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solenoid type lighting systems


Brandon Whitmore
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It is still a lighting system for a home and it does have normal household voltage on the other side of the solenoid. I simply tell my clients that this is a unique system that is no longer produced and that if they do have a problem they will need to find an electrician the is familiar with it. I seldom find much wrong with this type of system other than a stuck solenoid.

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There are only a very few areas around here where these systems were used extensively. When I find them I point out that replacement parts are getting harder to find...as are electricians familiar with them. Replacement solenoids are still available, but that has to be a diminishing market. Who knows what the availability and cost will be in 5, 10 or 20 years. My interpretation is that the system saved $$ initially for the builder by using light gauge wire in places. Good for the builder initially; not so good for subsequent purchasers of a system which never really caught on. Mostly what I see is a lot of "hybrid" systems where the system is abandoned, piecemeal, as the solenoids die.

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This wiring was "piecemealed" together. About half of the main floor was standard wiring and the other half low voltage-- looked like they were slowly replacing low voltage wiring as things went bad.

That being said, I just made a note in the report that it existed and it looked like much of the system had been replaced with 120v, etc.

Thanks guys.

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Originally posted by Scottpat

. . . I simply tell my clients that this is a unique system that is no longer produced and that if they do have a problem they will need to find an electrician the is familiar with it. I seldom find much wrong with this type of system other than a stuck solenoid.

The exact equipment from the 1950s & 1960s systems might no longer be available, but modern versions of these systems are still produced. You could install one tomorrow if you cared to.

-Jim Katen, Oregon

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