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I am trying to add a 7 volt light to remember to turn off cellar lights. Wiring white to white or the reverse-either way, the indicator light goes on & off in reverse of the switch. What have I done wrong?

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    I presume you mean 7 watt 120V (or 230/240V depending what country you are in, but the black and white tends towards 120V countries. A 7V light would make a bright flash exactly once....
    – Ecnerwal
    Nov 6, 2021 at 22:12
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    Are you wiring the light across the switch? How many cables come into the switch box, and how many wires does each one have? Disregard bare ground wires (they matter but not to us). Nov 6, 2021 at 22:12
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    Can you post photos of the inside of the switch box in question please? Nov 6, 2021 at 22:17

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You appear to be connecting your light to the switch, not to the lights. The switch appears to be wired as a switch loop, and the behavior you have seen is exactly what's expected in that case.

A switch loop is an old, but acceptable if it was installed when still acceptable method of wiring a switch using /2 cable with just black, white and ground. The white should be "always hot" and the black should be "switched hot" - the white shiould be marked at both ends with tape, paint or some other method to indicate that it is hot, not neutral.

Power consisting of hot and neutral comes to a light location, and the switch loop connects "switch loop white always hot" to incoming "black always hot." that goes to the switch, where the switch connects it to "switch loop black switched hot" and it returns to the light, where it connects to the fixture hot. Incoming power white neutral connects to fixture neutral.

Your "pilot light" needs to connec to the switched hot and neutral, but there's no neutral wire at your switch location - so your pilot light needs to connect to the switched hot and neutral at the light location.

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  • So do I do black to black & the white of the light to the grounded wire? Nov 6, 2021 at 22:44
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    No, No, No No, No. You do NOT use ground as neutral. You run a wire to the light location and pick up switched hot and neutral there.
    – Ecnerwal
    Nov 6, 2021 at 23:12
  • I don't know what you mean by running a wire or the light location. I have a switch in the upstairs hall that switches the cellar lights on & off. I am looking for a simple way to put an indicator light on the switch to remember to turn it off. Nov 7, 2021 at 0:27
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Wire more lights off a light, not a switch

Electrical wiring does not bring all wires everywhere, that would be a waste of money.

"The wires you need to run a light", are found at a light, at the risk of stating the completely obvious.

You are trying to find them at a switch, and that does not work that way. Bringing a lamp-needed wire (neutral) to a switch would be pointless, at least prior to 2011 when it was mandated to support smart switches.

You cannot misuse safety ground as neutral. If you do, and anything else goes wrong, it can create a fire or lethal situation. Safety ground has one job.

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