Voltage leak through single pole switch

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Old 07-20-15, 07:42 PM
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Voltage leak through single pole switch

I have a single pole switch that I've wired to run some incandescent rope light in my house. The rope light works normally with the switch but last night I noticed the rope light was glowing very, very dimly. At first I thought I was seeing things but I was able to confirm the lights are, in fact, on just a bit - barely noticeable when the room is dark.

I haven't torn into the wiring yet but thought I'd post here to get some other opinions. Maybe the switch is bad?
 
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Old 07-20-15, 08:06 PM
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Is the switch that controls those rope lights an illuminated switch?

Bud
 
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Old 07-20-15, 08:10 PM
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IS the switch a dimmer? I have a switch that people can't seem to shut all the way off. I walk by the room and notice the lamps are just every so slightly on.
 
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Old 07-20-15, 08:12 PM
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Secondly, is the switch wired using the stab back connections? The wires should be under the screw heads for a solid connection.
 
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Old 07-20-15, 08:18 PM
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No, the switch is not illuminated. It's just a standard wall switch (non-dimmable). The wires are attached using the screws, I don't trust the stab back connections.

It really has me scratching my head.
 
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Old 07-21-15, 06:25 AM
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Disconnect the switch and see if the lights are now out. If no..... then you have a wiring issue elsewhere.
 
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Old 07-21-15, 07:36 PM
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Is it possible the neutral is being switched instead of the hot conductor?
 
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Old 07-21-15, 09:28 PM
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are you using LED rope lights? I have encountered this problem with LED light strings on some switched outlets, they use so little current that they will remain dimly lit when switched off, I even noticed one time during a power outage that a LED night light we had glowed dimly.
 
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Old 07-21-15, 10:42 PM
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I have never encountered LED's staying lit with no power.
 
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Old 07-22-15, 04:41 AM
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I have this phenomenon occurring in my closet, but I know why. Lighted switch and CFL. The neon in the lighted switch allows just enough current through to cause the CFL to lightly flicker.
 
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Old 07-22-15, 06:02 AM
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Just curious, but we all have referenced the phantom voltages people get with high impedance digital meters. Well those voltages are there it is just that they are extremely limited in the power they can deliver. Use an analog meter and the small amount of load it represents drains those phantoms to zero.

I'm wondering of phantom voltages have enough power to cause an LED light to flicker. Instinct (in most cases) says "no", but I'm curious.

Bud
 
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Old 07-22-15, 07:26 AM
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Certainly an LED could be seen in a dark room from an extremely low power source -- something on the order of 0.1 milliamps. It seems plausible that much power could be induced during the phantom phenomenon.
 
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Old 07-22-15, 08:18 PM
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Thanks for all the replies guys. These rope lights are incandescent, not LED's.

I'm going to check out the switch this weekend and verify the neutral isn't being switched. If that's not the problem I'll disconnect the switch, verify the problem is solved, and then replace the switch with a new one. Hopefully that resolves the issue. I'll let you know what I find.
 
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Old 07-25-15, 06:50 AM
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Phantom voltages almost never are strong enough to cause properly connected incandescent lights to glow.
 

Last edited by AllanJ; 07-25-15 at 07:28 AM.
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Old 08-02-15, 08:16 AM
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Well, we have a winner. The neutral was being switched. I corrected the situation and all is well!
 
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Old 08-02-15, 10:09 AM
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Thanks for the update. That may help someone else.
 
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Old 08-02-15, 11:04 AM
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Well, we have a winner. The neutral was being switched. I corrected the situation and all is well!
I've seen that happen before.
 
 

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