Lighted switch with no ground wire

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Old 10-17-13, 04:55 PM
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Lighted switch with no ground wire

Apologies if this question has been answered a thousand times already, my search didn't find what I was looking for.

I purchased a lighted wall switch to replace a standard single pole switch to an incandescent light. However when I removed the old switch I found that it does not have a ground wire (it's an old old building).

The instructions on the new lighted switch say that it must be grounded. But maybe that's a common instruction included with all switches nowadays, lighted or otherwise? In other words, does the lighted switch I purchased really and truly need to be grounded?
 
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Old 10-17-13, 05:12 PM
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An exception to the code regarding using the ground as a return can apply to indicator lights that use 5 milliwatts or less current and may be how the light is powered. Is the box metal? is it grounded by armored cable?

Does the the switch box have two or more white wires connected only to each other? If so best solution is to buy a lighted switch that uses a neutral. Second best is to buy one that draws current through the incandescent bulb.

Give us the make and model number of the switch.
 
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Old 10-17-13, 07:15 PM
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It is a metal box. There are only two wires in the box, both black, both connected to the terminals on the switch.

The lighted switch I purchased is a Cooper C1301-7LTW -- it says on the packaging that "If switch controls a wall outlet, a lamp must be plugged in while in the ON position for the handle to glow" -- I assume then it's drawing current from the bulb?

It also says on the packaging "This device must be properly grounded".
 
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Old 10-17-13, 07:22 PM
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There are only two black wires in the box
Either you have conduit or there are two white wires you failed to see.

it says on the packaging that "If switch controls a wall outlet, a lamp must be plugged in while in the ON position for the handle to glow"
Then it will work. If there really are no whites and you have conduit the box is grounded.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 10-17-13 at 09:24 PM. Reason: Add clarity.
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Old 10-17-13, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by ray2047
If there really are no whites [and just two blacks on the switch] and you have conduit the box is grounded.
And when you mount the switch to the box it will be connected to ground.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 10-17-13 at 09:23 PM. Reason: Add clarity to the quote from my post.
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Old 10-17-13, 08:05 PM
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Thanks for your help, I'll try installing the new switch tomorrow and will wrap electrical tape around the terminals and over the exposed screws on the plate (it doesn't need to be pretty, it's in a utility closet) just as an extra precaution.
 
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Old 10-17-13, 08:10 PM
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...and will wrap electrical tape around the terminals and over the exposed screws on the plate (it doesn't need to be pretty, it's in a utility closet) just as an extra precaution.
As a precaution against what?
 
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Old 10-17-13, 09:20 PM
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You don't wrap a switch with tape and the screws are not unsafe regardless of if the box is grounded are ungrounded.
 
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Old 10-17-13, 10:18 PM
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Yeah you're right. This is my first time working with anything electrical and so I'm still absorbing the different threads I read and instructional videos I watched today. I must have misunderstood some of the information I came across. This video in particular made me think taping over the exposed screws might be a good idea -- Light Switch With Missing Ground Wire - Consumer Advice - YouTube -- and this video made me think taping over the terminals might be a good idea -- Wiring a Switch - Single Pole Switch - YouTube -- I guess I'm just a little paranoid about working with electricity and wouldn't want to install something that might somehow shock/electrocute someone else down the line. But the scenarios they're talking about in those videos seem pretty unlikely.
 
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Old 10-17-13, 10:54 PM
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In the first video he appears to not know why ground screws were added to devices. It was due to plastic boxes.

The guy with the switch explains tails. That's good.
He shows wrapping a device with tape.... not correct.
He shows a single pole switch with 4 wires on it. He doesn't mention that... that is not a correct way to install a switch.
 
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Old 10-17-13, 10:56 PM
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We used to wrap tape around switches on some jobs because someone who didn't understand how wiring works, or that work should only be done on unenergized circuits, wrote it into the specs. A waste of Mylar because a couple of wraps of tape won't really protect anyone who pulls a switch while the circuit is energized - especially if it's in a commercial space.

Those clips are two examples of why I never go to YouTube for how-to advice.

If you want to learn about household electrical systems, buy and read a copy of Wiring Simplified. It's authoritative, based on the latest NEC, exhaustive, easy to read, and inexpensive. Some of us have been known to refer to it as the text for our online seminar.
 
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Old 10-20-13, 12:28 AM
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It worked no prob.
 
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Old 10-20-13, 04:30 AM
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Thanks for letting us know how it worked.out.
 
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