Question about Cooper Lighting Lighted Switch

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Compact fluorescent flickers when the switch is off.

When My CFL has been burning and I turn off the switch the CFL flickers every six seconds. It does not come on completely but just flashes almost like a strobe. When the circuit breaker is turned off the flickering stops. I had the breaker off last night and when i turned it on NO flickering, I then turned the switch on and back off...flickering again! After about 15 minutes it will stop. Is the illuminated switch drawing a current from the capacitor in the CFL and making it flicker/ i have the switch that has green illumination around the switch handle. my guess is that there is a diode inside the switch. Can you help me with this problem? It freaks the wife out and she is afraid that the house will burn down.

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  • rgossett Jun 21, 2010

    There is no neutral in the switch box at all.I am a master electrician licensed in six states and this one blows my mind. All connections are as they should be and polarity is correct. The light does not flicker with a non illuminated switch. I guess I need to get a regular switch and a night lite and quit banging my head trying to understand electricity! i thought someone may have encountered this before.

  • rgossett Jun 21, 2010

    As far as the lodge is concerned check all of the neutrals on the panel side and see if voltage is present there this is a floating neutral and is like chasing a ghost. a floating neutral will cause all kind of problems. the reason I asked the question here is to see if anybody else had seen the same situation. i have my own theories and was curious as to what others may think. I will let you know if i figure it out but most likely I will follow your advice and install a non illuminated switch. Thanks for your help!!!!!

  • rgossett Jun 22, 2010

    Well I think i found the problem last night. The cable company was out recently and they pulled the ground wire loose in the meter box so the neutral wasnt bonded and was getting feedback from all the CFL's in the house. Its a wonder that the meter didnt short out when the ground pulled loose! Have a great day!



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You could be getting power from the source in the switch ... does this flickering occur with a non illuminated switch? Have you tried the CFL in other sockets? Have you checked the socket in question for proper polarity? (Hot wire should be broken by the switch and that hot wire should be connected the bottom of the CFL in the socket). Does your switch have a white wire for the neutral connection or are you using the ground wire to illuminate the switch ... or is there a different lind of light in the switch and/or do you know?

Normally ... let me say again ... normally, (in a traditional sense) an illuminated switch should have a neutral connection, a ground lug and the expected 'in' and 'out' for the switch leg. Normally, I would expect the switch leg to use a black from the power source (normally found in the box where the socket is mounted) and a white from the 'off' side of the switch to the socket.

I tried to draw you a diagram ... but it didnt work out and you probably already get the picture.

If everything checks out ... and it still flickers, replace the switch with a non-illuminated switch or use a incadescent light until they are no longer available.

Thanks for your interest in

Posted on Jun 21, 2010

Testimonial: "Common sense most always prevails and your common sense along with your technical knowledge has led me to the conclusion to change back to a regular switch. Sometimes simple IS better."

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  • A Miller Jun 21, 2010

    What are you doing asking this question here??? I'm just a guy ...

    Anyway ... down at the lodge (doesn't make any difference which one) we have indirect flourescent lighting in a vallance all around the room ... There are 4 switches that control various lights on the North, South, East and West. Frequently, when we turn off the lights ... one or two or more don't go all the way out. They may stay on for minutes or days ... it is not always the same fixtures that stay on ... and ... sometimes if we flip the switch on and off, light "A" will go out and be replaced by light "B" staying on! We too, have had professional electricians confounded by the arrangement. These are 4 foot tubes, not CFL. The lights are magnetic ballasts. The powers that be (no pun intended) arent sure what to do to fix it. This is a relatively new problem ... the lights have worked normally for YEARS ....

    In your case ... what kind of light illuminates the switch and is it really a light or is it a gas tube that is excited by the passing current? or is it really a 'three way' that connects the power to the illumination when you flip it off (can it leak that way?) As you know ... it doesn't take a lot of power to make a CLF glow at some level. Remember the science guy that came to school and lit a tube as if by magic? When I worked at the life jacket factory ... plastic bags were manufactured using RF. When the transmitter was fired, (if we turned the room lights off) the transmitted energy would light all the room lights, as well as weld the plastic seams (and probably the operator).

    Seems the best answer in your case is as you stated (and I suggested) replace the switch with a non illuminated version to make your wife happy. Remember, a happy wife makes a happy husband.

    Thanks for the feedback ... In case you didn't know ... nearly all the question catchers here are volunteers ... men and women just like you and me.

    Please remember to evaluate my response ...

    Thanks for your interest at

    So ... when you find out what the problem was caused by ... feel free to post the solution. I am interested from a physics stand point.

  • A Miller Jun 21, 2010

    My friend, you have made my day! ...

    Thank you for the advice and the feedback and the highly coveted 4 thumbs up evaluation! Responses like yours make the wasted hours here in front of this stupid computer seem to be worth while! :-)

    I will be looking forward to your solution.

    Thanks for your interest in

    now I gotta go do some thing ...


  • A Miller Jun 22, 2010


    Thanks for the info ... Im happy to hear your trouble is solved.



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I am having the same problem , new CFL was used , new 2 wire switch was used , fixture was replaced ,,,,,still CFL flickes when switch off !!!!

Electrician used the CFL on a fixture at different room , no problem with CFL

Posted on Mar 12, 2012


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