.
This point needs a bit of clarification...

Arcing is caused by the fact that inductive loads do not like an instantaneous change in current. Opening up a contact on an inductive load wants to be an instantaneous change in current... Since both conditions cannot occur simultaneously, the current gets bled off in the form of an arc. This happens on both AC and DC circuits...

Yes, opening a switch contact can lead to arcing. But, not all arcs are created equal... The higher amperage and more inductive the circuit is, the greater the severity of arcing. For low-current 12V loads in your RV such as the lighting, I really would not worry about arcing the contacts.

If you are worried about arcing on a 12V DC circuit, install a flyback diode across the load. It will bleed off the inductive current and prevent arcing... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flyback_diode Not necessary for RVs, but you will not hurt anything if you're worried about it.

You are correct that AC loads have a natural zero-crossing of the voltage. But, in order to not have arcing when an inductive AC load is switched, you need to open the switch at the exact moment the voltage waveform crosses 0 vac. Not likely that you're going to throw the switch at the exact moment your 60Hz AC power crosses the zero voltage.

If you want to eliminate the arcing on an AC circuit, switch it using a Solid-State Relay (SSR) with zero-crossing switching. This device has no moving contacts, and will delay turning off the load until the AC waveform is at 0 vac.

A typical household wall switch is made to withstand years of use. Each time the load is turned off, there will be a small arc. But, you're not having light switches fry in your house constantly, and I've never heard of a house fire caused by a properly installed light switch wearing out...

Using an AC Wall switch to control a low-current, low voltage DC load should not give any problems. An analogy that I can think of is that its like using a tow rope to make a clothes line. It definitely will do the job, but you could use something much lighter...
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Old 12-14-2020, 09:55 AM   #36
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There are lots of inductive 12VDC loads in an RV. These include solenoids in the gas valves in furnace and water heater, slide motors, inverters, and fan motors.

Tungsten filaments in incandescent lamps have the peculiar property that their resistance goes up with temperature. When they are cold, they are nearly a dead short. Resistance rapidly rises as they heat up to white hot. (That's why they usually fail at initial turn-on.) The inrush current is substantial on the commonly used 1141 lamp. It's an asymmetric situation: damage occurs on turn-on but not on turn-off.

We bought the 2008 Cherokee in 2012, when it was only 4-5 years old. The previous owner had not changed from 1141 and 1142 lamps to LEDs, nor had he bothered to replace the three AC-rated lamp switches that had failed after only a few years.
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Old 12-23-2020, 06:03 PM   #37
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UPDATE:
ok i was going to do a big'ol long detailed post on this topic but i been so busy with so many little projects that i am trying to log and post that all add up into one big post so im having a hard time keeping up so here is the short and skinny.

I am currently testing out the cheap AC house switches to see how long they will last.


Depending on life span, i will follow up on this post with a update ether when one of them gives out or after a about a years service. Part of that follow up will be a tear down of the switch to get a good look at the insides and see what damage was done. I will likely to this side by side with a new switch as a base line as well as a standard 12v "RV" switch just to get a basis of comparison regarding build and wear.

Why do this? Because i always hear the stories from a guy that has a friend that had issues but i never have put it to the test so i see this as a opportunity..

What are my expectations? going off of what people have told me/posted in forums when looking into this, the most likely thing is the switches will just crap out after some undefined amount of time.

THINGS TO NOTE:
i am ONLY using these switches in lighting application and all lights are LED so low power applications. thanks to the people here in this forum, i have found switches that look almost the same but are rated for DC and cost over $20 a pop. i will be using those for haver loads, namely the water pump.
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Old 12-23-2020, 06:28 PM   #38
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You should include an AC voltage switch used in an AC application in your comparison as well. My money says that there won’t be a significant difference between them.
Good luck.
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Old 12-23-2020, 09:57 PM   #39
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Not 120VAC

Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidWJ View Post
The statement that AC is like 0 volts is just wrong. The sine wave swing is centered on 0 volts, but 120VAC constantly varies between +120V and -120V.
David, here's a little clarification on a couple of points.
The potential (voltage) across the two 120 VAC wires or contacts does not vary between +120V and -120V as you state. It actually varies between -170V and +170V, the voltage peaks. 120V is the root-mean-square (RMS) voltage. It is the AC voltage that is equivalent to a DC voltage.
  • 120 VDC at 5 amps is 600 watts
  • 120 VAC at 5 amps (AC) is 600 watts, but the peaks are 170V and 7.07 amps
The peaks are higher to compensate for the points where the voltage or amperage are small or zero. The RMS voltage is sort of similar to an average, but not exactly the same.

The above applies directly to pure resistive loads: incandescent lamps and radiant heaters, toasters, and water heaters. Capacitive loads and inductive loads (motors, converter, air conditioner) are a bit trickier.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidWJ View Post
The sine wave swing is centered on 0 volts, but 120VAC constantly varies between +120V and -120V. Try touching either the white wire or the black wire, you'll get shocked.
The white wire is very close to ground. They are wired together at the panel. If there are loads on the circuit, there will be some voltage loss on the white wire so it might be a couple of volts above ground, but very unlikely to shock you. (The black wire swings both above and below the white wire.)

Here's an example:
AWG 14 wire (15 amp circuit) has a resistance of 2.525 ohms per 1000 feet.
Suppose you have an appliance that is drawing 1500 watts--very common for a space heater.
Suppose you are 100 feet from the panel.
Resistance of white wire (and black wire)=.2525 ohms
1500 watts/120V=12.5 amps
Voltage drop in the white wire: V=IR V=12.5 x .2525=3.15625
So the difference in potential (voltage) between the white wire and ground wire is around 3 volts.
Try this simple experiment, Part 1.
  • Plug a toaster into a duplex outlet.
  • Turn it on.
  • Set your voltmeter to a low scale.
  • On the other outlet in the duplex pair, put one probe in ground (the big round hole) and the other probe in the wider slot.
  • You won't get a full three volts because you are likely less than 100 feet from the panel and probably on AWG 12 wire, but you will see some difference.
  • Now turn the toaster off and take the reading. The difference should be much less.
Okay, now here is Part 2
Guess what? The black wire also has a voltage drop, equal to that of the white wire!
Set the voltmeter to at least a 120VAC scale.
Turn the toaster back on.
On the other outlet of the duplex pair, measure the voltage between the two slots.
Turn the toaster off.
Measure the voltage between the two slots again. It will be a few volts higher. The difference between the two measurements represents the voltage drop in both black and white wires. It should be double the value in part 1.

There's a hidden simplification in the above calculation. I started by calculating the current of the heater as 1500 watts/120V=12.5 amps. That's a proxy for the resistance. In this example situation, the heater won't have 120V across it, only 114V. So the calculation will be off by about 5%. But you get the idea.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidWJ View Post
The statement that AC is like 0 volts is just wrong.
But that's not what people were saying. What they were saying is that often the voltage is at zero, near zero, or small, so the switch should last longer on AC than when operated on DC where the make is always at full voltage and the break is always at full current.

And one poster stated that there are solid-state relays that sample the voltage and always make and break right at the zero-voltage crossing.

Others have mentioned that inductive loads under DC make the problem worse, but that excess can be eliminated with flyback diodes. That's true (although Chrysler never learned it), but I am restricting this discussion to resistive loads.

And I stated earlier that the failure mechanism of switches (and I've taken apart my share of failed ones) is current transfer from one contact to another. On an AC switch, 50% of the time the transfer goes one way and 50% of the time it goes the other way. On a DC-rated switch, it always goes one way; these switches have thicker contacts or contact material less susceptible to transfer. Here are images of a pair of new contacts and after they have been operated for nearly 100,000 cycles on DC. Note the asymmetric wear. Material has transferred from the right contact to the left contact.

Hope this is educational.
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Old 12-23-2020, 09:59 PM   #40
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Why do this? Because i always hear the stories from a guy that has a friend that had issues but i never have put it to the test so i see this as a opportunity..



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