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Old 12-03-2020, 06:22 PM   #1
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Is there a "normal" light switch switch for RV???

I feel like i have not been the first to think about this but i cant find anything here on the forums so time for a post.

I live full time in my 2017 class C and have already dived in to updating and changing a lot of things to make it a better fit for me functionally as well as fashionably. To that end, one of the things i REALLY want to change out is the light switches. What i want is a more traditional "paddle" style light switch like you would find in your house but built for a DC application.

Now i would have thought that others have thought of this and that there would be a market for it out there but ether i am the only soul in this world that wants this or my google-fu sucks and i can find them.

So i put this to the masses... anyone know of 12v light switches that look more like "regular" a light switch?
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Old 12-03-2020, 06:36 PM   #2
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I don't see why you wouldn't be able to use the standard household switches if you wanted. They should switch 12v dc on and off just as easily as 110 v ac on and off.
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Old 12-03-2020, 07:20 PM   #3
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I don't see why you wouldn't be able to use the standard household switches if you wanted. They should switch 12v dc on and off just as easily as 110 v ac on and off.
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.

Leviton makes a 24 Vdc switch that looks just like a regular wall switch

https://www.amazon.com/Leviton-12021...02970532&psc=1

It's not a "buck-ninety five switch" though.
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Old 12-03-2020, 08:00 PM   #4
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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"?
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Old 12-03-2020, 08:52 PM   #5
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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 so want switches with yes and no now.

now i need to see if this company makes them in the "paddle" style now.
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Old 12-03-2020, 09:03 PM   #6
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i so want switches with yes and no now.

now i need to see if this company makes them in the "paddle" style now.
They do.
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Old 12-03-2020, 09:04 PM   #7
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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.

Leviton makes a 24 Vdc switch that looks just like a regular wall switch

https://www.amazon.com/Leviton-12021...02970532&psc=1

It's not a "buck-ninety five switch" though.
So swap them again if they eventually stop working. You can find shallow old construction boxes that will work in most RV walls as well.
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Old 12-03-2020, 09:07 PM   #8
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I wouldn't want the chance of the contacts becoming burnt due to an arc which may then cause repeated and intermittent arcing, heat, melting, smoke, fire.....

If the manufacturer of the switch does not state that it is good for DC, I would not use it in a DC circuit. I just didn't know that there were switches that were rated specifically for DC.
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Old 12-03-2020, 09:23 PM   #9
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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"?
That's funny. They must have been taken lessons in posting from this forum where pictures are sometimes upside down.
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Old 12-04-2020, 01:41 PM   #10
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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 , It will say "OFF"
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Old 12-04-2020, 01:58 PM   #11
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Quote:
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.

Leviton makes a 24 Vdc switch that looks just like a regular wall switch

https://www.amazon.com/Leviton-12021...02970532&psc=1

It's not a "buck-ninety five switch" though.
I have never seen them before. At $20 a pop they're quite proud of of those switches! I'll pass....
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Old 12-04-2020, 02:21 PM   #12
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I have never seen them before. At $20 a pop they're quite proud of of those switches! I'll pass....
That's why the small rocker type switches come with RV's.

They use a "spring/snap" mechanism which makes and breaks the contact fast enough to avoid arcing issues with DC circuits. Slower operating switches need tungsten contacts that withstand the arc damage. Tungsten, and attaching it to switch parts costs more.

FWIW, this was the purpose of the "condenser" in distributor ignitions using points. The "condenser" (capacitor) absorbed the energy when the points opened to lessen the damage to the points. One of the basic diagnostics for point type ignition was to look at the damage on points to tell if the condenser was bad. Most mechanics just replaced them anyway but most weren't bad, the mechanics just added them for the extra buck or two on the bill, explaining that it may not be bad now but would be bad later.
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Old 12-04-2020, 02:30 PM   #13
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I wouldn't want the chance of the contacts becoming burnt due to an arc which may then cause repeated and intermittent arcing, heat, melting, smoke, fire.....

If the manufacturer of the switch does not state that it is good for DC, I would not use it in a DC circuit. I just didn't know that there were switches that were rated specifically for DC.
Switches in RV's would only use 12 volts and low amperage. No smoke, no fire, etc.

What would be MOST annoying is that the switch would just QUIT literally leaving one in the dark and having to replace the switch.

WAAAAY back in the beginning of electric lights DC was supplied to houses because Edison thought that was the way it should be. Light switches were knobs that you turned, and turned, until they "snapped" to make or break the contact. I had some relatives that had houses wired originally for DC power. The same switches were used for years and years after that until the modern "toggle" switch became standard.
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Old 12-04-2020, 02:34 PM   #14
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Metal transfer

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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.

Leviton makes a 24 Vdc switch that looks just like a regular wall switch

https://www.amazon.com/Leviton-12021...02970532&psc=1

It's not a "buck-ninety five switch" though.
The wearout in DC switches (and AC switches) is due to metal transfer from one contact to another. Eventually there's nothing left on one side.

Under AC--in addition to the fact that current flow isn't always at peak--half the time the metal transfers one way and half the time it transfers the other way. Neither contact gets depleted.

Under DC, the transfer is always one way.
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Old 12-04-2020, 04:56 PM   #15
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The DC-AC difference is insignificant if you are using LED lights. Most switches have both an AC and a DC rating - the DC rating is often half the AC rating on a cheap switch. But when we are talking well under 1 amp draw for LED lights, even the cheap switch is well within its limitations.

That said, I use the automotive rocker switches on my A-frame camper simply for the space and maintenance considerations. Available in either round or rectangular hole (I prefer round because I struggle with accurate rectangular holes).

These switches have spade lugs so attaching the female spade connector on the wiring makes maintenance (if ever needed) a piece of cake. I can fit 6 automotive rocker switches in the space of one normal cover plate. And I can have an LED in the switch if I desire - I usually don't wire the LED because they are too bright with no interior walls in the camper.

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Old 12-04-2020, 06:13 PM   #16
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Tool for you

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The DC-AC difference is insignificant if you are using LED lights. Most switches have both an AC and a DC rating - the DC rating is often half the AC rating on a cheap switch. But when we are talking well under 1 amp draw for LED lights, even the cheap switch is well within its limitations.
Maybe. The first thing I had to do when we got the 2008 trailer in 2012 was replace three push-on/push-off switches that had 120 VAC/no DC ratings. One was in a ceiling fixture that had two 921 incandescent lamps at 1.4 amps each. The other two were in wall sconces that each had a single 1142 lamp at 1.6 amps. It doesn't take much DC to kill the AC-only switches.

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That said, I use the automotive rocker switches on my A-frame camper simply for the space and maintenance considerations. Available in either round or rectangular hole (I prefer round because I struggle with accurate rectangular holes).
Fred, here's the tool you need to easily make precise rectangular holes in metal or thin plastics. You used to be able to get them a little cheaper from Harbor Freight (mine's a Pittsburgh 97636, their house brand), but they don't seem to be in the online catalog any more. The Parts Express one seems to be the same product.

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These switches have spade lugs so attaching the female spade connector on the wiring makes maintenance (if ever needed) a piece of cake. I can fit 6 automotive rocker switches in the space of one normal cover plate. And I can have an LED in the switch if I desire - I usually don't wire the LED because they are too bright with no interior walls in the camper.
Using one in the golf cart for the headlights.
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Old 12-05-2020, 06:32 AM   #17
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I wouldn't want the chance of the contacts becoming burnt due to an arc which may then cause repeated and intermittent arcing, heat, melting, smoke, fire.....

If the manufacturer of the switch does not state that it is good for DC, I would not use it in a DC circuit. I just didn't know that there were switches that were rated specifically for DC.
I have several light switches (standard residential toggle switches) I installed to make our camper more livable. The one that comes to mind is right inside the main door. It is the switch most used in the entire camper. Two others are in the bedroom and bathroom so we don't have to reach up to the ceiling to turn on the lights in those rooms.

they have been there for around 6 years and not arced into oblivion yet. I did mount each in a residential box to contain any arcing.

Both the plate covers and switches are black of course, to match the rest of the switches in the camper.

If one does ever fail it is a VERY cheap and easy change that will take a good 2 minutes to perform!
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Old 12-05-2020, 07:18 AM   #18
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I have several of these in my camper.
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Old 12-05-2020, 07:25 AM   #19
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No sure if answered already but thought I would add my two cents.

The “NO” you noticed in tech details likely referees to “normally open” verses “NC- normally closed”. Refers to the position of the contacts. So if when down and NO the contacts are open, circuit open, and load will not have power.

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Old 12-05-2020, 07:39 AM   #20
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No sure if answered already but thought I would add my two cents.

The “NO” you noticed in tech details likely referees to “normally open” verses “NC- normally closed”. Refers to the position of the contacts. So if when down and NO the contacts are open, circuit open, and load will not have power.

Chris
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”.

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