3-way switch question


Is there a 3-way switch that has a light showing that the light (outside and can't be seen form the switch) is on. I have an outside garage light with 2 switches, one in the garage and one in the front hallway. From the hallway you can't see if the light is on or not. Either switch can be in the up or down position based on where it was turned on or off. (hence 3-way switch) Looking for some means to identify if the light actually on.
Thanks Bg
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Bg wrote:

A truly easy/simple way? I doubt it.
Maybe an X-10 device at the light.
An approach I've used for monitoring circuits like this is to put a very small current transformer (toroid) in the line. The xfmr secondary can directly drive a small LED pilot. Not simple and not off-the-shelf.
Jim
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An X10 module does not monitor the load and transmit it's status. Considering knowing because you turned it on/off, I've known several with relays that would operate more than once upon receiving a command. You never know when that happens. The current transformer solution below should work.

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Mark Lloyd wrote:

You're unlikely to find a UL listed version.

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How does that work? It would have to be somesort of relay in series that shuts off the light. Seems expensive. Or is there a simpler way?

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http://www.levitonproducts.com/catalog/model_5638-2.htm
They make one that looks like a normal switch. I am just too lazy to look for one.
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Terry wrote:

I'm skeptical enough about that switch filling the OP's need just by substituring them for the existing switches that I just pinged Leviton and asked them for clarification that will be the case, without requiring one more lead run between the two switch locations, and a neutral available at both locations as well.
If I get a reply, I'll post it here.
Jeff
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Page A2 of the Pass & Seymour/Legrand catalog has what you need: called pilot lighted switches and with clear or red indicator, # PS15AC3-CPL or -RPL. HTH
Joe
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wrote:

I mean, that wire and neutral. I'm used to using tv words, where the ground is used.

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mm wrote:

And you'd need a resistor in series with the neon light too.

You COULD cheat and connect it to ground, the current drawn by the neon is only a couple of milliamps, probably not even enough to trip a GFCI panel breaker feeding the circuit.
But that wouldn't be up to code, so I won't suggest doing it. <G>
Jeff
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Regular illuminated switches work this way (i.e. neon bulb in switch powered without neutral--i.e. hot and ground) so why would it not meet code to do it outside the switch?
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Marilyn & Bob wrote:

I think the "regular illuminated switches" you're referring to are only illuminated when the light controlled by the switch is OFF.
Their illumination is generally required to help you locate the switch "in the dark", and once the light it controls is lit, you can see the switch fine so it doesn't need to be illuminated.
Those switches work by putting a little neon bulb and series resistor right across the switch contacts. Thus, when the contacts are open, the couple of milliamps of current needed to light the neon bulb flows through whatever load the switch is controlling (most likely a light bulb) to neutral.
Capice?
Jeff
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The same type of small neon lamp (with resistor) can be connected between the travelers at either switch or at both. It will light whenever the controlled light is off. It may glow slightly when the light is on, depending on the capacitance and leakage of the travelers, but if so a small resistor in parallel with it will eliminate that.
Don Young
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Don Young wrote:

Good point Don.
And since the OP wasn't specific in saying the pilots had to light in phase with the garage light, his operative words being, "Looking for some means to identify if the light actually on", your way would satisfy his request.
Though, I'd expect most folks would prefer to have a LIT pilot to clue them that the garage light is still on. <G>
Jeff
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You could also replace the existing switches with Insteon switches, they have an indicator light I believe.
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wrote:

Expensive, but probably good. Here's a link: http://www.smarthome.com/_/INSTEON/_/ER/nav.aspx
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