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What is this switch / fuse / thing?

As the default home of all odd questions I though I would ask the collective knowledge of downsizer this.

A friend of mine has an extractor fan in her bathroom, it doesn't extract but it does make one hell of a racket so she asked me to disconnect it. That's easy enough. But the oddity is that it's connected to the bathroom light by a concealed switch. That's a switch mechanism behind an otherwise blank electrical faceplate which has in place of the switch a small plate which looks a bit like a fuse holder (it's not a fuse holder as there is no notch to allow it to be lifted out) in the middle of that fuse holder is a vertical slot behind which can be seen the stump of a toggle switch. Using an awl or something similar (there's probably a proper tool for it but that's what I used) the switch can be moved and the fan turned off.

The question is ... why? and what on earth is that mechanism called? and what would be the proper tool to use?

None of those questions are really that important I am just perplexed as to why on earth this was done this way?

Dunno what they're called. Presumably it's like that so that it comes on when the light is turned on but the hidden switch thingy allows the fan to be isolated with the light on if you need to work on it outside daylight hours.

You need a fish tail key.

They are used mainly in public areas when you dont want the public turning the switch on or off.


Ta - I can now sound slightly less ignorant when I go into my local hardware stores.
Ty Gwyn

Don`t know JD`s set up,but the extractor fan workings here are in the attic,so bathroom light not much use to work on the fan.

There was the same issue here when the house was re-wired,fan coming on every time light was turned on,that was bad enough,but the heat from the bath water one could see it disappearing through the fan vent,stupid idea,so got the sparky to disconnect the fan and revert to opening the window when needed.
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