# Smart switch wiring with no neutral

Long time reader, first time poster. Working on updates for our new house and I bought a few lutron caseta switches the other day to wire up in our front entryway. I went with the PD-6ans which requires a neutral wire. I pulled the plate off and looked around and saw a neutral bunch so I thought I was good to go.

Well, like any project I get myself into, things didn't go as planned. The two switches on the left come from one circuit with the neutral bundle, the switch on the right is on a different circuit and there's no neutral.

Can I use the neutral bundle from the other circuit in the box or is that a big no-no? If not, is there any other way to get around it?

I'm thinking I may just need to buy a different switch that doesn't require a neutral (Lutron Caseta PD-5WS).

Here are a few pictures of the three gang box. It's a three way switch on the far right and left, single pole in the middle. For what it's worth, at the other location (in the garage) for the three way on the right there does appear to be a neutral bundle.

Also, there's a ground wire that doesn't go anywhere from that far right switch. Should I pigtail it into the ground wire bundle in the box that is in the other circuit?

• Can you post a photo of the inside of the switch box in the garage? May 31, 2018 at 22:41
• Also, do you mind installing the wireless switch in the garage, or does it need to be in the house? May 31, 2018 at 23:03
• no no no, you cannot steal neutrals from random circuits. Jun 1, 2018 at 1:25

The problem is, you're trying to solve this problem as a box i.e. you want to do all your improvement in this box. But you have 3-way switches. You need to solve each 3-way switch group as a group.

Indeed, the right 3-way is totally separate from the others, and should not be cross-connected. If your box allowed separators you could even put a separator in there.

## Rightmost 3-way

On the rightmost 3-way, this is location is the "remote" and both power and lamp cables come into the other end. That is where the smart-switch should go. Lutron Caseta all operates wireless, and their remote switches don't even use wires, so if you put the remote here you simply won't use the 3-way cable at all.

If you want to use a mechanical switch, then you'll need to follow their guidance for wiring one, which is fairly illogical actually. What it's trying to say is you connect a remote switch between the Caseta's black wire and its blue wire. If the switch is thrown, Caseta treats that as an on/off switch command.

So in this case, the Caseta at the far end would send always-hot on the black wire to this location. That goes to the black screw on the 3-way. From a brass screw goes the red wire, back to the Caseta's blue wire. White is unused. The other brass screw is unused.

## The rest of it

The left half of the box is complicated. The top cable goes to a lamp, its wires are switched-hot (black) and neutral (white).

The top left cable has 2 3-way travelers (white and red) and always-hot (black) heading off to a remote 3-way switch.

The bottom left cable is kind of interesting. It goes to the lamp controlled by that 3-way (that's the red wire), and it is also the source of power for the box (black=always-hot, white=neutral).

Anyway, here, you would install the Lutron Caseta master, adding its always-hot to all the wires in the black bundle, and adding its neutral to the neutral bundle. The "Load" would go to the red wire from the lower left cable.

As it happens, the remote 3-way is already set up in an advantageous way, with red and white going to travelers and black going to common and that's already wired to always-hot. So leave the black where it is. Tap red for the Caseta's blue wire. The white traveler is capped off.

• Thank you!!! This helps exponentially. I think I will install the actual switch in the garage on the other end of that three way and put a remote at this location. Seems like the cheaper option since a remote is about half the price of the switch itself. Thanks again!! Jun 1, 2018 at 11:56

Be aware that the following images show very sloppy workmanship and also use of back stab connections which in and of themselves are crap. As you work on various parts of your electrical system if you spot things like this you should correct it. Use side screws instead of back stabs and screw in the unused screws.

I know you are replacing some switches with Caseta products and so these are already equipped with pigtails so any replaced switch will be OK but existing ones should be considered for rewiring or replacement if they look at all like the below images.

BTW. I replaced every switch in my house with Caseta and every outlet with Lutron's outlets. No more back stabs exist.

• I believe everything is back stabbed in the home. I replaced a few outlets in the living room already that were. I used the screw connections for those. I'm hoping to eventually upgrade everything to Caseta myself. For the three way switches, did you swap out both switches or did you swap out the one switch and then use the remote at the other location? The remote seems cheaper since it's about half the price, but I wasn't sure if there are benefits just to doing all switches. Jun 1, 2018 at 12:28
• @MattEvansKC - The Caseta system does not support multiple smart switches in 3-way and 4-way installations. Instead you install the single smart switch at the most convenient 3-way end point and follow Lutron's advice to deal with the travelers and load wires. Best case is to put the smart switch at the location where power enters. All the other previous locations of the 3-way/4-way switches get a Pico remote using the wall mount kit. My primary reason for going with Caseta was due to the fact that they have the smart switch that can work without a neutral. (continued) Jun 1, 2018 at 12:42
• (continued from above) I did use some of the non-dimmer two button smart switches that require a neutral to control lighting circuits that had a magnetic ballast and venting fans. The only switched circuits in the house which are not smart now are the garbage disposal and one in the living room that switches half of a couple of outlets. Those are using Lutron paddle switches now. Note I purchased some of the product as the starter kits from Lutron that include a smart switch, a remote and a cover plate. It is the lowest cost way to get those three items instead of (continued) Jun 1, 2018 at 12:48
• (continued from above) purchasing them separately. The wall mount kits and Pico remotes are also a very convenient way to add additional lighting control points instead of having to run additional wiring. I've also deployed several of their desktop pedestals that you can attach one or two remotes to give light control right by a chair or on a desk without having to holler at Alexa. Jun 1, 2018 at 12:53