How to wire lighted switch


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Old 09-17-10, 02:59 PM
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How to wire lighted switch

Hi, I'm trying to find out how to wire a lighted light switch. The one I ordered is different from the one I tried from a hardware store. The one I tried has the 2 screws in the back plus the grounding screw. The one I ordered has 3 screws and a grounding screw. There are only 2 black wires attached to the old wall switches and they are both black.

The switch I'm trying to install is the Leviton 1221-PLG. Here's the description: 20A 120VAC, Toggle Pilot Light - Illuminated ON - Req. Neutral Single-Pole AC Quiet Switch, Industrial Grade, Back and Side Wired, Green

Does anybody know how to wire this switch so the light in the switch lights up? I can wire it as a standard switch with no light. It's the third screw labeled "pilot light" that powers the light that I don't know how to wire. There are also white and ground wires in the box.

Thanks,
Wayne
 
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Old 09-17-10, 03:19 PM
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The particular switch you have requires a neutral. Not sure of the particular switch you have, but you should have an andonized screw which the hot wire attaches, a brass screw where the load (light) goes and a silver screw where the neutral goes. Let us know the set up you have.
 
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Old 09-17-10, 03:29 PM
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There are only 2 black wires attached to the old wall switches and they are both black.
If you do not have two (or more) white wires wire nutted together in the back of the switch box it won't work. If you do have the bundle of white wires add a pigtail and connect the pigtail to the silver screw on the switch.

20A 120VAC, Toggle Pilot Light - Illuminated ON - Req. Neutral Single-Pole AC Quiet Switch
 
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Old 09-17-10, 03:40 PM
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Switch

If the white wires in the switch box are connected with a wire nut, remove the wire nut, add a pigtail and reinstall the wire nut. Connect the other end of the pigtail to the neutral screw on the switch.

Oh my gosh! I am sorry, Ray. I did not read all of your reply. I am sorry for the repetition.
 

Last edited by Wirepuller38; 09-17-10 at 03:53 PM. Reason: Added last paragraph.
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Old 09-17-10, 03:42 PM
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Hi and thanks for your help.

The switch has a brass and black screw and a green ground screw. The screw labeled "pilot light" is silver.

And yes there are white wires nutted together in the back of the box.

Thanks again,
Wayne
 
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Old 09-17-10, 04:13 PM
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Then do as the boy's choir sang in unison and bring a pigtail from that white bundle and attach it to the silver screw. Let us know how it goes.
 
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Old 09-17-10, 04:23 PM
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Thanks for your speedy replies! I'll try it tonight. I've got to run now. I'll let you all know how it went. I really like these lit switches. I'm replacing the ones I got about 4 years ago. They're starting to burn out. These are much better but they're a lot more expensive. Thanks again!
 
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Old 09-17-10, 07:37 PM
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Your instructions worked on the switch I was looking at, when I wrote the post. There were 2 switches in one box with a bundle of white wires.

Now I'm trying to replace the single switches (one switch per box), and the wiring is different. They used 14/3 Romex. So there is only one black, one white and ground. There's no bundle of white wires in these boxes.

Do any of you know, if this switch can used with this wiring?

Thanks!
 
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Old 09-17-10, 07:48 PM
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Where you have only a single cable with two insulated conductors you have what is known as a "switch loop". There is no "neutral" conductor which is required with the particular switch you have specified.

Also, a cable with two insulated conductors of size #14 with a bare equipment grounding conductor is properly called 14-2 w/g. Orally, "Fourteen-two with ground". A "Fourteen-three with ground" would have black, red and white insulated conductors along with the bare equipment grounding conductor.
 
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Old 09-17-10, 07:56 PM
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Thanks for your help. For the switches with different wiring (no white wires), I'll have to use a different kind of switch then. These switches that require that neutral conductor are really a hassle. I wish they were the standard kind of switch that requires only 2 wires. All of the lighted switches I've used in the past only needed 2 wires.

Thanks for all of your help and your very fast replies. Have a great weekend!
 
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Old 09-17-10, 08:37 PM
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The problem with the switches that don't require a neutral is they won't work with CFLs and other fluorescent lights.
 
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Old 09-18-10, 04:32 AM
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Not sure why you need a pilot light. You can buy illuminated light switches that illuminate with the switch off and don't require a neutral. They aren't as bright as your pilot lights, but you can find the switch in the dark.
 
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Old 09-18-10, 05:40 AM
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The reason I went with this switch is because it was supposed to be green. I didn't care what kind of illuminated switch it was. But I couldn't find green, except for this and another one by Leviton. The old style I had was also Leviton, which was discontinued. The old switches are on their way out. I have 9 and 2 are burned out and 2 are flickering, so I decided to replace all of them. I got them around 4 years ago.

I went around to hardware stores and found illuminated switches but they're all amber. This is kinda bad, but Leviton doesn't usually say what color the light is in the switch. For example, the lighted switches I tried from the store just said clear. You have to try them to find out the light is amber. Even the descriptions on the Leviton site doesn't say what color the lights are.

I got these on the Internet, because nobody carried these green ones locally. But these green ones aren't really green and aren't what I wanted. The picture showed a translucent green switch and the description said green. But there's a yellow light in the switch, so at night it looks all yellow, and I wanted green. This makes no sense. Why would Leviton make a green switch and put a yellow light in it? They have to do a better job at describing their products.

I figured out a compromise: I have this green "glass stain." I brushed some on the switches. It does make the switches look green. The light inside still looks yellow, but it's a darker yellow, so it doesn't look so yellow. This is about the best I can do. It looks okay, but I think the old switches looked better. Too bad they were discontinued.

Thanks guys!
 
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Old 09-18-10, 11:25 AM
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yes if you use cfls on a switch that requires no neutral you will have problems with the cfl capacitors charging and firing randomly.... hard on the ballast...in the garage i had to use 4 cfls and then one small incandescent to keep this from happening
 
 

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