One of the 3 switch locations I am dealing with does not have a neutral wire. Can I run the neutral through the exposed wire that goes from 1 switch to another? This will not eliminate my ground at any other locations and will not connect my ground to neutral. Just wondering if that exposed wire is ok to bring neutral from 1 switch to another.
You should never use the exposed ground as a neutral. Some have done it but you may end up with AC current where it is not expected.
If I understand that you don’t have a neutral in one box, then you must have the line from breaker in the same box as your 4-way switch and the load to light in one of the 3-way switch boxes (or the reverse of that).
If you are using a GE smart switch with two GE add-on switches then you can wire it as below. Other brands should work fine as well.
For GE’s if your wiring is like above, you can install your smart switch in only two of the three boxes. Either the one with line or the one with load. The add-on switches would be installed in the other two. Choose the best location box to install the smart switch as a repeater for your mesh. No matter where you place the smart switch, you will only use two of the three wires to connect the add-on switch in the lone box without load or line (just use white/neutral and red/traveler). In all the boxes, white/neutral and red/traveler cables will be connected to their own color (they should not connect to any other color).
If your smart switch goes in the box with line, then you’ll send the load through the black wire to the load in the other box.
If your smart switch goes in the box with load, then send the line through that black wire.
If you’d like you can send pictures as everything above can get confusing.
I get what your saying and would love to wire it that way if it were possible. The gang with my 4 way has a black/line and a 12/3 that runs to 1 3way and a 12/2 that’d runs to the other 3 way. The 3 way with the 12/2 has the load and a neutral available. The 3 way with the 12/3 does not have a neutral. Now the 12/2 from the 3 that has load goes directly to the 4 wires and the exposed wire is not a ground. Could I use this exposed wire as neutral to bring neutral to the 4way and then also send that neutral through the white wire on my 12/3 to the other 3 way.
This made perfect sense in my head, but might not on paper.
So that sounds confusing. Are you saying from your breaker you have a neutral in the 3-way box (and no line) and a line in the 4-way box (and no neutral)? Not sure how that is possible.
Exactly what I’m saying. The wiring in this house is awful. Only reason there is a neutral in the 3 way with load is there is another switch on the same circuit with a neutral in the box.
OK. So I think I understand. So you’re saying that the other switch in the 3-way box is using the neutral line to toggle instead of the line/load and also passes that on to the light.
Is that the same way you have a line in the 4-way box (from another switch)? Then that line is used in the 4-way circuit.
That is some interesting wiring.
The other switch still toggles the hot black wire but the neutral passes through my box. Very interesting indeed, people did some weird stuff in the 70s
Sorry was busy for a bit. Well if you have a neutral and line in the one 3-way box then I’d wire it as following.
| | 3-Way Box | | 4-Way Box | | 3-Way Box Light 12/2 Smart Switch Power 12/2 Add-On 12/3 Add-On Neutral -- White ----- Neutral ------ Neutral --- White -- Neutral -- White -- Neutral Load ---- Black ----- Load Line --------- Line Traveler ------------------ Black -- Traveler -- Red -- Traveler
Hopefully that makes sense.
that makes sense, I guess I had it stuck in my head that I needed the smart switch where my old 4 way was. So I can grab line at the 3 way from the line for the other switch that is in that box and then cap off the line that is in my old 4 way box and then wire it as you show. perfect.