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I am replacing my existing end-line light switch with Leviton Acenti ACS15 switch. The switchbox has only 3 wires in it: 2 black and ground. But the new switch requires a neutral wire. What are my options?

Thanks.
 

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What are the colors on your switch? As far as I know switches do not have a neutral.

Just looked it up they do have a neutral. Sorry.
 

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Some dimmer switches, timers, etc DO require a neutral.

Your ONLY option is to re-wire the switch loop with a "3-wire" cable so you can have a neutral in that box.
You CANNOT run an individual wire, or a neutral from a different circuit.
 

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I don't think I can do it myself. Do you know what would be the approximate price range for this kind of work if I hire an electrician?
While I don't recommend it, I have seen the ground used to serve as the neutral for a switch like that. Completely non-code compliant, but it 'works.' I have also seen people ground a three prong receptacle through the neutral to get it to pass a plug tester inspection. We started requiring no face plates and 'receptacles must be left out of the box for inspection' after somebody got caught doing that. :eek:
 

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Don't use the ground as the neutral, please don't mention about it.

Using the ground as the neutral HAS killed people before. Don't do it.


You said two blacks, this is uncommon, unless your house is wired with conduit or some method that allows you to pull individual conductors.

Do you have access from above? Where do these switch wires go?

Can you provide a picture?
 

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Using the ground as the neutral HAS killed people before. Don't do it.
I agree completely, and don't recommend it at all. I think it should be mentioned under the 'never do this' category of advice. NEVER use the ground wire for anything other than an Equipment Ground. The service ground (AKA neutral) must be completely separate from the EG.
 

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I agree completely, and don't recommend it at all. I think it should be mentioned under the 'never do this' category of advice.
Then WHY say: "While I don't recommend it, I have seen the ground used to serve as the neutral for a switch like that. Completely non-code compliant, but it 'works.'" ????

NO, it does NOT work. It creates a situation that is potentially VERY dangerous and needs not be mentioned.
 

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I ran into a switch like that recently, it was for a dimmable 12 volt halogen system, the switch required a separate neutral. I had to rerun the circuit to provide the neutral, and it of course needed a separate equipment ground.
 

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Then WHY say: "While I don't recommend it, I have seen the ground used to serve as the neutral for a switch like that. Completely non-code compliant, but it 'works.'" ????

NO, it does NOT work. It creates a situation that is potentially VERY dangerous and needs not be mentioned.
Well, point taken. I wasn't very emphatic in my statement, I grant you. Perhaps I'm jaded, as I work in the regulatory field and see people do stuff like this a lot. It would get flagged on a field inspection and the inspector could have the utility company cut your power off until you fixed it, wired it correctly.

We had a case here about 7 years ago where somebody used the ground as the common in a three way switch. It 'worked' in the sense that the switch performed as intended. Unfortunately, there was a short somewhere else (garage door opener) and since the ground had been bypassed/removed, an open short was created that resulted in a fatality.
 

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We had a case here about 7 years ago where somebody used the ground as the common in a three way switch. It 'worked' in the sense that the switch performed as intended. Unfortunately, there was a short somewhere else (garage door opener) and since the ground had been bypassed/removed, an open short was created that resulted in a fatality.
This was a well documented case that got a lot of media attention. LOTS of finger pointing. The ones ultimately responsible got jail time as well if I remember correctly.
All I remember with any certainty is that a child lost his/her life.
 

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Could you use another switch? This switch is a non-dimming and there is no timer or sensor so you should be able to find a switch that does not require a neutral unless the led is important enough to warrant pulling a new wire.
 

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If the switch has two black wires on it then you either have conduit and could pull a new neutral or there are white wires in the back of the box that you didn't find.
 

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Unfortunately, there was a short somewhere else (garage door opener) and since the ground had been bypassed/removed, an open short was created that resulted in a fatality
Probab;ly an open neutral rather than a short.

The real danger here is if you get an open neutral, the current will follow the ground path and energize anything plugged in or gooked up to a ground wire. In the garage door/wet kid case the current likely flowed thru the ground pin on the GDO, thru the metal components, thru the kid and into the wet cement driveway.

Don't use ground for a neutral.
 

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Probab;ly an open neutral rather than a short.

The real danger here is if you get an open neutral, the current will follow the ground path and energize anything plugged in or gooked up to a ground wire. In the garage door/wet kid case the current likely flowed thru the ground pin on the GDO, thru the metal components, thru the kid and into the wet cement driveway.

Don't use ground for a neutral.
i think you're right about the open neutral, actually. It was some years ago and as I recall the child was wet and touched the garage door. I remember it was because the ground was used in a three-way switch, but it was probably an open neutral. In any event, this was a 'no permit' pulled job done by an unqualified person.
 

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Anyone who even suggests using a ground for neutral should be banned from posting in the eletrical forum.
I would completely agree! I just found a nightmare in my new house, trying to figure out how everything is wired. Some idiot took a 12/3 piece of wire to feed a downstairs hallway light (ok overkill but not the issue). The light is connected with the red and the white wires while the black wire is stripped, but not connected to anything, and the ground at the light clipped off (also a 100 watt bulb in a socket rated for 60 watts). In the switch box, I find a SWITCH LOOP feeding the other fixtures in the basement and the neutral wire from the light connected to the ground wires!!! Oh and the black wire is just taped up in the box (the one not connected at the light) and the red wire is actually wrapped around the screw on the switch (where the switch loop wires are backstabbed).

NEVER use the ground as a neutral as this previous owner has done! Eventually I will post up a thread with pictures of all the wiring issues I have come across, its been a nightmare opening the boxes to see what I will find next!
 

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its been a nightmare opening the boxes to see what I will find next!
Be careful! I was tracing a door bell wire in my basement and found some old BX cable coiled up on the top of the HVAC duct work. I started to grab it for a closer look, then thought better of it. Abut 8 inches of wire was out of the metal cable so I checked with a pen tester. Beep! Beep! Beep! Yep it was hot alright! No telling how long it had been up there, just cut off and coiled up on top of my duct work.

Here a couple of pictures. One where it is dangling down the way I found it, and another of it after I capped and taped the hot and neutral.
 

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after I capped and taped the hot and neutral.

Still not enough, put it in a box or find the source and disconnect it there.

If it was dead, you would need to find both ends and mark it "abandoned in place" and at least nut the wires in case someone would wire into it anyways.
 
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