Connect neutral wire to ground?

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  #1  
Old 07-19-05, 06:55 AM
Brucer79
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Question Connect neutral wire to ground?

I am trying to replace a single-pole light switch with a three-wire timer switch. The switch box only has two wires coming into it (plus ground). If I connect the neutral wire from the timer switch to the ground wire in the box, the switch works, but is this hazardous?
 

Last edited by Brucer79; 07-19-05 at 10:13 AM.
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  #2  
Old 07-19-05, 07:22 AM
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Yes, this is hazardous. Do not do this. Find a timer switch that does not require a neutral. There are many available. Some that use a battery, others that run a small amount of current through the circuit.

Do not use the switch that you have.
 
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Old 07-19-05, 07:22 AM
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Don't do it. You are attempting to put a timer on a switch loop. Can't be done with that timer since there is no neutral.
 
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Old 07-19-05, 10:16 AM
Brucer79
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OK, thanks. Just for my information, what will (or can) happen if you do connect neutral wire to ground wire?
 
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Old 07-19-05, 10:30 AM
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The neutral wire on a circuit carries current. Under normal operation, the ground wire carries no current. If you connect the neutral wire for the timer switch to the ground wire of the circuit, then you are flowing the current required by the timer through the ground wire. That means that anything connected to the ground wire could be subjected to current.

For example, if you plug in a computer on the same circuit. The metal case of the computer could provide a path for current through someone's body if they touched the computer and some other grounded source.
 
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Old 07-19-05, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Brucer79
OK, thanks. Just for my information, what will (or can) happen if you do connect neutral wire to ground wire?
You risk energizing all of the metallic surfaces in your home; this is especially true if you ever have a loose neutral connection on the circuit in question (happens more often than you think). This puts electricity on your plumbing and appliance frames. Possible shocks in the shower, shocks from the washing machine, etc; it's very unsafe to leave this switch with neutral connected to ground.

They do make timer switches that do not require a neutral wire. Return this one to the store, and buy the correct switch.
 
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