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Arcing in a old 3-way switch!

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by js5895, Apr 19, 2005.

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  1. js5895

    js5895 Guest


    I posted earlier about how a 3-way, illuminated switch works, well, I
    hooked it up permanently.
    One is the new commercial grade illuminated 3-way switch and the other
    is an old residential
    grade non-illuminated 3-way switch. I came in the house and saw that
    the illuminated switch
    was lit and the load was off so, I went in the house and flipped the
    non-illuminated switch and all
    I could hear was arcing and the load not lighting up so, I flipped it
    off and it stopped, I tried it
    again and the same thing happened, I tried a third time and the light
    started flickering and then fully lit
    up, then the arcing sound stopped, I tried 15 more times and it worked
    fine, I smelled the
    switch and it smells of ozone. The non-illuminated switch was lying
    around in my tool box for
    4 to 6 years and it had light oxidation on the terminals but, it came
    from the inside, I thought maybe it was because the
    load was a small fluorescent sconce but, I think it's because the up
    position of the switch
    probably had oxidation on the part that the actuator connected to,
    because switched
    down it was fine, it only did that in the up position. I think to ease
    my mind, I'm going to buy
    a new one, a commercial grade one, just for added security, but what do
    you people think about this?

    Thanks for all your help.
  2. Residential switches have a pretty good safety record, but
    your experience shows part of why building codes require
    them to be put in a box. I would just buy a modern switch
    designed for residential use and not worry about it.

    BTW, the fluorescent lamp load is one of the more brutal
    with respect to causing arcing in a switch. Yours probably
    had some dirt in it, or even a bug.
  3. js5895

    js5895 Guest

    I thought that's what it was, but, I'm very critical of my electrical
    I just went to the Home Depot and bought a commercial grade,
    non-illuminated, 3-way switch, 20A by accident, but it's a step-up.
    I wired it up and it works fine, thanks for responding so fast.

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