Gretchen’s 1961 GE low voltage lighting system

low-voltage-ge-lighting-control

Solenoids. Low-voltages. Relays. I have no idea what any of this electrical stuff means. But you guys tell me it’s cool. And these vintage lighting systems certainly are something to look at. So here’s Gretchen’s 1961 GE dual-dial 12-station light control panel circa 1961.

solenoid-system-2Great looking switches like these were installed with the system.

solenoid-systemAnd these.

Gretchen’s home is a “half Jetsons, half Flintstones” Eichler design that is really wonderful. See it on her blog – eichlerific.blogspot.com – and see these lighting system photos and more on her flickr stream. Thanks, Gretchen!!!

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Comments

  1. says

    Whoa! I’d love to see that dual-dial thingy in action. It’s hard to tell if it’s just a 12-way switch or a 12-zone off/on timer (but with only 12 hours? Should be 24). See if they can provide a movie of it being used.

  2. says

    Thanks Pam — I L-O-V-E your blog. Thank you for posting great resources and information!

    I need to clarify that there are actually two separate homes on my Flickr photostream. One is our wacky ranch and the other is the Eichler. They are about 2 miles apart.

  3. says

    Tut — I’m sorry I didn’t see your earlier questions (comments were awaiting moderation). The two dials each function independently. One side turns things on and one side turns things off. There is no timer function. The solenoid panel (also on the Flickr set) controls all the low-voltage switches and the majority of outlets throughout the house and garage. Except for a few post-construction items and now our current in-progress remodel. You can see more notes in the Flickr set.

  4. Matt from NY says

    This is great! I can’t believe it’s front page on retrorenovaton! We just moved into a Upstate New York home built in the 70’s that has the GE Low Voltage System! Our switches (GE RFS-6) and master control panels (RMS4A) in the MB and Kitchen look exactly like yours! I’ve found a local electrical parts supplier that has plenty of new old stock components. I plan on keeping this unique system up and running for years.

    • says

      Matt – I am also from upstate NY with the same GE low voltage system. Where did you find the replacement relay switches? Mine is a RR-5 which I understand is no longer manufactured. Tim

        • Duff Thomas says

          I have one of these systems as well… initially I was looking all over for “like” replacement relays and found some scattered around in some electrical house dead storage bins for obscene amounts of money; {edited by pam – consult with licensed professionals, please.}

    • Martha Hulgan says

      Matt,
      I live in Ala. and have the same exact system. Lighting apparently hit the programmer on the system door. My lighting system will work as long as the door is off the controller box. Electrical company’s in this area are not familiar enough with this type system to help. Can you tell me the name and number of the company you mention. The company who sold the contractor who built this house is no longer in business, so – we are stumped as to what to do. I am hoping I can get some to either rebuild this programmer or replace it. Also, I hate the look of the two button switches – any suggestions. I have been trying to find a digital or other type of switch that can replace what I have, but so far – no long.
      I deeply appreciate finding this site – I thought I was the only person in the world with this system – thought they just sold 1 and that was to my husband who loves gadgets.

  5. says

    That’s cool, Matt! We’ve been using a set of extra switches and solenoids that came with the house. Thanks for the model #’s — very helpful. Do you have a monster solenoid panel too?

  6. Justin Anderson says

    Hello everyone! I am so surprised to find this thread. I am an electrician from Michigan and I have worked on many of these systems in both residential and commercial applications in my area – trust me the technology is still going strong out there! I have connections to get all replacement parts for these systems including switches, relays, and even the RMS4A master controllers. If any of you with these systems are trying to get ahold of replacement or upgrade parts or even just a little advise from an expert in the area, shoot me an email and I would be happy to assist!
    Justin Anderson
    TheNaughtyDonkey@Gmail.com

  7. says

    We have a vintage system in a 1962 built split level home in Duluth, MN. We are interested in renovating the master bedroom control unit. Does anyone have contacts or information where parts or a new one can be obtained. It is 3 separate panels (one for each level). Maybe Justin? Please contact me via email asap!

  8. Chris says

    I have this same system and I am looking for the dual dial control panal one of the dials burnt out. Any Idea where I can find replacement parts? Thanks

  9. frank says

    I’m an electrician trying to find replacement switches like these. Does anyone know where I might find them.
    thanks

  10. David Smith says

    Our house was built in 1954, with the exact same low voltage system. Is there any way to add a dimmer switch , and what accessories are available, such as motion detectors, heat sensors, etc., that would activate the switch.

    • pam kueber says

      Dave, this is not a DIY or fixit site — you will have to contact companies that handle vintage (or new?) Nutone to answer these questions. Good luck.

  11. Jim Perkins says

    Need some parts for the low voltage lighting control system as show in the above photos. Need solenoid relays (the one’s that have the extra blue wire for the indicator panel), lighted switches, and extra bulbs for the lighted switches and control indicator panel.

  12. Bill Grove says

    I too have a GE low voltage system in my house that was intalled in the mid 50’s. We like the system but are in need of replacement switches and relays. Have any idea where to get them. thanks

    • Gary Leinart says

      I currently have an old farm house in which I have installed this sytem over the years. I currently get the parts I need from a local GEXPRO supplier

  13. Bill says

    It’s odd how few suppliers there are for these parts that were I big seller in the 50’s.
    I’m trying to locate the relay part.

  14. Bob Moore says

    I have a cabin in Big Bear City, CA. It was built by a GE engineer in 1974 and uses the GE low voltage lighting system for all the lights on the first floor and exterior of the house. I have renewed hope that there are still replacement parts out there after reading this blog. On my next trip to the mountain, I will be checking out the selenoids that are no longer working. Fortunately, they are all for exterior spot lights on the eves. Will keep you informed if I find a local supplier.

  15. Jack Eby says

    Where can we get replacement relays and switches for our 1973 era GE low voltage lighting system? When relays fail, the lights remain either on all the time (switch was “on” when the relay failed), or off all the time (switch was “off” when the relay failed).

    • dex says

      Search for RR-7 on eBay will find you the best price on relays. Switches are also listen on eBay. A Google search will find you retail sources for your GE system. The GE LV system is time proven and generally very reliable.

      Dex

  16. Lori says

    I have a house built back in the early 50s with low voltage light switches that look exactly like the 3rd photo. I have groups of 1, 2 and 3 switches and I need to replace all of these brown and beige switches with white ones – and white switchplates. Do you know where I can find these items?? The electrician told me that it would cost me over a $1000.00 to replace all of the low voltage switches with modern ones and I do not have that kind of money. I just want to get rid of the beige and brown colors. Can you help me please?? Thank you and take care

  17. Sarah says

    http://www.TTK.com has switches that are compatible. They have white, in groups of 2, 4, and 6… not sure about the odd numbers. I’m not sure if our house’s system is the same as yours, but ours uses the GE low voltage 2 button switches, and we’re also needing to replace the switches. We looked into Touchplate, but I hated the feel of them. I think we’re going to go with TTK.com. Much prettier, and we can use standard switchplates from hardware stores instead of buying the custom ones from GE, which saves money in the long run. They aren’t cheap, but they told me they’ll give discounts if we buy over certain amounts.

  18. Cliff says

    I have that system still in use in my 1966 home. I found this site because I need GE RR 6 relay. If you know where I can find them let me know. Still looking….

  19. pam kueber says

    I am the Publisher of this site. Please take note: I am okay with continued comments about where to find switches and parts. HOWEVER: Do not give electrical DIY or similar “oh, you can do it this way” advice here. If you do, I will edit it out immediately without notice. See Terms of Use. Regarding electric issues: Consult with a licensed professional.

  20. Gary says

    I have a spare if you want it.
    We replaced it with a different switch panel.
    I am also in upstate ny.
    Just let me know.
    It’t in good shape and sitting I a box.
    Gary