Light Switch with telltale LED?

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  #1  
Old 11-24-05, 07:52 PM
GRussell
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Light Switch with telltale LED?

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I'm looking for some sort of light switch that has a LED (or some other light) built into the tip of the switch. When would this be useful?
1.) A light switch in a normally dark room... it would help you find it easier.
2.) What I'd really like is a telltale LED which is on when the switch is on, which would help alert me that I left the light on in the garrage, closet, etc.
I could have swore I've seen one of these previously, but my Google searches have turned up nothing. Perhaps I'm using the wrong keywords. Does something like this exist? Thanks,
-Glenn
 
  #2  
Old 11-24-05, 10:34 PM
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Nearly every company makes lighted switches in various styles.

These are cheap enough - lighted when off, but not led:

http://www.homedepot.com/prel80/HDUS....jsp?pn=336485

Not cheap but very cool:

http://www.levitonproducts.com/catal...03575&pid=1208

They come both 277 volt and 120 volt, lighted when on, lighted when off, single pole and three way and in various colors. Note the requirement that there be a neutral wire in the switch box for some applications:

http://assets.twacomm.com/assets/pdf/14695.pdf

(You'll need Acrobat Reader to see it)

This is the classic switch/pilot light combo for things like attic and garage lights. It's neon, not LED:

http://doityourself.com/store/u369041.htm

Better yet, put an occupancy sensor in your garage. I have one in mine, and it works great!
 

Last edited by Cheyenps; 11-24-05 at 10:53 PM.
  #3  
Old 11-25-05, 07:33 AM
GRussell
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Wow, thanks for the great links! The Assets.com Leviton looks almost exactly like what I want... (illuminated when load is on) the only issue is, that it's a rocker switch v.s what I was looking for... a (Please forgive my teminology) "regular" switch. ( My whole house only uses "regular" switches.) ...I know, it would have to be a very small Light (LED) at the tip of the switch... Have you ever seen this ability in a non-rocker switch? Thanks again... i don't think I would have ever found these links without you.
-Glenn
P.S. Yeah, my dad just did that in his garrage after the graphite/grease from the chain shorted the garrage light circuit board and the light stopped working. He put in a occupancy sensor and a couple good size lights and really likes them.
 
  #4  
Old 11-28-05, 08:43 PM
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Have you ever seen this ability in a non-rocker switch?
No, I haven't. Lighted standard switches either light up the entire handle or are shaped like a receptacle with a light below the switch.

Why not just change all of the switches in the house? Most people want white switches these days, and you'll make some points with your wife if you install the new "Decorator" style to match the ones with the LEDs in them.
 
  #5  
Old 11-29-05, 10:57 AM
GRussell
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Most People want white switches these days
Did you mean "rocker" switches?

Actually, if there was a standard switch which lit up the whole handle (only when the load was on), that would be fine.
Yep, maybe I should replace all the switches in the house. Whenever I've redone a room (spackle, paint, rug, radiators, etc), I always replace the switches/receptacles, etc. Maybe I should get off my butt and do my whole house! Thanks again for all the help. -Glenn
 
  #6  
Old 11-30-05, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by GRussell
Did you mean "rocker" switches?
No, I'm talking about the color white, as opposed to the "ivory" colored switches that older homes have. That said, I have seen some new houses where they've gone back to ivory switches and plugs, so the fad may be over.

The trade name for the "rocker" switches, BTW - is "Decora" or "Decorator style".
 
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Old 11-30-05, 08:36 PM
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Pass and Seymour has illuminated toggle switches. Look for part # 660ISLG at this link

http://www.passandseymour.com/
 
  #8  
Old 12-01-05, 06:31 AM
GRussell
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Wow, that's really close to what I've been looking for. Thanks for the link! The only issue is that the 660ISLG seems to be lit when the load is off instead of on. Do you now if the installation be changed (re-wired) so that the switch is illuminated when the load is on? Thanks again, -Glenn
 
  #9  
Old 12-01-05, 08:13 AM
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Switches are either illuminated when off, or illuminated when on. It's not possible to convert one to the other. Buy the one that matches your need. And make sure it's rated for the size and type of load it serves.
 
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Old 12-01-05, 08:18 AM
GRussell
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Looking at the 660ISLG pdf, I only see switches which are "Lighted when off". I don't see "Lighted when on". Did I miss something? Thanks, -Glenn
 
  #11  
Old 12-01-05, 09:40 AM
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Lighted-when-on switches are sometimes called pilot-light switches. Search that web site for "pilot switch".
 
  #12  
Old 12-01-05, 10:11 AM
GRussell
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Ahhhh... that was the terminology I was missing... "Pilot Light". Now that I know that, my Google search revealed that I probably want a Levitron Leviton 1221-PL (Clear). Sweet!
Now, the question is... how many times will I have to leave the light on in the closet/garrage to pay for these $24 silly switches!
Also, I need to check and make sure I have a neutral wires where I 'em.
I think my question is finally answered. Thanks again.
-Glenn
 
  #13  
Old 12-01-05, 10:18 AM
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Some lighted switches require a neutral, and some don't. The ones that don't power the light by passing a small current through the load at all times. Because of this, the type and size of load is usually restricted to incandescent bulbs (loads that will easily pass a small current). The small current is not enough to create any light from the bulb. Lighted switches with a neutral connection can typically handle any type of load.

Whenever the old (unlighted) switch has a white wire connected to it, it is important to recognize that this white wire is not a neutral.
 
  #14  
Old 12-01-05, 10:53 AM
GRussell
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Whenever the old (unlighted) switch has a white wire connected to it, it is important to recognize that this white wire is not a neutral.
Right... Because if they are just single throw switches, the white wire is still a hot. (though they might have wrapped a piece of black electrical tape around the end to signify this). Did I interpret your post correctly?

That said, I may not have a real neutral wire in my boxes, and I'm using florescent bulbs (which can't easily pass the small load), so after all this great posting, if I can't find a true neutral wire, I may be out of luck. O'well, I've still learned a bit in the process.

Thanks guys,
-Glenn
 
  #15  
Old 12-07-05, 08:26 AM
GRussell
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It looks like in the 1 situation where I wanted this pilot switch the most (going to the garage), I do have a true neutral wire. (I believe it's a 3 way switch, see below) There are two white wires coming from the outside of the box, that come into the box and are wire-nutted together. They do not go to the switch at all.

http://www.levitonproducts.com/catal...el_1203-PL.htm
I believe I need the 3 way because there are 3 switches that control the lights... 2 in the garage, one at the entry to the garage. I believe the 2 in the garage are 4 ways, and the one that I'm interested in is the 3 way. (It only has 3 wires plus the ground)

And for a final question... I hesitate to ask this because I think I'm about to get flamed... *holding hands up to protect my face* I think I already know the answer to this... but... here goes... In the situation where I don't have a true neutral wire, how bad would it be to use the ground wire for the pilot illumination? After all, it should only be a couple millivolts going through it? I know, I know, you shouldn't use the ground for anything but a ground... Be gentle...

Hopefully I'm not beating a dead horse with this post... you guys have been very helpful, I figured I'd keep discussing my thoughts/progress with you.

Thanks,
-Glenn
 
  #16  
Old 12-07-05, 09:17 AM
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"How bad would it be" questions are tough to answer. For example, how bad would it be if you drove to the grocery store without buckling your seat belt? How bad would it be if you crossed the street without looking both ways?

The answers are all probably "not the worst thing in the world". But if you ask the question "should you do it?", the answer is clearly no.
 
  #17  
Old 12-07-05, 09:20 AM
GRussell
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I agree, and won't be including thoes neutral-missing switches in my project. Thanks for your response!
-Glenn
 
 

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