Confirming presence of neutral wire in box

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Old 10-16-16, 04:27 PM
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Confirming presence of neutral wire in box

Hello,
I'm in the beginning phases of upgrading smart lighting in my (11 year old) home and just opened up my entryway switch box to checkout the situation. In this box is two single switches for my outside lights and one 3-way switch for the entryway lights.

Behind the switches is two bundles of wires (with QUITE a number of wires per bundle). One with black coating and one with white coating. A bit messy back there thanks for being painted by contractors.

I have a few questions I would greatly appreciate your wonderful feedback:

1. I can only assume that at least one of these is the group of neutral wires?
2. Neutral should be the white coated ones I assume, correct?
3. If so, what would the black coated ones likely be??
4. So to wire up my soon to be purchased smart light switches, I assume I just need to unwrap one of the neutral wires from the group and insert to the appropriate spot of the smart switch?

Please see photos for clarification. Thanks!!

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Old 10-16-16, 04:42 PM
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1. I can only assume that at least one of these is the group of neutral wires?
Yes.

2. Neutral should be the white coated ones I assume, correct?
Yes. The large group of white wires.

3. If so, what would the black coated ones likely be??
The blacks are likely the hot (ungrounded) conductors.

4. So to wire up my soon to be purchased smart light switches, I assume I just need to unwrap one of the neutral wires from the group and insert to the appropriate spot of the smart switch?
No. You will either connect the white wire off the switch to the group of white wires or install a pigtail (a short piece of wire the same gauge as the group you are splicing into) on the new switch and splice it to the group of whites. You will likely need a bigger wire nut.
 
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Old 10-16-16, 04:43 PM
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Your finger is holding up the hot splice. The neutral splice looks like it's right behind that one.
It will be all white wires. If you add one more to that splice you'll need a larger wire nut.
 
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Old 10-16-16, 05:06 PM
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Ok great, thanks so much!! So now I'm wondering why there are so many wires for the neutral splice and the hot splice? In diagrams I have seen, they made it look like the neutral was comprised of just a single wire that you splice into.

Thanks again.
 
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Old 10-16-16, 05:59 PM
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So now I'm wondering why there are so many wires for the neutral splice and the hot splice?
You have a 3 gang (or more) box so you might a pigtail for each switch. There is also likely cables going elsewhere to feed other items. Simple answer is because that is how it is wired.
 
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Old 10-17-16, 02:24 PM
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Lol, gotcha. You're right, there are 3 switches in this box.
I was just about to ask for advice on Z-Wave smart switch choices but realize my thread is drifting now and it would be best for a new thread. So if you could be so kind and check out my new thread to help me make my final choices, I would super appreciate it again!!

See: Deciding on Z-Wave smart on/off and 3-way dimmable switches to go with, pls help
 
 

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