In my house, there were some confusing panels of that had lots of switches on them, so I bought a labeling machine and put labels over all the switches in the house.

There are two blank switches next to the fireplace that are there in case we ever want to have a heater connected to it. For fun, I labeled these two blank switches like so:

Two switches labeled "SELF-DESTRUCT"

Unfortunately, the switches don't actually do anything. I've been wanting to hook them up so that when you flip a switch, it makes an alarm sound go off, or there's an explosion sound or something like that.

I haven't ever dealt with electrical switches, so I don't know how easy this will be, and I have no idea what sort of apparatus would work well for this purpose. Keep in mind that I'm not very mechanically inclined at all, so there might be some steps in the process that are obvious to everybody else but not to me.

Do any of you all know what would be a good way to achieve this, and approximately how much it would cost?

  • Where do the wires for the switches go? If you don't know, you'll have to trace them somehow. Checking plugs (all outlets) is a good place to start, to see if they are controlling outlets. Next step is to find any blank faceplates or exposed wires hanging around (in basement/attic, if possible) - use a non-contact voltage detector, and flip the switches to see if they control something.
    – gregmac
    Commented Nov 11, 2011 at 16:47
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    Why would someone put in switches that don't do anything, rather than a blank face plate? Are they wired for power? To an outlet somewhere? Commented Nov 11, 2011 at 17:12
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    +1 just because this idea is so damn funny. When I finally build a house, I might just have non-wired switches installed labeled like this for kicks... Commented Nov 11, 2011 at 17:28
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    It needs to start a countdown, preferably in a female English accent. Commented Nov 11, 2011 at 19:56
  • You should get in touch with the electronics hobbyist community. I don't have any good suggestions for places to start, though; this would be off-topic on Electronics.SE since it's not a specific design question.
    – Kevin Reid
    Commented Nov 12, 2011 at 3:16

1 Answer 1


Zip on over to Edwards Signaling, and pick up one of these Motor Driven Industrial Sirens ($1090.00).

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Have a listen

And a AdaptaBeacon Rotating Light ($972.00).

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Wire them up to the switch, and enjoy.

You might also want to grab a pair of these.

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For pranksters on a budget, you could get one of these 120V Selectable Output Horn/Strobes (~$50.00).

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But you might want to cover up the word FIRE, to prevent confusion.

  • That's a bit over my budget range. I was hoping for something less than $100... Commented Nov 11, 2011 at 17:56
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    @PeterOlson Found a 120V fire alarm for less than $100.00.
    – Tester101
    Commented Nov 11, 2011 at 18:11
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    Haha! Too funny! Get a more ominous looking key switch and "accidentally" leave the key in place. Hook the alarm up through an outdoor light delay timer. Watch you house guests panic when they play with the switch and find that they can't turn it back off again!
    – bcworkz
    Commented Dec 31, 2013 at 22:30

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