connecting neutrals & grounds for lighting

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  #1  
Old 05-30-12, 06:36 PM
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connecting neutrals & grounds for lighting

I'm remodling our kitchen and upgrading the lighting. I've added a metal (masonary style) 3-gang box on either side of kitchen to allow for turning lights on/off from either side. Each box has 3 devices that add up to 4 switches: a dual (upper & lower) 3-way, a 3-way dimmer, and a standard on/off switch. What this means is there are a lot of wires in the box - especially the one that has the wires going to each switched light circuit (along with the 3-way wires between switches.

Neutrals:
Do I need to connect all neutrals together in the box or can I just group the ones that are for each light section to form a complete circuit?

Grounds:
I'm assuming the grounds all need to be together (most likely two bundles w/ jumper between them). If the grounds are grounded to the box is it still necessary to connect them to each switch or is switch considered grounded once the metal switch frame is mounted to the box?

No matter how I do it it will be fairly tight - I want to avoid using wire-nuts larger than the red ones. I cannot use a deeper box as the wall space is thin where the box is.
 
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Old 05-30-12, 07:05 PM
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The neutrals from the same circuit only need to be connected to the source once. Otherwise it would be considered to be paralleled.

All ground need to splice together and to any metallic box.

Grounding from the NEC.

(B) Grounding. Snap switches, including dimmer and similar
control switches, shall be connected to an equipment
grounding conductor and shall provide a means to connect
metal faceplates to the equipment grounding conductor,
whether or not a metal faceplate is installed. Snap switches
shall be considered to be part of an effective ground-fault
current path if either of the following conditions is met:
(1) The switch is mounted with metal screws to a metal box
or metal cover that is connected to an equipment grounding
conductor or to a nonmetallic box with integral means
for connecting to an equipment grounding conductor.
(2) An equipment grounding conductor or equipment bonding
jumper is connected to an equipment grounding termination
of the snap switch.
 
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Old 05-30-12, 07:28 PM
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Thank you for your quick and obviously knowledge based reply.

Since I'm not used to parsing electrical code I would like to make sure I understand correctly -

Neutrals:
the neutral wire that comes from the 3-way switch on the source side of the circuit only needs to be connected to the neutral for the light load that is being switched by the companion 3-way switch. The only time I need to group the neutrals is on the source side so that all switched circuits have one path back to the panel for that circuit (all lighting is on one 20amp circuit).

Grounds:
It appears the metal box can serve as grounding conductor for the snap switches that are screwed to it with metal screws.

- so dimmer switches could be included in that as long as they have a snap switch function? I think some dimmers have a grounding wire that would need connecting - could that be connected seperately to the box or would it be required to connect directly to the ground-wire bundle?

- can the metal box be used as a grounding jumper; that is have two groups of grounds clipped to the metal box from opposite ends so they don't have to snake across the back of the box and take up space. Or must I have a ground jumper run between the two bundles of grounds as well as connect them to the metal box on at least one end?
 
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Old 05-30-12, 07:39 PM
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The box cannot be used as a jumper between 2 groups of grounding conductors.

The ground from the dimmer can splice in with the other grounds. It does not need to be a snap switch.
 
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