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Old 07-16-2011, 11:10 AM   #1
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Old light switch, only two wires?


Trying to replace the old switches in my house to occupancy sensors. I assumed it would be a snap but when I opened up the switches I found that only two wires were feeding the switches so now I'm trying to figure out all the details of hot, neutral, ground and load wires. Some of the switches only have the two wires in the box and I don't see a neutral wire so there's nothing I can do there.

This is what the other switches look like,



I'm trying to match up these boxes to this diagram, http://www.indepthinfo.com/wire-swit...ch-light.shtml

So the wires connected to the switch are black and the two bundles of wires in the back are white. It all matches the diagram except for the black wire on the bottom, that wire is also bundled to the set of two white wires on the bottom. Why?

Like the diagram, can I assume that the three white wires bundled and capped off are the ground wires? When I open the box back up I will confirm that they're connected to the box.

There's also a very short copper-ended wire in the back. What is that all about?

Is there any way I can do this on my own or do I need an electrician?

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Old 07-16-2011, 11:29 AM   #2
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Old light switch, only two wires?


An occupancy sensor that needs a neutral (as well as the feed hot and hot to the light) cannot be used where there are only two power wires (not counting a bare or green ground wire) entering the switch box. White wires may not be mixed with or connected to bare or green ground wires.

Seven wires altogether (three black and four white) does not make sense. Did you miss something? Can you show pictures with more detail?

How are the wires grouped at the back of the box. Not the same as the bundlings using the red wire nuts.

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Old 07-16-2011, 12:11 PM   #3
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Old light switch, only two wires?


Quote:
Originally Posted by AustinTexas View Post
Trying to replace the old switches in my house to occupancy sensors. I assumed it would be a snap but when I opened up the switches I found that only two wires were feeding the switches so now I'm trying to figure out all the details of hot, neutral, ground and load wires. Some of the switches only have the two wires in the box and I don't see a neutral wire so there's nothing I can do there.

This is what the other switches look like,



I'm trying to match up these boxes to this diagram, http://www.indepthinfo.com/wire-swit...ch-light.shtml

So the wires connected to the switch are black and the two bundles of wires in the back are white. It all matches the diagram except for the black wire on the bottom, that wire is also bundled to the set of two white wires on the bottom. Why?

Like the diagram, can I assume that the three white wires bundled and capped off are the ground wires? When I open the box back up I will confirm that they're connected to the box.

There's also a very short copper-ended wire in the back. What is that all about?

Is there any way I can do this on my own or do I need an electrician?
Quote:
can I assume that the three white wires bundled and capped off are the ground wires?
They may be neutrals not grounds.
I see a copper crimp cap which would be the grounds bundled together.
White wires tied to a black wire and switch could indicate a switch leg.
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Old 07-16-2011, 12:13 PM   #4
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Old light switch, only two wires?


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Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
An occupancy sensor that needs a neutral (as well as the feed hot and hot to the light) cannot be used where there are only two power wires (not counting a bare or green ground wire) entering the switch box. White wires may not be mixed with or connected to bare or green ground wires.

Seven wires altogether (three black and four white) does not make sense. Did you miss something? Can you show pictures with more detail?

How are the wires grouped at the back of the box. Not the same as the bundlings using the red wire nuts.
There is the really short bronze wire in the back, what could that be?

I will take more photos tomorrow morning.
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Old 07-23-2011, 07:41 PM   #5
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Old light switch, only two wires?


I opened it up again and discovered that this is not going to work out. This is what's coming from the top of the box,



and this is the bottom of the box,



Darn!
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Old 07-23-2011, 08:38 PM   #6
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Old light switch, only two wires?


Wow Dude! Call the Man!

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