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Author Topic: 3way with dead-ends powered from light - Confirming options  (Read 6360 times)

Offline oTi@

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Re: 3way with dead-ends powered from light - Confirming options
« Reply #15 on: February 05, 2014, 01:31:02 pm »
Same neutral / circuit as the light is on? This is essential.
There have been previous discussions here on this topic.  When I tried it, my circuit breaker kept tripping.  It turned out the problem was my lighting circuit was on on Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI).  Many others have reported success using a neutral from a different circuit.  In the load center, all of the neutrals land on a common bus (unless AFCI or GFCI protected).
What is working, and what is safe / allowed, are different things. I would have taken the breaker tripping (due to an imbalance) as a sign that the problem is with using a neutral from a different circuit.
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Offline oTi@

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Re: 3way with dead-ends powered from light - Confirming options
« Reply #16 on: February 05, 2014, 01:37:52 pm »
Everything in the box is on the same breaker....
OK. Presumably there is a line (hot) in there as well? You could power the GE main from that, then use the 3-wire going to the light as load/neutral/traveler, disconnect the light from the original feed and cap it, and wire the aux accordingly (per your original plan / and cap any unused wire).

(I'm assuming the posted diagram does not reflect your situation / your light is 'in the middle', as you mentioned identifying and connecting the travelers to either switch at the light.)
« Last Edit: February 05, 2014, 01:46:38 pm by oTi@ »
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Offline kkl

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Re: 3way with dead-ends powered from light - Confirming options
« Reply #17 on: February 05, 2014, 02:51:19 pm »
What is working, and what is safe / allowed, are different things. I would have taken the breaker tripping (due to an imbalance) as a sign that the problem is with using a neutral from a different circuit.
Point taken.  It was previously allowed, but using a common neutral is restricted under NEC 2011.  There are some exceptions.  See 200.4, 215.4.  It is allowed in feeder circuits, but not branch circuits.  The potential risk is from adding too many circuits to one neutral and overloading that wire.  As far as my previous issue, I am pretty sure it was due to the AFCI.  It did what it was designed to do.

Previous thread on this topic.

Offline kkl

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Re: 3way with dead-ends powered from light - Confirming options
« Reply #18 on: February 05, 2014, 02:54:13 pm »
Everything in the box is on the same breaker....
OK. Presumably there is a line (hot) in there as well? You could power the GE main from that, then use the 3-wire going to the light as load/neutral/traveler, disconnect the light from the original feed and cap it, and wire the aux accordingly (per your original plan / and cap any unused wire).

(I'm assuming the posted diagram does not reflect your situation / your light is 'in the middle', as you mentioned identifying and connecting the travelers to either switch at the light.)

Exactly what I was thinking.  Attached is another diagram to reflect that.  If it is a light 'in the middle', that would obviously require different wiring.

Offline paulcusick3

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Re: 3way with dead-ends powered from light - Confirming options
« Reply #19 on: February 05, 2014, 03:04:03 pm »
Thank you to all.


To the OP, is your lighting circuit like this?
http://www.homeimprovementweb.com/information/how-to/three-way-switch-option2.htm (Attachment 1)

If so, and you've got that separate neutral available to your GE master switch (45609), I believe it is possible to use these switches with your circuitry.  I find the GE wiring diagrams to be very confusing.  Attachment 2 presents it in an easier to understand fashion.  As mentioned above, verify all of your wiring.  Don't trust that the wire colors are correct.  Especially in your scenario, they probably are not.  Assuming all of the above, the circuit depicted in Attachment 3 may work for you.

YES - This is how it is wired. 





If the wiring is as displayed in the above linked image, the GE/Jasco 45609(ZW4001) or it's 3-way derivative cannot be used. Additional wires are required.

If the wiring is the same as the previously linked diagram, an Aeon Labs Micro In-Wall Appliance Switch can be used. As depicted in the attached diagram.

I think this is the best option.  I will put in the order and try this weekend.  Stay tuned for an update.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2014, 03:05:36 pm by paulcusick3 »

Offline kkl

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Re: 3way with dead-ends powered from light - Confirming options
« Reply #20 on: February 05, 2014, 04:27:00 pm »
If the wiring is the same as the previously linked diagram, an Aeon Labs Micro In-Wall Appliance Switch can be used. As depicted in the attached diagram.

How would the Aeon work if power is through the light?  There aren't separate pairs of wires for the line and load, just a single pair.  There is also no neutral coming in to the switch box as it is on the "back" side of the light.

Offline tbully

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Re: 3way with dead-ends powered from light - Confirming options
« Reply #21 on: February 05, 2014, 04:54:16 pm »
If the wiring is the same as the previously linked diagram, an Aeon Labs Micro In-Wall Appliance Switch can be used. As depicted in the attached diagram.

How would the Aeon work if power is through the light?  There aren't separate pairs of wires for the line and load, just a single pair.  There is also no neutral coming in to the switch box as it is on the "back" side of the light.

Put the Aeon in the light box?  Interesting solution.  I may have one fixture like this where this will come in handy.


Offline kkl

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Re: 3way with dead-ends powered from light - Confirming options
« Reply #22 on: February 05, 2014, 05:10:26 pm »
Put the Aeon in the light box?  Interesting solution.
;D  That is interesting, and something that never even crossed my mind.

Offline Z-Waver

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Re: 3way with dead-ends powered from light - Confirming options
« Reply #23 on: February 05, 2014, 06:28:48 pm »
If the wiring is the same as the previously linked diagram, an Aeon Labs Micro In-Wall Appliance Switch can be used. As depicted in the attached diagram.

How would the Aeon work if power is through the light?  There aren't separate pairs of wires for the line and load, just a single pair.  There is also no neutral coming in to the switch box as it is on the "back" side of the light.

The microswitch is placed in the junction box with the light. The switches(3-way or 4-way) become a separate loop that do not directly connect to line, load, or neutral. Here's a 4-way diagram for visualization.

Offline oTi@

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Re: 3way with dead-ends powered from light - Confirming options
« Reply #24 on: February 06, 2014, 06:21:55 am »
The potential risk is from adding too many circuits to one neutral and overloading that wire.
Exactly.

Quote
It was previously allowed, but using a common neutral is restricted under NEC 2011. [...]
I haven't looked at this, but I'm assuming this deals with a properly wired (and thus safe) common neutral (i.e. one neutral shared by 2 circuits on alternate legs of the panel). This is different from (the user) connecting a light to (line and neutral belonging to) two different circuits.
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Offline oTi@

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Re: 3way with dead-ends powered from light - Confirming options
« Reply #25 on: February 06, 2014, 06:31:30 am »
YES - This is how it is wired. 
Wow; ok. As always, understanding your current wiring is vitally important. Your initial description appears consistent with another wiring scheme.

Regardless, you could still consider using the GEs, if the switch 'in the middle' represents what you designated as main, is in a multi-gang box, and has access to neutral and line there, preferably on the same breaker (which you confirmed).
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