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  • #16
    I agree, get an electrician, now. And I would not wait. What I see here could be very dangerous!

    Without a voltmeter to check to see if everything is wired corretly leading up to this box, I can only go by appearance and what is the normal standard. But it looks like the two wires coming out on the left are the wires that lead either to the service panel, or to the light, with the black wire hot and the white wire as neutral. On the right, you would have the black and red wires as the travelers, and the white as neutral. The dangerous part is that you tie together the hot coming from the panel (or light) with a neutral. That would be a big no-no, and could set up situations that could end up badly.

    Added: Sorry, I actually meant the neutral from the panel is connected to the possible hot traveler.

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    • #17
      Make sure you have the wiring drawing ready when he comes. This is slightly different then a standard 3 way,

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      • #18
        Colin’s term “Connecticut 3-Way” is colloquial to that area, but it was an acceptable method ‘70’s when I worked as an electrician in the south. It saved a few feet of romex. The method of wiring is not inherently unsafe, but it s no longer to code. The absence of grounding actually presents a greater hazard (albeit vanishingly slight). That being said, if you want to retrofit automation a neutral is required. You could put an aeotec microswitch in the light fixture, where there is a neutral, leaving standard 3-way switches in place, or provide a neutral at one of the two switch locations. As others have stated, a skilled electrician is called for to make the recommendations for rewiring.

        This would not resolve the ground issue, but if there is not one in this three way circuit, it seems unlikely they would have grounded other lighting circuits. While grounding is now code, all it does is to make sure the switch frame is grounded, protecting against the slight chance there could be leakage between the line or load and the frame. In my life I have never witnessed such leakage. A careless electrician could create the “leakage” with poor lead dressing.
        Randy Prade
        Aurora, CO
        Prades.net

        PHLocation - Pushover - EasyTrigger - UltraECM3 - Ultra1Wire3 - Arduino

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        • #19
          Originally posted by aa6vh View Post
          I agree, get an electrician, now. And I would not wait. What I see here could be very dangerous!

          Without a voltmeter to check to see if everything is wired corretly leading up to this box, I can only go by appearance and what is the normal standard. But it looks like the two wires coming out on the left are the wires that lead either to the service panel, or to the light, with the black wire hot and the white wire as neutral. On the right, you would have the black and red wires as the travelers, and the white as neutral. The dangerous part is that you tie together the hot coming from the panel (or light) with a neutral. That would be a big no-no, and could set up situations that could end up badly.

          Added: Sorry, I actually meant the neutral from the panel is connected to the possible hot traveler.
          It is not inherently dangerous. It is also not that uncommon. Actually the 2-conductor wire goes to the light fixture, with one being line and the other to the load. Connecting the two together completes the circuit for the light. The standard practice is for the black to go to the load and the white to the line. If this method is used, the white wire should be clearly labeled with black tape or some other clear identification that it is not a neutral. Frequently best practices are abandoned for the sake of expediency.
          Randy Prade
          Aurora, CO
          Prades.net

          PHLocation - Pushover - EasyTrigger - UltraECM3 - Ultra1Wire3 - Arduino

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          • #20
            Originally posted by rprade View Post
            Colin’s term “Connecticut 3-Way” is colloquial to that area, but it was an acceptable method ‘70’s when I worked as an electrician in the south.
            It was used all over North America, including up here (and no, we don't call it Connecticut 3-way here either ). I have a few in my house too, but with Leviton dimmers and remotes, I was able to make it work. Another option is to use an Aeotec Nano at the light and the switches can be used to signal it.
            HS 3.0.0.528: 1984 Devices 1111 Events
            Z-Wave 3.0.1.256: 114 Nodes on one Z-Net

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            • #21
              Connecticut in Virginia can’t wait to tell my fiends about that... yeah the house was built in the sixties. It’s not the end of the world I can get to the fixture from the hallway it had two wires in the box couldn’t see above it without going in the attic... should have checked the wiring before ordering.

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              • #22
                kideon - As a final FYI - If you do have power going first to the light, something something like this may be an easier solution for you: https://www.thesmartesthouse.com/col...art-dimmer-kit. or smilarly, this: https://www.thesmartesthouse.com/pro...o-dimmer-zw111. You mount the Z-Wave module in the light's gang box, power goes to the Z-Wave module then directly to the bulb socket. You then use the wires to your wall boxes to connect the "remote" tap switch.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by rprade View Post
                  It is not inherently dangerous. It is also not that uncommon. Actually the 2-conductor wire goes to the light fixture, with one being line and the other to the load. Connecting the two together completes the circuit for the light. The standard practice is for the black to go to the load and the white to the line. If this method is used, the white wire should be clearly labeled with black tape or some other clear identification that it is not a neutral. Frequently best practices are abandoned for the sake of expediency.
                  I agree that if wired correctly, it would be okay (which is why I used the weasel words "could be"). But without verification of the wiring we cannot see, it is possible that the wiring crossed a hot with a neutral, which I hope you would agree is bad (even though things could appear to work). Based only on the pictures seen, I would want that verification. That is the problem with giving electrical advice over the internet, and why a qualified electrician should be summoned to check things out on site.

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                  • #24
                    It's ironic that I just installed a 3-way in my hall this morning. They're probably the only original switches in my house that aren't switch loops. I think every other one has power going to the fixture.

                    If you have attic access it's really easy to wire these switches. You don't even need power at the companion.
                    Originally posted by rprade
                    There is no rhyme or reason to the anarchy a defective Z-Wave device can cause

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by S-F View Post
                      It's ironic that I just installed a 3-way in my hall this morning. They're probably the only original switches in my house that aren't switch loops. I think every other one has power going to the fixture.

                      If you have attic access it's really easy to wire these switches. You don't even need power at the companion.
                      What is there wasn’t a neutral? I’m fine with going into the attic if it’s worth the effort. The fixture isn’t that far from the acces but it’s just tough getting up there.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by kideon View Post

                        What is there wasn’t a neutral? I’m fine with going into the attic if it’s worth the effort. The fixture isn’t that far from the acces but it’s just tough getting up there.
                        The fixture has to have a neutral otherwise the light would not work.
                        HS 3.0.0.528: 1984 Devices 1111 Events
                        Z-Wave 3.0.1.256: 114 Nodes on one Z-Net

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                        • #27
                          Just realized it’s not a total waste I forgot I have been wanting to automate the light above the shower so at least the main switch will prove useful.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by kideon View Post

                            What is there wasn’t a neutral? I’m fine with going into the attic if it’s worth the effort. The fixture isn’t that far from the acces but it’s just tough getting up there.
                            If you can get up there what I would do is: Take power from the fixture (run new romex with a white, black and ground) and run it down to the main switch. Alternately you could just pull the supply line out of the box, install a new box somewhere in the vicinity and make you junction there thus freeing up space in the box that the fixture mounts to. That's probably what I'd do as I don't like having a rat's nest in my boxes. From there run a 4 conductor (12/3 or 14/3 depending on the amperage of the circuit) to first the fixture and then on to the slave switch. On the 4 conductor the black goes to the light. From there you can use regular 3 conductor to the slave switch. White to white and black to red. Between the fixture and the slave the black is the traveler.

                            I hear you about getting into the attic being a PITA. Usually it's not so bad for me but I'm in the middle of a bathroom remodel so my hall is filled with lumber and sheetrock making it impossible for me to get a ladder in there to get to the scuttle. I have to chimney climb up to the hatch. PITA.
                            Originally posted by rprade
                            There is no rhyme or reason to the anarchy a defective Z-Wave device can cause

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              There is a ground wire.

                              One other thing to point out. That metal box is quite small. It might not be possible to fit the additional wire and the HS dimmer in that box.



                              Click image for larger version  Name:	groundwire.png Views:	1 Size:	244.5 KB ID:	1277244

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