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Author Topic: Z-Wave Switches/Dimmers that do not require Neutral  (Read 34764 times)

Offline exchguy

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Z-Wave Switches/Dimmers that do not require Neutral
« on: August 23, 2010, 02:29:27 pm »
Purchased a few of the GE/Jasco switches and their instructions did not make it clear that a 'neutral' wire is required to connect to power the switches. I know the GE's are not as nice as the Leviton's, but due to cost I opted for the GE's :)

None of my existing light switches have neutral wires connected (only line/load/ground) so I am assuming that I would need to somehow find/connect neutrals which probably involves calling an electrician. Given the cost of that, are there any Z-wave switches out there that do not require these neutral wires to power them?? The GE instructions talk about using existing wiring..I'm not so sure about that considering my house was built in 2006 and I don't have any white/neutrals connected to my existing switches!

Offline strangely

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Re: Z-Wave Switches/Dimmers that do not require Neutral
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2010, 02:50:27 pm »
The older Intermattic / Wayne Dalton dimmers I have (HA-14WD /HA14 ) don't need a Neutral. They have been discontinued anyway and they are only good for incandescent or regular bulbs. I think the replacement for these are the HA-06WD which appear to not need a Neutral either.
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Offline exchguy

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Re: Z-Wave Switches/Dimmers that do not require Neutral
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2010, 03:29:01 pm »
Thanks strangely. Does anyone know if the Leviton's require neutral as well? It looked like they did from Smarthome's page on them, but could not tell for sure.

Offline lastmacuser

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Re: Z-Wave Switches/Dimmers that do not require Neutral
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2010, 06:41:02 pm »
I installed about 30+ Leviton RF+ dimmers and switches in my home. The Leviton light Dimmers do not need a neutral, but if you use flourescent and want the non dimmable relay switches I remember needing a neutral for those.

Offline Chimpware

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Re: Z-Wave Switches/Dimmers that do not require Neutral
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2010, 07:15:00 pm »
Finding a neutral is not usually a big deal unless your house was wired a long time ago.  Even if the switches you currently have do not use a neutral connection (which is typical in many houses), there is usually a neutral (or more than one usually) wired together with a wire nut in the box with the switches and unused.  All you need to do is add the wire from the GE switch to that bundle and put the wire nut back on.

Offline garrettwp

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Re: Z-Wave Switches/Dimmers that do not require Neutral
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2010, 12:33:31 am »
As others have posted, the Leviton dimmers do not require a neutral. But the on/off relay switches do. Check to make sure you do not have any white wires in the back of the box.

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Offline ASIHome

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Re: Z-Wave Switches/Dimmers that do not require Neutral
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2010, 08:44:29 am »
Leviton also has a 5A no-neutral required switch but it must be used with incandescent only.

Offline aa6vh

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Re: Z-Wave Switches/Dimmers that do not require Neutral
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2010, 10:39:41 am »
The reason for the requirement of the neutral wire is that the ZWave radio needs power to operate.

Those switches that do not require a neutral get their power by sending a small amount of current through the load, but not enough to cause the light bulb to light up.

Non-incandescent light bulbs usually do not tolerate having that small current constantly running through it.

So that is why there is a requirement for the neutral wire to the switch, for all ZWave switches other than switches only controlling incandescent lights.

Offline steveg

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Re: Z-Wave Switches/Dimmers that do not require Neutral
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2010, 12:36:58 am »
Look at the wiring instructions for the Leviton dimmer you purchase. Some require a neutral and some do not. You can download the instructions before you buy from www.leviton.com.

Examples that do not need a neutral: RZI06 (older style), VRI06 (newer style)

Examples that do require a neutral: RZE10 (older style, for electronic ballast low voltage, typically track lights), RZM10 (older style, for magnetic ballast low voltage, typically recessed cans), anything that's an on/off (non-dimmer).

It gets more complicated if you are replacing a pair of 3-way switches. Again, read the wiring instructions...

I had a 3-way circuit in my Kitchen that was really strangely wired making it impossible to wire using a hardwired 3-way setup, even with dimmers that didn't have a neutral requirement. A typical 3-way circuit has the Power Feed connected to Dimmer A, Dimmer A connected to Dimmer B with 14-3 wiring (blk/white/red), and Dimmer B connected to the Load. Mine had Power connected to Dimmer A which was connected with 14-3 to the Load which was in turn connected with 14-3 to Dimmer B--not enough wires were available between Dimmers A&B to do the trick. I replaced one Dimmer with a Z-Wave controller and made the a "virtual 3-way" using wireless.