19

It sounds like you have light bulbs or fixtures directly controlled by Alexa/Google Home. A better solution, though sometimes a bit more work to install, is a smart switch. With a smart switch, the actual switch is replaced with a device that functions as both a physical switch and as a WiFi/remote/voice-activated/etc. device. There is actually a bigger ...


18

The naked wire is the ground (sometimes colored green) and is not the same as the neutral. Your particular installation requires a neutral so that the switch can be powered without sending power to the load. If there is no neutral in your electrical box it means that the power source (line) does not come into that box and instead you are just switching the ...


10

Someone ran out of white wire It appears the previous installers ran out of white wire to use for running neutrals, so they grabbed the spool of green wire off the back of the truck to keep the job going. As a result, you'll need to treat the green wires in your switch boxes as neutrals for the purposes of installing your smart switch. This is workable ...


9

"Never" is a bit strong. This is not a plain "screw terminal" where that would be true. This is a "screw and clamp" and appears to be designed to correctly hold 2 wires, so you are good. That extra bit of brass between the screw-head and the back plate is what makes the difference, along with the two grooves to hold wires in ...


6

The nut of the problem is the ground wire joining the neutrals in drawing 1. This is a bootlegged attempt to fix a fundamental problem of bringing 5 wires: 2 travelers, always-hot, neutral and ground in a /3+ground cable. Everything in drawing 1 is bootlegging neutral from ground. This is bad and needs to be fixed Right Now. Not least, nothing in that ...


6

The remote you use to turn the light on and off is not compatible with LED bulbs. One reason people love LED bulbs is because they use so little power. Unfortunately, some devices in the past used the fact that a regular light bulb can pass some current without glowing. Certain types of switches use a little bit of "parasitic" voltage running through the ...


6

As you know, "green = ground" and "white = neutral". As you probably also know, ground and neutral should only be connected in one place (main panel) and not in individual switches or other devices. So that means one of two things: Broken Neutral This is the classic situation. A neutral breaks. Instead of running a new neutral wire or a new cable, someone ...


5

It's simply a splice. They are using the screw and the backstab to accomplish what they could do with a pigtail. In particular, they are grabbing "always-hot" because this is the first switch. Presumably they are also grabbing neutral. An ideal 3-way circuit: What they are doing: (shown translucent)


5

Mark that green wire white That green wire behaves at both ends like a neutral. I think it is one. I would get some white tape and spiral wrap it around that green wire, to mark it most of the visible length. Do that at both ends. This is still illegal, but if you don't happen to have a spool of white THHN wire in your kit, you are certainly better off ...


5

Switches (only) can ground through the mounting screws No need to run a ground wire to the switch. Presuming the switch has a metal yoke, it will ground via the grounding screws to the metal box (presuming it is grounded). Is it grounded? It's difficult to say whether the box is grounded. In 1960 all the boxes were metal, so that alone doesn't tell us ...


5

Whoever you're listening to on this is spouting technobabble I'm sorry to say, but you probably should find a better source to read, as whoever's been feeding you information is spouting total nonsense. Whether a device needs a neutral wire or not has nothing to do with any sort of IoT contrivance such as a "smart home hub" and everything to do ...


5

So, given the comments, although electrically this would work, it is unsafe and a code violation. This is because the hot and neutral are to be in the same raceway to have the magnetic field of the hot wire cancel out the magnetic field of the return wire, and thus reduce any induction eddies in any nearby metal components. Such eddies could cause heat ...


5

What you need is a combination of smart switch and smart bulb You are correct that smart bulbs allow local control of color. However you still need at-the-switch control of on/off, and that is because of requirements in both electrical and building codes that there be a switch on the usual place(s), and the switch works. Do use your smart platform of choice ...


5

Legal colors in conduit wiring: ALWAYS-HOT: black, brown, red, orange, yellow, pink, blue, or purple SWITCHED-HOT: black, brown, red, orange, yellow, pink, blue, or purple There's a convention of black for always and red for switched, but that's purely optional. Now, these 2 switches have independent control, right? Neither switch is dependent on the other ...


4

I think you hooked up neutral correctly. Stay away from the 3-way switch. Your assumption that cable 2 comes from the panel may be incorrect. Mechanical switches are direction agnostic, they don't care which is supply-hot and which is switched-hot. Smart switches do. The switch needs supply hot on its (presumably) black. Then, it will power up even ...


4

This can be done with wireless smart bulbs (or fixtures) and a remote switch in place of your current light switch. I'm going to describe how to do it with the Phillips Hue series, since I'm more familiar with them, but other brands will probably work just as well. For the lights themselves, if you have not already bought the fixtures, you can get Hue ...


4

Don't downgrade to a plastic box. Metal boxes are better and what's more, they are often essential in distributing grounding to other boxes. Further in some cities (e.g. Chicago) they are required by Code. The purpose of a box is to provide grounding and fire protection, and metal boxes do that better than plastic ones in all respects. Plastic boxes ...


4

That is correct. In the mains power world, we have 3 wires. EQUIPMENT SAFETY GROUND/EARTH which is not used for anything ever (except during a fault condition, of course)... HOT which is what humans consider the "source" of power... and NEUTRAL which is what humans consider the "power return". Obviously, it's AC, which makes "source" vs "return" ...


4

Because unlike a normal switch, the wifi switch needs power, so it needs a neutral wire to complete a circuit at the switch between the unswitched hot wire and neutral for that power. The neutral wire to the switch cannot be a light-gauge wire (at least if you are in an area subject to NEC codes; likely similar elsewhere in the world) because codes are ...


4

You still have to comply with Building Codes The Building Codes are crystal clear: There must be a physical switch, in a quasi-standard location (you can walk into any room anywhere and your hand knows the 2-3 places to grope for a switch). The switch must be accessible by people who aren't you, and the switch must operate a light that works. That ...


4

The black wire from the /2 cable needs to be pigtailed to the LINE terminals on both devices We know, from your testing, that the black wire from the /2 cable is the incoming always-hot wire; this means that the black and red wires from the /3 cable are the outgoing switched-hots for the two sets of lights this box controls. Therefore, we wire the box as ...


4

Yes, this can be installed here It appears that your installer was smart and not only provided neutral at the switchbox, but provided you with a nicely color-coded set of wires to work with, too. You'll just need a length of black #12 stranded THHN to pigtail the always-hots with, after trimming back and removing the length of always-hot black wire that ...


4

How many wires depends on the nut, and not just the color of the nut. I have red wire nuts that will only take 5 #14 and others that will take 6 #14 (don't recall the #12 numbers off the top of my head and the boxes are not here as I write.) The listed configurations are laid out in detail on the side of the box/container of wirenuts, and you don't get to be ...


4

Yes, smart switches can be quite annoying like that! There are several ways to lick that problem. Use a block connector that allows a lot of wires. They make "stab blocks" that are a row of terminals, each with a "back stab". You jab the wire in, and it grabs it. They make these blocks to take up to 8 wires. Or the MAC Block Connector: ...


4

The first thing you do is roll it all back to status quo ante with the original switches and get it back where it works 100%. Now you'll see a black wire that is split to go to at least 2 switches. (it may pogo from switch to switch). We're not worried about that one for now, but its function is always-hot. We'll be spending most of our time with the ...


4

That's exactly what it means, no neutral at the location. There are smart switches that don't require neutrals so you might want to check them out.


4

Chicago doesn't have ground wires. Everything in Chicago is in metal conduit with metal boxes. Those, together, provide the grounding system for everything. I mean, you're allowed to add ground wires if you really want to - belt and suspenders. Every junction box should have a screw hole that is pre-tapped #10-32 for a ground screw. (you can also add them ...


4

It looks very much like your wiring is run in conduit and that's very handy because the conduit itself should be carrying your ground for you (unless something was done incorrectly). To install your new smart switch: Unscrew the wire nut from the white bundle in the back and add the white from the new switch to it. That nut looks to be pretty small, so the ...


4

Phillips (and others) makes switches for the Hue screw-in light bulbs, which I believe also work with light strips. See the Phillips website. I've found it is undesirable to use a physical switch that disconnects power to the Hue light, as the light will revert to default settings when power is restored.


4

You're pretty much right on target. Wire nut the two black wires in the box to one black wire from the switch. Check to make sure the switch instructions don't specify "line" and "load" on the wires. One of your black wires in the box is your always hot and the other one is a tap off the hot to another location, probably the always hot on ...


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