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I have a WeMo wall switch that says I should not install if I do not have a neutral wire. What would be the result if I connected to ground?

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  • Can you post photos of your situation? Feb 22, 2017 at 23:18

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There are two main problems:

  1. Since building codes doesn't allow such usage, any inspector who sees it is going to flag it and likely want to inspect a lot of other wiring.

  2. If used in a circuit which is GFCI/RCD protected, any significant current the device would feed through its ground-connected neutral would likely cause the protection device to trip.

I don't think there's any technical reason why it shouldn't be possible for a manufacturer to create a class of switches which would be approved for use in such fashion [ensuring that such switches would never pass more than a fraction of a milliamp through the neutral lead even at startup would require extra circuitry, but that would not be an insurmountable problem.] I would expect, however, that manufacturers have no motive to build devices which regulators would not recognize, and regulators have no motive to recognize devices that don't exist.

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  • There are devices (either Lutron or Cooper, IIRC) that have a chassis ground and a return "hybrid" lead that can be tied off to either ground or neutral depending on the application. Feb 23, 2017 at 0:10
  • @ThreePhaseEel: Interesting. I'm in the USA and had not heard of such devices though I've thought they could be helpful in many cases switches don't have neutrals run through them.
    – supercat
    Feb 23, 2017 at 0:44

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