Ground options and feasibility - using vintage fire alarm switch as room light switch

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a_gunslinger

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I have a vintage Autocall fire call switch - the kind as a kid you always wanted to break the glass on and push the button :biggrin2:

Would love to use it as a light switch in a single-pole switch in our house.

Few questions.

1. Am I insane?
2. There is no ground on the device for the ground connection in my light switch box.
3. I dont think its low voltage, so hoping my a basic 110 would be fine.
 

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bud16415

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Welcome to the forum and we are all slightly insane here so you will likely fit in.



Have you wired it to anything and tested it?



Is it a switch that is momentary contact or to open it you have to reach in and pull the pin out?



A ground wire could be attached anyplace to the metal box.



It wouldn’t be to code, but that’s not going to stop you.

If it were mine I would find a fire bell and figure out a safe way to hook it up. Then when your friends have to test it they wont be able to shut off the bell. Or I would just mount it on the wall as a conversation piece and leave a modern switch for the lights.
 

Sparky617

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You could possibly remove the momentary contact switch with a 120VAC toggle switch. You'd get the look with the functionality you need. The pushbutton is likely momentary contact, or closes when the glass is broken.

I like Bud's idea of hooking it up to a bell, in the right space it could be a cool conversation piece.
 

afjes_2016

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Personally I would not even entertain the thought of using this device as a light switch. It was not built for it nor intended to be used as a light switch.

My reasoning behind what I say is the fact that it has not been tested for the purpose of being a light switch and does not have a UL approval for such use. If for any reason this fails and causes a fire or even a human injury you will be held liable and if you make a claim to your home owner's insurance company you more than likely will be denied the claim. I absolutely do not feel this risk both monetary and personal injury is worth it.
 

Sparky617

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Personally I would not even entertain the thought of using this device as a light switch. It was not built for it nor intended to be used as a light switch.

My reasoning behind what I say is the fact that it has not been tested for the purpose of being a light switch and does not have a UL approval for such use. If for any reason this fails and causes a fire or even a human injury you will be held liable and if you make a claim to your home owner's insurance company you more than likely will be denied the claim. I absolutely do not feel this risk both monetary and personal injury is worth it.

If he installed a UL listed 120V toggle switch in place of the push button it would be OK. The alarm pull box cover plate is just that a cover plate. I probably wouldn't do it regardless, but I'm not the OP and my heart isn't set on this.
 

afjes_2016

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Yes sparky617 I agree with you. Using it as a cover plate would be ok. But even so the OP would have to be sure they ground the cover plate to the circuit. Not knowing exactly how the plate would be attached to the box I would still ground the plate also regardless. Don't know if a metal box is being used.
 

kok328

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Totally cool. Use the call switch as a designer cover plate, attach a ground wire to the back of the plate and replace that switch with a regular push button switch rated for 120VAC.

I hooked up my nephew with a full blown system. Had 120VAC to 12VAC transformer to a relay, hooked to a horn/strobe combo unit, activated by a pull switch. Needed the allen key to reset it. His Mom was not a happy camper, so I changed the jumper wires on the back of the horn/strobe to strobe only. When she moved and had no idea how to uninstall it. Mom just left it there. Wonder what the new owners thought/.
 

a_gunslinger

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Sorry for the delayed response - work in Emergency Medicine and been COVID19 crushed. Thanks for all the thoughtful replies, information and ideas! Cover plate seems safest, but UL-approved push button replica switch might be tried first. I have a Railroad Crossing bell I hook it up to that is louder than sin - wife would love that! Will report back.
 

a_gunslinger

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Would this work?

Tap this green screw of ground wire to electric box, and (somehow) tap/attach other end to back of alarm housing. Then replace momentary push button switch with this one?

ground.jpg
switch.jpg
 

bud16415

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Would this work?

Tap this green screw of ground wire to electric box, and (somehow) tap/attach other end to back of alarm housing. Then replace momentary push button switch with this one?

View attachment 23787
View attachment 23788
That would work IMO.

Get a large ring terminal and crimp it to a ground wire and stick it around the switches threads and nut it all tight.
 

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