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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All- first post for help here.

In our house, we have front porch lights that are controlled by a digital timer switch in the front room. The electrical box houses wiring for two switches. One switch controls interior recessed lights and the other switch (the digital timer switch) controls the front porch lights.

We've noticed that occasionally the digital timer switch will go out. The display is blank, and we are unable to control the front porch lights. I thought it might be a wiring issue or maybe just a bad/old switch at this point, but when I pull the switch out of the box, I noticed what looks like an unusual wiring issue. The ground/green wire from the switch isn't connected to any other wire (it's the green wire from the right switch in the photo). It's exposed and wrapped around an opening on the box.

So, with that being said, I have a few questions:
-This is an unusual issue right?
-Should the green wire be connected to a ground wire?
-If there is no ground wire, what are my options to replace this switch?
-If I need to install a ground/neutral wire, am I able to do this myself?

Any additional help or comment is much appreciated. Thank you!
 

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The green wire should be connected to ground, along with the green wire from the other switch and any bare copper wires from your cables. There should also be a pigtail grounding the ground wires to the metal box.

Does your house wiring have grounds in general? I don't seem to see and ground wires in the older cables - just the one newer white romex. Are the older cables metalic BX?

All the instructions I can find for a HET01 timer show that it has a neutral connection, but yours doesn't seem to have a neutral. It's possible that the ground wire was serving to trickle some current to the switch to keep it working. Some switches are designed to work that way, though in general, it is not allowed.

The red load wire looks like it might not be making a good connection to the white(?) wire in the wire nut. I see a lot of bare copper there. That could be part of your problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the quick reply. The left switch is connected to a ground/copper wire and works just fine. Would it be a problem to connect both green wires to the same single ground/copper wire? Or does that pose a problem?

I might pull the wires on the switch apart and re-connect them in the wire nuts just in case there is some sort of misconnection.

And yes, you are correct. There is no neutral on the digital timer switch, although I understand this is unusual. From what I researched, most digital timer switches require neutrals.
 

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Thanks for the quick reply. The left switch is connected to a ground/copper wire and works just fine. Would it be a problem to connect both green wires to the same single ground/copper wire? Or does that pose a problem?

I might pull the wires on the switch apart and re-connect them in the wire nuts just in case there is some sort of misconnection.



And yes, you are correct. There is no neutral on the digital timer switch, although I understand this is unusual. From what I researched, most digital timer switches require neutrals.

Yes, go ahead and connect the ground wire to the other switch's ground and the bare copper wire. They should all be connected to the metal box with a pig tail. You can use a grounding clip, or screw the pigtail to one of the threaded grounding holes in the back of the junction box with a #10-32 grounding screw.
 
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