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Old 02-06-2012, 05:22 PM   #1
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GE SunSmart Timer 15312 Install Issue


I am trying to install a GE SunSmart Timer. I see there were a ton of posts, but I want to figure out one issue before I go on. I have 3 black wires in my box, a white (neutral) and bare copper (ground). I tested the three black wires with a multimeter to determine one was line and the other two were loads. I wired up the timer as instructed, black to Line (hot), blue to Load (2 other black wires), white to white and green to copper (ground). Red wire from timer is not being used.

When I turn the switch on, the light goes on, when I turn it off, it turns off the light along with all other lights in the circuit. This switch is closest to the panel, so now it is acting like a series switch.

Any ideas?

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Old 02-06-2012, 05:44 PM   #2
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GE SunSmart Timer 15312 Install Issue


I read another article asking about 3 black wires and it stated that the box was used as a junction box and a switch. So I tried combining one of the load black wires with the line black wire, this did not work, and then I switch it around with the other load black wire and that did not work either.

I don't think I need to involve the red wire on the timer, as that is used for 3-way switch.

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Old 02-06-2012, 06:04 PM   #3
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GE SunSmart Timer 15312 Install Issue


What are you trying to control with this to timer? Why would both blacks service the item you ate switching with timer? Could one be hot to the rest of the circuit and one be the switch leg of the item you are switching with the timer? When you said "did not work" in the second post, define what was the actual result.
What was the wiring configuration in this box prior to trying to connect the timer? Basically it's just a switch so if you have a hot and the correct switch leg wire that should be it I believe...
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Old 02-06-2012, 06:53 PM   #4
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GE SunSmart Timer 15312 Install Issue


I am trying to control an outside lamp with the timer, so it will go on at dusk, and go off at dawn.

Not sure what you mean by hot and switch leg.

Test Scenarios: (white went to white and green went to bare copper in all tests)

1) black hot wire and black #1 load wire with black timer, black #2 load wire with blue wire = on/off switch turns all lights in circuit on/off, outside lamp stays on.
2) black hot wire and black #2 load wire with black timer, black #1 load wire with blue wire = nothing turned on.
2) black hot wire with black timer, black #1 & 2 load wire with blue wire = on/off switch turns all lights on circuit and outside lamp on/off.

The wiring configuration before was to a single switch. Two back wires were connected to posts, and a third black wire was "stabbed in". I read on other posts that this means one of the black "load" wires is supposed to be "hot" in the circuit, not really a load. I only call the other two black wire loads because they did not show voltage during my multimeter test.

Thanks
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Old 02-06-2012, 07:03 PM   #5
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GE SunSmart Timer 15312 Install Issue


Quote:
Originally Posted by stringzz
I am trying to control an outside lamp with the timer, so it will go on at dusk, and go off at dawn.

Not sure what you mean by hot and switch leg.

Test Scenarios: (white went to white and green went to bare copper in all tests)

1) black hot wire and black #1 load wire with black timer, black #2 load wire with blue wire = on/off switch turns all lights in circuit on/off, outside lamp stays on.
2) black hot wire and black #2 load wire with black timer, black #1 load wire with blue wire = nothing turned on.
2) black hot wire with black timer, black #1 & 2 load wire with blue wire = on/off switch turns all lights on circuit and outside lamp on/off.

The wiring configuration before was to a single switch. Two back wires were connected to posts, and a third black wire was "stabbed in". I read on other posts that this means one of the black "load" wires is supposed to be "hot" in the circuit, not really a load. I only call the other two black wire loads because they did not show voltage during my multimeter test.

Thanks
Ok. The black wire that was stabbed in and the black wire on the corresponding screw (the one closest to the one that was stabbed in, were either of those hot? If so those get spliced together with the line side of the timer. The other black should be the switch leg. That would go on the load side.
In my estimation,
One of those blacks is hot
One of those blacks is spliced through to the rest of the circuit
One of those blacks is the switch leg, the wire that brings power to the light(s) when the switch is turned on.
Of course as always, hire a professional electrician to safely and legally perform electrical modifications to your electrical system....
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Old 02-06-2012, 07:58 PM   #6
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GE SunSmart Timer 15312 Install Issue


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikenra View Post
Ok. The black wire that was stabbed in and the black wire on the corresponding screw (the one closest to the one that was stabbed in, were either of those hot? If so those get spliced together with the line side of the timer. The other black should be the switch leg. That would go on the load side.
In my estimation,
One of those blacks is hot
One of those blacks is spliced through to the rest of the circuit
One of those blacks is the switch leg, the wire that brings power to the light(s) when the switch is turned on.
Of course as always, hire a professional electrician to safely and legally perform electrical modifications to your electrical system....
I agree with you that one of the "load" black wires should be spliced with the hot, however, when I try to splice one or the other black load wires with the black hot wire, it doesn't seem to work, not sure if the timer is busted. It seems to work and turn on, however, it's not working correctly as it acts as a series switch.

I know an electrician is the way to go, but I don't want to pay the money on top of that. I only lease the house, don't want to sink more money into it. This shouldn't be such an issue.
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Old 02-06-2012, 08:01 PM   #7
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GE SunSmart Timer 15312 Install Issue


Quote:
Originally Posted by stringzz

I agree with you, however, when I try to splice one or the other black wires with the black hot wire, it doesn't seem to work, not sure if the timer is busted. It seems to work and turn on, however, it's not working correctly as it acts as a series switch.

I know an electrician is the way to go, but I don't want to pay the money on top of that. I only lease the house, don't want to sink more money into it.
You mention series switch. In your estimation what is a series switch? The timer can only open and close the circuit. Everything else is dependent on your understanding on how to wire it.
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Old 02-06-2012, 09:01 PM   #8
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GE SunSmart Timer 15312 Install Issue


Quote:
Originally Posted by stringzz View Post
Test Scenarios: (white went to white and green went to bare copper in all tests)

1) black hot wire and black #1 load wire with black timer, black #2 load wire with blue wire = on/off switch turns all lights in circuit on/off, outside lamp stays on.
2) black hot wire and black #2 load wire with black timer, black #1 load wire with blue wire = nothing turned on.
3) black hot wire with black timer, black #1 & 2 load wire with blue wire = on/off switch turns all lights on circuit and outside lamp on/off.
I'd suggest retesting scenario #2. Looking at your tests, #3 confirms that your hot was correct. #1 shows that wire 1 controls the outside lamp.

Another way to confirm this would be to run the following tests:
1) Wirenut the hot and #1 together. Wirenut #2 by itself (as a precaution). When you turn the breaker on you should see just the outside lamp come on.
2) Wirenut the hot and #2 together. Wirenut #1 by itself. When you turn the breaker on you should see everything else come on.
3) Wirenut the hot by itself. Wirenut #1 & #2 together. When you turn on the breaker, nothing should come on.

If this works out as expected then you know that #1 goes to the lamp, and #2 goes to the rest of the circuit. If something else happens, post the results and we can try and figure out what's up with your circuit.
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Old 02-06-2012, 09:02 PM   #9
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GE SunSmart Timer 15312 Install Issue


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikenra View Post
You mention series switch. In your estimation what is a series switch? The timer can only open and close the circuit. Everything else is dependent on your understanding on how to wire it.
When I meant series, the new timer switch was turning on all the lights (previously all on) or turning them all off when I hit off button.

I actually tried scenario #2 again and it worked. I must have had a loose connection.

Thanks for the help!
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Old 02-06-2012, 09:15 PM   #10
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GE SunSmart Timer 15312 Install Issue


Quote:
Originally Posted by stringzz

When I meant series, the new timer switch was turning on all the lights (previously all on) or turning them all off when I hit off button.

I actually tried scenario #2 again and it worked. I must have had a loose connection.

Thanks for the help!
That's awesome!
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Old 02-06-2012, 09:17 PM   #11
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GE SunSmart Timer 15312 Install Issue


Quote:
Originally Posted by a_lost_shadow View Post
I'd suggest retesting scenario #2. Looking at your tests, #3 confirms that your hot was correct. #1 shows that wire 1 controls the outside lamp.

Another way to confirm this would be to run the following tests:
1) Wirenut the hot and #1 together. Wirenut #2 by itself (as a precaution). When you turn the breaker on you should see just the outside lamp come on.
2) Wirenut the hot and #2 together. Wirenut #1 by itself. When you turn the breaker on you should see everything else come on.
3) Wirenut the hot by itself. Wirenut #1 & #2 together. When you turn on the breaker, nothing should come on.

If this works out as expected then you know that #1 goes to the lamp, and #2 goes to the rest of the circuit. If something else happens, post the results and we can try and figure out what's up with your circuit.
Thanks Lost Shadow for the in-depth analysis. I finally figured it out but your methodology is a good lesson in figuring out what is what.

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