Need SMALL X10 wall switch

I am in an OLD house with SMALL boxes, and rare access to a Nuetral.

The current crop of X10 wall switches are all the size of Dimmers, and RARELY fit inside the wall boxes we have. My wife doesn't like appearance of "Extender rings" that give me the extra depth I need.

Before you suggest putting in new deep boxes, I will say again that this is an OLD house, the boxes are "plastered" in, connected with BX wire and a PAIN to work with. The only good thing is the entire house is wired with


If someone can build those controls that fit inside a light socket extender, why can't they build a SMALL light switch?

Hoping that some one knows about a product I haven't found....

Bob Sisson

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Bob Sisson
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Short of cutting out the back of the boxes, which is clearly a code violation, you might find that using hardwired fixture modules will do the trick. You could mount a "Stika-switch" over a blank wallplate to provide control from the switch location.

From:Bob Sisson Bob@Sisson

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The Marmitek micromodules would do what you want, but unfortunately they are only available to the 220V/50Hz market.

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Mark Thomas

I'm a newbie here but as I have done a fair bit of straight house rewiring (UK) I did wonder whether your switch could be wired in to the circuit but higher up.. as in under the floor boards (if you have any).. near the light socket..

You could then either strap the current light switch and plate it or add it in as a two way effort to overide whatever the x10 does.

hope my wording is clear :)

As most x10 modules look like 1970's practical electronics projects gone wrong (big and ugly) this is the method I would have used for every single unit if I didn't live in an apartment with concrete floors :(


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Ugh, just yank out the current boxes and put in new ones. Yes, it's messy and you really have to be EXTRA careful with the exposed insulation on the old BX wiring. But by the time you screw around with trying to bury other modules in the circuits it'll become obvious new boxes are less work.

Think about it, a great many circuits in older homes are randomly setup with either power to the box itself or just a switch leg. That and they're just as likely to be setup in some sort of daisy-chain of multiple rooms (and not in a sensible fashion either). The latter is probably the best reason to just bite the bullet and rewire, not just the box but whole circuits. Not necessarily the entire panel but it may be worth getting a quote for it.

The arrangement of circuits in many old houses often doesn't work for modern use patterns. I've seen bathrooms tied into the kitchen circuits and then a nearby bedroom. Worked well when nobody had hair dryers or curling irons along with microwave ovens, toasters and coffee makers. And worse yet, these days all of them are likely to get used simultaneously. "Pop goes the breaker..."

The real questions are ones of accessibility and ability to convince the spouse of the need. A few well-placed "gee honey, look at how dry-rotted these old wires are!" comments usually do the trick. And it's not just hype either, a DIYer fiddling around in these crammed old boxes with that fragile old insulation is very likely to make mistakes that present real risk of fire.

This as opposed to the relatively brain-dead process of taking a sawzall to the wall, cutting out the old box, fishing some new romex (or BX if you like) and patching it up again. It's really not that hard to do. Think about it, if your average contractor can do it, how hard could it be? That said, a licensed electician is always well worth consulting for such projects.

Yes, this can be a real pain in multistory dwellings with no nearby access spaces like basement joists or attic rafters. Or, as another poster replies, when there's lots of concrete involved.

Give it some thought.

-Bill Kearney

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