SunSmart Digital Timer Wiring Help

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  #1  
Old 09-14-13, 11:13 PM
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SunSmart Digital Timer Wiring Help

Hi All - I am trying to wire a SunSmart Digital Timer (SKU 15312). I can't figure out the correct wiring. I know the Green is ground and Red is not used. Not a 3-way, single pole I believe, but the existing switch has 3 positions (don't think there is another switch in the house that controls this light). How do I connect the rest of the wires and do the White/Black wires at the top of the photos do anything?

The picture below is of the EXISTING switch that I replaced.

http://www.doityourself.com/forum/at...1&d=1379221598

I also included the wire configuration that I came up with (for better or for worse). The Black/White wires with the yellow tape on them have not changed/or used, I put those on to avoid confusion. The Blue, Black and White wires coming from the bottom of the photo are from the timer unit.

http://www.doityourself.com/forum/at...1&d=1379221619

The manufacturer's installation instructions are below, but not really helpful: http://www.jascoproducts.com/support...de-eng-spa.pdf

I'm sure I am am missing a ton of necessary information. I would REALLY appreciate any help from the knowledge base...thanks in advance!
 
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  #2  
Old 09-15-13, 12:38 AM
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That most certainly looks like a three-way switch from the shown angle. It IS possible that the companion switch was eliminated some time ago but there should be a blank plate over the box if this is true.

That time switch requires a neutral lead at it is entirely possible that you do not have a neutral lead available. Please detail ALL cables and ALL wires in the box. A cable is a factory assembly of two or more wires encased in an overall casing. A few more well-lit pictures of the other side of the switch and the inside of the box may help.

Oh, the instructions make perfect sense to me.
 
  #3  
Old 09-15-13, 07:28 AM
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Welcome to the forums!

The switch you're replacing is a 3-way. It appears that it may be on a switch loop. If my guess about that is correct, the black wire terminated to the switch's common (black screw) terminal and the white wire spliced to a black wire will be in the same 2-conductor cable, the white wire will be a constant hot, and you won't have a neutral in that box.
 

Last edited by Nashkat1; 09-15-13 at 06:49 PM.
  #4  
Old 09-15-13, 07:46 AM
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What Furd said

I think your problem is going to be the lack of a neutral wire in that box. Have a look at this...

[ATTACH=CONFIG]17790[/ATTACH]

If you look at the bottom left of the above image you see the white and black wires. The white one is the neutral. Notice that it never goes to a switch only to the light. In the box your working with the white wire will likely carry power and not be the neutral. Just because a wire is white doesn't mean it's a neutral.
The black and white that are wire nutted together are odd (to me at least). Perhaps they were there for an original single pole switch and three wire was pulled later to upgrade to a three way switch.
(don't think there is another switch in the house that controls this light)
I'd look around a bit more for another switch, that surely looks like a three-way to me too, which means there's another somewhere.
 
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Old 09-15-13, 01:06 PM
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SunSmart Digital Timer Wiring Help

Thanks for the responses. It looks like the switch is a 3 way switch, but I really can't find any other switches that control this exterior light. There are a few "dead" switches in the master, but they don't seem to do anything. Joy of buying a new home.

Below is the other side of the OLD switch which I replaced.

http://www.doityourself.com/forum/at...1&d=1379271799

Also below are a couple of shots of the inside of the box. It looks like the left side of the photo has 2 wires (black and white) and the right side has 3 wires (black, white and red). The white from the left and the black from the right were coupled with a nut when I first opened the case.

http://www.doityourself.com/forum/at...1&d=1379271830

http://www.doityourself.com/forum/at...1&d=1379271816

I hope this helps. Thanks again for the thoughtful responses, much appreciated!
 
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Old 09-15-13, 01:21 PM
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Perhaps they were there for an original single pole switch and three wire was pulled later to upgrade to a three way switch.
Exactly what I was thinking of neosec.

At this point....if our guess is correct....and that is a switch leg only.... you can't put that timer there.

You could confirm by turning off the power. Connect the black and white wire of the 2 wire cable together. Turn the power back on and see if the light is on.
 
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Old 09-15-13, 01:30 PM
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Thanks

Attached is a configuration that I used. The screen on the timer came on and seemed to work fine. The light fixture came on, but just flickered continuously and I could not turn it off from the switch.

http://www.doityourself.com/forum/at...1&d=1379273369

I will try PJMax's suggestion and check back in a few minutes.
 
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Old 09-15-13, 01:35 PM
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PJMax and Neosec - I connected the black and white wire of the 2 wire cable together, turned on the power and the light stayed on. Now what? Are you saying that I can't install this switch here? Confused, thanks.
 
  #9  
Old 09-15-13, 02:12 PM
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You cannot install that time switch at that location because you do not have a neutral connection. The two-wire cable on the left is what is called a switch loop. The white really should be 're-identified" as a hot lead by marking it with a permanent marking pen or wrapping it with colored tape of any color except white, grey or green. The three-wire cable goes to some unknown location for three-way switching.

They DO make astronomic time switches that will work without a neutral and that is what you need for that location.

You can cut the ends of the three wires in the three-wire cable and screw on wire nuts or tape over the cut ends and then fold those wires back into the box. You may continue to use the existing three-way switch by connecting to one brass screw and the black screw, one wire each, from the two-conductor cable.
 
  #10  
Old 09-15-13, 02:22 PM
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Two questions: Why was the original switch installed using the black wire from the left (2 wire cable) and why was the black wire from the right (3 wire cable) then coupled with the white from the left?

Also, whey did the timer switch turn on and the light flicker when I installed using the configuration I posted at 12:30pm today?

Thanks.
 
  #11  
Old 09-15-13, 03:02 PM
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I can describe it but maybe Ray can post a drawing as well.

The two-conductor cable on the left goes to the light fixture. The incoming power (from the circuit breaker panel) also goes to the light fixture. At the light fixture the white wire from the power supply connects to the white wire on the lamp fixture. The black wire from the power supply connects to the WHITE wire of the cable going to the switch box. This WHITE wire should be re-identified to some color other than white, grey or green at both ends. The black wire in the cable going to the switch box is connected to the lamp fixture black wire.

The cable between the switch box and the light fixture is called a switch loop. In all cases of a switch loop the code requires the white conductor to be re-identified but this is often not done out of sheer laziness on the part of the electrician(?) that does the wiring. The power is connected to the white wire so that a factory black is always connected to the actual load, in this case, the lamp fixture.

The red and white wires that were connected to the three-way switch are called travelers and they went to the corresponding screw (the brass screws) on the remote switch. The black in this cable (the three-wire cable on the right) was connected to the black screw on the remote switch. This black wire connected to the white of the left cable and the remaining black (from the left cable) connected to the black screw on the local switch. A three-way switch alternates between the black screw and either of the brass screws so the combination of the two switches, the three-wire cable and the two-wire switch loop makes a complete circuit but either switch will control the lamp. When you find the location where the remote switch was you will find that the black wire and either the red or the white (but not both) will be connected together and the third wire is capped off.


AS for why it seemed to sort of work when you connected the time clock it was because you made a series circuit from the power supply, through the time switch and back to the lamp. It was not sufficient to make the time switch work properly and because of the timer circuitry it also would not allow the lamo to turn off.
 
  #12  
Old 09-15-13, 04:09 PM
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The wiring at the light will show if it was a switch loop. Why they would bypass it I'm not quiet sure. It seems like they would have abandoned it instead.

 
  #13  
Old 09-15-13, 04:42 PM
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Bypassing the remote switch was easy and didn't require opening the other switch. I'll bet they simply paneled over the abandoned switch box if it cannot be found.
 
  #14  
Old 09-15-13, 08:25 PM
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I'll bet they simply paneled over the abandoned switch box if it cannot be found.
It can be found. All that's needed is to connect the wires so that power goes to the other switch location and back to the light and then use a sensor that locates hot wires to search for it.

If I was a betting man I'd just go look for a drywall patch at switch height within 12" of the latch side of the other door to the room.
 
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