Old Wiring - How to figure out if this group of cables has a neutral


(Christopher Deal) #1

I have a mid 1960’s condo and it has no overhead lighting. However, in both rooms the wall switches control the top outlet on specific outlets.

The one I’m looking at is in the bedroom. I was looking to possibly put a smart switch in, but I’m not sure if there’s a neutral wire in the bundle.

However, to my surprise (and I assume lack of code since 1969), there is no ground on the switch.

I pulled the switch from the wall and there are 2 wires connected to it. One looks white with a black stripe (bottom screw) and the other looks black (or blue hard to tell).

The white one looks like it goes into a wire nut which meets a couple wires and goes down. The black/blue wire seems to go straight up into the ceiling (i assume this connects to the outlet on the far end of the room).

There is however, a wire nut in the back with two white wires in it. One of them goes down, and the other other up (neither is connected to the switch in any way). What exactly is this wirenut? I didn’t see any obvious ground. The switch itself has only 2 wires.

I was looking to possibly have an electrician install these, but if I don’t have a neutral, it’s probably a lost cause and don’t want to waste his time. I do have a multimeter, so I can test anything.

Was just curious how to know if it’s neutral or not before I go splurging on attempting a smarthome.


#3

I don’t see any pictures but as a wild guess, I’d say the white is the neutral. The white/black is the switched portion of the outlet

If you pull the socket out too you should see 3 wires. Black (hot) and the white/black (switched hot) on one side and just white (neutral) on the other side.


(Christopher Deal) #4

Well for some reason using external links isn’t allowed as it flagged this message :frowning:
That and only 1 image for new users.

So now that the upload is working. I’ll try my best photo.

Why it rotated it I don’t know :confused:

Also the white wire isn’t connected to this switch. Only the white and black (blue?) ones are connected to it. The white wire in the back is coming from top and bottom and just meets in a random wirenut.

In case it never unhides the 1st message, here’s the gist:

I have a mid 1960’s condo and it has no overhead lighting. However, in both rooms the wall switches control the top outlet on specific outlets.

The one I’m looking at is in the bedroom. I was looking to possibly put a smart switch in, but I’m not sure if there’s a neutral wire in the bundle.

However, to my surprise (and I assume lack of code since 1969), there is no ground on the switch.

I pulled the switch from the wall and there are 2 wires connected to it. One looks white with a black stripe (bottom screw) and the other looks black (or blue hard to tell).

The white one looks like it goes into a wire nut which meets a couple wires and goes down. The black/blue wire seems to go straight up into the ceiling (i assume this connects to the outlet on the far end of the room).

There is however, a wire nut in the back with two white wires in it. One of them goes down, and the other other up (neither is connected to the switch in any way). What exactly is this wirenut? I didn’t see any obvious ground. The switch itself has only 2 wires.

I was looking to possibly have an electrician install these, but if I don’t have a neutral, it’s probably a lost cause and don’t want to waste his time. I do have a multimeter, so I can test anything.

Was just curious how to know if it’s neutral or not before I go splurging on attempting a smarthome.


(Christopher Deal) #5

Here’s a vertical view (fingers crossed)


#6

It’s a guess, but I’d say the room was painted with the covers off and overspray got in and “decorated” all your wires. Never fear, it looks like it follows expectations… black being hot, and two black wires have a switch between.

I hope that picture shows what you have. “Full power” (one hot, one neutral, one ground) exists in the switch box. Replacing that switch with a Zwave is exactly what’s intended. You flip the switch to off, measure the voltage on each black, the one that is HOT goes to the Zwave switch labeled Line (or Hot) while the other black goes into the Zwave switch labeled Load. Pop the wirenut off the white pair and add in a short neutral (wirenut back on) and connect it to the Zwave switch labeled Common or Neutral.

The other choice is:

And that is where you need an Aeotec Micro switch (or Nano.)