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Light Switch Help Please

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Marvo

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I'm in the UK at the moment and I've already been roped into helping family out.

I've got 3 light switches to replace and I'm hoping maybe someone might have something very similar in a junk box in their shed and might be willing to swap them for a couple of beer tokens.

The switches are very old and I'm assuming none of them are available as new items.

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OP has not confirmed it is still vir.

What he said was the 102 year old occupant says the wiring hasn’t been altered in the 70 years she’s been there.
They may be mistaken, due to age… but a quick check would verify.

We’ve not seen the rest of the house… and part of it may have already been changed/ upgraded.
I was desparately hoping not to have to replace the backboxes. I also don't want to remove them to investigate because it's cotton wrapped VIR wiring so the less I disturb it the better.
 
Have you read this thread fully? OP said they have no tools, I am not making the judgement purely on technical grounds only on the information provided by the OP.
Yes I have but I doubt you have fully read the OP's header or profile and the fact he been around the forum for over a decade which is what I used when making my observation

At no point did the OP say he had no tools but may not have the tools needed if it goes a little pear shaped with the VIR but I think he may just be experienced enough to make that judgement if the need arises
 
Apologies. I just have missed that.

It’s getting rare to find vir still in service these days, but as everyone has said, disturbing the vir will cause nothing but grief.
No need to apologise, I know where you are coming from, family member 102 years old etc etc desire for it to be made alright.

Yes VIR in 2024 is something of a find. That said if you are going to find it this probably is the most likely scenario, I had an aunt who I visited many years ago when I was quite young and it was like stepping onto the 1800's
 
Yes I have but I doubt you have fully read the OP's header or profile and the fact he been around the forum for over a decade which is what I used when making my observation
You haven't considered the situation the OP is in.
At no point did the OP say he had no tools but may not have the tools needed if it goes a little pear shaped with the VIR

I'm not equipped, the only tools i have are 2 screwdivers (one philips and one which is neon), a pair of toenail clippers to use as sidecutters and a hammer with a head that falls off the handle. If I can't complete this job with my newly assembled tupperware tool packout it's not worth buying tools and throwing them away when I leave in 2 weeks, I'll rather get someone in to do it.

If that is your definition of having tools? It isn't mine!

but I think he may just be experienced enough to make that judgement if the need arises

Of course, It's the OP's call at the end of the day!
 
You haven't considered the situation the OP is in.
I know the exact position the OP is in with regard to the repairs he is on with
If that is your definition of having tools? It isn't mine!
How does the saying go "necessity is the mother of invention" making the most of what you have to hand is the sign of an inventive professional
Of course, It's the OP's call at the end of the day!
I think the OP is doing ok at the moment and is on top of the issues in hand
 
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Have you read this thread fully? OP said they have no tools, I am not making the judgement purely on technical grounds only on the information provided by the OP.
I'm not a domestic sparky but I would consider myself competent to complete this work safely. I don't have tools because I'm here on holiday from Cape Town and staying at my sisters house, I didn't bring any tools and unfortunately she doesn't have any either. If I really need tools I'l buy some but I'm just loathed to do that for one job.

I've been back there today for further investigations and I repaired a couple of the light fittings and also replaced the round metal switch in the coal shed with a new switch and backbox. The wiring went inside the backbox with almost no disturbance to it but it was a bit short. Rather than trying to massage the VIR to fit I ended up extending it a couple of inches.

I removed the locking rings and face plates of the other switches, they were fairly easy to unscrew. The plate holding the switch modules is brass wood screwed to the backbox so I backed all the screws out a couple of turns each and gently pulled everything forwards a centimeter or so. The rubber wiring is still in tact and doesn't look degraded, I'm pretty certain I can undo the switches and remove them without damage. I think I'm going to repeat the proceedure of extending the VIR wires without disturbing the way they are laying and put a new surface mount PVC backbox over the top of the old flush wooden one bringing the wire extensions into it through the back. If that goes well it's just a matter of fitting any suitable new SELV switches.

The end result will be surface mount switches but I'm not going to lose any sleep over that.
 
If
I'm not a domestic sparky but I would consider myself competent to complete this work safely. I don't have tools because I'm here on holiday from Cape Town and staying at my sisters house, I didn't bring any tools and unfortunately she doesn't have any either. If I really need tools I'l buy some but I'm just loathed to do that for one job.

I've been back there today for further investigations and I repaired a couple of the light fittings and also replaced the round metal switch in the coal shed with a new switch and backbox. The wiring went inside the backbox with almost no disturbance to it but it was a bit short. Rather than trying to massage the VIR to fit I ended up extending it a couple of inches.

I removed the locking rings and face plates of the other switches, they were fairly easy to unscrew. The plate holding the switch modules is brass wood screwed to the backbox so I backed all the screws out a couple of turns each and gently pulled everything forwards a centimeter or so. The rubber wiring is still in tact and doesn't look degraded, I'm pretty certain I can undo the switches and remove them without damage. I think I'm going to repeat the proceedure of extending the VIR wires without disturbing the way they are laying and put a new surface mount PVC backbox over the top of the old flush wooden one bringing the wire extensions into it through the back. If that goes well it's just a matter of fitting any suitable new SELV switches.

The end result will be surface mount switches but I'm not going to lose any sleep over that.
If you're anywhere near Stroud, Gloucestershire I'll bring my van over for you to use my tools if needed Marvo.
 
Thanks to everyone for all the info, I really do appreciate it.

The good news is I eventually finished the job by fitting a surface mount backbox over the old ones, carefuly extending the rubber wiring by a couple of inches and fitting new press on press off switches which she should be able to operate.

The bad news is she was feeling under the weather with dizzy spells and generally weak since my last visit and hasn't been out of bed since I was last there. She was still very alert but she kept repeating things every 10 or 15 mins seemingly forgetting she already said it. I hope I'm wrong but I have a bad feeling she may have had a small stroke, I spoke to her Doctor and he says it's quite possible but any treatment they could give would only be palliative which she's already refused permission for. It was great to see her a few times over the last week, I've learned more about my family in that time than in the last 40 years but it was really strange saying goodbye to her when I was leaving knowing her time is so short and I'll never see her again.
 
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