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Re-wiring a shower switch

SzechuanosaurusSzechuanosaurus Registered User, ClubPA regular
edited March 2007 in Help / Advice Forum
I'm completely comfortable re-wiring regular, three wire light switches but I've got an unattached shower switch that I'm not 100% on.

It's a pretty bog-standard, ceiling mounted pull-cord ceiling switch with a little light to tell you when it is on and off. There are two sets of wires - neutral, live and earth - and two sets of holes in the switch. The switch was previously attached, so I know it's the correct switch. What I'm not entirely sure of is which side of the switch each set of wires is supposed to go in and does it matter? If I get it the wrong way around will it just not work, will it trip the fuse or will it blow my across the room?

I absolve you in advance of any responsibility for my untimely demise.

Szechuanosaurus on

Posts

  • RoundBoyRoundBoy Registered User
    edited March 2007
    Did you buy a 3-way switch? was this switch there before ?

    usually on a switch there are screw type wire attachments, and push in wire attachments .. you need to just pick one.

    The green screw would get the ground wire (really not used for lights, but nice to hook up). The neutral (may be white for you) goes in the silver colored screw .. and the hot (may be black) goes under the black / bronze / dark colored screw.

    If you miswire the neutral / hot wire, the switch will just reverse itself, meaning that instead of turning on when up, it turns on when down, and vice versa... just do it right anyway.

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  • SzechuanosaurusSzechuanosaurus Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited March 2007
    It's the switch that was originally fixed, but it's not a 3-way switch (that's a wiring that lets you turn on a light from two different switches, right?) it's just a power on/off switch for a shower. So you turn on the switch to allow power to go to the electric shower.

    We don't do the coloured screw thing in the UK, just letters (L, N and E) but I can figure that part out. The problem is that it's designed for two sets of cables (where 'a set' is Live, Neutral and Earth/Ground). One half of the switch is labelled Load and the other half is labelled Mains.

    I'm having a thought. I originaly assumed that it's some kind of in-out thing, but that's stupid, that's what the Live and Neutral do. Is it possible that the two different sets of mains cable are just because it also has a light inside the switch that tells you when it is turned on, so one set of cables is for sending power through the switch to the shower and the other set is simply for powering the light inside the switch?

  • RoundBoyRoundBoy Registered User
    edited March 2007
    Ahhh .. is it some sort of GFCI switch ?

    These are usually included in outlets near water, and have the test/reset buttons on them to trip the power quicker in a short situation. I guess they make them in a switch variety.

    The answer for you is to hook up the wires in the proper holes to the 'Mains' holes. This is taking the power from the house.

    usually, everything you also wish to protect would be connected to the 'load' portion, but in the case of a switch, connect what you intend to shut on and off to the 'load' holes.

    Replace 'mains' with 'In' and 'Load' with 'out' .. and that will help you connect the wires.

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  • meekermeeker Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Wiat a second. Electric shower? I know quite a bit about US electrical systems, but in the Uk, they use electricity for their showers?! How the heck does this work?

    Be very careful when you decide to try this out the after you get it wired. Everything I have ever read says water+electricity=bad.

  • SzechuanosaurusSzechuanosaurus Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited March 2007
    meeker wrote: »
    Wiat a second. Electric shower? I know quite a bit about US electrical systems, but in the Uk, they use electricity for their showers?! How the heck does this work?

    Be very careful when you decide to try this out the after you get it wired. Everything I have ever read says water+electricity=bad.

    We actually bathe in a shower of pure electrical current, a torrent of ionised particles. It's much cleaner than water. Also futuristic.

    ...

    It's just a shower that manually heats water from the mains instead of pulling it from the hot water tank. I doubt they aren't common in America. It's no more dangerous than a power shower, which use electric pumps anyway. Pressure normally isn't as good as a power shower but you don't need a massive boiler to feed it. I mean, it's more newfangled than the rubber-hose-attached-to-the-hot-and-cold-water-tap showers, but it's not exactely on the frontier of home appliances.

  • RoundBoyRoundBoy Registered User
    edited March 2007
    We have them here.. they are called 'tankless water heaters' You can get them electrical or gas powered.

    All they do is heat the water as its being used, rather then heat the water and store it for future use.

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  • meekermeeker Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    RoundBoy wrote: »
    We have them here.. they are called 'tankless water heaters' You can get them electrical or gas powered.

    All they do is heat the water as its being used, rather then heat the water and store it for future use.

    Well a tankless water heater is a hell of a lot different than an "electric shower"...

  • edited March 2007
    RoundBoy wrote: »
    Ahhh .. is it some sort of GFCI switch ?

    These are usually included in outlets near water, and have the test/reset buttons on them to trip the power quicker in a short situation. I guess they make them in a switch variety.

    The answer for you is to hook up the wires in the proper holes to the 'Mains' holes. This is taking the power from the house.

    usually, everything you also wish to protect would be connected to the 'load' portion, but in the case of a switch, connect what you intend to shut on and off to the 'load' holes.

    Replace 'mains' with 'In' and 'Load' with 'out' .. and that will help you connect the wires.

    This seems like the most logical solution. Chances are the light is supplied from within and you don't have to connect it separately.

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  • SzechuanosaurusSzechuanosaurus Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited March 2007
    So, how do I figure out which set of cables goes to the shower - ie, which set should be attached to the Load section of the switch?

    Can I figure this out by trial and error? If I do it wrong, will it

    A) just not work
    B) Work but be very dangerous to use
    C) Asplode?

  • dani317dani317 Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    As far as I am aware, the worst that will happen is that the switch will be "upside down" and will be in the on position when the shower is isolated.

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