New user here. I’ve been reading for a while before I took the plunge.
I’m replacing a regular 4-way switch with a smart 4-way switch. That’s 3 switched.
I understand I need neutrals at all 3 locations. unfortunately I only have neutrals at 2 locations. For the 3rd, I tapped into the neutral of a nearby outlet. That outlet is on a different circuit. The switches seem to work. I get voltage when the switches are on and no voltage when the switches are off. However the light does not come on. I’m thinking it should work since I get voltage. Also a neutral is a neutral. They all go to the neutral bus in the panel.
I’m stomped. I’d really appreciate some help or suggestions.
I thought you couldn’t tie neutrals from different branches? Shouldn’t the breakers be dual so that if one trips the other does too? You don’t want double current either. I suggest checking the local code for neutral sharing across circuits. Something about phases and house fires.
You can probably use one of the travelers from the other switches as a neutral if you pigtail the other end to the existing neutral on the same circuit.
Thanks for the reply Matt.
There are 4 wires coming into it. They are the travelers. It’s the 4-way (i.e. middle switch). I believe 2 carry control signals and 2 carry current. In a normal 4-way, it’s fine. But for the smart Leviton to work, I need a neutral in there. I was thinking a neutral is just a neutral.
If I have to make a homerun to the panel and tie the neutral to the neutral bus, I’ll do that. I want to make sure it will work before I do all that work.
It’s not. They provide a return path for a given circuit. Tying two neutrals together means that you create a return from two circuits through a single wire (doubling current through) and creating a possibility for wire overheating and a fire hazard.
Neutrals are tied together ONLY at the panel.
In your case, the only way is to run a jumper from existing circuit you want to control to secondary switches you want to use.
It’s amazing the dangerous things people do when it comes to residential wiring. Not only does this cause a potential overcurrent it’s also a very dangerous electrocution risk to anyone working on either circuit. Having the neutrals tied means that current could still be present on the conductor in either circuit even if the breaker is off.
Beside the advice from @NomadTech which you should take for your safety. I think your circuit is not working correctly not because of lack of neutral but more of wrong wiring.
Look at this site. Which is your wiring configuration and how did you wire your new smart switches? 4 Way Switch Wiring Diagrams - Do-it-yourself-help.com
I had seen the diagram in the link. The source at the 1st switch is what applies. That’s how it was. Except only the 1st switch box had a neutral in it. I pigtailed a neutral from that box. I also pigtailed a neutral from the 3rd box. The middle box with the 2 black wires and 2 white wires does not have a neutral in it. That’s the neutral that I’m having difficulty with. I wired the smart switches according to this diagram (with the bad neutral, of course). I’ve disconnected it. Thanks for the safety tip.
I’m going to try to follow the route that NomadTech suggests. That’s what I’m trying to avoid as I don’t want to put holes in the walls.
Will a neutral homerun to the panel also do the same thing?
So the power source is at the first 3 ways switch box and neutral is there. Why would you think the neutral is also at the other 3 ways switch box? Where is your load? It’s important to understand the wiring configuration of your circuit first before attempting to convert to smart circuit otherwise you will run into the issue you have right now. Again, which wiring configuration do you have? I would ignore the 4 ways switch and concentrate on the two 3 ways switches. Especially the dark terminal screws on them because that’s the hint for finding line, load and neutral. Don’t assume white wires are neutral and red are Travelers.
Finally got it to work.
The problem was an open neutral–a neutral that wasn’t connected.
Taking the advice I received here, I ended up running a neutral to an outlet in the same circuit.