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Old 08-30-2011, 09:39 AM   #1
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Tricking out the JEWEL colors on old-fashioned (toggle) electrical light switches


Howdy. I'm exploring ways of giving illuminated & pilot-light switches a sex change specifically, taking (any) PILOT light switch and changing it to an ILLUMINATED OFF switch. For the uninitiated, "ILLUMINATED OFF" means that the switch glows when OFF, and "PILOT" means that the switch glows when it is ON.

Leviton, Bryant etc. make red PILOT SWITCHES . . . but I need them to do exactly the opposite: function as red night lights when OFF.

I see only two ways of doing this but I'd be open to any more suggestions:

1) rewire the actual innards of the switch give it a sex change; or
2) replace the jewel on an already-available ILLUMINATED OFF switch from (for example) IVORY to RED.

I've had these lousy "Decorator" light switches the rectangular-shaped ones for years and I hate them, so I'm going back to toggles.

But I sure would like to refit these to my own specifications. Any help appreciated. Thanks guys.

wu

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Old 08-30-2011, 11:53 AM   #2
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Tricking out the JEWEL colors on old-fashioned (toggle) electrical light switches


The switch must have 3 terminals (excluding the green ground screw): raw (unswitched) hot, switched hot, and neutral.

A: With neutral in the switch box. Wire up the pilot light switch normally except put the raw hot on the switched hot switch terminal and the light fixture hot on the raw hot switch terminal. The switch light will be on all of the time.

B: With no neutral in the switch box:

1. You may not dissect the switch and make changes; this will invalidate the Underwriters Labs or other certification and the switch will no longer meet code.

2. The power draw of the pilot light must be small enough so the pilot light works in series with the regular light (light being controlled) and the latter does not flicker.

Connect the neutral and unswitched hot switch terminals together (externally using pigtails) and connect this to the power feed hot.

Note that a switch with a white or clear jewel may not give enough light for use as a night light when fitted with a red jewel.

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Last edited by AllanJ; 08-30-2011 at 12:06 PM.
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Old 08-30-2011, 11:57 AM   #3
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Tricking out the JEWEL colors on old-fashioned (toggle) electrical light switches


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Connect the neutral and unswitched hot terminals together (externally using pigtails) and connect this to the power feed hot. Omit connecting the neutral of the power feed cable/wires to the switch.
I said PARDON?? Not sure what you're getting at here. DON'T do this.
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Old 08-30-2011, 01:38 PM   #4
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Tricking out the JEWEL colors on old-fashioned (toggle) electrical light switches


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I said PARDON?? Not sure what you're getting at here. DON'T do this.
The switch terminals only. Not the incoming wires.

This connects one lead of the switch light (pilot light switch) to raw hot (and one side of the switch) and the other lead of the switch light was already connected to the switched hot (other side of the switch). Then the switch light will be in the circuit when the switch is "off" and be excluded from the circuit when the switch is "on". (Same as an "illuminated" switch.)

Do not connect either hot or neutral wires to a (should be green) ground screw.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 08-30-2011 at 01:46 PM.
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Old 08-30-2011, 02:02 PM   #5
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Tricking out the JEWEL colors on old-fashioned (toggle) electrical light switches


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Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
The switch terminals only. Not the incoming wires.

This connects one lead of the switch light (pilot light switch) to raw hot (and one side of the switch) and the other lead of the switch light was already connected to the switched hot (other side of the switch). Then the switch light will be in the circuit when the switch is "off" and be excluded from the circuit when the switch is "on". (Same as an "illuminated" switch.)

Do not connect either hot or neutral wires to a (should be green) ground screw.
gotcha. Connect the screw terminals together....not the wires....lol
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Old 08-31-2011, 08:07 AM   #6
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Tricking out the JEWEL colors on old-fashioned (toggle) electrical light switches


So you can do this by a simple wire swap? SuWEET. Not being an electrician I wasn't sure just how accessible the wiring inside these switches is. Thanks guys. I'm printing out the entire thread heh heh.

wu

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