Automatic Shutoff Switch Installation Instructions

Installation Instructions for the Ragland Piano Company
Auto Shutoff Switch

Please read through these instructions and contact me if you have any questions before, during or after the installation process.

Make certain the piano/existing suction box is unplugged before starting installation!

Included in the kit: the Auto Shutoff Switch, 8 foot cable with a plastic connector on one end and wire nuts on the other and a hardware baggie which contains 2 wire ties, 6 cable clamps and screws.

Tools needed include a drill, 3/32” and 1/2” drill bits, small square, screwdrivers.

I recommend installation on top of the spoolbox, centered left to right over the middle of the roll. It is necessary for the spoolbox to have a top - if yours does not, you will need to make a top out of 1/4”-1/2” material the same depth as the spoolbox. Finish the same color as the rest of the spoolbox (usually black). Use screws to secure it to the top of the sides of the spoolbox (and back depending on thickness of the back). If your player has a top originally and you do not want to alter the original piece, make a duplicate.

With the top on the spoolbox, mark a line in pencil, left to right, on the underside of the top where the inside of the back wall of the spoolbox meets the top. Make another mark on the underside of the top above the exact center of the roll, you can use the tab of an installed roll as a guide. Some spool boxes have a brass place or similar decorative piece in the center on the back wall - verify it is in the center and you can use this as a reference point to help mark the center also. Remove the spoolbox top and, using a square, mark a line on the spoolbox top from front to back on the mark indicating the center of the roll. This is important as it determines where to place the drilling template. Place the line on the back edge of the template (marked actuator) on the mark you made from left to right and the line on the front of the template on the line running from front to back (indicating the center of the roll). Secure in place with tape, mark the center of the actuator and button holes and drill with the 1/2” drill bit (preferably in a drill press or carefully with a hand drill if a drill press isn’t available). Clean the holes up as needed - making sure there are no loose splinters of wood that could affect the switch. Place the switch on the top of the board, visually inspecting the actuator and button to make certain they are centered and not rubbing on the sides of the holes. Using the screws provided with the kit (or a transfer punch if you have one) mark the top where the screws will mount the switch to the board, drill with a 3/32” bit (bonus points if you don’t go completely through the top) and mount the switch to the top and the top back to the spoolbox.


Select a route for the 8’ cable that avoids hazards like sharp edges and moving linkages (including the roll motor!) and provides locations to anchor the cable using the provided clips and screws. Take care not to pinch the cable, drive a screw through a cable or anything else that can damage the insulation on the wiring and cause a potentially hazardous situation. Most suction boxes are located in the lower right portion of the cabinet so most of the time the wire will be on the right side of the cabinet. Plug the 8’ cable into the pigtail from the switch and route the cable to the suction motor.

Ragland Piano Company suction boxes and motor control kits are all color coded - wires of dissimilar colors never connect. This holds true with our Auto Shutoff Switch as well. If you have one of our suction boxes and one of our motor controllers you can disconnect two black wires and connect one lead from the 8’ cable to one black wire from the suction box or controller and the other lead from the 8’ cable to the other black wire from the suction box or controller.

If you do not have a Ragland Piano Company suction box or motor controller kit, it’s ok, we still like you. You will need to cut one of the wires going to the vacuum box OR one of the wires on the power cord (sometimes they are the same…). Note that almost all power cords are two or three conductor (two or three insulated wires joined together or inside a common insulator). When I indicate to cut one wire, that means cut just one conductor/wire, not the entire cable. If you have a two conductor cable, I usually cut the wire with the ridged insulation, not the one with the smooth insulation (but either will get the job done). If you have a three conductor cable, you will need to determine which one is the ground and avoid cutting that conductor. Many times a three conductor cable will be color coded - if so, choose the black insulated wire. Basically we are using the switch to interrupt one leg of the AC line. Once you have chosen the wire to cut, make the cut and strip about 1/2” of insulation from the two ends you just created. Using the supplied wire nuts, connect one of each of the ends you created to one of each of the wires on the provided 8’ cable. DO NOT USE ELECTRICAL TAPE! Use the wire nuts, they are much safer and unlike many other types of connectors are easily removed for service work.

After the 8’ cable is plugged into the pigtail from the Auto Shutoff Switch and the other end is connected to either the vacuum motor or power cord you are ready to plug the main power back in and test the switch. Install a roll, connect to the takeup spool as usual, set transmission lever to play and press the button in (up) to activate the motor. To turn it off you can either tap the actuator back (reaching over the roll) or gently pull down on the button. The switch is designed such that the flapping action of a roll that has finished rewinding will trip the actuator and turn off the vacuum motor.

Again, if you have any questions, please contact me.

Ragland Piano Company
314 Main Street, Texarkana, TX 75501
phone 903-791-1758
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