Modular home wiring - unconventional???

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?
Reply to
Grass roots
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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..
Reply to
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 describe. Sorry I am not clear about the situation, there for will not comment on how to change out the switches
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Reply to
Grass roots
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.
Reply to
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 devices.
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.
Reply to
John Gilmer
Is the romex running into it or through the switch? How do I access it? I only have experience with regular screw terminl switches.
Reply to
Grass roots
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.
Reply to
in uk wall mounted dimmers or switches are not allowed in bathrooms anyhow.has to be a pull cord switch
Reply to
No, there appears to be no box, only the switches that were glued into the wall.
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.
Reply to
Grass roots
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.
Reply to
Charles Perry
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!
Reply to
Grass roots
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
Reply to
Roy Q.T.
bathrooms, to put in
if we get up at
wire in the
out to be
in modular
glued in with some
when I finally
There are these
switches, that you
change a light
what you
not comment on
nice pic.
The modular home folks obviously found a way to eliminate vast chunks of hand fitting and field labor... they went to factory strung modules made in china no doubt...then a minimum wage worker can slam the entire house wiring set up in, in couple of hours.
that allows them to be competitive, and in the end drives modular home prices down.. The price you pay is what you see.
Was it worth it? Probably.
Now you just need to find work arounds for these occasional issues. Not such an easy deal though from what I can tell looking at the picture. Enough to piss a man off actually... but the house price was no doubt lower because of such tactics.
What would I do? Id snip the wire off at the box. strip the ends, fit an overize plastic switch/ recepticle box... wire nut on some extensions and fit standard switches in the areas I wanted... so you send two days max doing that. So you still saved many thousands on the modular home.
Phil Scott
Reply to
Phil Scott
bathrooms, to put
lights if we get
then wire in the
out to be
switches in modular
glued in with
when I
too. There are
switches, that
never change a
issuing permits.
do what you
will not comment
and romex (the
see. The plastic
one screw on the
Better turn off
access it?
its ruined anyway... kill the power and then tear it apart and find out how its built and what the deal is.... then take the advice of other posters and install a standard plastic box and dimmer.... some dimmers run hot though, Ive had a lot of trouble home depot dimmers in transformer lights for some reason... so you might want to be real safe and use a metal box on this one.
Phil Scott
Reply to
Phil Scott
the switch
glued into the
call the house manufacturer and ask them what your options are.
been careful.
paying $500 to
conventional switches
The switch probably is just has to be ordered from the home mfgr.... ask em. The electrician may not know any more than you do about this new gismo.
Phil Scott
Reply to
Phil Scott
you know looking at it closer it does seem like some Mass Produced Device Box and Switch... by the Gray Tabs off the side there, if you cannot attach a Conventional Dimmer onto these ( like he said try the Mfgr first they might have splice & plug dimmers) DO THAT = pull the Romex out to see how much length you have cut it throw out that Junk Box :-) attach a New Device Box with screw eyelets, Resplice and connect your Dimmers .~. I like using the Metal Boxes with installation screws on the side, they install easily and come for UF or Romex & Armored Cables.
btw Dimmers won't work properly with those new Energy Efficient Flourscent think it over.
They probably also meant to rent those Housing Unit Designs not calling for any further or Custom Electrical Work.
you lucked out ?

Reply to
Roy Q.T.
If your still reading these, I'm wondering how you managed what I assumed was going to be shortened romex cables. Due to that (assumed) problem I thought that you were in for some rebuilding...
Reply to
Not really, it's cost us $280k so far and was just appraised at $217k. Stay away from them.
Reply to
Grass roots
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.
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