Digitial Timer In 3 Gang Box With (2) 3way Switches And 1 Single Pole..confused. - Electrical - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum


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Old 11-04-2013, 06:29 PM   #1
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Digitial Timer in 3 Gang box with (2) 3way switches and 1 single pole..confused.


I have a 3 gang box in the garage and I need to install a timer for the outside garage lights. The switch that controls the garage lights is a 3 way with the secondary switch located just on the other side of the garage.

The 3 way switch that I want to replace with the timer, has a red wire, black wire, white wire and the ground copper wire attached to it. Prior to turning the power off, the only wire that was hot was the red wire. The black and white wires were neutral while connected to the switch.

I checked the other 3 way switch just in case and it too has white, red, black, and copper ground. With the power on, the red and black were both hot/live and the white and copper were neutral.

The digital timer that I purchased is a defiant digital timer (both single pole and 3 way functionality) from H. Depot. It has a black wire, red, green, blue and white wire attached to it. It also came with a black junction wire as well.

The directions contain 2 sets of instructions for the 3 way. One is for timer on line side and switch on load side and vice versa.

Question 1:
Is the 3 switch gang box is the "load side" with the secondary 3 way switch for the outside garage lights being the "line side"??

Question 2:
Is the red wire the "common" wire?

Inside the 3 gang box were 4 white wires together with a wire nut, 4 black wires with a wire nut and a red and black wire together with a wire nut.

I noticed that every switch had a red wire but only 2 switches had a black wire going to it.

Question 3:
Is the black wire that I am working with the "traveler". This wire was only hot on the secondary 3 way switch and not on the switch that I wanted to replace with the timer.

Question 4, 5, 6:
Is the white wire Neutral? If so, then would I need to wire the white wire to the white wire on the timer and then wire nut to the rest of the white wires in the gang box? Or, would the white wire go to the red timer wire, the black wire to the black wire and the red wire from the box to the blue wire on the timer? Then the green to the copper and now all the wires are matched up.

Sorry for all the questions but it's very confusion. I've attached some pictures so I hope this helps better understand what I am looking at. Thanks!!!
Attached Thumbnails
Digitial Timer in 3 Gang box with (2) 3way switches and 1 single pole..confused.-wires-gang-box.jpg   Digitial Timer in 3 Gang box with (2) 3way switches and 1 single pole..confused.-2nd-image-3way-switch-gang-box.jpg   Digitial Timer in 3 Gang box with (2) 3way switches and 1 single pole..confused.-center-wires-timer.jpg  

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Old 11-04-2013, 09:40 PM   #2
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Digitial Timer in 3 Gang box with (2) 3way switches and 1 single pole..confused.


I have never heard of a three way referred to as LINE or LOAD. It appears the switch is the one with power at it.
The timer needs to be a three way timer.
The red wire was the common and the black and white were the travellers. Not all whites are neutrals.

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Old 11-05-2013, 06:47 AM   #3
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Digitial Timer in 3 Gang box with (2) 3way switches and 1 single pole..confused.


Your red is not common, from looking at it your black looks common and both are dead end three ways
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Old 11-05-2013, 08:36 AM   #4
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Digitial Timer in 3 Gang box with (2) 3way switches and 1 single pole..confused.


Quote:
Originally Posted by joed View Post
I have never heard of a three way referred to as LINE or LOAD. It appears the switch is the one with power at it.
The timer needs to be a three way timer.
The red wire was the common and the black and white were the travellers. Not all whites are neutrals.
I have and i often refer to it as such. One switches common screw takes the line, the other switches common takes the load.

OP,
In your first picture there is a 2 conductor cable coming into your 3 gang box and the black is connected to your switch. Does that black have constant power even when the lights are off?

In your second pic, is that the other switch? or a different angle of the same box in pic 1?

Last edited by tfo411; 11-05-2013 at 08:41 AM.
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Old 11-05-2013, 08:49 AM   #5
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Digitial Timer in 3 Gang box with (2) 3way switches and 1 single pole..confused.


No. The black wire doesn't have any power when the switch is off.

The second picture is the same just different angle.

The red wire is live when power is off.
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Old 11-05-2013, 09:28 AM   #6
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Digitial Timer in 3 Gang box with (2) 3way switches and 1 single pole..confused.


Ok, so if the black wire from the 2 conductor cable is connected to the black screw on your switch then switch pictured is your "load" side switch.

The black wire on the switch goes to your lights.
The red and white wires on your switch are the travellers.
The white wires bundled under the wire nut are your neutrals.
The blacks bundled are power.
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Old 11-05-2013, 10:04 AM   #7
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Digitial Timer in 3 Gang box with (2) 3way switches and 1 single pole..confused.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tfo411 View Post
Ok, so if the black wire from the 2 conductor cable is connected to the black screw on your switch then switch pictured is your "load" side switch.

The black wire on the switch goes to your lights.
The red and white wires on your switch are the travellers.
The white wires bundled under the wire nut are your neutrals.
The blacks bundled are power.
When talking about 2 conductor cable are you referring to the grouping of wires as they come out of the box? If so, red and white come from the 3rd group and the black wire comes from the fourth group (from left to right when looking at the picture. )
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Old 11-05-2013, 10:11 AM   #8
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Digitial Timer in 3 Gang box with (2) 3way switches and 1 single pole..confused.


Yes if the black wire from the 4th cable over (left to right) goes to your switch and it does not have power when the light is off, then it is your load side.
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Old 11-05-2013, 10:17 AM   #9
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Digitial Timer in 3 Gang box with (2) 3way switches and 1 single pole..confused.


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Yes if the black wire from the 4th cable over (left to right) goes to your switch and it does not have power when the light is off, then it is your load side.
OK so for directions on timer load side says to connect common to blue timer wire. My common would be black. Then white travel wire to black on timer and other red traveler to red on timer. White from timer gets connected to group of white in box and green on timer to copper.

Correct?
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Old 11-05-2013, 10:38 AM   #10
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Digitial Timer in 3 Gang box with (2) 3way switches and 1 single pole..confused.


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OK so for directions on timer load side says to connect common to blue timer wire. My common would be black. Then white travel wire to black on timer and other red traveler to red on timer. White from timer gets connected to group of white in box and green on timer to copper.

Correct?
It's hard to say for sure without seeing the schematic for the switch.
Do you have a schematic of some sort with the instructions?
I would guess that if the timer requires a neutral that it also requires constant power.
If no schematic, what is the make/model so i can try and look it up.
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Old 11-05-2013, 12:57 PM   #11
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Digitial Timer in 3 Gang box with (2) 3way switches and 1 single pole..confused.


Unless your timer switch is a three way you are not going to get it working properly.
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Old 11-05-2013, 01:16 PM   #12
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Digitial Timer in 3 Gang box with (2) 3way switches and 1 single pole..confused.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tfo411 View Post
It's hard to say for sure without seeing the schematic for the switch.
Do you have a schematic of some sort with the instructions?
I would guess that if the timer requires a neutral that it also requires constant power.
If no schematic, what is the make/model so i can try and look it up.
It's a defiant timer from home depot. I believe same as ge sun source. I'll see if I can get the schematic.
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Old 11-05-2013, 01:17 PM   #13
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Digitial Timer in 3 Gang box with (2) 3way switches and 1 single pole..confused.


Quote:
Originally Posted by joed View Post
Unless your timer switch is a three way you are not going to get it working properly.
Its a 3 way
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Old 11-05-2013, 01:33 PM   #14
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Digitial Timer in 3 Gang box with (2) 3way switches and 1 single pole..confused.


I *think* i found the switch you have on home depots site.
The wiring is quite different from how a normal 3 way works, but it also looks like in section 3 of the manual, there are instructions for using this timer with an existing 3 way setup. There is mention of a "jumper" wire on the switch which you havent previously mentioned.

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Defiant-2...9#.Unk4ifnrzHs

This is the timer i was looking at.
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Old 11-05-2013, 01:38 PM   #15
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Digitial Timer in 3 Gang box with (2) 3way switches and 1 single pole..confused.


Quote:
Originally Posted by tfo411 View Post
I *think* i found the switch you have on home depots site.
The wiring is quite different from how a normal 3 way works, but it also looks like in section 3 of the manual, there are instructions for using this timer with an existing 3 way setup. There is mention of a "jumper" wire on the switch which you havent previously mentioned.

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Defiant-2...9#.Unk4ifnrzHs

This is the timer i was looking at.
Yes that is the one. I didnt mention the jumper wire b/c that goes on the other switch which was pretty self explanatory to me. It was just the timer switch which was confusing.

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