I'm trying to replace an old Intermatic E1120 timer. My new timer has clearly marked terminals for Line, Load, Traveler, Neutral, and Ground.

However, none of the terminals on my old timer are marked. I'm trying to guess which wire is what based on its color, but I'm confused because the black wire (which I assume is the Line) is actually going to two different terminals on the timer (via a jumper)!

Can it be that the same wire is connected to both Line and Load? If so, do I need to (should I) emulate that in the new switch?

EDIT: I forgot to mention in my original post that this is on a special circuit. This timer turns on a bathroom fan, but the fan also has a regular switch that can turn it on. The fan turns on if EITHER the regular switch or timer is in the ON position.

EDIT 2: It appears this is not a normal three-way setup, and I only needed to install it with two-way wiring. See answer below.

Old timer existing wiring

Many thanks in advance.

  • Could you tell us what make and model the new timer is? I'm surprised to hear that there's a terminal marked traveler (and that it's separate from load, so it isn't obviously a misuse of the word) and I'd like to look at the docs and see what the manufacturer thought that was going to be used for.
    – keshlam
    Dec 7, 2022 at 4:31
  • It's a Defiant 32648.
    – Brian Rak
    Dec 7, 2022 at 4:42
  • 1
    Much to my surprise, that Defiant 32648 is able to operate as a three-way switch. Found a manual at images.homedepot-static.com/catalog/pdfImages/10/… -- comparing that to the old timer might be helpful.
    – keshlam
    Dec 7, 2022 at 4:53
  • Thank you for the reply. I do have the documentation for the Defiant, but I'm confused because all the diagrams show a lot more wires than I actually have. The box only has three wires: black, white, and red (plus a bare copper wire that isn't hooked up to anything). So I'm not sure how to map that onto what I see in the diagram. I think I might have been incorrect calling it a three-way switch.
    – Brian Rak
    Dec 7, 2022 at 4:56
  • Also, my apologies, but I think I might have been incorrect in calling it a three-way switch. The switch in the bathroom turns the fan on or off, but if the fan is already on because the timer turned it on, the bathroom switch doesn't do anything. Basically, if EITHER switch is in the ON position, the fan is on.
    – Brian Rak
    Dec 7, 2022 at 4:57

1 Answer 1


Very simple. See this online manual site but it is pretty much what I expected:

  • Black = Incoming power/Hot/Line. The timer itself (the motor - new stuff may be all electronic, but still needs power) and the incoming power that will be switched on/off to the load. It appears as a jumper, but you just treat it as one wire coming in.
  • White = Neutral. This is to complete the circuit for the timer itself. You should have 3 neutral wires connected together - incoming from the breaker panel, to the timer, and to the load.
  • Red = Switched Hot/Load. It is not a traveler. Traveler is the term used, typically, with 3-way switches, as it travels between the switches. This is the output.

Theory of operation:

The timer is a box that takes power on black/hot and white/neutral. It runs a motor that turns a time circle. When the time circle hits set tabs, it switches power on/off, sending (or not sending) power from the black/hot to the red/switched hot wire. The timed device gets power from red/switched hot and white/neutral.

All whites always together. All grounds always together. But timer gets black in, red out and device gets red in.

  • Thank you for the answer! My apologies. I neglected to mention that this is connected to a bathroom fan which also has its own separate switch, so I am guessing this is a three-way setup. You mentioned I should have three neutral wires connected together. But the box only has one. There is literally only a white, black, and red wire coming from the box, and they were connected as shown in the photo. (There was also a bare copper wire not connected to anything.)
    – Brian Rak
    Dec 7, 2022 at 4:46
  • The Defiant 32648 has very clear diagrams for regular and 3-way setups. As far as I can tell, this Intermatic is really only set for a regular, not 3-way, setup. "Guessing" gets us all into trouble. When the Intermatic was working, was it a true 3-way setup - i.e., regular switch or timer could at any point turn the fan on/off? Or was it that the timer made the fan only work certain times of the day, but then dependent on the other switch? Can you take pictures of the wiring of the other switch? Dec 7, 2022 at 4:50
  • Perhaps it wasn't a true 3-way setup. The switch in the bathroom turns the fan on or off, but if the fan is already on because the timer turned it on, the bathroom switch doesn't do anything. Basically, if EITHER switch is in the ON position, the fan is on.
    – Brian Rak
    Dec 7, 2022 at 4:53
  • That's not a true 3-way, and actually it makes more sense for this setup - run the fan certain times from the timer in case nobody runs it enough on their own. I would install the new timer using the plain (not 3-way) instructions - black = line, red = load, white = neutral; and it should work exactly the same way as the old timer. Dec 7, 2022 at 5:04
  • 1
    It worked! Thank you very much!
    – Brian Rak
    Dec 7, 2022 at 5:36

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