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Old 11-14-2011, 06:28 PM   #1
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Timer switch has 4 wires. Only 3 wires on switch by itself. Now what.


Trying to install a timer with 4 wires on a wire with only 3 wires. It is a single outlet that wires into the line voltage outdoor lighting.

I pulled out the box and there is no other wires or anything hiding behind it.

How do I wire this?
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Timer switch has 4 wires.  Only 3 wires on switch by itself.  Now what.-photo-1-6.jpg   Timer switch has 4 wires.  Only 3 wires on switch by itself.  Now what.-photo-2-6.jpg  

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Old 11-14-2011, 06:55 PM   #2
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Timer switch has 4 wires. Only 3 wires on switch by itself. Now what.


you need a neutral.


you cannot install that switch without replacing the wire in the switch box with 14/3 (black red white bare)

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Old 11-14-2011, 06:58 PM   #3
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Timer switch has 4 wires. Only 3 wires on switch by itself. Now what.


or 12/3. The NM coming out of the wall looks like it might be 12ga.
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Old 11-14-2011, 07:12 PM   #4
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Timer switch has 4 wires. Only 3 wires on switch by itself. Now what.


So I don't have a neutral here? What's the white wire on the romex?

Can I just buy a switch with 3 wires?
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Old 11-14-2011, 07:21 PM   #5
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Timer switch has 4 wires. Only 3 wires on switch by itself. Now what.


No, there isn’t a neutral there, it’s a switch leg. If it was done correctly, the white should bring power into the box, and the black return it to the load. You can check if your local store has a timer that doesn’t require a neutral, but it’ll probably just be a manual ‘ticker’ type.
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Old 11-14-2011, 07:47 PM   #6
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Timer switch has 4 wires. Only 3 wires on switch by itself. Now what.


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No, there isnít a neutral there, itís a switch leg. If it was done correctly, the white should bring power into the box, and the black return it to the load. You can check if your local store has a timer that doesnít require a neutral, but itíll probably just be a manual Ďtickerí type.
What are my realistic options here?

I thought this would be a simple wam bam thank you ma'am install. Especially after I just replaced all the line level outdoor lighting fixtures and boxes which basically took me all day.

How do I run 14/3?
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Old 11-14-2011, 07:57 PM   #7
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Timer switch has 4 wires. Only 3 wires on switch by itself. Now what.


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What are my realistic options here?

I thought this would be a simple wam bam thank you ma'am install. Especially after I just replaced all the line level outdoor lighting fixtures and boxes which basically took me all day.

How do I run 14/3?
Or do I just make this a receptacle outlet and plug in a stinking round timer to it? Yuck.
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Old 11-14-2011, 08:05 PM   #8
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Timer switch has 4 wires. Only 3 wires on switch by itself. Now what.


Check how the current cable is run and where. It might be pretty easy to replace. From the pictureÖI see a metal cut-in box and no cable clamp on it. That tells me itís been fished in, which means it should be easy to use it as a Ďpull stringí and pull a 3 wire cable in. Attach/tape the new cable onto the old cable and use it to pull the new one in. Use 14/3 if itís a 15A circuit, 12/3 if itís a 20A.

If you did convert it to a receptacle, then you wouldn't have a way to switch the lights.
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Old 11-14-2011, 08:39 PM   #9
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Timer switch has 4 wires. Only 3 wires on switch by itself. Now what.


removed..

Last edited by noone; 11-14-2011 at 08:59 PM.
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Old 11-14-2011, 08:47 PM   #10
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Timer switch has 4 wires. Only 3 wires on switch by itself. Now what.


Ok, did some recon.

Here's what I got.

It appears that their are two 14/2 wires running from the breaker box to this junction box. Then attached to this is a run to the outdoor lights outside and a run to the switch.

What can I do here? Not sure what to replace here, as I'm hoping you don't mean I have to replace romex all the way back to the breaker box. There are red wires in the switch next door and those wires are accessible up in the attic.

I guess it's on a 5amp breaker?? It's the off switch in the pic.
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Timer switch has 4 wires.  Only 3 wires on switch by itself.  Now what.-photo-2.jpg   Timer switch has 4 wires.  Only 3 wires on switch by itself.  Now what.-photo-3.jpg   Timer switch has 4 wires.  Only 3 wires on switch by itself.  Now what.-photo.jpg  
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Last edited by noone; 11-14-2011 at 08:51 PM.
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Old 11-15-2011, 05:07 AM   #11
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Timer switch has 4 wires. Only 3 wires on switch by itself. Now what.


you need to replace the wire from the switch box to that junction box
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Old 11-15-2011, 06:07 AM   #12
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Timer switch has 4 wires. Only 3 wires on switch by itself. Now what.


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you need to replace the wire from the switch box to that junction box.......
...with a 12/3, since that is #12 wire on a 20A breaker.
Make the black the feed down to the switch, the red the switched wire, and the white the neutral.

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