I am trying to wire a smart switch to this outlet.

The switch I have removed is for the outside light. I’m confused because it looks like there’s a white wire being used for switching instead of neutral and there’s no ground. On the other switch, that controls the hallway light, appears to have another white wire as a switched wire, but there’s also a copper ground wire that appears to be tied to it. I don’t really understand what’s going on here, but it seems like this box is not wired for a smart switch.

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2 Answers 2


You are correct.

The box is not ready for smart switch with neutral.

From the photos there is no neutral visible.

They used two cable of 14/2 instead of 14/3

Then they repurposed the white wires to switchable hot and correctly marked those with black tape to indicate switchable hot. So you have permanent hot (black) coming into the switch and black tape marked white wire going back to the light.

The ground wires are loosely twisted together, missing the wire nut.

Your options are none, if you need neutral, unless you run new cable.


Try this programable timer switch timer switch

I have one in my kitchen to turn on accent light in the evening. Works great. No neutral needed.

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