I am a newbie to tackling electrical projects and need some help. Thanks in advance!

I am trying to install a Defiant digital timer for my garage flood light. The garage light switch is just inside my front door. It is a controlled by the leftmost switch in a 3-gang switch.

Is my proposed plan for wiring the timer okay? Here it is:

  1. Tie the ground from the new timer into the red wire nut that holds the existing set of bare copper wires.
  2. Tie the white neutral from the timer into the red wire nut that holds the existing set of white neutral wires.
  3. Tie the blue load wire from the new timer into the red wire nut that goes to the garage light.
  4. Tie the black line wire from the new timer into the red wire nut that goes to the circuit breaker.
  5. Tie the existing black load wire for switch 2 into the red wire nut that holds the existing goes to the circuit breaker. Formerly, it was connected to switch 1.

Please note that I could not do line hops with my diagram tool. All wires are connected end-to-end at lines, switches, wire-nuts or to the load.

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  • Can you give us a photo of the inside of the box with the switches in it please? Jan 3, 2016 at 22:22
  • Added a picture of the inside of the box, thanks! Its hard to see but the switch closest to the bottom is the left switch. The middle is pointing up to the left. The right switch is on the right. Jan 3, 2016 at 22:40
  • What is this "load" entity in your diagrams? Jan 3, 2016 at 22:46
  • I thought the terminology for the wiring that comes into the bottom of the box was "load". I am still learning. It is the Romex coming into the bottom of the box. Jan 3, 2016 at 22:55
  • Yeah, you are better off using layman's terms to describe those things rather than use trade terms incorrectly. Your new diagram does the job quite nicely! It looks right and seems to reflect good intuition of how this works. Your concern over wirenut load is also correct - google the specs on the wirenuts. What concerns me is the previously done work in the area of Romex 5, I'd follow that and figure out why they need two hots (perhaps something was once switched). Jan 4, 2016 at 0:36

1 Answer 1


Alright, a note on your diagrams -- line and load are purely electrical designations that have no relevance to the mechanical placement of cables in the box. That said, your box is wired as follows:

  • "Line 3" is likely the actual circuit coming into the box
  • "Load" is carrying unswitched power out on both wires (black and red) for some odd reason
  • "Line 1" goes off to the garage flood light
  • "Line 2" goes off to the porch light
  • "Line 4" goes off to the foyer light

Given this, we can determine that your existing plan for installing the timer is incorrect -- the timer's blue load wire needs to go to the black wire coming out of Line 1, while the timer's black line wire needs to go to the junction that feeds all the switches.

  • I updated the before and after diagrams. Does this now reflect what you described? Jan 3, 2016 at 23:50
  • Upvoted and accepted! Thanks @ThreePhaseEel! Jan 4, 2016 at 0:02
  • @MerovingianJohnson -- still not upvoted (?) Jan 4, 2016 at 0:06
  • it will show when I meet some reputation expectation from StackExchange. Jan 4, 2016 at 0:08

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