Timer light switch wiring

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  #1  
Old 09-28-14, 02:13 PM
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Timer light switch wiring

Hi

I'm trying to install this timer light switch on my porch light. It's not working and the instructions say to call an electrician if my existing wiring doesn't match the diagram in their instructions. I thought I would try here first.

I know almost nothing about electrical wiring but have done a few things wiring outlets in my garage etc.

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Here's the instruction sheet showing the 'most common'. However, my box has only one cable coming in, not two as per both of the diagrams. This is single pole by the way.

When I install the switch simply matching up red-red, black-black etc, the switch itself gets power but the light doesn't come on.

Switch has black, white, green, red wires, plus yellow/red which is meant for use in 3 way wiring scenarios, according to the instructions.

Incoming cable has black, white, green, red wires.

Any suggestions?

thanks

Paul
 
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Old 09-28-14, 02:14 PM
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In your switch box, if you don't have a neutral (white) the switch won't work. What are the wires in your switch box?
 
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Old 09-28-14, 07:09 PM
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Larry.... he mentioned only one cable. That tells us that he has just a switch leg there with no neutral.

You would need to purchase a timer that didn't require a neutral.
 
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Old 09-29-14, 06:16 AM
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Thanks for the replies gents.

I do have only one cable coming in but there are four wires in it including white.
 
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Old 09-29-14, 07:01 AM
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I do have only one cable coming in but there are four wires in it including white.
Ground doesn't count so three wires but the key is if the white is neutral. If it is a switch loop it isn't.

What is the wiring at the light?
 
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Old 09-29-14, 07:05 AM
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We never count grounding wires, as they are understood. So you have three wires, red, black and white coming from the cable. Where do they attach to your switch? Is this light controlled fron an additional location? If so, you still don't have a neutral. It is a three way switch.
 
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Old 09-29-14, 09:14 AM
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Sorry.... I missed the part in your post about the red wire included.

A model number for your timer would be helpful as we can't read the pic you posted.
 
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Old 09-29-14, 11:16 AM
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Thanks again for the replies. I'll try to answer all the questions...

chandler - the wires at the switch: white to upper screw on side, red to lower screw on side, green into upper hole on the back, ground not connected. Light is not controlled from another location.

ray2047 - at light there is one cable incoming with black, red, white and ground. It looks like black is unused (is capped), red is attached to a black wire on the light fixture, white to white.

PJmax - It says Leviton Single Pole or 3-Way Digital Timer Switch, Cat. No. VPT24-1P.
 
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Old 09-29-14, 11:36 AM
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white to upper screw on side, red to lower screw on side, green into upper hole on the back, ground not connected. Light is not controlled from another location.
I'm guessing you meant black into upper hole on back and ground not connected.

From what you are describing.... that was a three way location at one time but is not any longer.
If you have two wires on the switch screws and one pushed into the back...... the one pushed into the back is technically the same as the side screw it's closest too.

It also sounds like the three wire cable you see at the switch and the one at the light are not the same which means they meet at another location.... possibly the location of the other switch. With the 2) three wire cables you've described... there is no feed.
 
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Old 09-29-14, 01:59 PM
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Well, I have seen a lot of weird stuff with wiring in this house so I'm not surprised. Would you say that this switch is incompatible in this case then?
 
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Old 09-29-14, 04:09 PM
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Confirm....3 wires....red, black and white to three different screws on a single switch body. I know you said green, but it isn't likely with a bare wire in the mix.
 
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Old 09-29-14, 05:37 PM
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Yes I guess it is black not green. And technically, it is red wire to top side screw, white wire to bottom side screw, and black wire to upper hole in back of switch.
 
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Old 09-29-14, 05:44 PM
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Ok... this is based on a switch with only TWO screws.... not including ground.... red wire to top screw and black wire to top back stab. They are combined there. White wire to bottom screw.

As I stated previously..... that looks like a converted three way switch location that was converted to a single pole switch. At the current time... you DO NOT have a neutral there.

You would have to locate the exact place where that three wire cable goes to make changes. It may be just easier to get a timer that doesn't require a ground. Be advised... timers that don't need a neutral to operate usually require incandescent lights only. No CFL's and no LED's.
 
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