Fan with light, no neutral wire


#1

I’m new to home automation but have been bitten by the bug. I have a ST hub, cree light bulbs and a couple tp-link wifi switches. I have a door sensor and a couple motion sensors on the way as well as a minimote.

My question is this…I need a ceiling fan with lights and would like it to be integrated into ST but sadly I’m a renter and discovered my apartment does not have a neutral wire. What options do I have to make a ceiling fan and lights work? I was looking at the device below but it requires a neutral wire.

Enerwave Z-Wave Plus Module Switch ZWN-RSM2 Converting Two Current Switches Smart, NEUTRAL WIRE REQUIRED, Black https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01G7OD3ME/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_CX--xbCQMQAM8

Time is against me so anyone who can help, I’d appreciate it!


(Don) #2

You should read this topic. It is asking almost same thing just someone else and has helpful information.


(Don) #3

I didn’t look at the device but if it’s not rated as a fan controller you shouldn’t use it. A regular dimmer will not work for controlling fan speeds.

If it’s just turning it on and off than possibly it might work.


#4

I’d be ok with just turning it off and on via smartthings, but I just want
a micro (or a dual micro) that can work without a neutral wire.


#5

Would this work? I’m looking for the same thing and don’t need a dimmer on the lights or fan, just on & off.


(Don) #6

The description on both of those on Amazon says in bold letters neutral wire required.

Have you looked in the fan enclosure in the overhead? The neutral is possibly in there. If so you could put the micro controller in the overhead under the fan shroud. Possibly one for the light and one for the fan.
I know very little about the Micro controllers I haven’t used one yet. I have places where their needed (Because switch has 2 wires and neutrals in overheads in light). Just haven’t gotten that far.

Just tossing ideas at you.


(Don) #7

Some micro controllers. Like this one

Have connections so you could still use the wall switch to also turn the device (fan,light) on and off at the switch and with smartthings.


(Don) #8

Looking at the controller you posted it appears to control 2 loads independently, also looks like it has wiring for external switch connection.

I would verify it works with smartthings, also verify your fan pulls less than the rated 4amps.


#9

I just realized I posted the exact same model he did.

That switch is mentioned on here a few times. Somebody created an app for it even.

@toyanucci have you verified you don’t have a neutral wire inside the fan housing itself, not the wall switch? From what I’ve read, not all wall switches will have the neutral but the fan should have it as long as neutral wires are common in your location.


(Don) #10

I’d look in overhead for a neutral, and hot. If there then do all your wiring up there. Just use the switch as an add on connected to the wires for that. Not sure how it works if one switch toggles one or both loads?


#11

Let me clarify…The link I posted was to a device I was considering BEFORE
I realised I don’t have a neutral wire. What I have now is a light bulb and
a regular light switch. I want to get a fan to install where the light
fixture is now but I want a device that will allow me to control the fan
and lights separately via ST that does NOT require a neutral wire to mount.


#12

Neutral wires are not common…and there’s no fan housing yet as I haven’t
bought the fan yet lol. But where the light fixture is now, there’s no
neutral wire up there.


#13

Have you looked behind the light fixture for a neutral wire, possible tucked inside the ceiling? By common I meant normal building procedures in your area. Some areas require it.

For example:
I bought a thermostat that needed a C wire. My old thermostat did not require it. Looking at the wires in the old thermostat, there was no c wire at all. I looked at the AC unit and found there was a wire was in the wire bundle that was not used and then found the other end behind the old thermostat tucked in deep behind the wall. It just needed to be connected to the power. The C wire was there but the builder did not need it so he tucked it away.


(Don) #14

I get what your saying. I’m not an electrician. There has to be a neutral somewhere in the circuit.

In MY house I have some lights where the line (hot) is connected to the wire coming to the switch in the box the light is mounted too. Then that wire sometimes black, sometimes white come down to the switch. Then the other wire from the switch goes back up to the box in the overhead and is wired to the light. Then neutral is connected to the other side of the light. So when I flip the switch the circuit is completed from line to the neutral.

Look at these pictures. My house has it both ways depending on which one I’m messing with.


(Smuts) #15

I’m pretty sure that the switch loop in the second picture isn’t code compliant. Since 2011 the NEC has required a three wire (plus ground) run for switch loops so that there is a neutral in every box (according to p.305 of Renovation, 4th edition).

Almost none of the switch loops in my house have a neutral. It’s maddening. In some of the switch boxes there will be a three wire run, but the neutral isn’t hooked up. I’ve checked in the light fixtures. The electrician just capped the wire. . . . In other spots, the switch loop will just have a two wire run and the start is somewhere in a box hidden in the wall somewhere. I can’t even put in a zwave relay in the circuit properly. My house wants to stay dumb.


(Don) #16

Code compliant or not, it’s how my house is wired. It was built in 1986. So I don’t know about all the codes and such. I just know how my house is wired. It must be common practice (so at one time code compliant) since so many people post on here looking for solutions where the neutral is not in the switch box.

Just trying to help a fellow forum member out. With my experiences as a guide.

If your needing a more experienced professional opinion then we should ask @Navat604 his opinion. I trust his opinion.


(Smuts) #17

Ya. Mine too. That’s how almost everything is wired. Renovation calls it the “historical method.”

It’s frustrating though. The electrical in my house was updated after 2011, but they still didn’t do it right. They just sort of made it look like there was a neutral in the box. A cruel trick . . . (I didn’t own the place then.)

I like the idea of putting a relay up in the fixture.


(Ray) #18

This is very true. There will be a neutral somewhere. Switch gangbox, light fixture gangbox or sometime wall socket plugs. It’s just a matter of locating it. Most electrician should be able to trace it within minutes with a circuit tracer or tone generator.
What we do know is the bulb socket has 2 wires. One is neutral and the other one is line hot when the circuit is complete. You can easily identify the two wires by looking at the wires going to the bulb. You can then install the Emerwave dual relay module mentioned above. I have 3 of the old emerwave relays and they are very reliable. Since you have only one switch. The only problem with dual relay is that the secondary relay is using virtual switch for syncing so no internet equal no control with your setup.
I see a problem with rental unit since you don’t want to spend too much money getting the wiring check and house insurance issue with your landlord.


#19

Little more clarity on my situation. There are 2 lights in the room that are tied together and are both controlled by 2 switches. So flip switch one and both lights come on, flip switch 2 and both lights turn off. I opened both light switches this morning and one of the fixtures. Both switches have red, yellow and a bare wire (ground). The fixture has red, yellow, bare and black. Does this mean I have a neutal wire?


(Don) #20

This is totally different than just one switch and one light.
I would guess the black is your line, red is called the traveller, and yellow (white) is either neutral or can be hot.

With 2 lights and 2 switches I’m going to have to bow out (beyond what I’m comfortable helping with over the internet) and maybe @Navat604 will jump in or not.

Sorry I can’t help.