Maybe someone can find a 'pilot light' switch without a neutral
connection. The only ones I saw had a neutral (and I believe they all do).
A 4-way has the 2 travelers traveling through the switch and swaps them,
or not, as they go through. Both kinds of 3 way switch handle light also
work on a 4-way if you connect to either of the traveler terminals.
Find a pilot light switch that does not have a neutral connection. The
ones I found did (so there is no ground leakage). (Manufacturers don't
seem to want to tell you if there is a neutral connection or not -
important piece of information if you are going to be using one of these.)
You may be correct. Because of GFCIs, these may no longer be kosher.
I don't understand your second sentence, but looking at it again, it's clear
to me that there is a neon "drop" on each traveler from the voltage at the
"off" end. A neon between travelers at each 4-way will illuminate it and
there will never be more than two neon drops in the chain (always two - or
zero, with at least one 4-way).
Certainly, in jurisdictions where the NEC applies. ;-)
Apologies for over-explaining.
The travelers are the 2 wires that connect between the 3-way switches.
A 4-way switch has terminals A-B that connect to one 3-way switch and
terminals X-Y that connect to the other 3-way switch. In one position
the connections are A-X and B-Y. In the other switch position the
connections are A-Y and B-X. If you add 10 more 4-way switches, each one
just connects the travelers 'straight' through or 'swaps' them.
If either 3-way scheme is connected to terminals A-B (or terminals X-Y)
inside a 4-way switch it is the same as connecting to the traveler
terminals on the 3-way switches. If you understand how pilot/illuminated
3-ways work you understand pilot/illuminated 4-ways.
The handles on both 3-way snitches, and all 11 4-way switches, will
glow or not glow the same. All the neon lamps are connected in parallel.
In the Leviton system you describe, suppose R is the resistance of each
resistor in the voltage divider (between travelers). Suppose I is the
current of the neon indicator.
If the load bulb is burned out, the voltage divider will be between hot
and open regardless of switch positions. Voltage across the indicator
should be 120-IR. I would expect the indicator to glow.
If the bulb is burning, the voltage divider will also be between hot and
open. The indicator should glow as above.
If the bulb works but is switched off, the voltage divider will be
between hot and neutral (ignoring the bulb's small resistance). The
voltage across the indicator should be 60-(IR/2). I suppose the
indicator wouldn't light.
So it appears to me that load current is required not to turn the
indicator on but to turn it off.
Neon lamps are not like incandescents in that the voltage across the
lamp is essentially constant after the lamp has 'fired' (ionized the gas
and started conducting). And if the voltage is not high enough the neon
lamp will not fire on every half cycle.
60V may not be enough to 'fire' the neon lamp. Or, because the neon lamp
is at constant voltage, the drop across the resistors is much lower than
you expect and the current is relatively low - dim neon lamp
Sounds eminently reasonable. I was 1/2 wrong.
If the bulb is burned out, (or maybe fluorescent), or switched
receptacle with nothing plugged in the switch won't indicate right.
Used to have a neon pilot mounted on the switch plate of the basement
light switch in the old farm house. It was a PILOT light - on when the
basement light was on. Big flickery old neon bulb - NE0010 if I
Didn't flicker nearly as much on 60hz as on the old 25Hz from the
Niagara Adam Beck #1 station.
Bub is correct about the 3 way set up.
I happen to have two 3-way light switches; one at the top of the
stairs & one at the bottom.
BOTH are lit when the controlled light is OFF,
BOTH are unlit when the controlled light is ON
IIRC neither switch had a neutral connection, just the typical three
screw terminals that a regular 3-way switch has.
Yes, the light in the switch toggle is not meant to be an indicator
lamp but all the lighted switches I've installed seem to provide that
My real intent was to help navigation through a dark house at night
and reduce dirty finger / hand prints around light switches.....seems
I have no practical experience with light switches in 4 way circuits.
On Sat, 03 Jul 2010 02:20:54 -0400, email@example.com wrote:
If the circuit is open (light off), the traveler opposite of the position the
switch is in will be energized (or grounded, and the common energized). An
indicator from the switch common to this traveler will be lit.
There are 3-2ay switches that indicate if the circuit is off. Most of
them are probably this type. (They probably have a neon light between
the "traveler" terminals.)
I believe there are also 3-ways that indicate if the circuit is on. They
may require a neutral connection to the switch (which is not always
available at a switch box).
Which of the three way switches is the one where you can't see the
light from ? The supply side or the load side of the loop ?
If you are at the load side of the loop you could wire a pilot light
the circuit so that when the load is powered the pilot light indicates
that... If you are referring to the switch at the supply side, doing
that would require running another wire from the load connection
back to the switch box on the supply side of the loop for the
pilot light to work properly...
Most every lighted switch I have seen is illuminated when the
circuit is off to make the switch visible in low light conditions
so a person could find the switch easier and turn on the lights...
Usually circuit status in the way you are looking for is
accomplished using a pilot light switch with an indicator
built in or wiring in separate pilot lights...
This sounds about right. (Unless some clever designer has come up with
something we don't know about.)
And also because it's easier to do that way. The neon light can be put
in parallel with the switch. When the switch is on, the voltage
across the switch is zero or very close to it***, and there is little
or no voltage to light the neon light. When the switch is off, the
votage across the switch is 110AC and that's what the neon light is
designed for**, and the current through the neon light will flow
though the light the switch controls, but it's so little that light
**including its own resistor to lower the 110 to what is needed.
***Could they ever include a small resistor of some sort, to make a 5
volt drop to power the neon light. I tried to do something like that
when I wanted my home burglar alarm to turn on my hall light. The
option on the alarm panel made that simple. But then I wanted it to
turn on the kitchen light, which had a switch with a built-in clock to
turn it on and off. If I used the alarm panel to supply 117 volts to
the load side of the timer switch, that meant zero volts across the
timer, and it reset itself, resetting the time and forgetting the
time/on/off settings. So I put in a resistor to lower the voltage
supplied by the alarm panel to about 112, hoping 5 volts would be
enough to keep the timer powered. I don't remember if it worked or
not, but if it didnt't, I was going to increase the volts to 10 and
see if that worked. Hmmm. I think it didn't work and I turned my
attention to the dining room light, that was easy to do. Eventually
the alarm panel failed and I haven't hooked this all up for the new
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