Posted: Sat Dec 17, 2011 8:49 pm Post subject: Electricians help!
Bought a new light timer for outside. Single pole set up, I open up the package and it has five wires. Red, Blue, Black, White, Green. I removed my light switch and see only two wires, Red and Black. WTF. Instructions said:
Live/hot line to black
Live/Hot load to blue
ground to green
neutral to white.
I have a house with three prong outlets, so I do not know why I only have two wires. So can I put to together the black and the blue because the live/hot wire is both load and line? So I figured the black wire is neutral and not ground in switch box. So is there any way to hook this up or am I just going to have to return it?
(my assumption/guess) It's supposed to be wired that the Live leg goes to Black, and the Blue wire is to be connected to the Switch leg that goes to the light fixture(s) in a Single Switch setup, and the red wire's for a 3 switch setup . White is to be connected to the Neutral leg period.
But alot of homes (especially old homes) don't have Nuetral (or ground somtimes) at the switch box. If thats the case you'd have to run a New Line with Nuetral to the box., which gets complicated real fast.
If you look in the box, you might still see ground. It may have just been connected to the box and cut since most switches didnt have ground screws on them.
Last edited by HeMi on Sun Dec 18, 2011 8:40 pm; edited 1 time in total
Its the GE Sunset 7 day timer. Bad ass product if I could wire it up correctly. Due to the fact I do not have a Load wire or Line wire, I have one of them not both of them, I'm just going to return it. Hemi I think your right, I'd have to run wires and such to make it even operate and be safe. Oh well, Thank you for your help, Merry Christmas!
If you only have 2 wires (a black and white) at the original switch (and they are both connected to the switch), then you do have Line and Load... what you don't have is neutral which the switch absolutely requires
Are there other wires in the box? If there are a bunch of white wires connected in a wire nut, that's the neutral line
The timer you have needs a neutral to operate. It is seen as a power consuming device in itself(its clock). That allows it to run flourescents and exhaust fans because it won't be a load in series with the load you want to control. Sometimes the box in which the old wall switch resides does not have a neutral in it, because they put power to the light first and just ran a switchleg to the switch. Just a 2 wire romex, one wire going down and one back up. One of the wires is white but that is misleading. It's just white because that's how they make the cable. Strictly speaking both wires should be black. When that arrangement is used, the white should get black tape put on it.
You do have 3 wires in your box. The ground is bare and as Hemi says it is under the ground screw and doesn't likely extend beyond that.
Adding a ground is the easy part. But you can't just run new power up to that box. It isn't as simple as that. There would be power in both boxes and the switch would then unite them. That would be a totally wrong way to have anything wired. Depending how it's donne can be a dead short. If it's a different circuit, it's not permitted to have 2 circuits in one box. So you could make sure that new power is from the same circuit as the one powering the light now, but you would still have that circle happening. You could then remove the power from that light, but the whole romex would have to be removed from the box, and it can't be left with that end outside of a box, so it woul dhave to be disconnected at its other end. Ideally ythe whole cable is physically removed. But if there's other stuff connected in that box, then you lose power to that stuff. each step causes a problem whose solution causes more problems. The wiring arrangement for everything onthat circuit would need to be changed.
It is more common, and better, to bring the power to the swich first. If there is more than one gang and more than one switch, then power comes here and all the switches can connect to that.
How many gangs and what else is in the box if anything?
If there's no neutral you can buy the no neutral version which can be used only with incandescant lights. It's also cheaper and easier to wire up.
_________________ sent from my Univac using Assembler.
BBE- So would it be safe to connect the two load and line wires together with the one power wire coming from the wall? There is a white wire that goes up and down the box and has a cap in the middle of the wires. This in the far back of the light switch box and there are no wires coming out of it, its just a cap. If it was not neutral and powered something else would it be a different color?
madbrad- Only one Gang(gang being switch box?) with two switches. The other switch shares the ground with the first switch via a terminal in the back of the switch. But they both have different power wires to operate different lights. So each switch has its own power wire and one ground/neutral/what ever it is for both. Like i was saying to BBE, in the back of the box there is two wires, one with a cap with nothing attached to it. I'm looking into finding out if that neutral. Or how to find out. I guess I'm really not understanding your advice/explanation.
Last edited by spacewalker404 on Sun Dec 18, 2011 2:22 pm; edited 1 time in total
Hense forth the title of the post. Eh.. if its this complicated, and don't have the wires that the product is looking for and advice given, then I don't think an electrician is going to be much help, other than telling me they need to make/run wires to make this work, I'll just return it.
The problem is it's nearly impossible to tell what is going on in the box with your description
SO here's a quick primer...
Romex (plastic jacket wire) typically comes in 2 flavors, one with 3 conductors (white, black, bare ground), the other has 4 conductors (white, black, red, bare ground)
A light switch can be wired one of two ways (typically)...
- A romex comes into the box from the breaker panel and another romex leaves the box to the light fixture. The white wires are connected together (not to the switch) while the two black wires are connected to the switch
- A single romex comes into the box and the white and black are both connected to the switch. Basically, one wire is 'LINE' and the other is 'LOAD'
LINE means it's the feed into the switch from the breaker panel
LOAD means it's the feed out of the switch to the light fixture
GANG refers to the number of physical receptacles (outlets, switches, etc) are in the box. For a standard 2 outlet receptacle, it's single gang. If you have a standard switch and a receptacle in a double wide box, it's double gang or 2 gang
How many romex jacketed wires come into the box? What colors are on each of the romex jacketed wires and where do they go
A picture or diagram would probably be helpful
PS: "Hense Forth" means from now on... I assume that's not what you mean... and it's spelled 'Hence' for future reference
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