Convert Double Switch to Single for Controlling 2 Lights in a Room


Postby drongo » Thu Nov 06, 2014 9:03 pm

I have a two lights in one room each controlled by its own switch and the two switches are wired separately and mounted side by side in one double switch unit. I would prefer to have both lights controlled by one single switch. If I wire the two switch wires together into one single switch I dare say it'll work - but is it legal? What do the regulations say?
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Postby ericmark » Sat Nov 08, 2014 6:37 am

The double switch is common in Europe where they used CFL before us which cost a fortune in dimmer format so they split lights 1/3 and 2/3 so they can have three levels of lighting without using a dimmer. It is likely some time in the future you will want to return to two switches so easy way is use a double pole switch so both circuits are kept separate but switches with a single switch. This will also avoid any problems if they are not protected by same MCB/RCBO/Fuse.
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Postby drongo » Fri Nov 21, 2014 12:04 pm

Eric - thanks for taking the trouble to answer. I had thought about using a double pole switch but I thought they were mainly for power circuits and would look out of place as a light switch. From what you say there's nothing unsafe about wiring both circuits through one single pole switch as long as both lights are on the same circuit?

Thanks
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Postby ericmark » Sat Nov 22, 2014 11:17 am

Yes you can run two lights from the same switch.

The basic rules for lights are that a circuit is limited to 16 amp and I really don't know why. In real terms because we have switches and ceiling roses which are rated 5 amp lighting is now limited to 5 amp per circuit or with an MCB 6A.

Each light bulb should have a built in fuse and the BA22d bulb holder is only rated at 2 amp. Cheap imported bulbs some times have the fuse missed out but if the bulb has ionisation of the gas inside the bulb when it blows (big flash) then the MCB or Fuse at 6 or 5 amp will stop any damage.

But increase the size to just 16A as I found out the hard way and a bulb blowing can cause the contacts to weld into the bulb holder so holder needs changing as well as the bulb.

All permanent wiring must now include an earth wire even if not used. Pre 1960 this was not the case and many houses still have no earth to the lights. This means pre 1960 houses needs more careful selection of fittings.

Doing something unusual the grid switch is your friend. This allows you to mix and match switches with single pole, double pole, intermediate, two way, and even dimmer switches all fitting the same face plate so for example a on/off and dimmer on the same plate. Also expanded to include TV outlet and LAN even with some makes 13A sockets.

I in fact use a 4 module unit with 2 x 13A sockets for my beer temperature controller it looks like a standard double socket but one socket is for heating and the other for cooling also handy for extending a ring final.

But getting switches to look right is a problem. I wanted large switches so my mother could operate a light from in bed found loads on the internet but wanted the switch that day. I was forced to use a outside switch as only large switch I could find on sale local.
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