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Modular home wiring - unconventional???

Discussion in 'Electrical Engineering' started by Grass roots, Dec 29, 2004.

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  1. Grass roots

    Grass roots Guest

    We just moved into a new modular home.

    I went to change a couple of light switches in the bathrooms, to put in
    dimmers instead, so we don't have to have bright lights if we get up at

    I thought all I had to do was remove the switches, then wire in the
    dimmers, like you do in every other home but it turned out to be

    It seems they don't put conventional wiring and switches in modular homes?

    When I unscrewed the switch, I discovered it was also glued in with some
    REALLY strong glue, so I had to break that loose. Then when I finally got
    the switch out, I discovered unconventional wiring too. There are these big
    white cables that appear to be running through the switches, that you can't
    even access.

    What the heck is this? Do they make it so you can never change a light
    switch if you want or need to?

    How can I put my dimmers in, does anyone know?

  2. Not quite the same problem - but the need to dim one light out of
    several controlled by the same switch, without ripping up floorboards, etc.

    I use plug-in IR-controlled dimmers. They Plug into a standard light
    socket and takes a standard lamp. They even memorise its setting so,
    when switched on at the wall, illuminates to the remembered setting.
    They can be turned up and down using a standard TV remote. Each can be
    programmed to respond to a particular button on the remote, so you can
    heve several, all independently dimmable, in the same room.

    By using a pygmy-sized 40W lamp in a 100W light fitting approved for
    zone 1,2,3 (UK) - I fitted these in the bathroom and they dimmed fine
    through the spherical glass shade enclosing lamp and dimmer. You can lay
    in the bath, dim the lights and chill out with a bit of Mussorgsky..
  3. SQLit

    SQLit Guest

    Possibly time for a call to the factory or people issuing permits.
    Here they use boxes in modular homes, now. They used to do what you
    Sorry I am not clear about the situation, there for will not comment on how
    to change out the switches
  4. Grass roots

    Grass roots Guest
  5. SQLit

    SQLit Guest

    From the view it looks like a typical wiring plastic box and romex (the
    sheathed cables). Just what the inspector would want to see. The plastic
    boxes I use are usually blue.
    Removing the box from the wall was a mistake. I can see one screw on the top
    of the box/switch that has to be removed to get at the wiring behind. There
    should be one more screw in the bottom. Better turn off the power before
    going any farther.

    Some electronic dimmers will toast if installed hot.
  6. John Gilmer

    John Gilmer Guest

    It doesn't look like the "white" version of the "blue box" to me.

    It looks like the switch "snapped" into the box. (I saw a slot and tab at
    the side. I can see where such construcition would speed thing up in an
    assemply line: no screw for the switch, just push it into the box.

    If my observation is correct, see if a dinner knife blade slipped into the
    side either inside or outside the box) will release the tab. Also see if
    there are screw holds to hold conventional switches.

    Since the wallboard is damaged anyway, it might be a good idea to replace
    the box with a square box and even find the nearest piece of wood in the
    wall to hold it into place. There is a LOT more room in the square boxes
    and you can close it with a "mud ring" with positions for one or two

    It's time to get one of those little voltage sensors to ensure that
    everything in the box is "cold" before you stick in a knive blade.
  7. Grass roots

    Grass roots Guest

    Is the romex running into it or through the switch? How do I access it? I
    only have experience with regular screw terminl switches.
  8. Sonco

    Sonco Guest

    It looks like you took the box out of the wall, instead if the switch out of
    the box.
    That strong glue you were referring to looks like paint.

    I would call a pro before you hurt yourself.
  9. mjadkins

    mjadkins Guest

    in uk wall mounted dimmers or switches are not allowed in bathrooms
    anyhow.has to be a pull cord switch
  10. Grass roots

    Grass roots Guest

    No, there appears to be no box, only the switches that were glued into the
    I'm an ASET electronics technician, which does not make me knowledgeable
    with NEC but I do have a respect for higher voltage and have been careful.

    I should normally be able to change a switch myself, without paying $500 to
    some union electrician to come out, IF they had put conventional switches
    that could be changed, in the house.
  11. Actually, it appears the actual switch snaps into the plastic box that was
    glued into the wall. It is not a single part. The wires are terminated
    inside the plastic box.

    Charles Perry P.E.
  12. Grass roots

    Grass roots Guest

    Yes, exactly. I managed to get the work done tonight but it wasn't easy, it
    took me 3 hours and trips to home depot.

    I had to get a blue 2 gang box with flippers, and a fan switch to replace
    that one too. ( the screws wouldn't have worked ) Then I had to cut the
    hole larger for the blue box to fit, and pull all the wires ( yes, with the
    breaker off ) then find out where everything went and rewire it with wire
    nuts. It's done now, but what a job.

    I have the one in the other bathroom to do, when I get the time and energy
    to go at it again.

    Thanks to y'all for your help, it helped me figure it out!

  13. Roy Q.T.

    Roy Q.T. Guest

    shucks that shouldn't have been so hard.
    glad you got through it and sorry i found the post so late, I think I
    have some of those boxes, seem that the (decora) switch was spackled
    over, you could probably change all of them terminating with
    incandesant bulbs ito dimmers., just scrape a bit where the switches
    screw is normally found on your replacement, you should find it's screw,

    otherwise; Leave those Plastic Device Boxes alone, For what I saw in the
    jpeg, they are just Fast Mount convenience boxes for drywall and thusly
    badly covered in plaster.The screws should have been left exposed for
    removal of the device. Re-attach all Ground & Green wires and that
    should keep it coded.

    sorry I didn't find your post earlier.

    Happy Holidays
  14. Grass roots

    Grass roots Guest

    Not really, it's cost us $280k so far and was just appraised at $217k. Stay
    away from them.
  15. keith

    keith Guest

    That may just say that you built too much/wrong house for the market. You
    likely still saved many thousands over the same house were it stick built.
  16. John Gilmer

    John Gilmer Guest

    Just from my observations in the area, there are a FEW places where modular
    homes make sense. These "best" case would be where the manufactured home
    has features and design that are exactly what you want (the manufacturers
    definitely can offer a LOT a variety within the basic constraints that the
    pieces must ship by road) and the local builders have a waiting list. If
    you do things right, you had put the foundation and underground plumbing in
    while the home is being built. You can go from vacant lot to custom home
    ready to move into with 30 days or less.
  17. Grass roots

    Grass roots Guest

    No way! It took us 90 days just to get the modular out of the factory, then
    another 13 months for the damned incompetent builder to put it on the lot
    and almost finish it, and he's STILL not done!

    I'd bet that the only ones propagating the myth of the fast modular home
    that people can make a profit on, are the modluar dealers! Everyone who
    tries it must loose their asses, which explains why the industry is in the
  18. Odd. I know of two people who have purchased modular homes and from order
    date to move-in date was approx. 60 days. Sounds like a bunch of "change
    orders" to me.

    Charles Perry P.E.
  19. John Gilmer

    John Gilmer Guest

    What can I say but that you are now a Poster Child" for "stick built" homes.

    If you can't get the house you want on a short schedule, there just isn't
    much reason to go modular.

    I was driving by a neighborhood when a modular home was being put together.

    In was a "H" floorplane. The ends were single wide and the center was a
    double wide. I didn't watch from start to finish but it could not have
    taken more then two working days to have everything in place. The roof
    already had singles. There was a little field labor to complete the roof
    and some internal finishing but ...

    Can't say. We used to live near some modular home makers but I don't know
    how well they are doing.

    Year ago when I ran the numbers the modular homes just didn't make any sense
    for us. But than as now, I just look for the most square feet for the
    buck. Folks who want "style" might be better served by the modular
    approach. One advantage is that once the designed is approved the place is
    built before anyone has a chance to change his (HER) mind.
  20. Roy Q.T.

    Roy Q.T. Guest


    any how: Aware as of Now The Concrete Domes may present the same
    controversy and troubles, On Mars.

    Minding The System you've sampled {the Item} Switch = Highly
    Unconventional., OR/NOT, more knowing this þµ¬¬§¥|† could
    be very expensive to maintain.

    given that, AGREED. you did shop righteously on the housing product.

    do you know who designed it again ???
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