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WS 200+ wiring question

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  • WS 200+ wiring question

    I am in a condo and just took off a switch plate to look at wires. I see Ground, 2 black hots and a white neutral which is not attached to switch but coo extend to multiple whites. I see no load but one black is twisted into two others and one is a single. There are four lights total but only one switch. I’m attempting to install a HS-WS200+. I’m curious about the load which I assume is either the three blacks connected or the single. I’d guess the single.

    Id also guess I need to piggy back off the neutral and connect that wire to the switch.



  • #2
    Pic attached
    Attached Files

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    • #3
      Don't guess! You need to explicitly determine what those wires are for. If you know how to use a voltmeter, then you could possibly determine that way. If you do not, then I would recommend consulting a licensed electrician.

      Do not assume that whomever wired this before followed normal conventions. And if you get it wrong, very bad things can happen.

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      • #4
        I can use a meter - moved from wi and forgot it up there so I’ll have to get one 😐

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        • #5
          The picture does not show that the switch has a ground wire attached - Bad!. There appears to be ground in the box but not attached. The best guess is the double wire is the line and the single is the load. I use the push-in wire connectors as they provide a little more room in the box as they don't have tabs. It is always good to check box volume to make sure you have enough room for any additional connectors. If you are unsure get professional help.

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          • #6
            One of those non-contact voltage testers may work too. You don't have to expose live wires to test. If you don't want to use a meter to test, it looks like they probably are piggybacking the next circuit off of this one. To confirm, disconnect the two black wires that are attached, capt them off and turn the power back on. If your downstream stuff doesn't work, then you found which side has your line wire.

            https://www.amazon.com/Voltage-Prote.../dp/B004FXJOQO

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            • #7
              I got it working - The grounds were all connected together in the back - The neutrals were the same way - I found the load by testing - I pigtailed off the neutral and also the ground so all are connected to the switch. Works fine - I agree the wiring is bad - It's an apartment recently remodeled- They are just slamming these out as fast as they can which in the case of electrical wiring is not a good thing - I have two dimmers working - One of them is in a box with four others and OMG is that a mess to deal with - I have another dimmer to get in it and possible a fan switch - I cut back the wires to make it cleaner - the pigtails are the biggest pain - one is okay but get into the multiple switch boxes and pigtail three or four ground and neutrals - it's killing me. Any ideas on how to make this easier I am all ears.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by harvito View Post
                I got it working - The grounds were all connected together in the back - The neutrals were the same way - I found the load by testing - I pigtailed off the neutral and also the ground so all are connected to the switch. Works fine - I agree the wiring is bad - It's an apartment recently remodeled- They are just slamming these out as fast as they can which in the case of electrical wiring is not a good thing - I have two dimmers working - One of them is in a box with four others and OMG is that a mess to deal with - I have another dimmer to get in it and possible a fan switch - I cut back the wires to make it cleaner - the pigtails are the biggest pain - one is okay but get into the multiple switch boxes and pigtail three or four ground and neutrals - it's killing me. Any ideas on how to make this easier I am all ears.
                I use stranded wire for the pigtails. It is much more flexible.

                Those are small boxes. This is new construction? So much for code I guess.

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                • #9
                  I look at stranded - Not new construction- probably later part of 90’s but just a guess. They are upgrading everything and I have one of the upgraded ones. It’s typical cheap - get it done - quality. Nice place though - I was temporarily living in a less than desirable part of Tempe - so moving to Scottsdale was an upgrade - in costs anyway 🙃 - quieter too -

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                  • #10
                    NEC (NFPA 70) requires wire length ~6" out of the box. Also if you use jasco/GE/homeseer you can often avoid connectors which count for 1 wire in the box. Pigtails don't count but they still take up volume - make them as short as practical.

                    Here is a link to the connectors so you can see what they look like. You can buy at the orange and blue big box stores.

                    https://www.wago.com/us/wire-splicin...oxes/p/773-104

                    On a 3 and 4 gang box you have to be clean and organized to get everything to fit. I have used all zwave switches in a 4 gang box and still have room which is why I use the flat push-in connectors. I would use a ground crimp to add leader on ground wire and the double line would plug directly into the switch eliminating a wire nut. With a 4 wire flat connector for the neutral you have maximized space in the box.

                    My work plan is always

                    0. Vacuum out all the crap left in the box from construction.
                    1. Attach the ground wires first and push all excess wire to the back of the box - usually low in the box
                    2. Attach the neutral wires next and push all excess to back of box - usually high in the box
                    3. Attach the load wires in next and push to back middle.
                    4. Attach line wires and fill in the spaces left.

                    Hope this helps.

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                    • #11
                      j I like the connectors - So, currently the grounds are crimped together and not attached to the switches . The neutrals are the same way. For the two switches I installed I pigtailed off the ground and neutral and attached them to the WS200+ - So, on the switch in the picture above - It was connected to 4 cans - which meant five wires total in the box - I pigtailed everything and connected to the single dimmer - easy - The 3 gang is another story (in my head) - If I add in three Zwave switches and leave on switch as is - I need to pigtail three separate wires from ground, Neutral, load and power which is a lot of extra - What am I missing

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                      • #12
                        The three gang will be dependent on the number of line circuits entering the box. Often there is only a single line to serve all three circuits. From this assumption, you will have two pigtails between the switches (just long enough to reach between the switches - you will use both holes at the connector) and line can be installed in either of the outside switches. If you have multiple line wires, it will require you to determine if there is 240 volts between the two lines or if the power is coming from the same pole. For neutral you only need one pigtail to the connector and then have two pigtails between the switches. Again just long enough to reach between the switches. There should be a single load for each switch so that will add no further bulk. On the ground wires, assuming the grounds are not currently attached to the switches, you will have to have three pigtails.

                        If some of the switches are three, four, or five way, the plan laid out above may not work. If you are at all uncomfortable or uncertain get a professional. Another thing to make sure of is that there is no insulation under the crimping part of the connector. Having this can cause a connection to loosen over time and short out.

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