combination circuit

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  #1  
Old 07-14-06, 07:47 PM
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combination circuit

Hello. I just completed a combination circuit. The circuit consists and is wired in this order. power comming into 2 lighted switches in a double gang box, from one switch the power then goes through a gfci recepticle to a light. Power from the second switch goes to a fan in another direction. I finished and tested everything. Everything works fine. The question i have is that with the light switch off there is a small current at the light. I know this because with the light switch off i tried to tighten my connections at the light and felt a little zap(i know dumb). I then tested the hot and neutral at the light with the switch off and i got a reading of about 70watts. I am positive my wiring is correct. Could the problem lie with those lighted switches. The lighted switches do not require a neutral and in the off position they light up fine. This is a new run right down to the switchbox. Could the problem lie in the panel box. I have been wiring for a few years and never came across this
 
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Old 07-14-06, 08:07 PM
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start again.. pilot lights on the switches don't usualy light unless the switch is on. additionaly.. any "zap" is not good and indicative of something not quite right.
 
  #3  
Old 07-14-06, 08:11 PM
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These lighted switches come on whenever the light is turned off so that you can see them in the dark
 
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Old 07-14-06, 08:18 PM
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This is a single ckt right? was the fan on or off? what wire did you get the "zap" on? hot or neutral? at the light or at the switch? What did you test the ckt with? How did you determine how many watts you had there? Why were you checking for watts anyway?
 
  #5  
Old 07-14-06, 08:20 PM
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lectriclee. these are not pilot light switches. They have no neutral leg on them. These have the little orange lights which you cannot see. The on/off toggle lights off whenever the switch is off. The back of the cardbord says this.
 
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Old 07-14-06, 08:22 PM
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understood, Thats why I asked the other questions.
 
  #7  
Old 07-14-06, 08:24 PM
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what is ckt? I measured the voltage because i felt a tingle. I think it was the hot at the light.
 
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Old 07-14-06, 08:28 PM
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sorry, ckt. is an abreveation for circuit.
 
  #9  
Old 07-14-06, 08:35 PM
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do the switches have to be hooked up differently. On the back of the switch it has two screws. One says line, the other doesn't say anything. I hooked the incomming hot to the one that says line and the outgoing to the other
 
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Old 07-14-06, 08:48 PM
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Ok here's what i did i unhooked the fan with the switch off i touched the hot wire. I get a very faint tingle. I did the same with the light and got the same faint tingle. Could there be a leak in the box where the switches are?
 
  #11  
Old 07-15-06, 05:45 AM
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Here is some more information.If i take the lightbulb out with the switch off the light goes out in the switch and the directions say that the light in the switch wont light up in the off position if the wires are disconected from the light which makes me wonder if that black wire at the light is to carry a small amount of voltage. does anyone have some insight on this.
 
  #12  
Old 07-15-06, 05:56 AM
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Russell,
I'm not an electrician but never, never, test a wire with your fingers; the next "little tingle" could be the last thing you feel on this good earth before you're in the angel choir.
My thoughts (but I'd strongly suggest you get an electrician out by this point):
It sounds to me like you've got hots and neutrals crossed somewhere. Make sure that at the supply line to your switch you can identify the hot (usually black but not always!) and the white is neutral. Check by using a 120v test light between the hot and the white (light should light) and hot and ground (light should light) and white and ground (light should not light). If this happens, black should be interupted by switch, whites continue to outlet and go to silver screw, blacks to brass screw on outlet, grounds to ground screws.
Best of luck.
 
  #13  
Old 07-15-06, 05:57 AM
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Okay. Let's start at the beginning. You are misusing the terms "watt" and "voltage".

You did not measure "70 watts". You may have measured 70 volts, but you did not measure 70 watts.

The circuit you are working on is 120 volts (approximately). To power the lights in those switches a small amount of current is run through the system.

You learned a valuable lesson. Never work on a circuit with the breaker turn on or the fuse installed. Always turn off the breaker or remove the fuse. There still may be power on the circuit beyond a switch even if the switch is turned off.

Now the bad news. Take out those switches. While it is okay to run power through an incandescent light controlled by these switches, You do not run power through a fan or through certain items that might be plugged into the receptacle. You risk damaging the fan and whatever may be plugged in.
 
  #14  
Old 07-15-06, 06:31 AM
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Originally Posted by racraft
Now the bad news. Take out those switches. While it is okay to run power through an incandescent light controlled by these switches, You do not run power through a fan or through certain items that might be plugged into the receptacle. You risk damaging the fan and whatever may be plugged in.
Bob, can just elaborate on this a little more? Why using these switches would you damage the fan and other equip? I have a lighted switch in my basement which controls a fluorescent light and branches off to some outlets and...


no one mentioned this so I could be wrong but I thought the source wire should never be spliced to be branched off at the switch. Only the hot wire should travel to the switch.
 
  #15  
Old 07-15-06, 06:46 AM
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Question

Some types of switches work by running a small amount of current through the circuit. RUSSELLN114 has indicated that this is one of those switches. Other types include some types of switch timers.

These switches are designed to work this way so that it is NOT necessary to have a neutral wire in the switch box.

This small amount of current through the circuit is not enough to make a regular incendescent light bulb light up, nor will it hurt a light bulb. The light bulb may not last as long, but light bulbs are designed to be used and thrown away. The current is enough to light a lighted switch (in this case) or to power a timer or whatever.

However, certain types of loads will either not allow a small amount of current through them, or may be harmed by the current. You would not want a stereo, TV or any other electronic equipment, for example, to have a small amount of current always running through it.
 

Last edited by racraft; 07-15-06 at 08:06 AM.
  #16  
Old 07-15-06, 07:55 AM
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Bob, thanks. Thats what I thought but wasn't 100% sure. Any idea of how much current is at the switch to light the light? I'm going to break out multi-meter and check .
 
  #17  
Old 07-15-06, 09:26 AM
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Racecraft wrote:
Now the bad news. Take out those switches. While it is okay to run power through an incandescent light controlled by these switches, You do not run power through a fan or through certain items that might be plugged into the receptacle. You risk damaging the fan and whatever may be plugged in.
___ Racecraft. I'm not understanding what you mean. I'm not running power through a fan. Just running power to it. I will try to give you a rundown on how i wired the circuit. First i started with 12/2 entering at the double gang two switch box. From that box i ran 12/3 to the receptacle. from the receptacle i ran 12/2 to the light. To wire the fan I then went back to the double gang box where the two switches are and ran 12/2 to the fan which is on the other side of the room. I am positive that the connections are right. If anything i might need to replace the switch that controles the fan. _______________
 
  #18  
Old 07-15-06, 11:58 AM
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Do not control a receptacle or a fan with one of these switches. Control an incandescent light if you wish, but do not control anything else.

Personally, I feel you shouldn't use these switches at all and instead you should use a lighted switch that requires a neutral, so you avoid this problem entirely.
 
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