lighted switch

Over at the sister-in-law's last weekend, noticed a ceiling fixture was dark and volunteered to put in a new bulb, hero that I am. While putting in the new bulb I noticed that the lighted switch that controls the ceiling fixture went on (i.e. lit up). Indeed, bulb unscrewed - switch's light out; bulb in - switch's light on. Come to think of it, the switch's light hadn't been on before when the burned- out bulb was in the fixture.
In short, it seems the switch's light is wired in series with the fixture. Is that how it's supposed to be? Does that serve some purpose? Just curious -- H
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On 08/29/2011 05:04 PM, Heathcliff wrote:

Yes, it saves having to run an extra wire.
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wrong answer..............the switch being lit when OFF is so switch can be located in the dark....bedroom, entry way, garage etc........these were very popular in the late 50s thru the mid 70s.....the tiny ne-2 neon bulb in the switch draws less then a half watt of power.

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On Aug 29, 7:16 pm, "Harrison Lighting and Neon"

there is a large-values resistor in series with the neon lamp to limit the current. Turning the swiatch on shorts out the lamp and resistor. If there is no bulb in the fixture, there is no current/ voltage to the neon lamp.
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On Aug 29, 8:16 pm, "Harrison Lighting and Neon"

Not wrong at all. It does work in cases where the switch run comes from the fixture and has no neutral. That is a pretty common situation.
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On Mon, 29 Aug 2011 17:16:32 -0700, "Harrison Lighting and Neon"

Correct, When those neon bulbd age, they become unpredictable. Some of the older power strips have a switch lighted by a neon bulb and at least one of mine now flashes on and off. This has no effect on usability, it's just that the neon bulb is burning out. They all do that eventually. I had a neon night light that oddly enough was dark when the light was off, but flickered when I turned the light on. It just became useless from age. Those neon bulbs are cheap and easy to replace (in the item could be opened easily), but in many cases not worth the time and effort. I now have a LED night light, which should last much longer, and probably uses less energy. Neon for indicator lights is probably dead technology these days.
Do they still sell the lighted switches????
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snipped-for-privacy@myplace.com wrote:

Yeah, I've got one on the attic's light switch in the hall. It requires, however, a third wire.
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