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I have an LED light with a pull chain like this one.

https://www.acehardware.com/departments/lighting-and-electrical/ceiling-fans-and-parts/ceiling-fan-accessories/3531092

The chain broke inside of the enclosure. (See attached photo , I marked the broken chain with blue) pull chain component for an LED light with fasteners marked in yellow

A few questions:

  1. What are these small (aluminum ?) fasteners called, they hold the plastic enclosure shut, I marked them in yellow.
  2. (How) can I remove those fasteners, maybe needle nose pliers, maybe a small flathead screw, maybe I try to melt them?
  3. (How) can I replace those fasteners once I fix/add extension to the pull chain, to fasten the enclosure shut again? Or maybe just tape it shut? Is it better to replace the entire pull chain component with a new pull chain component, i.e. the item linked above?
  4. Or could I replace the pull chain component with a switch component instead? (With pull chain components it seems like their chains always break! A switch wouldn't break like a chain does, any other recommendations?)

(Probably not worth the money to do this repair but this is to improve my skills, and prevent waste)

This is a similar question:

How do I shut off the ceiling fan without a pull chain?

But I wanted to ask specifically about the names of these pieces, and whether I could repair the component rather than replacing it.

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  • 2
    Is there access from the other end(black), like screws? Those aluminum/metal pieces look to be sealed/glued on/in the plastic, so a hammer will have as much luck as most other tools in removing them.
    – crip659
    May 29, 2023 at 14:14
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    If you care about liability and insurance coverage, don't fix/modify cheap AC-powered gear yourself; you stand to lose thousands and only gain a few bucks. Use an AFCI if you do modify it, so at least you can point to precaution taken.
    – dandavis
    May 30, 2023 at 9:32

4 Answers 4

10

They are rivets, apparently some variant of hollow rivet, they have to be drilled out, and replaced with new rivets.

With consumer products the presumed intent is that you are not intended to be able to repair/access this, and if you do, it will leave adequate traces that the manufacturer can say "well, we didn't build it like that, so the user must have modified it before it burned the house down."

i.e. "Replace the switch" is the only supported repair (and if it died young, take up the defective chain with the warranty department.)

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    Agree that replacement is the path of least resistance, but the right size nuts/bolts could probably replace the rivet if it goes all the way through. May 29, 2023 at 14:57
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    But you need to make sure that the nut does not come loose and result in random conductive parts rattling around among electrified components. Which might well be another reason that a rivet was chosen by the manufacturer in the first place.
    – Ecnerwal
    May 29, 2023 at 15:03
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    These pull chain switches are usually pretty cheap and not too hard to replace (unless it's in a really awkward location maybe, but judging by the picture, it seems like it's pretty easy to access in this case). I'm not sure it's worth filing a warranty claim on it, unless the failing switch caused something else to break that's more expensive. Agreed that repairing it is pretty much not an option at this point. May 30, 2023 at 13:16
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    I would use small zip ties instead of bolts—assuming aesthetics isn't an issue here.
    – Huesmann
    May 30, 2023 at 13:34
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Yellow indicates a rivet. It would have to be drilled out and finding replacement rivets and having the tool on hand is a greater task than replacing the entire switch.

The switch is relatively cheap and easily purchased. It also is easier to replace than to try a repair.

There is no logical reason to attempt to repair that switch.

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    I disagree with the last statement "there is no logical reason to attempt to repair that switch". From a time/money perspective, you're correct that the most resource-efficient path forward is to just buy a new one. However, the OP indicated that his/her goal is to prevent waste and improve skills, which (s)he may consider more important than time/money. From my own perspective, I'd add that the satisfaction of figuring out and fixing something small and intricate like this is a pretty big factor too.
    – maples
    May 29, 2023 at 15:41
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    @maples: that's all great until it fails and burns down your house and the insurance won't cover it because it's had unauthorized consumer modifications. If you want to fix a pocket radio that's fine, but mains wiring isn't a good domain for non-professionals.
    – dandavis
    May 30, 2023 at 9:30
  • Thanks @maples, I agree with you, there are "logical" reasons to attempt to repair the switch. It seems like people are quick to point out the potential for "non professionals" (@dandavis) to "burn the house down", (see the answer I accepted). I can anticipate these kind of responses, but that won't help. Guess the responders are just looking out for my safety, I wish I didn't feel so patronized by it! I suppose there's a way to learn small DIY repairs and electronics in a completely risk-proof way (not making mods at all; or not doing it unless you're professional -- catch 22?), alas... Jun 11, 2023 at 0:42
3

Given your interest in repair, rather than replacement, you might consider drilling/dremeling into the top of the plastic case to access where the chain hooks onto the mechanism. It should be possible to unhook the old chain and hook a new chain without complete disassembly. To keep dust and spiders out after, cover the hole with some duct tape.

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If you have a Repair Cafe nearby, you could ask the folks there.

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