Lighted Switches

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  #1  
Old 10-09-06, 12:07 PM
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Question Lighted Switches

I recently replaced my kitchen and outdoor light switches with lighted ones. They are both three way switches. One is green (colored light in rocker arm) and the other is orange. After a couple of weeks the orange switches (kitchen) started blinking erratically (in the off position). All switches still work fine. Can anyone tell me if they have had this problem before? And what to do. The green lighted switches (outdoors) still work fine (solid green rocker when light is off).
 
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Old 10-09-06, 12:33 PM
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What kind of bulbs are in the light fixtures?
 
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Old 10-09-06, 02:34 PM
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Both lightsa are incandescents.
 
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Old 10-09-06, 02:42 PM
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First check for loose connections at the flickering switch. Make sure that wirenuts are snug and screw terminals are tight. If all of the connections are good, then the switch is probably defective and should be replaced.
 
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Old 10-09-06, 03:05 PM
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Thanks I will check them right away.
 
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Old 10-11-06, 11:00 AM
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It's always a good idea to make sure all connections are tight and secure, but it's very common for neon lights (used in the orange version of your lighted switches) to flicker or "dance" as some portions of the gas become more ionized than others. This may be because some of the bulbs have slightly impure gas in them or because they are not getting enough voltage to maintain complete ionization (they're in series with the load...). No matter what the cause, it often happens and usually isn't a sign of any wiring problem.

I've had neon lighted switches in my last 3 houses over the past 20 years and I've always had one or two that flickered either constantly or once in a while. If it's bothersome, replacing the switch may work, at least for a while, but you'll probably notice the behavior in others from time to time. If that's not acceptable, replace all the switches with ones similar to the other, green, lighted switches which use a different lighting technology (LED).

Doug M
 
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Old 10-13-06, 06:14 AM
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Thumbs up

Thanks for the help. I have checked the connections and they are good. I did realize that a couple of weeks after I installed the switches that the bulbs were replaced with florescent type bulbs. When I changed them back to incandescents then the problem went away. I will just learn to live with the flickering. Thanks for the help.
 
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Old 10-13-06, 06:27 AM
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If the problem occurs with fluorescents and not with regular incandescents, then the reason is the light bulbs. Lighted switches are not always compatible with fluorescent bulbs.
 
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Old 10-13-06, 07:19 AM
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Most of the CF bulbs on the market seem to work fine with lighted switches, but I did have a problem with one brand that I tried to install in the garage light. The switch was fine, but the CF bulb flashed every few seconds when the switch was off.

This does bring up an interesting side note... Not that anyone, especially anyone here, would EVER work on a light fixture without turning off the breaker to the entire circuit, but... With a lighted switch installed, there is always some electricity present at the device controlled by the switch. Not much, but probably enough to be quite fatal in the right situation. Definitely enough to notice if you're a young fool who hasn't learned to ALWAYS test for power before doing any work, but the light switch is off so you're sure you're okay, standing on the counter, replacing the light over the kitchen sink with bare feet and one foot touching the metal sink and you begin to twist the black wires together... for example...

Doug M.
 
  #10  
Old 10-16-06, 10:22 PM
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Originally Posted by dougm
Most of the CF bulbs on the market seem to work fine with lighted switches, but I did have a problem with one brand that I tried to install in the garage light. The switch was fine, but the CF bulb flashed every few seconds when the switch was off.
Interesting. Glad I'm not the only person that had this odd problem. I thought I was going nuts (or needed to call up Ghost Hunters)!

From my experience, the cheaper CFL bulbs (Wal-Mart .. ugh, why do I even bother?) were a problem, but the more expensive ones (Home Depot / Lowes) didn't have that issue.
 
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Old 10-16-06, 10:24 PM
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Originally Posted by dougm
It's always a good idea to make sure all connections are tight and secure, but it's very common for neon lights (used in the orange version of your lighted switches) to flicker or "dance" as some portions of the gas become more ionized than others. This may be because some of the bulbs have slightly impure gas in them or because they are not getting enough voltage to maintain complete ionization (they're in series with the load...). No matter what the cause, it often happens and usually isn't a sign of any wiring problem.

Cool, thanks for this info! Always wondered why my light switches (that were properly wired) flickered like this. Might have to look for some LED-based ones then, since it's kinda annoying and I really don't like that orange glow. Hmm, a nice blue glow would be awesome!
 
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Old 10-18-06, 12:47 AM
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Is there such an animal - a blue LED lighted black paddle style switch?

Anyone make any lighted switch that lights when it's on?
 
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Old 10-18-06, 03:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Cienega32
Is there such an animal - a blue LED lighted black paddle style switch?

Anyone make any lighted switch that lights when it's on?

I have seen those used for walk in coolers, so you can see that the lights are on without opening the door. I suppose so that you will remember to turn them off.
 
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Old 10-18-06, 07:12 AM
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Yes, they make switches that light when the load is on, but they're still neon lights and they require a neutral connection. Try this link (cut and paste into browser):

www.levitonproducts.com/catalog/model_5618-2.htm?sid=EEF5AC308AFB5061E46FC61E7405ECAD&pid=1208

The only led based lighted switches I've seen are used in home automation. They have a number of features that you probably don't need and a price tag to go with them. The LED is not behind the switch, but at the top so the switch paddle itself is not actually lighted. The dimmer versions also have LED's on the side to show the light brightness setting. Below is a link to one. There are paddle kits available in a variety of colors (including black) and LED color changing kits (the native LED's are white). All these switches also need a neutral connection.

www.smarthome.com/2476d.html

You won't find any simple black paddle switches that are back lit... light doesn't pass through black...

Doug M.
 
  #15  
Old 10-19-06, 06:25 PM
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Perfect. Great links - thanks. Some other goodies on there too!
 
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