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-   -   Illuminated switch question (http://www.houserepairtalk.com/f9/illuminated-switch-question-9566/)

Stubarber 07-14-2010 02:24 PM

Illuminated switch question
 
Hello, all.
The wife wanted illuminated switches placed at the top and bottom of our stairway - the circuit being one of those where you can turn the same bulb on or off with either switch (top or bottom of the stairs).

I bought 2 switches, swapped out the 3 wires to their respective positions and connected the grounds - but only the top switch would work properly, and only then if the bottom switch was in one position and not the other.

Figuring there might be some kind of loop with 2 to-ground connections in the same circuit I replaced the lighted bottom switch with the old unlighted switch - but that didn't help.

Is it not possible to add a illuminated switch to a 2-switch system?

kok328 07-14-2010 03:31 PM

Yes and you did. The system assumes that your requiring illumination from the switch that is OFF. The other switch will not illuminate until it is flipped opposite of the other switch.

Stubarber 07-14-2010 03:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kok328 (Post 46596)
Yes and you did. The system assumes that your requiring illumination from the switch that is OFF. The other switch will not illuminate until it is flipped opposite of the other switch.

Sorry, I wasn't clear enough. It's not just the 2nd switch that won't illuminate - the 2nd switch won't work the ceiling light either.

kok328 07-14-2010 05:30 PM

Assuming that both the old non-illuminated switches worked prior to change, I'd have to conclude that you didn't hook them up correctly or the new non-working switch it bad out of the box.

Wuzzat? 07-14-2010 05:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Stubarber (Post 46592)
The wife wanted illuminated switches

Post a link to the switches you are using. They need a source for the internal neon bulb or LED.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=off&client=safari&rls=en&q=define%3A+%223+way+switch%22&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=
But there is another problem yet to be solved in your circuit.

kok328 07-14-2010 07:37 PM

I'm assuming you used 2-way switches and not regular light switches

Stubarber 08-18-2010 08:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kok328 (Post 46607)
I'm assuming you used 2-way switches and not regular light switches

Actually, it seems I was trying to use 2-way switches instead of 3-way switches. Same number of connections on the back, but different internals (obviously).

dodge2000 08-19-2010 06:42 AM

3-way switching problem
 
My understanding about switch a light from two locations, here top and
bottom of stair is that you need to use what the trade people call a
3-way switch. (why they call it this I don't don't, they only good for
two location, addition location require what they a 4-way switch. So
follow this rule, if its has three screw terminal two the same color and
one of a darker color its 3-way switch.) A 3-way has one terminal
that the trade calls the common terminal. This terminal would receive
either 120 volts or the light circuit load hot conductor. The other two
wires the trade calls travelers, they are general insulated color black
read. Wiring between the switch is done using a 3-wire conductor,
with insulated wires of black, red & white. White is most alway used
as the ground/neutal conductor. It not up on neon switches, but
I think the MFG. could make then to light up, no matter how the 3-way
switch are position.

Good Luck

budro 08-20-2010 05:17 AM

sir, you have one wire crossed somewhere. it may not be where you suspect it either. the switch you say won't work may be wired right or vice versa. if you have another three way circuit in your house, turn the power off and pull it out of the box without disconnecting it. look it over good and as dodge 2000 stated earlier one of the three screw terminals will be a different shade of color than the other two. it doesn't matter if the two the same are sideways or up and down. just locate the different color terminal. this will be your common (hot) wire. the word common is sometimes confusing in electrical lingo but it means that terminal is common to the other two. put this switch back in the wall as you were only using it as a guide. i don't know if you were wired with 12-3 or two 12-2's. if you have a red wire it was 12-3 and usually black is the common. if it was wired with two 12-2's, then you probably have two blacks and one white. usually one of the white wires of one of the 12-2 is either snipped off or rolled back. if this is the case, then usually the 12-2 using just the black only to the switch is the common and would go to the odd colored screw. make sure the same is done at both switches. you should work fine now. thanks, buddy

budro 08-20-2010 05:21 AM

oh and p.s., the reason a two location switch is called three way is the load it turns on is considered a part of the circuit. in that respect two switches and a load constitutes three parts. and so called a three way circuit. and no, linking other loads in parallel does not add to the number. thanks, buddy


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