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Old 01-28-2010, 11:27 AM   #16
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Wire a 4-way light circuit with 14/2


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Originally Posted by secutanudu View Post
If you EVER want to put a timer, motion sensor, pilot light, etc in this box, they require a neutral.
Good point, but how many of these types of devices are designed for a 4-way circuit? I know they have them for 3-ways... I have a timer installed on a three way in the house. And you are correct, if no neutrals had been included in the run between the two 3-ways, the timer would not have worked as designed.

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Originally Posted by secutanudu View Post
Or, what if you decide you want an outlet nearby, now you have a neutral to tap into.
How can you wire an outlet in the middle of a 4-way switch run? For unswitched power, wouldn't you need to tie into the circuit at the 1st 3-way switch in a typical 3-way/4-way circuit? And if you wanted switched power, you would just tie in anywhere along the run of lights.

The way I would ASSUME this circuit would be wired is to run 14/2 from the breaker to the 1st 3-way (there's your hot and neutral for an outlet). You don't lose the neutral until you get to the 2nd switch on the switch leg. You would then run 14/2 from the 1st switch to the 1st light, where you have three options on what to do with the black wire:
1. Leave it unconnected or connected to ground as useless copper.
2. Use conduit and don't bother pulling the black wire.
3. Tie it to the switched hot on the 1st light. That way you have both constant and switched power for options back at the 1st 3-way. (Of course that opens a new can of worms for unterminated hot wires).

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Old 01-28-2010, 11:44 AM   #17
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Wire a 4-way light circuit with 14/2


I was thinking more in generic terms - not necessarily for a 4-way setup. You never know what you might change later. It's a heck of a lot easier to just run them all together now than change later.

I love doing electrical work, but I hate running wires. I'd rather waste a bit of money on wire and an extra few wire nuts per peoject rather than having to run an extra wire through an existing wall, even once
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Old 01-28-2010, 11:45 AM   #18
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Wire a 4-way light circuit with 14/2


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Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
OK, 300.3(B)(3) says it is allowed if the provisions of 300.20(B) are met.
The first line in 300.20(B) is:

"300.20(B) Individual Conductors. Where a single conductor carrying alternating current passes through metal with magnetic properties,............."

The first few words immediately disallow muli-conductor NM cable.
300.20(B) doesn't say "ONLY single conductors" it says "Where a single conductor..." which means that if a single conductor passes thru a magnetic material, then it must comply with the rest of the section. If it's not a single conductor cable, the rest of the requirement is not imposed. Just because the word "single conductor" is in the requirement does NOT mean that only single conductors are allowed.

If the English isn't enough to convince you, you could also try the intent of 300.20(B) which is clearly to prevent "induced currents" as it says in the section title. Induced currents have nothing to do with the number of conductors in the cable. Just the total current flowing thru any single opening in the metal. This code section is 300.20(B) is there to prevent each single phase from entering a steel enclosure thru its own hole.

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Old 01-28-2010, 11:59 AM   #19
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Wire a 4-way light circuit with 14/2


Which is more professional (not logical) and more understandable to someone or even you on down the road if you want to add to this circuit? There would be some serious head scratching if I opened this circuit up and then tried to figure out WTF you did.... I probably would walk if you hired me and I found something like that... The biggest problem with running wires as you have has to due with impedance issues caused by losing the canceling effect of the differing magnetic fields when current is following. Likely isn't a problem but that's why they prefer keeping circuit conductors ran together in one sheath with cables so it doesn't happen. I really don't know the physics of it.

Which drawing below is more likely to be understood and easily extended if modification is wanted someday by someone other than you. If you have mulitple screwy wiring schemes everytime you add something to your house your going to have a nightmare to deal with in later years. You sound like someone who thinks he can come up with something "different" that will be neato and better than long understood wiring methods. I've walked into many houses where homeowners thought I was going to be impressed with their "unorothodox wiring" only to find out I was looking at them with that "deer in a headlight" expression of "huh". I realize this is just a discussion but you worry me some as to what else you may have going on that your not telling us....

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Old 01-28-2010, 12:24 PM   #20
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Wire a 4-way light circuit with 14/2


I have seen a diagram somewhere but don't know of any code noncompliance: Two 14-2's instead of one 14-3 going between the switches in a 3 way setup, one cable carries the neutral and optionally the unswitched hot and the other cable carries the two travelers.

(OT) As far as using two x-2's instead of one x-3 to bring both legs of the 240 volt service to the subpanel, each of the x-2's would be a separate branch circuit and its neutral may not be combined with another circuit's neutral such as at the neutral bus bar of the subpanel.
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Old 01-28-2010, 12:24 PM   #21
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Wire a 4-way light circuit with 14/2


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...you worry me some as to what else you may have going on that your not telling us....
Keep in mind this was I idea I came up with, asked about it in a few forums, when someone finally explained why it wouldn't meet code, the idea of actually doing it was dropped... I've already stated I'll be running 14/3.

And lets keep in mind that everything I eventually do based in these questions is going to get done under a permit and get inspected. I would hope that that simple fact would give me some credability when I consider the number of people I've known to finish their basements without a permit/inspection.

However, I do like where this conversation has gone in the discussion of single conductors. I hadn't though much about the inductance a single conductor might cause and therefore I now understand WHY NEC doesn't like the neutral and hot to be seperated (i.e. when seperated, they lose their cancelling effect). This is also why a switch loop is allowed, because even though both conductors are hot, the current is flowing in opposite directions, so you still get the cancelling effect in a switch loop.
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Old 01-28-2010, 03:15 PM   #22
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Wire a 4-way light circuit with 14/2


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E=HooKooDooKu;390493]



So... isn't that basically the case in a switch loop... you have a hot going to a switch and a hot coming back from the switch, with no neutral anywhere near the switch? The only difference from the point of view of the switches is that I have a line of them rather than a single one.
No. You are then carrying the neutral independent of the circuit and once your circuit leaves the switches, it is now sans the neutral. Their allowance of the switch loop being to be without the neutral is intended to allow a hot wire and the switch leg back from the switch carried together with that being the only time the circuit does not have the neutral with the hot leg and switch loop. You do not have that in this situation.

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Of course the criitical difference is that when you're finished with a switch loop, your hot returns back to where it diverged from the neutral. In this case, the hot never returns to where it left the neutral.
exactly



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I've been told in other forums where a similar question was asked that 2 runs of 14/2 woudn't be allowed. I've been left with the impression that code requires all the conductors of a circuit to either be in the same sheath or same raceway (excluding switch loops).
If they found something, I believe it was their interpretation. I would have to have somebody quote me something they believe supports that to be able to argue against it as I am not aware of anything that is that specific.

do you have access to the NEC? If so, refer to 300.3(B)(3) which then refers to 300.20(B)

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Wouldn't that be like trying to fix my single pole sub-panel powered by 10-2 by running a second 10-2 for the other leg?
what other leg. You just said you have a single pole sub-panel. There is only 1 hot leg.


Quote:
I have again been left with the impression that code would not allow a sub-panel to be fed by two sheaths of NM cable (one leg in one sheath and the other leg in the 2nd sheat).
Iwould have to look as that is a feeder and I have not checked if there is a limitation there. If there isn't, why would it not be allowed (refer to the code references above) as long as the 2 cables passed through any metallic box in a common opening?
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Old 01-28-2010, 03:31 PM   #23
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Wire a 4-way light circuit with 14/2


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what other leg. You just said you have a single pole sub-panel. There is only 1 hot leg.
Oh, it's a double pole sub-panel. I just wired it up with a single pole feeding both poles. The purpose of the panel was to allow me to wire a workshop area of the basement with a "power" circuit and a "light" (and "lite") circuit. But I only wanted to use up one spot of the few remaining in my breaker box.

Hey, wait a minute... could I rewire the panel feeding only one pole and us a pair of mini-breakers, leaving the other leg unenergized? Or did I ask that in the other question http://www.diychatroom.com/f18/unorthodox-sub-panel-62937-new-post/ and the idea got shot down because I could always go back and reentergize the dead feed with a jumper from the existing live feed... I'm not sure anymore. I'm just about at the point where I know I want more circuits than the breaker box will allow, so I think I will soon be asking some details on properly installing a sub-panel that will allow me several more breaker spot... something like a 100 Amp sub-panel. I basically know how to wire it up (use 3 conductor wire to connect two poles of a 100 Amp double breaker of the current panel to the two legs of the sub-panel, keep ground and neutral seperate in the sub-panel, no additional grounding rod needed because the sub-panel will be in the same room as the main panel). But where I've seen conflicting information is the wire size to feed the subpanel. (Another question for another day).

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