That depends on which kind of piloted switch it is.
If it's the kind which lights the toggle handle when the bulb is off so
you can find the switch in dim light, then your answer is correct.
If it's the kind which lights the pilot when a light is on which you
can't easily see from the switch location (Like an outdoor light.), then
a connection to the neutral is required. A connection to ground would
"work" in that case too, but wouldn't be to code, and if there were a
GFCI feeding that circuit it could trip on even the few milliamps
required to light the neon bulb.
Happy to help.
I've installed about a half dozen of those piloted switches in our home
controlling things like attic and closet lights and well as on several
outdoor lights with indoor switches.
I probably spent more on the switches than they'll ever save in
electricity, but it's the thought that counts. <G>
Jeffry Wisnia ("The lightbulb burned out again", Tom said darkly.)
I know I don't talk to you often, and when I do it's usually to ask for
things that really aren't very important. But this time, I really need
Please, please don't let this thread turn into a 150 post count on how
many wires it takes to light a bulb - neon or otherwise. I know, I know
- I'm asking a lot.
But ya know, after two weeks of discussion on how to use a sheet of
metal which just happened to have 6 receptacles and some circuit
breakers (or, 'overcurrent protection devices'), I just can't believe
that you would torture me with the old neon light bulb discussion.
I do realize God - that your sense of humor is perhaps the most twisted
in the universe.
But may I beg that you spare me on this one?
Your Loving Human Creation.
I see God has forsaken me.
Alas, I will enter the frey.
We don't know what he has, in the box where the switch is located. The
phrase: 'a 2 wire system' is meaningless, and can be interpreted anyway
anyone wants to interpret it. For example, it could mean that he has 2
wires, and only 2 wires in the box where the switch is located. It
could mean he has sheathed cabling with no ground in it. It could mean
he lives in argentina, and his wires are really pipes, and he just got
done shooting a boar for the evening meal.
Therefore, can we PLEASE CLOSE the discussion by all agreeing that if
he does not have a hot and a neutral, in the box where the switch is
located, he will not be able to have the kind of a switch where the
little cute neon light stays on all the time? But that he will be able
to use one of the switches that has a cute little neon light in it that
lights when the switch is on, provided of course that he has a bulb in
Well, to do my part to push this thread past the 50 post mark ---
Not quite. If there is no neutral in the box (a switchleg), then he will not be
able to (a) have a neon glow all the time, and (b) will not be able to have a
neon that is glowing when the switched conductor is energized, but (c) will be
able to have a neon glow when the switched conductor is not energized (as long
as there is a load).
We may be using differing definitions of what a "two wire system" is Frank.
It's generally used to say that 120 volt power distribution throughout
the home takes place over two wires ("hot" and "neutral") without a
third "ground" conductor running along with them.
Or, you could be using the term to tell us that there's only two wires
inside the box the switch is going to be in, in which case one of the
wires will be "hot" and the other will be going to the tip side of the
light bulb socket(s). If there's no other wires in that box then you are
in fact SOL. But, if there's a neutral (usually colored white) wire
inside that box you should be OK connecting the third terminal of your
piloted switch to it. (If the switch *doesn't* have three terminals on
it we're still not on the same wavelength yet. <G>.
Please make sure you know what you're about with this stuff, Frank;
switch off the breaker or remove the fuse feeding that circuit before
starting work, and seek experienced help if you aren't confident about
doing it yourself.
Neutral and ground are not the same. A two-wire system has a neutral, but
lacks a ground. Hot and neutral are sufficient to operate a light bulb. Ground
is not necessary for that purpose.
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Nobody ever left footprints in the sands of time by sitting on his butt.
And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?
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