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Old 09-18-2011, 10:45 AM   #1
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Connecting timer with no neutral wire in box


I bought a GE Sunsmart (#15312) digital timer for my front porch lights. the timer has 5 wires (it can be configured for 3-way switches), white, black, blue, red, and green.
My old rocker switch has 2 black wires and there doesn't appear to be a neutral (white) wire in the box. There is a second switch in the box to control a wall outlet. That one has a RED wire connected to one side.
I am assuming that the porch light switch (the one I want to control with the timer) simply connects or breaks the black wires to complete the circuit.
when I connect the white and black wires from the timer to the two black wires in the box (that were originally connected to the old switch), the timer lights up. When I press the on/off button, the switch clicks and displays "on", but the porch lights remain off.
To my dismay the instructions say "some boxes do not have a neutral wire" and then I'm told to get an electrician.
I tried a few different configurations, but don't want to damage the timer. Is there a configuration for this timer that will work with no neutral wires? OR, could the RED wire in the box connected to the switch for the wall outlet be neutral?
I hope that this is clear enough. any help is appreciated. thanks,
MIACLOCKMAN

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Old 09-18-2011, 11:03 AM   #2
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Connecting timer with no neutral wire in box


It ain't gonna work without a neutral. The red wire is not a neutral.

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Old 09-18-2011, 11:42 AM   #3
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Connecting timer with no neutral wire in box


Is your house wired with conduit?
With 2 black wires on the switch, it may be.
If it is, you can run a neutral from the switch location to the light.
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Old 09-19-2011, 03:59 AM   #4
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Connecting timer with no neutral wire in box


UnfortUnately there is no conduit. It wasn't code when the house was built. What could the red wire in the box be? It and the black wires are the only ones in the box.
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Old 09-19-2011, 05:48 AM   #5
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Connecting timer with no neutral wire in box


one is incoming power --the other is out going power to the switch--(a switch leg)
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Old 09-19-2011, 09:25 AM   #6
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Connecting timer with no neutral wire in box


I stand corrected. I pulled out all of the switches.
However I stand corrected - in the box are white and 2 sets of black wires. One set of black are bundled together and the other black wire is jumped from the other switch for the wall outlet. Your timer instructions call for a "blue" wire. Well the wiring in this house has NOTHING standard as far as colors are concerned. Lennar corporation probably cut corners this way. It took me forever to figure out the colors of the thermostat when I bought a new digital one because they used all different colors. If you want me to get a shot of the box and show it to you, I would be happy to do that. I attempteAd to connect the white wire of the timer to the white wire in the box. Then I tried one of the black wires to the black wire on the timer. The timer illuminated, but when I tried to turn ON the lights, the timer shows ON, but the lights are not. I tried the other black wire in the box, but the timer wouldn't light up at all. If I connected the timer to BOTH black lines, it turns on, but the lights stay ON regardless of whether the switch is on or off. I assume that one of these BLACK wires in the box should be BLUE. Is there a way to tell?
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Old 09-19-2011, 09:44 AM   #7
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Connecting timer with no neutral wire in box


You will not find a blue conductor in a cable in a residential setting. The blue is probably used to signify function. The lack of a blue does not mean that the builder cut corners.

Following the instructions available here:

http://www.jascoproducts.com/support...tart-guide.asp

The power connects to the black, the blue connects to the wire that is controlled by the old switch and the white splices to the whites in the box. The timer also gets grounded with the rest of the bare or green wires.
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Old 09-19-2011, 05:35 PM   #8
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Connecting timer with no neutral wire in box


Thanks so much, Jim! Your instructions were perfect and the timer is in and working.
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Old 10-08-2011, 07:32 PM   #9
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Connecting timer with no neutral wire in box


Any ideas as to why this timer might appear to be correctly installed and correctly turns the lights on and off (in other words when the LCD says On the lights are on and vice versa) but the lights simply do not automatically switch at dawn and dusk.

I have installed three of these on three different circuits and all three behave exactly the same way. They are set to auto and I have walked through the setup for dawn and dusk several times but they simply won't switch at those moments.

Getting a little ticked at having to walk around and manually turn on my house lights every night. Advice is welcome. Thanks in advance.
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Old 10-08-2011, 09:18 PM   #10
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Connecting timer with no neutral wire in box


Ignore me. I figured out my bonehead mistake.

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Originally Posted by atalla View Post
Any ideas as to why this timer might appear to be correctly installed and correctly turns the lights on and off (in other words when the LCD says On the lights are on and vice versa) but the lights simply do not automatically switch at dawn and dusk.

I have installed three of these on three different circuits and all three behave exactly the same way. They are set to auto and I have walked through the setup for dawn and dusk several times but they simply won't switch at those moments.

Getting a little ticked at having to walk around and manually turn on my house lights every night. Advice is welcome. Thanks in advance.
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Old 10-23-2011, 09:25 AM   #11
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Connecting timer with no neutral wire in box


Quote:
Originally Posted by atalla View Post
Ignore me. I figured out my bonehead mistake.
I'm still in bonehead mode. Installed timer. Programmed p1 to turn off on lights every day of week. Doesn't automatically do anything.

What was your mistake?
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Old 10-23-2011, 09:30 AM   #12
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Connecting timer with no neutral wire in box


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Originally Posted by atalla View Post
Ignore me. I figured out my bonehead mistake.
What was it? I have your same issue. Manually the switch works, but auto does not. I've programmed p1 and pressed auto. Doesnt work.
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Old 10-24-2011, 08:47 AM   #13
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Connecting timer with no neutral wire in box


I am guessing you have no common in the box, which is needed to run the timer.
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Old 10-24-2011, 09:50 AM   #14
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Connecting timer with no neutral wire in box


Comhertz, in order for the timer to work, you need to follow the manufacturer instructions. A switch leg is used to save on wire. You have to have a neutral in the box, in order for it to work. Under the new code for switch legs, that means pulling 14/3, otherwise, you have to have power into the switch box, and 14/2 exiting for the timer to work under existing and current code.
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Old 10-24-2011, 09:58 AM   #15
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Connecting timer with no neutral wire in box


Quote:
Originally Posted by miaclockman View Post
I stand corrected. I pulled out all of the switches.
However I stand corrected - in the box are white and 2 sets of black wires. One set of black are bundled together and the other black wire is jumped from the other switch for the wall outlet. Your timer instructions call for a "blue" wire. Well the wiring in this house has NOTHING standard as far as colors are concerned. Lennar corporation probably cut corners this way. It took me forever to figure out the colors of the thermostat when I bought a new digital one because they used all different colors. If you want me to get a shot of the box and show it to you, I would be happy to do that. I attempteAd to connect the white wire of the timer to the white wire in the box. Then I tried one of the black wires to the black wire on the timer. The timer illuminated, but when I tried to turn ON the lights, the timer shows ON, but the lights are not. I tried the other black wire in the box, but the timer wouldn't light up at all. If I connected the timer to BOTH black lines, it turns on, but the lights stay ON regardless of whether the switch is on or off. I assume that one of these BLACK wires in the box should be BLUE. Is there a way to tell?
The manufacturer knows more about what they are doing, than you know about the product that the OP is using. The blue wire is proper, and following the directions of it, it will work.

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