Wiring for a pilot lamp to indicate load status

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by Sparknzapper, Sep 15, 2018 at 8:30 PM.

  1. Sparknzapper

    Sparknzapper New Member

    Joined:
    Saturday
    Location:
    Palm Springs, California
    Hello all! I searched the forum and only found something similar, but not close enough to apply.
    I wish to wire up my Leviton Cat. 5226 Single pole switch w/pilot lamp to a swimming pool lamp.
    These lamps typically don’t last very long. Therefore, it is my wish to wire up the circuit NOT to show by the pilot illuminating that the circuit is energized going to the lamp but rather, I wish for the pilot lamp to only illuminate when the lamp is lit only . In other words, if the pool lamp blows out while the circuit continues being energized, I wish for the pilot lamp to go out with it. As said, being that these lamps never last very long, merely showing that the circuit is energized is not nearly as helpful as the pilot showing the bulb status. If only Leviton provided a schematic or diagram of the switch terminal layout, I wouldn’t need to be asking this. Keep in mind that the pilot lamp inside the switch is a neon type bulb and has no filiment. Connectivity therefore cannot be done using series wiring by the neutral coming back to the switch box from the pool lamp to feed power to the pilot lamp.
    My apologies for the length of this post, but I wanted to spare us time from trying methods that have already been tried and will not work. An electrician explained this solution to me once ago and I did copy it down, however due to my wife’s extremely zealous cleaning habits in conjunction with it being written on a paper napkin, it’s pretty much decomposed several feet below ground by now. I did at least inform her about napkins with writings on it; as some of the worlds greatest inventions began this way.
    Anyone have the savvy that this electrician once had shown me?
    With greatest confidence, I thank all who make up this forum!
    Pete
     
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

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    Plumber
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    The only way that could be done would be to have the lamp in series with the pool light, which means it would have to "strong" enough to handle that load going through it. It would also reduce the light's lumen output.
     
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  4. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    IL
    1. The switches with the neon light that lights when the switch is off could help. When the bulb is blown, expect the neon to not glow in either position. This presumes there is not a small current leakage due to moisture. It takes very little current to make a neon bulb glow.
    2. Converting to LED should make the burnout less frequent. I see they have conversion kits.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2018 at 9:03 AM
  5. Sparknzapper

    Sparknzapper New Member

    Joined:
    Saturday
    Location:
    Palm Springs, California
    Exactly is what I thought was that either the common or neutral to or from the bulb having the pilot in series. But I also thought perhaps the neutral line returning for one pilot terminal and the other side of the pilot to ground. That way if there is current on the way back to the switchbox because the pool lamp is good, that might work. Grounding neutrals is not code though even though it’s only a neon bulb. I don’ Know if it is permissible in this case. It wouldn’t look very good inside the switchbox though.
    Just not sure ...
    Thanks for your reply!
     
  6. Sparknzapper

    Sparknzapper New Member

    Joined:
    Saturday
    Location:
    Palm Springs, California
    I was looking at some LED setups at Leslie’s pool supply. They are REALLY nice but whoa man do they ever carry a hefty price tag. Still not sure what I should do
     
  7. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    I did not understand what you wrote there.

    The switch I was suggesting does not get a neutral running to the switch. Instead it has a neon bulb and series resistor across the switch contacts. When the switch is off, the small current goes through the bulb filament to neutral. If the path to neutral through the filament does not exist, and there is not another path, the neon would not light.
     
  8. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Occupation:
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    Location:
    New England
    You can buy some pretty inexpensive current meters. I use one on my EVSE to recharge my car so I can see how much power it has consumed during the charge. It cost me less than $20. The one I have also shows the voltage and calculates the power used, but only an ammeter may be less expensive. It uses an inductive coil, but taps into the power to run itself. I bought a panel mount one, cut a blank plate so it could snap in, and installed it where the pigtail from the EVSE got its power, but it could be done in an electrical box if you can replace it with a multi-gang one. In my situation, I added a box depth extender so that it did not crowd the connections beneath it.

    In the scheme of things...incandescent bulbs will become harder and harder to find, and replacing with an LED will save you money in the long-term. They'll also last LOTS longer.
     
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