Single box 2 switches/dual box timer/switch


  #1  
Old 11-11-03, 03:56 PM
ChipH
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Single box 2 switches/dual box timer/switch

I would like some advice on adding a timer for my outside garage lights. I currently have a single switch box that has a dual switch in it set up with one switch contolling the interior garage light and the other contolling the two outside lights. I would like to replace this dual switch with a timer switch for the exterior and a regular switch for the interior garage light. I know I will need to replace the receptacle box with one to accomodate the two switches but am unsure of the wiring needs to accomplish this.
Any help is appreciated.
Thanks
 
  #2  
Old 11-11-03, 04:10 PM
J
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Yes, you'll need to replace the single-gang box with a double-gang box. Shut off the breaker, pull the duplex switch out of the box without disconnecting any wires, and tell us everything you see.
 
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Old 11-11-03, 04:14 PM
R
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Going from a duplex switch to two single switches is quite simple and straight forward. The hardest part is removing the single gang box and installing the double gang box. However, you didn't ask about this so I will assume that this is not an issue or that you already know how to do this.

The duplex switch is really two separate switches in a single device, shaped like a traditional duplex outlet. Each switch will have two separate screw terminals, and the entire device will have a ground screw. (The ground screw may be missing if this is a an old device.)

All you need to do is to remove the wires from each switch (each half of the duplex switch) and connect them to the new switches. This is easy if you are installing plain simple toggle switches, so your interior light will not be a problem.

The timer is a bit more complicated, and depends on the type of timer you want to install. The less expensive ones connect in the same manner as a regular switch, that is they have two wires to connect to. Follow the instructions and you should have no problem.

If you have further questions, it will help us to have a better picture of the wiring in the existing switch box. The specific questions we will want to have answered have to do with the existing wiring. We will want to know how many wires and cables are in the switch box, and where do they connect. You will want to be specific and describe each wire (such as white, black, bare copper), each cable (such as the cable to the interior light, or the cable to the exterior light, or the cable from the house), and you will want to identify which wires are in which cable. We will also want to know what wires the timer wants connected to it.
 
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Old 11-11-03, 05:56 PM
J
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Your only problem could be the timer requiring a neutral. If all the wires in the box are connected to the switches then you don't have a neutral.
 
  #5  
Old 11-11-03, 06:08 PM
J
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Bob educated me last week. I discovered that many timer switches that control lighting need no neutral. They actually pass a small current through the bulb at all times to run the timer. When the bulb burns out or is removed, the timer stops keeping time.
 
  #6  
Old 11-11-03, 06:10 PM
ChipH
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Thanks for the suggestions thus far. I'll have to check back in once I get a chance to take a look at what the current wiring set up is.
 
  #7  
Old 11-11-03, 06:48 PM
R
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Intermatic makes a nice 7 day programmable timer that requires no neutral and even works with flourescent lights or fans, etc. The catch is that it requires a battery.

They also make the type that pass current through the lamp, and therefor require a load.
 
 

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