Djp 714: Neutrals and Timer Switch

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Old 11-09-12, 05:03 PM
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Question Djp 714: Neutrals and Timer Switch

Originally posted to: http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...ne-switch.html

Did you pigtail the neutral wire from the switch to the existing neutral bundle? I have a similar situation where I'm replacing one of the three switches to a timer switch (same honeywell model).

But all the neutral wires are currently bundled together. Can I connect the timer switch's neutral wire to the existing neutral bundle? Or do I need to separate out the neutrals? The switch I'm replacing is a standard 2 wire switch.
 
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Old 11-09-12, 05:21 PM
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But all the neutral wires are currently bundled together. Can I connect the timer switch's neutral wire to the existing neutral bundle?
By code all neutrals on the same circuit should be connected together. Only neutrals on different circuits from different breakers are separated.
 
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Old 11-09-12, 05:27 PM
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The timer puts an almost unmeasurable load on the neutral circuit so in that application any neutral will work. That being said.....make sure what you think is neutral is actually neutral.
 
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Old 11-09-12, 09:01 PM
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Can I connect the timer switch's neutral wire to the existing neutral bundle?
Connect the neutral from the timer switch to the existing neutral splice. I assume that's what you mean by "bundle."
 
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Old 11-11-12, 06:14 PM
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Yes, thanks for clarifying. There's currently 4 neutral wires bundled together in one wire nut.
 
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Old 11-11-12, 08:51 PM
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thanks for clarifying. There's currently 4 neutral wires bundled together in one wire nut.
You're welcome, but I realize I could have been clearer than I was.

The way I would say that is "There are currently 4 white wires, presumably neutrals, spliced together and protected by a wire nut."

If the word "bundled" means anything in electrical work, it means pulling parallel wire or cable runs together and securing them, often with cable ties, so that they bend and hold as one. It is not a substitute for the word "spliced." When conductors are spliced together, they are mechanically and electrically joined to create a continuous path for electrical potential through the spliced set. When they are bundled, they are simply tied together in a way that makes them easier to manage.
 
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Old 11-11-12, 10:12 PM
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Here's some pictures. I'm planning to replace the middle porch switch with the timer (Honeywell Econoswitch RPLS741B1007/U since porch lights are CFLs).

I'm also attaching a photo of the schematic.

Is wire 1 the load (or power)? The black wires from wires 2,3 and 4 are connected to the black wire from wire 1. Wire 0 is not connected to it but perhaps because it's a slave 3 way switch..

The neutrals from wire 1, 2, 3, 4 are connected together in one wire nut.

Wires 2 and 3 are connected to the Porch light switch. I'm assuming there's 2 separate wires since there's 2 lights outside.

Wire 0 connects to the Foyer 3 way switch. But I don't see a neutral there.

I'm planning to swap the middle Porch light switch to the Honeywell Timer. Can I connect the 2 black wires from the existing Porch light switch and connect the neutral to the existing neutral wire nut?
 
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Old 11-11-12, 10:51 PM
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Here's some pictures. I'm planning to replace the middle porch switch with the timer.
Thank you for posting the pictures. Unfortunately, they are too close in, and the wires are too folded, for the pictures to convey really useful information.

I'm also attaching a photo of the schematic.
Right. Let's work with that for now.

Is wire 1 the load (or power)?
First of all, some more terminology. A wire is an individual conductor. A set of conductors housed in one jacket or sheath is a cable. When you say "wire 1," you appear to be referring to a 2-conductor cable.

Translating, your drawing indicates that Cable 1 contains the the wires coming from the panel.

The black wires from wires 2,3 and 4 are connected to the black wire from wire 1.
That's not what your drawing shows. Your drawing shows that the black wire in Cable 1 is spliced to three pigtails and that those pigtails are terminated to the three switches. It also shows that the black wires from Cables 2 and 3 are spliced together, with a pigtail that is terminated to the switch marked "Porch Lights," and that the black wire from Cable 4 is terminated to the switch marked "security light."

The neutrals from wire 1, 2, 3, 4 are connected together in one wire nut.
There should be five neutrals spliced together - one from each of the five cables entering the box.

Wire 0 connects to the Foyer 3 way switch. But I don't see a neutral there.
What do you mean by "there?" Cable 0 should be a 3-conductor cable, with a black, red, and white wire in it. The black and red wires from Cable 0 should be terminated to the two traveler terminals on the 3-way switch and the white wire should be spliced to the other four white wires.

I'm planning to swap the middle Porch light switch to the Honeywell Timer. Can I connect the 2 black wires from the existing Porch light switch and connect the neutral to the existing neutral wire nut?
Sure. Is that all you really wanted to know? You might have more success, though, if you removed the wire nut from the neutrals splice, added the neutral wire from the timer to that splice, and replaced the wire nut.
 
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Old 11-11-12, 11:35 PM
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Translating, your drawing indicates that Cable 1 contains the the wires coming from the panel.
Yes, thanks for the correction.


The black wires from wires 2,3 and 4 are connected to the black wire from wire 1.

That's not what your drawing shows. Your drawing shows that the black wire in Cable 1 is spliced to three pigtails and that those pigtails are terminated to the three switches. It also shows that the black wires from Cables 2 and 3 are spliced together, with a pigtail that is terminated to the switch marked "Porch Lights," and that the black wire from Cable 4 is terminated to the switch marked "security light."
Yes correct.


Wire 0 connects to the Foyer 3 way switch. But I don't see a neutral there.
What do you mean by "there?" Cable 0 should be a 3-conductor cable, with a black, red, and white wire in it. The black and red wires from Cable 0 should be terminated to the two traveler terminals on the 3-way switch and the white wire should be spliced to the other four white wires.
It's possible that I did not see the neutral wire in Cable 0 but it's there. Is it possible that neutral wire would not existing since it's a remote 3-way switch?


I'm planning to swap the middle Porch light switch to the Honeywell Timer. Can I connect the 2 black wires from the existing Porch light switch and connect the neutral to the existing neutral wire nut?
Sure. Is that all you really wanted to know? You might have more success, though, if you removed the wire nut from the neutrals splice, added the neutral wire from the timer to that splice, and replaced the wire nut.

Yes! Thanks very much for your detailed response. It has really helped me feel more comfortable installing the timer.

Read more: http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...#ixzz2BzGNmNU2
 
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Old 11-12-12, 09:58 AM
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It's possible that I did not see the neutral wire in Cable 0 but it's there. Is it possible that neutral wire would not existing since it's a remote 3-way switch?
No, not with power connected to the point, or common, terminal on the 3-way switch in this box. If the neutral for the foyer lights is not supplied from the panel neutral in this switch box, that is not compliant with code and needs to be corrected. But it is unlikely that that is the case. Doing that would almost always require more work, not less.

All 3-way switch switch pairs are installed so that one is remote from the other. That's why they're used.
 
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Old 11-13-12, 03:55 PM
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I'm planning to swap the middle Porch light switch to the Honeywell Timer. Can I connect the 2 black wires from the existing Porch light switch and connect the neutral to the existing neutral wire nut?
Sure. Is that all you really wanted to know? You might have more success, though, if you removed the wire nut from the neutrals splice, added the neutral wire from the timer to that splice, and replaced the wire nut.


One more question. If I eventually replace all 3 switches to ones that have neutral wires, would all 3 neutral wires from the switches splice to the existing neutral splice (neutral wires from cables 0,1,2,3,4)? So in total, I would splice 8 wires together? Just want to make sure if there's some limit that I need to be aware of.

I'm considering Radio RA2 for the other 2 switches so I want to plan ahead. Thanks.
 
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Old 11-13-12, 04:30 PM
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So in total, I would splice 8 wires together? Just want to make sure if there's some limit that I need to be aware of.
Only, limit is the capacity of the wire nut. With a neutral from each switch I would connect the three switch neutral to a single pigtail and that pigtail to the group of other neutrals.
 
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Old 11-13-12, 09:04 PM
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Just want to make sure if there's some limit that I need to be aware of.
You may need a bigger wire nut.
 
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