View Full Version : Reason for pull chain lights?


Teken
12-13-2010, 04:52 PM
What are the main reasons for home builders / electricians installing pull chain lights in the basement? :headscrat

In my basement I have a 3 sets of lights which are controlled by a switch at the top of the stairs. These lights are pretty much in the center of the basement with respect to each are where there is a window.

On the other side of the basement I have the laundry, and on the opposite side I have my make shift production area. :drool:

Anyways both of these area's have lights with pull chains. :mad: :wtf:

Is there a specific reason they were left as independent lights? :headscrat

Insight . . .

Daves69
12-13-2010, 04:57 PM
Probably when the house was built switched lights weren't code. A pull chain light only needs to be hot wired with no switch leg, saving money.

Teken
12-13-2010, 05:08 PM
The reason this is such a hassle is because I am in the final process of automating all of the lights in my home.

Because these two light fixtures are not tied in with the other 3 lights I will have to spend more cash on linking modules to control them . . . :mad:

MattT
12-13-2010, 06:12 PM
Because these two light fixtures are not tied in with the other 3 lights I will have to spend more cash on linking modules to control them . . . :mad:

Or you could tie them in to the other basement lights if you don't want them controlled separately.

Teken
12-13-2010, 06:29 PM
Or you could tie them in to the other basement lights if you don't want them controlled separately.

I was thinking of doing this to maybe one of them. But, after taking a quick look at one of the light fixtures (pull chain) when I traced the wiring one of them is attached to a transformer? :headscrat

Perhaps this transformer is to the door bell? :headscrat

malibu101
12-13-2010, 06:44 PM
Why did they do it that way originally? Because it was the cheapest way. Simple as that.
Just run a constant hot wire through the basement (or use an existing one within code) and pop up a cheap pull chain lampholder. Saves wire, a box, a switch and cover, and time. Just as Daves69 said.

cowboyjosh
12-13-2010, 07:42 PM
How old is the house? I haven't seen pull chain light installed in lieu of switched lights in years.

smooth72
12-13-2010, 07:44 PM
On one of the DIY shows they had the same problem. They put a wireless remote in that they wired in by the light. First time I saw one, did not know they made such a thing. They said it was cheaper than running a switch for their situation.

Teken
12-13-2010, 07:58 PM
How old is the house? I haven't seen pull chain light installed in lieu of switched lights in years.

House is only a year old and I know one of the pull chain one is because of local code. I don't know about the other one, but pretty sure you guys are right that it was to save time, money, and wire for the other one.

I believe both of the pull chain one's are linked together.

On one of the DIY shows they had the same problem. They put a wireless remote in that they wired in by the light. First time I saw one, did not know they made such a thing. They said it was cheaper than running a switch for their situation.

Yeah, I will just pull the trigger and purchase a few more modules so I can control them remotely, and via the Internet. :(

ambenz
12-13-2010, 08:20 PM
Yeah, I will just pull the trigger and purchase a few more modules so I can control them remotely, and via the Internet. :(
Got a link to what you are buying? Haven't seen or heard of these modules before? Do they just screw into the bulb socket?

Teken
12-13-2010, 08:31 PM
Got a link to what you are buying? Haven't seen or heard of these modules before? Do they just screw into the bulb socket?

Its all part of my Insteon system. You may go here to read up on it and see all the things this system can do to help automate your home.

This is the module I will need to hook up in line with the two pull chain lights.

http://www.smarthome.com/2475S2/INSTEON-In-LineLinc-On-Off-Module-Non-dimming-w-Sense/p.aspx

www.smarthome.com :thumbup::beer:

Falcon67
12-13-2010, 11:43 PM
Well - I had modified all my old T-12 fixtures to remove the pull chain. When I started switching to the new T-8, I left the pull chains on the lights. I have 12 lights in the main body of the shop. The bench is switched and the 12 fixtures are switched in two banks. With the pull chains, I can light what I need and kill the others, sometimes I don't need all 6 fixtures lit up all at one time. Like the one over the garage door - doesn't do much with the door open LOL.

tfi racing
12-14-2010, 12:20 AM
How old is the house? I haven't seen pull chain light installed in lieu of switched lights in years.

Happens all the time up here in basements and crawl spaces.The builder and/or homeowner is too cheap to pay the electrician(who is typically just as cheap and lazy in these parts) to do it the way it should be done.

therealwormey
12-14-2010, 12:23 AM
Because these two light fixtures are not tied in with the other 3 lights I will have to spend more cash on linking modules to control them . . . :mad:

probly answered your own question

cowboyjosh
12-14-2010, 12:52 AM
I do remember pull chain keyless type fixtures in clothes CLOSETS, yes thats right a hot light bulb inches away from clothing. These open bulb fixtures were allowed in many municipalities in Colorado until the early to mid 90's, and there was a time when a light was required, and these fixtures were used above the attic access in homes and under the structural sub floors and in craw spaces, now attic and lights in craw spaces under the structural sub floors are no longer required, and if they are no one is installing them anymore and no one seems to care.

Its interesting that builders and electricians are stepping on less then $25.00 in other parts of the world and still installing pull chain keyless fixtures in basements, I learn something everyday.

vlpronj
12-14-2010, 09:19 AM
Not the best for all situations, but a motion sensing fixture, with two sensors, would let you put one sensor towards the top of the stairs, and the other towards the bottom. Put it to stay "on" for awhile. No linking, extra wire, etc.

vtx531
12-14-2010, 09:48 AM
I was doing some electrical in my basement. I put in a pull chain light by the breaker panel. Eventually when I finish my basment, that area will be an unfinished closet that doesn't get much use. Why bother with a switch?

Teken
12-14-2010, 12:05 PM
True, after considering how much those two area's are used, or the lack there of. Maybe its best that they are on separate pull chains.

I am going to have to monitor the usage to see if its even worth the costs to have those two area's automated.

I'm going to sit on this till the new year and see how we use these two spaces and see if the duration warrants the purchase.

The whole point is that I have sensors in specific area's to turn on / off these lights based on events, times, motion, or the lack of. Plus it affords you the ability to control them remotely if you're away and forgot to turn it off etc.

Or if there is a break in you can globally turn on / off any device or light you wish from afar.

Torque1st
12-14-2010, 01:28 PM
I have left the original pull chain fixtures in my basement as backup lights. I wired more conventional fixtures to wall switches where needed. Now if I need to change a bulb I don't have to find a flashlight.

NUTTSGT
12-14-2010, 09:40 PM
The builder knew you wouldn't like them. He was pulling your chain.





Sorry. :lol_hitti

Teken
12-14-2010, 10:54 PM
The builder knew you wouldn't like them. He was pulling your chain.





Sorry. :lol_hitti


OMG . . . :bounce: I had that coming . . . :bowdown: :lol_hitti :thumbup:

jwillis
12-17-2010, 12:56 AM
I put chain pull lights in all the time. I have two in my garage on the same circuit with the outside motion detector lights. If I want to have the lights on outside at night, I can turn them on and keep the two inside off. Then if I want to turn the inside garage lights on during the day, all I have to do is flip the switch on and pull the cord. The inside lights will come on but not the floodlights outside. And since both lights inside are on a cord, I can only use one and not both when I don't need so much light................... I have four pull cord lights in the basement. When I go downstairs and flip the stairway light on, the light to the laundry room in the back room comes on too. (basement is divided in two rooms) Then if I want to go in the back room and have more light on over the sink, or in a dark corner, I can pull the cord and turn them on. This way, I don't have to have all five lights go on everytime I turn the stairway light on when I go downstairs. Plus I have two floodlights on a switch over my reloading (ammo) table in the back room. I can have it so I only have one light on in whatever area I am working in without keeping six or seven lights on all the time.

Torque1st
12-17-2010, 06:24 PM
I installed a pull chain switch for my garage door opener lights.

Teken
12-17-2010, 08:54 PM
After I thought about it again and how its laid out given the rare use of both area's the two pull chains are not so bad after all.

I guess what bothered me the most (which caused me to create this thread) is that I was in the final process of automating all of my lighting system.

But, now it would be with added costs to the final system I had already budgeted for. This new year I will re-evaluate the situation and determine if the extra costs is justified if the security system is compromised in terms of viewing display.

bobemmerich
12-19-2010, 08:25 PM
When I moved into my house 14 years ago, all the basement lights were pull chains EXCEPT the stairway light(which gave enough light to see the 1st pull chain fixture). I changed the wire/fixtures except one in a corner that doesn't get used near the breaker box. I figure it saves me some cash not having all the lights on at the same time.

SuperSocket
12-20-2010, 09:29 AM
Almost all new homes and especially cookie cutter developments have pull chain basement lights installed. The main reason is cost. A pull chain light fixture is incredibly cheap.

ratdoggy
12-20-2010, 09:40 AM
How old is the house? I haven't seen pull chain light installed in lieu of switched lights in years.

My house; 1 year old has that crap in it.

Teken
12-20-2010, 11:27 AM
What is the best way to interface a new switch or a controlling module to these pull chain lights?

I am thinking the remote module I have on order won't be able to turn these lights on / off because they are indeed mechanical in nature and not electronic.

Any good solutions how to?

Torque1st
12-20-2010, 07:41 PM
Turn them on and then cut off the chain. Wire your module in instead. Or you can replace each pull chain fixture with a regular non-switched lampholder.

Teken
12-20-2010, 07:55 PM
Shit, I didn't even think about doing that . . . :thumbup:

Torque1st
12-20-2010, 08:07 PM
You can also wire a pull-chain switch into the side of the lampholder's box to act in parallel with the electronic switch. That would preserve the manual override function if necessary.

If you leave a little 1" length of chain on the ffixtures you can always add more chain later.

Of course how much control you get depends on how many electronic modules you use.

Teken
12-20-2010, 08:10 PM
You know that might be even better idea . . . It will allow me to locally turn on the load, and also remote control it from some where else.

Much thanks as always Sir ! :thumbup: :beer:

Torque1st
12-20-2010, 08:19 PM
Back in the 80's I automated my house. The modules usually did not last 6 months. They are all gone now. I hear the modules are better nowadays.

-Good luck! :beer:

BTW, one can always pull a switch circuit to a wall switch instead of using a pull chain switch at the fixture.

Teken
12-20-2010, 08:30 PM
Yeah I could just rewire the whole thing so its either attached with the rest of the stair lights, or add on another decora style paddle.

But, after reviewing how little time anyone spends in the laundry and the make shift work area it wasn't worth the extra time or dollars.

Mind you I still want to be able to control the lights remotely so those modules will be going in next year.

JC23
12-24-2010, 02:05 PM
Ha ha. He said "Pulling your chain!"

EdT
12-26-2010, 04:38 PM
I guess I'm missing something. What's the advantage of being able to control the lights in the basement laundry area remotely? I can understand why that would be nice for some areas, but for the laundry I would think a regular switch in the laundry would be simpler, cheaper, and more reliable.

boydgti
12-26-2010, 08:02 PM
Just cut the chain off and bring a 2 wire into the light for a new switch were ever u want it, then add the mod to that switch. Im assuming your basement isnt fully developed. Seems easy am I missing something