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Simple question re: ceiling switch for shower - neon indicator stays on?

Simple question re: ceiling switch for shower - neon indicator stays on?


Old 09-12-06, 02:04 PM
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Exclamation Simple question re: ceiling switch for shower - neon indicator stays on?


I have just replaced a pull cord ceiling switch (double pole, one way) that controls the power to the shower in my bathroom. (The old one just stopped working... don't know why it stopped working but it was here when I moved in and looked old.) My new switch is the same as the old one - it has a neon indicator and a mechanial on/off indicator - and I wired it up the same way as the old one.

The switch works fine (and turns the power to the shower on and off successfully) BUT the neon indicator on the switch is always on, regardless of whether the mechanical indicator is on or off. My question is: is this right? I can't remember what the old one did but I thought the neon indicator would only come on when the mechanical indicator said 'on' - and if the switch was 'off' then the neon indicator would go out?

Please someone answer my simple question - I need to know if I've wired it up wrong or it's faulty before my house burns down! Thank you.
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Old 09-12-06, 02:26 PM
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What did the directions read?
Is the neon suposed to be an indicator so you can find the switch?
How many wires on the switch? 2-3 or 4? Colors?
How many and what wires did you disconnect in the light box?
Old 09-12-06, 02:43 PM
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Thanks for the interest - I will answer your questions as best I can:

What did the directions read? The switch came with directions for a whole range of accessories. The section that was relevant to my switch consisted of a diagram and wiring instructions. There was nothing about what the neon is for or how it should behave. It is possible that the neon is an indicator so that you can find the switch... I guess that would make sense but I'd like to be sure.
How many wires in the switch and what colours? There were three from the supply (red, black and one sheathed in green/yellow sleeving) and three to the shower (red, black and one sheathed in green/yellow). (I'm in the UK - I don't know if the wiring is different here from US .)
How many and what wires did I disconnect in the light box? I replaced the whole face of the switch and I had to disconnect and reconnect all of the wires to replace it. All wires were reconnected.
Old 09-12-06, 04:02 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2003
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I'm confused. You say you have a pull cord lamp in the shower? I have never seen a neon indicator on a porcelain socket. At the very least, you should have a recessed "wet area" fixture in the shower. Please clarify!
Edit- I see you are in the UK--I'm not sure how things are done there, sorry.
Old 09-13-06, 11:43 AM
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No no no! It's not a pull cord lamp in my shower! It's a pull cord switch outside the shower, on the bathroom ceiling, which turns the power to the shower on or off. I find it hard to believe that these don't exist in the US... maybe I'm not describing it very well? The box says:

'Ceiling Switch with Neon, 1 Way, 45 amp, Double Pole, For use with electric showers, Pull cord included.'

I think you might refer to this sort of arrangement as having an isolator switch for the shower?

When I look up at the ceiling I see a square plastic front that faces down. In the centre of the square facing is a little circular mound, and from the centre of the mound hangs the cord. On the lefthand side of the facing there is a indicator that says either 'On' or 'Off' - this is controlled mechanically by the switch. On the righthand side of the facing there is a small red rectangular neon indicator that stays on.

I was hoping that someone who has one of these switches would read my post and say 'Yeah, my neon stays on all of the time' or 'No, mine turns on and off with the mechanical indicator' - but no-one seems to know what I'm talking about...
Old 09-13-06, 12:04 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
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I have never seen one of these switches, but that does not mean they do not exist over here.

Are you sure that you have this wired properly?
Old 09-25-06, 05:24 AM
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I thought I would give a quick update in case anyone else somes across the same problem. The answer is that the neon indicator should NOT always stay on. If the neon stays on, the switch has been wired incorrectly - I had connected the wires from the supply (mains) to the device (shower) side of the switch and the wires from the device to the supply side, and in this case the neon was always on. When wired up correctly (mains --> supply terminals and shower --> device terminals) the neon only comes on when the switch is 'on'. So there you are!
Old 09-25-06, 05:46 AM
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Welcome to our forums Cranberry Juice,

I hve no knowledge of your problem but want to say that over here we generally have no knowledge of the concept of electric showers.
The best description of them from my understanding would be point of use water heaters.
Point of use hot water heaters for sinks are catcing on but I'm afraid there is no sign that your style of shower is coming any time soon.

Old 09-25-06, 01:04 PM
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Hehe. Yes, that description of 'point of use' water heater for the shower is a good one. The only reason I have this type of shower is because I have a pokey little flat (appartment) with no space for a traditional boiler and hot water tank. So I have a combi-boiler that heats the water as you use it, which is okay for sinks and a bath but is insufficient for a shower... hence my current set-up. Maybe there are no pokey little appartments in the US?
Old 09-25-06, 01:20 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: New Bern, NC
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Naw, we have poky little appartments, but most of those have a common hot water source for many appartments.

Almost all of our homes are use a hot water tank.

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