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Author Topic: question about light switch  (Read 6719 times)

Offline pgrover516

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question about light switch
« on: October 07, 2009, 11:40:53 pm »
I am new to automation (and not well versed in wiring) and have a small setup with vera controlling a group of sensors and plug in switches, so far so good, I want to add my first lighting wall switch (replace an existing non zwave one) which has one spotlight on it, there is no neutral wire on the switch so if I understand prev posts I must use a dimmer switch, however there is neutral available in the same box as it is shared with an outlet, can I simply add a wire from a non dimming zwave switch to common or would the whole circuit have to be rewired to use a non dimming switch, if I must use a dimming switch which ones play nice with Vera? Thanks for any comments
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Offline kaldoon

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Re: question about light switch
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2009, 08:23:28 am »
If there is a common neutral in the box then you can add a wire to it and use any Z-wave Relay Switch you want - I like the Leviton VRS15-1L

Offline mpenda

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Re: question about light switch
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2009, 08:35:37 am »
Kaldoon is 100% correct. Common, is common. I have a couple of boxes with multiple switches and all the commons are ganged.
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Offline pgrover516

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Re: question about light switch
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2009, 09:58:34 am »
Thanks much for your replies!
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Offline CMRancho

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Re: question about light switch
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2009, 10:04:11 am »
And to take mpenda's comment one step further - all the commons from the entire house are ganged together in the main service panel. So, yes, common is truly common.
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Offline pgrover516

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Re: question about light switch
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2009, 10:34:21 am »
please forgive my ignorance but the switches say "3 way" when I look at specs, is this ok for a single switch application?
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Offline JimMac

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Re: question about light switch
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2009, 12:03:37 pm »
Yes.  If you are only using it for a one way switch you won't need to connect the red wire (check the switch instruction sheet to verify the color of the unused wire or screw terminal).  The common wire should be the white wire.  Make sure you don't use the bare copper (ground) as a common.

Offline steveg

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Re: question about light switch
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2009, 12:20:39 am »
Caveat to CMRancho's comment...

Yes, all Neutrals (white wire) are connected together at the main panel of the house. Neutral and safety ground (bare wire) are connected together there as well.

But... once they leave the main panel, they must not be connected together.

Say you have circuit A (black, white, ground) and circuit B (black, white, ground). Under no circumstances, should you connect anything from circuit A to circuit B. Even though the Circuit A & B white wires were connected the main panels does not mean you may connect them anywhere else. Same for the safety ground. Even more true for the black wires (Hot).

Also, any secondary breaker panels (a.k.a subpanels) must keep Neutral and safety ground distinct. Unlike main panels, they must not be connected together at the panel.

Usually, this is not a big deal. Each switch or outlet box tends to have a single power feed from the panel. In that scenario, all Neutral wires have a single feed back towards the main and than thus can and should be connected together. Be careful that the white wire you are connecting to is truly used as a Neutral. If the power feed goes to the light fixture first and the power feed does not go to the switch controlling the light fixture, it's likely that the white wire in the switch box is not connected to Neutral (this is easy to recognize in a 1 gang box cause there's only 1 set of 3 wires entering the box (black, white, bare)).

Offline pgrover516

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Re: question about light switch
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2009, 03:05:25 am »
Thanks all for the feedback, switch is installed and working fine, more to come
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Offline chairman_bubba

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Re: question about light switch
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2009, 02:44:53 pm »
I used HA 20s for just the same application you describe. I took out the existing
wall switch in use, was careful to document what went where and installed
the HA 20 as a replacement. It works quite well. I use it for the overhead lights
in my office and another for the yard lights that come on at sunset. I like the
toggle nature of the switch and the fact that it is dimming be easy to use for
just on and off.

http://store.homeseer.com/store/Z-Wave-600-Watt-3-Way-Toggle-style-Dimmer-Intermatic-P487C42.aspx

ChairmanBubba

Offline kaldoon

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Re: question about light switch
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2009, 06:22:33 pm »
I used HA 20s for just the same application you describe. I took out the existing
wall switch in use, was careful to document what went where and installed
the HA 20 as a replacement. It works quite well. I use it for the overhead lights
in my office and another for the yard lights that come on at sunset. I like the
toggle nature of the switch and the fact that it is dimming be easy to use for
just on and off.

ChairmanBubba

Remember that the HA20C is for incandescent lighting only no CFL's and no Z-Wave dimming switch requires a common.

http://www.smarthome-products.com/p-460-intermatic-homesettings-ha20c-3-way-in-wall-switch-dimmer.aspx   


Offline SandmanXX

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Re: question about light switch
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2009, 08:05:08 pm »

Remember that the HA20C is for incandescent lighting only no CFL's and no Z-Wave dimming switch requires a common.

http://www.smarthome-products.com/p-460-intermatic-homesettings-ha20c-3-way-in-wall-switch-dimmer.aspx   

Which same style switch could be used for CFL bulbs then? make/model number?
Thanks.