I just bought an older home (1959), and it has some odd light switches.

The button is a tap button, and just seems to vary the brightness. The slider seems to turn the lights off and on.

The lights installed when we moved in didn't work, so I replaced them with dimmable LEDs (since I assumed the slider was a dimmer). But it doesn't seem to be a real dimmer.

Has anyone seen these before? and if so, is this the expected behavior?

I'm tempted to just replace them with something standard honestly.Light switches with slider and tap button

  • "I'm tempted to just replace them with something standard honestly." We have a winner! Then put the weird old ones on ebay and see if they surprise you - or not. Would perhaps get better answers if you shut off the circuit at the source and pulled out one to reveal any identifying marks (you'll need that for the ebay listing anyway ;-) You might even find others already there and some idea of prices...) Weird old stuff is sometimes valuable, to someone; doesn't have to be you.
    – Ecnerwal
    Oct 22 '17 at 1:50
  • Those are x10 (or some variation, it was sold under many brand names since the late 1970’s). Basically early remote control switching, but a technology that just kept going.
    – Tyson
    Oct 22 '17 at 2:12
  • 2
    "Ancient lighting control tech don't know what it is, I know, fit LEDs"... Not the best plan. Don't get me wrong, I love LEDs, but LEDs are fairly picky about which types of dimmers they'll dim with, so that may be your problem right there. Anytime you're dealing with unknown ancient lighting-control tech, stick with incandescent/halogen until you've got it figured out. Oct 22 '17 at 3:27

Better replace those LEDs with incandescent lights.

I recognize that switch. It is an X-10 brand, WS467 Dimmer module.

x10 ws467

Here's the manual.

This switch can be controlled in person with your finger, or remotely with a plug-in or wireless controller. Hopefully the seller left behind some controllers for you. Otherwise you'd need to buy one to take advantage of remote control.

Basically the larger top momentary pushbutton is the normal on/off control. The smaller bottom toggle is to 'lock' it off so that nobody can turn it on remotely.

  • BTW. Any time you see those distinctive A-Q 1-16 red and black dials, it's X-10. Oct 22 '17 at 16:50
  • Alright, cool! I'll have to replace that with a normal switch. It's the only one in the house, and no remote was included. Is there any danger to using LED in the meantime?
    – Will M
    Oct 22 '17 at 17:16
  • 1
    Danger is quite a relative term. You might destroy the lights. You might destroy the dimmer. Said destruction could involve a release of heat. Said heat may induce a fire. Fire may kill everyone in their sleep. --- Or or it could work just fine. LED bulbs and any dimming mechanism must be engineered as a complete system to be a good idea to use. X-10 was frankly invented before LED lights. If your LEDs are designed to be dimmable by incandescent dimmers you might be fine. But most aren't, and I doubt you would have posted this Question if it was working well. Oct 22 '17 at 17:25
  • The bottom slider turns power all the way off so you can safely change the bulbs. The push button likely returns it to the last dimmed setting. You can hold the button and it will slowly cycle between bright and dim until you release.
    – BMitch
    Nov 15 '21 at 23:51

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.