I have a circuit controlled by a pair of 3-way switches wired like this: enter image description here

where there is 12/3 from the panel to the first switch box with the white not connected. I'd like to replace the switch in JBox 2 with a remote-controllable single-pole switch that requires neutral. I have no use for the switch in JBox 1.

Would there be any code problems with removing S1 and connecting the two 12/3 cables together (black:black, white:white, red:red) in JBox 1, installing the switch in JBox 2 (red controlling the load), and connecting white to the neutral bus in the panel?

  • @keshlam that sounds like an answer. – bib Nov 8 '14 at 18:26
  • @bib ... OK, I'll switch it over. Pun not intended. – keshlam Nov 8 '14 at 18:28
  • What is a "12/3 cable"? Best I found: 12-3 cable is four wire cable, all 12 gauge. One conductor is black, one is white, one is red. and one is bare (no insulation). Except for a switch loop, the black and red are used for hot wires and the white is used for the neutral. The bare wire is always a ground. – whitneyland Aug 1 '17 at 17:36

I can't vouch for code, but that's certainly something I would expect would meet code -- you're just using the first switchbox as an unswitched junction box (which should be legitimate), and Red is being used correctly as second/switched hot.

Then of course your smart switch in the other box connects between black and red, with white used as the neutral for its electronics and otherwise not going anywhere.

Assuming you make the connections properly, and unless I'm missing something....

Quick point: Remember that junction boxes must be accessible for service, so you can't plaster over that repurposed switchbox. You can cover it with a blank plate painted/papered to match the wall, hang art over it, put freestanding furniture in front of it, or a combination of these... but an electrician has to be able to find it and open it up without having to break into the wall.

(Thanks for making me think this through, by the way. I have several two-way circuits, and I too have plans for home automation eventually. Unfortunately I think I have to wait until most of these non-dimmable CFLs burn out and I can replace them with dimmable LEDs.)

  • Thanks, it seemed straightforward to me, but figured I'd check. This is the first time I've run into a circuit where the switch was cut into the circuit inside the panel. Btw, no plans to bury the unused box, it's just in an awkward location. – TomG Nov 9 '14 at 1:56

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.