Low Voltage Lighting Help
GE Switch Replacements - See picture examples and part numbers of vintage GE low voltage light switches and their new replacements.
GE Troubleshooting Tips - Use this guide to help you track down what's not working in your vintage GE, Bryant, or Sierra low voltage system.
Low Voltage FAQ
How can I figure out which low voltage system is installed in my home?
Kyle Switch Plates has compiled photos and instructions to help you easily and confidently figure this out. Review the information here: Determine Your Low Voltage System first, then call us if you have any questions we can clarify for you.
Why were these low voltage systems installed in so many homes?
Low voltage wiring offers many savings and convenience and was considered state of the art. Learn more: Low Voltage Lighting Advantages & Savings.
How do I know what to replace my old low voltage parts with?
Although many systems look quite similar, there are important differences. Please see the information at Low Voltage Wiring System Compatibility to learn about the switch compatibility for your 1960's, 1970's or 1980's house.
Are Low Voltage Systems Still Safe to Use?
Low voltage systems offer safe, dependable control of lights, motors, and industrial equipment. Small switches operating at a low, safe voltage control relays that perform the actual switching of the current. Because of the lower voltages being used, wiring that is lighter and less expensive (similar to that used for door chimes, for example) is all that is needed. Fortunately, replacement parts are still available for maintaining most systems.
How do the relay switches work?
Relays only require a momentary pulse of current to change from one state to another - ON to OFF or OFF to ON. These low voltage switches use momentary contact to control the power, so the small-magnitude, low volt current only flows for the length of time that the switch is being pressed. Because none is actually "in" the circuit except during the moment the switch is being pressed, as many switches as desired can be wired up in parallel. This offers the convenience of allowing a central location for master control of lights throughout your home.
Can I use a GE pilot light switch with an RR7 relay?
If you cap off the 4th wire on the relay used for connecting the light, then you can use it the same as an RR9 pilot relay but the switch just won't illuminate.
My GE low voltage electrical panel uses the old RR6 pilot relays that snap into two vertical bus bars. Is there a replacement for these?
No, this style is no longer manufactured. See if your electrician can come up with a way to wire the relays into the bus bars or hook up the relay directly with the electrical box. If that is not possible, then your only alternative is to upgrade your panel with a new GE LightSweep low voltage pilot ligt relay unit.
Can I use the new GE push-button switches in the straps for the old mini rocker switches?
No. The new GE switches are slightly larger. Attempting to jam the new RS2 series switches into the old straps will cause the buttons to stick. This in turn will cause your relay to overheat and burn out quickly. Purchase new snap in switchplates to go with any new RS2 switches you purchase.
How can I tell if I have a stuck switch or a bad relay? I have a low voltage system that is very old. Some of my switches only stay on while I am holding the button down, and other switches sometimes just randomly shut off. Why? How do I fix this?
There is a quick and easy way for you to determine if the problem rests in the switch or the relay in all existing low voltage systems. Turn the power off while uninstalling the switch, then turn it back on for testing. Practice safe handling of wires and do not touch the exposed ends with your bare hands.
First, disconnect the problem switch from the wall. Because we are not sure if the switch is the problem, taking it out and setting it aside for now will isolate it from the equation.
Next, you will want to test the wires coming out of the wall (that had been connected to the switch) to see if they work as expected. To do this, you will need to briefly touch together specific pairs of the wires: touch the common wire (typically white or yellow) to the ON wire (typically red) to turn the light ON. Next touch the common wire to the OFF wire (typically black) to turn the light OFF. Important: The wires should not be held together but rather simply touched briefly. If working correctly the room light should respond.
If the room light responds perfectly from the wire test, (meaning that a each brief touch of the correct wires either turns the lights on or turns them off) then the switch is the problem and needs to be replaced.
If the same results still occur (namely, the light only stays ON if the wires are held together - similar to holding down a button), then the relay is the problem and will need replacing.
Q. How do these low voltage switches work?
A. The GE switches are SPDT (single pole, double throw) which is a momentary action. The relays do not have a NO (normally open) or NC (normally closed) position as they just hold their position until triggered by a push of the button. On the old mini rocker switches, you would rock the switch one direction for ON, and the other direction for OFF. With the new 2-button switches, you would push the ON button to turn lights on, then push the OFF button to turn them off.