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Old 04-17-2008, 08:55 PM   #1
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Loop Hole?


I have a few (3) way switches that have three posts: traveler, hot, neutral - but not grounding post. There is an area labeled "Loop Hole" on the front, with a hole in the back. How do I ground these switches? The switches are "Cooper" brand (Lowe's), and the box is plastic.

Thanks!

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Old 04-17-2008, 09:19 PM   #2
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Loop Hole?


Switches will not have neutral connections. You never switch a neutral wire. There should be a green screw on the switch for the ground and will be part of the metal yoke. way switches have four connection points. 2 for traverlers. One common connection which is the dark colored screw for the incoming power hot or for the switched hot. And a green screw for the equipment ground.

I have a feeling you are thinking the common screw is for a neutral. Neutrals never connect to switches.

The loop hole is there most likely to assist in making the loop in the wire to connect to the screws.


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Old 04-17-2008, 09:35 PM   #3
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Switches will not have neutral connections. You never switch a neutral wire. There should be a green screw on the switch for the ground and will be part of the metal yoke. way switches have four connection points. 2 for traverlers. One common connection which is the dark colored screw for the incoming power hot or for the switched hot. And a green screw for the equipment ground.

I have a feeling you are thinking the common screw is for a neutral. Neutrals never connect to switches.

The loop hole is there most likely to assist in making the loop in the wire to connect to the screws.
Stubbie,

I feel dumb....I do have the neutral's tied off (duh). Thanks for the graphic, however this particular switch doesn't have a ground (green) screw. I've attached two images (one for each side of the switch) to show the missing grounding post. Thanks.
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Loop Hole?-img090.jpg   Loop Hole?-img091.jpg  
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Old 04-17-2008, 09:47 PM   #4
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Loop Hole?


Ok Scott

Is there an equipment grounding conductor (bare) with the other wires in the plastic box?
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Old 04-17-2008, 09:51 PM   #5
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Loop Hole?


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Ok Scott

Is there an equipment grounding conductor (bare) with the other wires in the plastic box?
Not exactly sure what you mean. Are you asking if there is a bare wire in the box? Yes, the grounds are currently twisted together, but not attached to the three way switches. The grounds come from the 14/2 feeds into the box, but there is not any bare wire other than that from the Romex feeds.

There are 3 of this type of (3) way switches in the box (none with a grounding screw)
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Old 04-17-2008, 09:59 PM   #6
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Loop Hole?


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Ok Scott

Is there an equipment grounding conductor (bare) with the other wires in the plastic box?
Stubbie,

Here is another pic. Do you see that metal flange (the bottom screw is pointing towards it), could that be the grounding post? It's not a screw, but I guess the ground copper could be wrapped around that?
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Old 04-17-2008, 10:06 PM   #7
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Loop Hole?


Ok if there is a ground wire in the box and twisted together then you cannot use these switches. That flange is not the grounding point. These switches appear to be the non-grounding type used only for replacement for like switches when a equipment ground wire is not part of your wiring in the box. You have the equipment ground from your description.

Did you purchase these new?

If so you need to go back to Lowes and get 3-ways with the ground screw.
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Old 04-17-2008, 10:12 PM   #8
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Ok if there is a ground wire in the box and twisted together then you cannot use these switches. That flange is not the grounding point. These switches appear to be the non-grounding type used only for replacement for like switches when a equipment ground wire is not part of your wiring in the box. You have the equipment ground from your description.

Did you purchase these new?

If so you need to go back to Lowes and get 3-ways with the ground screw.
Yes, I did purchase these new. The "equipment ground wire" is throwing me off a little. I ran the romex to this box. Being that it's a plastic box there isn't any other ground wire than what enters the box with the romex for the three ways (14/3) and the power feed coming in (14/2).

So, if I understand you correctly, if the grounding wire is included in the romex, then I need to use a switch that includes a grounding screw? Twisting the grounds together and then capping them off is not suffiecient with the current switch?
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Old 04-17-2008, 10:20 PM   #9
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No Scott it is not. And yes you understand correctly the bare copper with the romex is the equipment ground I'm talking about. It must be connected to the metal yoke of the switch. Your switches do not have this capability.

I should ask though did you run your circuits from the breaker box? Or did you tap another existing circuit? If you tapped another circuit did it have the ground with its romex so you could connect to it. What I'm saying is you need to have that ground all the way back to the breaker box. If your house is wired with romex, that has the bare equipment ground then those switches cannot be used.
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Old 04-17-2008, 10:26 PM   #10
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Loop Hole?


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No Scott it is not. And yes you understand correctly the bare copper with the romex is the equipment ground I'm talking about. It must be connected to the metal yoke of the switch. Your switches do not have this capability.

I should ask though did you run your circuits from the breaker box? Or did you tap another existing circuit? If you tapped another circuit did it have the ground with its romex so you could connect to it. What I'm saying is you need to have that ground all the way back to the breaker box. If your house is wired with romex, that has the bare equipment ground then those switches cannot be used.
Yes, the circuit is ran to the main panel, and the ground (bare) is terminated on the ground bar in the panel.

One last question: What is the correct protocol for attaching these ground cables to the ground screw on the switches (when I get the correct switches, that is). I have (3) 14/3 feeds, and (1) 14/2 feed coming into the box. So, with that being said there are (4) bare equip. ground wires. Do I connect these four together and then pigtail off with one going to each switch? Or do I have to keep a one-to-one ratio in regards to the 14/3 (red cable) and the respective ground....in other words, the red cable goes to the switch, then the ground from that romex goes to that same switch?

Thanks so much Stubbie!
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Old 04-17-2008, 10:29 PM   #11
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Loop Hole?


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Do I connect these four together and then pigtail off with one going to each switch?
Yep that is exactly what you do.
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Old 04-17-2008, 10:31 PM   #12
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Loop Hole?


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Yep that is exactly what you do.
You are awesome!!! Thank You so much for helping me out, I really appreciate it.
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Old 04-17-2008, 10:37 PM   #13
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Loop Hole?


Scott if this connecting 6 ground wires causes you some problems get yourself some push connectors by ideal or other maker up at lowes and use them instead. 6 wires in a wire nut can be difficult for the diyer but if you can get it done with a solid connection thats great.

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Old 04-17-2008, 10:42 PM   #14
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Loop Hole?


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Scott if this connecting 6 ground wires causes you some problems get yourself some push connectors by ideal or other maker up at lowes and use them instead. 6 wires in a wire nut can be difficult for the diyer but if you can get it done with a solid connection thats great. Ah, I see there are 8 port push-in's available!


That's a great idea! I used these in the Halo lights, and you're correct in stating that it's easier than a larger wire nut. However, I believe there will be more than (6) bare equipment grounds. 3 (14/3) + 1 (14/2) + 3 (switches) = 7. So, does Ideal make a push-in connector for more than 6 wires? Ah, I see there are 8 port push-in's available!

Last edited by scottmatt; 04-17-2008 at 10:47 PM. Reason: Answer
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Old 04-17-2008, 10:50 PM   #15
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Loop Hole?


Yes but if they don't carry that one just jumper two together. Just buy a couple that will give you 7 holes plus 2 for a jumper... 9 holes total. You can jumper two wirenuts together also if you wish.

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