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Old 07-27-2009, 09:52 AM   #1
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Bathroom light switch getting very warm

I just noticed that the switch that controls the lights for my bathroom mirror is getting very warm. I replaced my old with a new mirror with lights which I acquired from a forum member. It was a very easy to do and worked the first try. After about 30 minutes turned on the switch started to get warm. Should I be concerned? I never turned the old light on that long. Usually it goes on for a couple of minutes.

Brian
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Old 07-27-2009, 10:09 AM   #2
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This may have been a problem you never discovered before since you never left the light on for long. Is this a different version of the OEM light? Are the wires hot? Maybe the switch (and maybe the wires) was designed for less of a load. Are the bulbs in the lights the right ones? You may have to replace the switch and wiring. Have you checked the connections on the switch to see if they are tight and clean? Double check the ones you made to the lamp too.

If you have an ammeter, you can check the draw at the switch and calculate what it should be and compare to how the switch is rated. If you have an ammeter (or multimeter) you probably know the formula to use.

A switch should not double as a heat source, so I would be concerned. Heat can turn into fire sometimes. If the switch is a rheostat, they do get warm, but I doubt that's the kind of switch you have.

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Old 07-27-2009, 10:11 AM   #3
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Heat across a switch is an indication of a resistance in the switch. That is not good. You may try to open the switch and clean the contacts of replace the switch with one that has a current rating above the load of the lights.

I am assuming that the switch does not have an indicator light in it. If it has an indicator light in it than heat is a give.
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Old 07-27-2009, 10:13 AM   #4
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I agree with Howie and if you have to replace the switch with one with a higher rating, you may have to replace the wires too. Not seeing what you have, makes it hard to figure out.

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Old 07-27-2009, 10:52 AM   #5
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I agree the cause is most likely a switch with bad contacts. This happened to me. It can get hot enough to melt the plastic. Is this a 4 position switch? They can be taken apart and the contacts cleaned. There are new switches available from Inland RV and Vintage Trailer. There are 2 switches that are similar the difference is one has a longer threaded stem. If this is the overhead light that surrounds the roof vent this switch is specialized and is probably the only one that will fit.
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Old 07-27-2009, 03:54 PM   #6
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Times are a changing. I went to Ace, lowes, home depot, Radio Shack and Fry's Electronics and none of them had a Leviton 4 position rotary switch. I finally found it at a hardware store about 1 hour away. Handy Hardware in Tucker Georgia has everything. I will go get it tomorrow.

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