Replacing illuminated 3 way switches


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Old 12-06-14, 03:21 AM
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Replacing illuminated 3 way switches

I bought an older house "1983" in Colorado Springs and my son lives there, I'm in Korea.
He is working on a hallway light, the illuminated 3 ways switches are not lit anymore. The hallway light is on stairs and he wants them to work.
He removed one and took it to Lowes and they said this does not meet code and you need to update the switches. So they sold him a Cooper 3 way illuminated part number 1303GL which I can not find anywhere. He tried to replace it but it didn't work.
I looked at the original wiring over Skype and made drawings to figure it out. It seems to be a standard three way switch setup.
The problem seems to be the new switch connections don't match the old wiring and I don't know how to make it work.
On one end of the switch it has 2 hot screws across from each other. The other end has 2 common screws across from each other and a ground screw on the end. The instructions that came with it do not have any diagrams and basically say just connect it up.
I am thinking maybe he needs a different switch. Some drawings I seen on the Internet show a similar switch needing a Neutral connection. Any ideas?
Thanks!
 
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Old 12-06-14, 06:06 AM
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Welcome to the forums! From your description, he has a 4 way switch. On a three way switch the LINE or LOAD will be attached to the dark/andonized screw, while the other two wires will be attached to the remaining two screws in no particular order. Some switches with lighting will need a neutral, so that 4th wire may be a neutral. Some use neon and it requires no neutral. Here is a picture of a Cooper 1303 switch in 3 way.

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Old 12-06-14, 06:14 AM
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Welcome to the forums!

First off it might be better if your son posts directly to this forum. I might be less confusing then trying to have you as the middle man. Creating an account is free and easy.

On one end of the switch it has 2 hot screws across from each other. The other end has 2 common screws across from each other and a ground screw on the end.
This sounds like a 4 way switch. Is there more than two switches that operate these lights? If so you would use two 3 ways and the others would be 4 ways. 4 ways do not have two commons.

The other issue is that some illuminated switches need a neutral wire, as you mentioned. Is there a neutral available in each box? (or the boxes where the lighted switches will go?

Lastly, did he change the light bulbs recently? CFL and LEDs might not allow the switch to draw current through the bulb. This is for older switches that do not need a neutral.
 
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Old 12-06-14, 06:18 AM
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There will need to be neutral conductors at each switch location.
Geo
 
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Old 12-06-14, 06:21 AM
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Geo, link doesn't work..................
 
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Old 12-06-14, 07:21 AM
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I would like to know what code the old switches did not meet.
 
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Old 12-06-14, 07:34 AM
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Me too. Non grounding switches/No ground screw?
 
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Old 12-06-14, 07:59 AM
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Thanks, I realized that thought I had deleted that post,OE!
Geo
 
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Old 12-06-14, 08:03 AM
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One must consider the source of the info.
Geo
 
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Old 12-06-14, 09:20 AM
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Lowes has illuminated 1-pole and 3-way switches that do not require a neutral. Here is a 1303 3-way switch in white.

Shop Cooper Wiring Devices 15-Amp White 3-Way Light Switch at Lowes.com

The 4-way switches are a different model number and I don't believe are available at Lowes as illuminated.

I would like to know what code the old switches did not meet.
I suspect the code the old switches don't meet is a local building code and not the NEC. We have the same requirement in my area for 3-way switches over stairs.

CFL and LEDs might not allow the switch to draw current through the bulb. This is for older switches that do not need a neutral.
The Cooper 1303 3-way switch will probably not illuminate when using self ballasted CFL or LED lamps.
 
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Old 12-06-14, 05:04 PM
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From what I seen there is a pair of neutral wires connected together coiled up in the back of one of the switch boxes.

I believe he replaced all the lights with LED ones.

I will check with him on LED lights to be sure.

Thanks everyone!!
 
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Old 12-06-14, 05:12 PM
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Coming in a little late to this thread.... a neutral is NOT required for a switch that illuminates when the light is off. The lamp is across the switch contacts and when the switch is off.... it is in series with the load. If the bulb in the fixture was dead... the switch(es) wouldn't light.
 
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Old 12-06-14, 06:08 PM
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The lamp is across the switch contacts and when the switch is off.... it is in series with the load. If the bulb in the fixture was dead... the switch(es) wouldn't light.
Typically this type switch was normally used with incandescent or halogen lamps and won't work with a self ballasted CFL lamp. I don't think they will work with an LED lamp either because of the LED driver. Considering the popularity of the CFL and LED lamps today, I would use nothing except an illuminated switch that requires a neutral.
 
 

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