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Old 08-23-2009, 06:25 AM   #1
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Wiring 3 way swithes + LED


Hi Everyone,

I've got 2 x 3 way switches that I want to wire up in a 2 gang environment.

I've done this previously with "normal" 3 way switches, and understand how this can be done.

However, the 3 way switches that I've got have each got an LED inside the switch that can be wired up to show the status of the switch.

What I would like to do is wire the switches up such that when the light is "on" that the LEDs (ie in both switches) are "off" and when the light is "off" the LEDs are "on"

Put another way, what I think I'm asking is:
Is there a way to use 3 way switches in a two gang environment such that when one device attached to the circuit is "on" that the other device is "off"

Thanks!
James.

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Old 08-23-2009, 06:46 AM   #2
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Wiring 3 way swithes + LED


Welcome to the forum.
I don't see how a LED indicator on a switch would be any smarter than a neon indicator.

  • Switch Off....Neon On (current path is though the Load when switch is open)
  • Switch ON... Neon Off (no differential voltage between the switch contacts)
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Old 08-23-2009, 06:57 AM   #3
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Wiring 3 way swithes + LED


Hi Bob,

Thanks for the quick reply!

I'm not quite following you...

- I can see that I can make the LEDs turn on when the light is on (connect LEDs to load)
- I can see that I can make the LEDs permanently on (connect LEDs to power-in on first switch)
- It's making the LEDs turn on when the load is off that I'm having probs with.

Can you try again?

Thanks!
James.
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Old 08-23-2009, 11:18 AM   #4
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Wiring 3 way swithes + LED


I was describing the neon on an illuminated switch that does not include a neutral. You must be describing a pilot light switch.
Can you post a Link?
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Old 08-23-2009, 12:30 PM   #5
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Wiring 3 way swithes + LED


When the LED assembly (which also contains a resistor) is connected between the two traveler terminals of your 3 way switch, the LED will light up when the (main) light is off.

This may fail to work if the main load draws very little current, for example the load is a low wattage compact fluorescent, since the load is part of the circuit path for the LED.

The switch instructions should describe how to achieve this connection and the switch may even come that way, provided the switch is meant for this purpose (illuminated switch handle).

Yes, you can also use one three way switch to turn one load (such as a light) on and also turn another load off in sync, and vice versa. Connect the common terminal of the 3 way switch to the power (hot lead), connect one traveler terminal to (the hot conductor of the cable going to) one load and the other traveler terminal to the other load.

To have both three way action (two switch locations) and two loads alternating on/off, you need a different kind of switch called a double pole double throw (DPDT) switch that has six terminals. Two of them.
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Old 08-24-2009, 06:55 AM   #6
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Wiring 3 way swithes + LED


Hi,

Thanks for all the replies!

I'm in Australia and looking to use Clipsal Saturn switches - here's a link to an installation diagram: http://www.clipsal.com.au/trade/__da...1/W0000581.pdf

I'm not sure if the term "LED" and "neon LED" is interchangeable - I've seen both used in relation to this product.

I like the idea of putting the 2 leads from the neon LED across the two traveller lines - are their any risks with this other than if the load is low (which I don't think is the case - it's got a 45w globe on the end of the circuit).

Thanks!
James.
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Old 08-24-2009, 07:49 AM   #7
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Wiring 3 way swithes + LED


There's a few foolproof options. If you use a double pole double throw switch, you can simply wire up the indicator so that it turns on when the load turns off.

Another more cumbersome option would be using a transistor to invert the sense of the signal after converting to low voltage DC. Another option would be a relay.

Regarding the option you are looking at:

LEDs are not the same as neon. A neon light can take the full line voltage (with limited current), a LED needs a resistor to limit the current at a minimum. It looks like the saturn people are using LED in a confusing way... they are referring to a LED module that is designed to run off full line voltage, not a bare LED.

Last edited by Gigs; 08-24-2009 at 07:57 AM.
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Old 08-24-2009, 07:27 PM   #8
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Wiring 3 way swithes + LED


Neon lamps do need a current limiter. The little ones the size of a jelly bean typically use a resistor for a current limiter. This resistor, if needed, will be needed in the above application when the lamp is connected across the traveler terminals of a 3 way switch. Neon signs generally rely on their step-up transformer as the current limiter.

"Neon LED" is an oxymoron.
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Old 08-24-2009, 08:02 PM   #9
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Wiring 3 way swithes + LED


Quote:
Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
Neon lamps do need a current limiter.
"Neon LED" is an oxymoron.
Allan is correct on both counts
e.g.
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Old 08-25-2009, 03:15 AM   #10
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Wiring 3 way swithes + LED


Ok... so I tried putting the "neon" across both of the traveller terminals on one of the switches and got the following:
1. The "neon" has a slight glow when the load is on (this does not concern me much as the glow is not visible when I put the cover on the switch)
2. The load flickers intermittently when turned off - this is more concerning and will need to be fixed. I've got a power-save globe as the load (I *think* it's around 45w)

Any suggestions?

Thanks!
James.
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Old 08-25-2009, 06:56 AM   #11
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Wiring 3 way swithes + LED


You can't use that technique with a non-resistive load like a fluorescent.

You need to use one of the other techniques that I mentioned like a DPDT switch, relay or transistor
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Old 08-25-2009, 06:57 AM   #12
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Wiring 3 way swithes + LED


Electronic loads, which include most compact fluorescents, have resistance of their own. Combined with the resistor that came or goes with the neon or LED lamp this can make the behavior of the lamp erratic. Also some neon lamps may flicker no matter what you do.

It would take some electrical engineering to figure out a suitable substitute resistor with a smaller value to go with the neon lamp. Except if the next owner of the house put in a different kind of lamp as the main light the neon lamp may blow out.

Just for kicks, substitute a 25 or more watt incandescent for your main light and see how the neon switch light behaves.

Oops, forgot to mention that some kinds of lights as the main light will result in the switch light not lighting up. A lamp with electrodes between which the current must "strike and arc" and where the lamp is fed directly with no transformer is in this category. Example: another small neon lamp.
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Old 08-25-2009, 07:05 AM   #13
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Wiring 3 way swithes + LED


A lamp like that is going to appear to have a complex non-linear "resistance". Probably best to dodge the question altogether.
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Old 10-05-2009, 05:01 AM   #14
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Wiring 3 way swithes + LED


Hi Everyone,

I've worked on a few other projects, and have now come back to this one again.

I get the impression that going for the relay option is the only way to go to get something that will work.

I've done a lot of google searches, but can't find anything that is quite right for my situation.

Can someone point me in the right direction?

A few questions from what I have found from my searches...
- I think I want something that will basically take the output from my current config and then "invert" it to produce the input for the neon
- Do I go for a mechanical relay or solid state?
- I need something that will take a 240v input and control a 240v output

Thanks for your help!
James.
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Old 10-05-2009, 07:10 AM   #15
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Wiring 3 way swithes + LED


Most relays have NC and NO outputs, normally closed and normally open. Normal means when the coil isn't energized. So you would use the normally closed and it would turn off when the coil turns on.

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