Pull cord problem

Discussion in 'Electricians' Talk' started by OllyUK, Dec 29, 2018.

  1. OllyUK

    OllyUK Member


    Have a question a friend in a flat has an electric towel rail that’s operated by a pull switch. She never knew how to turn it on until I showed her the switch unfortunately being quite old the switch packed in. It was a 5amp switch so was clearly not suitable, it appears it was also spurred from a few adjacent rooms lighting main.

    The cables are: earth, three neutral (in a choc bloc) one switched single live and two lives (which I taped together prior to removing the switch).

    I purchased a suitable rated pull switch that had Com, L1 and L2. I wired as follows: left two neutrals in choc block, wired two lives that were taped to Com and the single live to L1.

    The issue is that the lights in the adjoining rooms that the towel rail seems to be connected to will only operate when the towel rail is on. I am unsure if this issue existed before as potentially the switch was faulty so was ‘on’ without providing power to the towel rail.

    If not any ideas? Clearly a rewrire is best option but being a flat this won’t be easy and to get electrician around however she’s a single mother on limited funds.

  2. terrymac

    terrymac Screwfix Select

    Have you mixed up the three reds?
    Why only two neutrals in choc block ,when there were 3 ?
    Did adjoining rooms lights work normally with old switch ?
  3. OllyUK

    OllyUK Member

    Sorry for confusion meant three neutrals was typing on phone.

    I’m pretty sure that I didn’t mix up the reds as I taped the two together with black tape prior to removing the old switch.

    With the old switch the lights did work but I’m not clear if the switch was actually working. I have a feeling it could have been in on position but not actually providing power to the towel rail
  4. terrymac

    terrymac Screwfix Select

    Does the room containing the towel rail have a separate switch to control the ceiling light ( I.e other than the switch you changed ) ?
    It appears that you have mixed up the three reds. One red will be the switched live ,another will be the incoming permanent live ,and the third will be the outgoing permanent live to other light fittings.
    If the outgoing live is in the same terminal as the switched live ,the other lights will only work when the switch is " on ".
  5. OllyUK

    OllyUK Member


    Many thanks for reply the bathroom light has its own separate pull cord and this light isn’t affected by the towel rail switch.

    Will have a look at the mix of wires
  6. hills603

    hills603 New Member

    The set up you have is perfectly ok for a towel rail provided it is a standard type that is only rated at a few hundreds watts. The original 5 amp pull cord would have been fine, and probably failed due to age.

    By the sounds of how you describe the issue, the only problem is the reds are muddled, you need to try them in different combinations until the lights are un affected by the switch.
  7. Rulland

    Rulland Screwfix Select

    The towel rail may well be suited to a 5 amp supply/switch, it may be only a few hundred watts, so no probs on a sfcu etc rated below 13 amps.
    As for the lighting problem, it either existed before, if wiring is now identical, or it was wrong anyway and requires rectifying.

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