Yet Another Jasco Wiring Discussion!


(Darryl) #1

Hey everyone, I realize we are not all electricians, but I would love some experienced advice… I am rather DIY but not having dealt with 4 wire toggles, rather be cautious…

So I recently was graced with three Jasco 45609’s. (Bday gift. sweet!!!) These will be my first ones ever installed. I have done basic electrical (replacing old flips to toggles, etc) and am comfy enough to try taking this on my own.

I opened a few wall outlets up, to see if I was lucky enough to have the 4 wires. (House was built in 83). Upon looking, I still don’t know… but I think I do… (Yet another BDay gift? :slight_smile: )

In a single ganged outlet, I see that I have a copper ground, a white wire, and two black wires. (Image 1 below)
In my triple ganged outlet, I find nice mess. I think I found a bundle of white cables in the back (mine are old enough to have a hint of a grayish brown to the white), but now I have two red wires, and a whole slew of black wires. Only complicating this particular set more, is that the first switch (Far left) is a 3-way switch (making me realize I need to buy a Jasco 3 way). (Image 2 below). My guess, is older 4 wire electrical was 2 black 1 white 1 ground… but again, not completely sure. I see on the far left switch (3 way) the white wire is in use? Is that an issue when I go to use a 3 way Jasco as I think it requires another cable?

So to start my real question(s) are… from what you see of these images, does it seem that I have 4 wires?
Am I right to say that the electrician just tied all the 4 wire together and that they are just not in use currently? If so, then its just a matter of determining which black wire is my load, and which one is my common, correct?
In the triple ganged box, Any guesses what the red is? What kills me about this box, is that they ran a black wire from the bottom of each of the three toggles in this box… I am thinking of just trying to take the ‘far right toggle’ and replace it with the jasco, finding the appropriate white wire that went with the line, and see if I can get only that 1 working. If I can, then move to the 2nd (middle), then work on the 3 way switch another day. Luckily, I have a friend who is an electrical engineer…he can at least help me figure out which wire is which…

Thanks everyone, this will be my first non-smart things branded addition (minus my Ecobee Smart Thermostat (love it… looking forward to smartthings integration))

Single Ganged Outlet
Triple Ganged Outlet


(Chrisb) #2

@darrylb

Pictures aren’t showing up for me. Based on your descriptions the single gang box is pretty straight forward. White should be neutral, and the bare copper is obviously ground. One of the black wires likely leads from hot from the source and the other is the load line to the light.

Really need to see the last picture but based on what you’re saying I’m going to make some educated guesses:

“What kills me about this box, is that they ran a black wire from the bottom of each of the three toggles in this box…” My guess here is that this is the common line from the breaker box. I’ve actually done with with a few of my switches with neutral. Instead of three lines going one to each switch, you just have one line and connect it to all three switches.

but now I have two red wires… – … I see on the far left switch (3 way) the white wire is in use? In older wiring it’s quite common for red and white to be used as “traveler” wires. Typical three-way setup works like this: black line from source goes to the first switch. Here it splits into two lines (often a red and white). These two lines travel to the second switch. Then there’s a single load line from the second switch. The red and white lines here are likely the traveler wires to your second switch.

It’s important to note that a z-wave 3way setup is different standard wiring. You will need to replace both these switches in your 3-way setup.

See if you can get those pics working and/or draw up a quick diagram in paint.

"


(Chrisb) #3

1box

3box

Okay, I think I got your pics. Can we get a bigger version of the 3-gang box? Very had to see detail there.

Your single box looks perfect. Just tap into that neutral for the Z-wave switch and away you go. One black is load, one is line. (if you connect 'em and the switch doesn’t work, try swapping them around.)

A few items on the 3-gang:

Definitely looks like white and red are the traveler wires. Definitely looks like they brought common load and daisy-chained that from switch to switch, which is fine. We can still use that with the z-wave switches.

The yellow screw… what black wires is this typing together? Where to these black wires come from and go to?

The right switch with the red wire… Is this a 3way? Also on the red wiring, it looks like there is a white sticker on it as it’s going back into the wall. This is sometimes done to indicate that this wire is NOT what the color would make you normally associate this wire with. (ie, if you use a white wire instead of black for load you might put a sticker on it with LOAD written on it) Does this sticker have anything written on it?

Finally, which of these switches are you planning on replacing with the 45609s?


(Darryl) #4

Here is the link of the 3 gang: http://s18.postimg.org/bsyqovcmh/20130924_195514.jpg

In the 3 gang, I was going to just do the 2 right ones (2 way switch), and the single gang. The far left one is the 3 way switch. I need to order a 3 way, so ill do that when it comes in.

In the 3 gang with the black wires together, Ill take a better picture tonight or tomorrow that shows more, and check for any markings.


(Chrisb) #5

Yeah, if you take another picture, try to get one that includes the switches more so I can see a little bit of what’s going on there.

Based on what I’m seeing…

Left Switch: Definitely a three way… you have line coming in on the black, and then daisy-chained to the rest of the switches. Note that when you replace this it will be very important what wiring you have at the location of the second switch, particularly if you have neutral there or not. The 3-way auxiliary switch that you need for a z-wave 3-way requires ground. So check that BEFORE you do any ordering of switches for the three-way. If there isn’t ground there you may need to go with a 45612 as you master switch instead of a 45609. The 45612 is a dimmer switch, not just an on/off like the 45609. It does NOT require a ground (the AUX unit still will though!)

Center switch: It looks like this switch was two black at the bottom (line daisy-chained from the left switch, and then daisy-chained to the right switch). If this is correct, we’ll keep the same setup on the replacement switch. There are two holes on the ‘LINE’ terminal on the 45609. Just put one wire in each hole and screw it down.

It looks also as it the neutral has two lines… one daisy chained to the switch on either side. Same with the line wire, stick one wire in each hole of the ‘GROUND’ terminal and screw it down.

Neutral is going to be a bit trickier… you have neutral here, which is good. But it’s way in the back there. It’s the red screw cap that’s mostly painted white. You’re going to have to add a small “pig tail” to this… just a new wiring coming out of that screw cap. What you’re going to do with that wire is lead it to the ‘NEUTRAL’ terminal on the RIGHT. We’ll then daisy chain the neutral from the right to the center (and eventually the left) switch just they you have with the ground wire right now.

Load is where things get a bit more interesting. I appears that the load wire from this center switch goes to the yellow screw cap, which then had TWO black wires leading out from it. Does this switch control two light fixtures? Perhaps a light at the beginning and end of a hallway? If so, then we can just run the black wire here to the “LOAD” terminal. If not then I may have misunderstood the writing setup here.

Right Switch: As discussed above the Line and Neutral will be easy here. Just stick the black line that’s coming from the center switch to the ‘LINE’ terminal.

Connect the 2 ground wires (one from center switch, one from wall) to the ‘GROUND’ terminal.

For neutral, we’ll do as discussed above. One new wire from that bunch of white lines in the back into one hole. Then another line from the other hole in the switch to daisy-chain neutral to the center switch.

Load is more interesting here. I think that red wire is going to your load. Hard to say for certain, but it looks like that’s load to me. What I thought was a white sticker appears to just be paint in the bigger picture, so that’s probably not going to help. But i can’t imagine what else that wire would lead towards. It isn’t line, we know that. It also isn’t Ground or Neutral… so it seems to me it HAS to be load. So this we connect to the ‘LOAD’ terminal of this switch.

Let me know what you find for the second switch of the 3-way and we can discuss how to wire that up.


(Darryl) #6

Thanks for the info man. I was able to wire a single gang without any issues (except for the ground tapped another wire when it was pushed into the box, and it would throw my circuit breaker). But it was just a 10 min install.

I have to replace a light bulb before I can install the next two. Ill get pics of the 3 gang in the next few days, and let you know. So far though, it looks like I have all the adequate wiring which is a good thing!.

Thanks again.


(Darryl) #7

So, i took some pictures that I will post in a bit. But I was able to get the far right one to function perfectly. The left one (3 way switch) wont power on at all, nothing functions. The center one will turn the light on, and then turn it off immediately. So, thats some progress…

Why would the middle one turn itself off so fast? I also was uanble to pair this particular one with SmartThings, so something is a bit ‘off’ about it. At this time, I was just working from the far right and working to the left, as the far left one (3 way switch) will be the most complicated one (though I think I am close).

http://s15.postimg.org/vdelkhliz/20131003_190224.jpg (another angle of 3 switches)
http://s2.postimg.org/n795typax/20131003_190243.jpg (view from bottom looking up)
http://s12.postimg.org/3sh4ruuct/20131003_201457.jpg (new wiring at this point, with 1 (far right) functional, 1 (center) partially functional, 1 (far left) not functional.

Thanks.


(Darryl) #8

Btw… as for yoru comment above: Does this switch control two light fixtures? Perhaps a light at the beginning and end of a hallway? If so, then we can just run the black wire here to the “LOAD” terminal. If not then I may have misunderstood the writing setup here.

Yes, I believe this goes to a combination of 4 lights in the front of my house. I suspect that 1 wire covers the left side, another 1 wire covers the garage side.


(Darryl) #9

I figured it out!!! Thanks man. I re-read your statements many times, and realized what i had to do with the neutral. Once I bound them together and ran a new line, it worked perfectly.

Sadly, I ran low gauge A/C wiring, so I flipped the circuit breaker off until tomorrow when I can put proper gauge in. But it worked!. Perfectly!. Thanks again!


(Chrisb) #10

Hey fantastic! Glad you got it figured out.


(Darryl) #11

Well, i thought everything was great… except for the fact that I cant figure out how to wire the auxilary switch. I ran the wiring like I thought it should be, neither switch worked. I then alternated and tried all combinations, but think I have something wrong… Not quite sure why the auxillary wont work…

I intiailly ran: Ground -> Ground
White -> Neutral
Black -> Traveller
Then I tried
Red -> Traveller.

No success. Any thoughts?


(Chrisb) #12

@Darryl,

First, I want to verify the wiring on your master switch.

  1. You should have black coming form your panel for line. In your setup we daisy chained this from switch to switch.
  2. You should have white leading from the bundle of wires in the back either directly to the neutral on the master or daisy chained from the neutral of one of the other switches.
  3. You should have the red wire that was connected to the old three way connected to the traveler of the master.
  4. You should have the white wire that was connected to the old three way connected to the load of the master.

Now for the AUX.

  1. Hopefully there is neutral in this location separate from the incoming line of white and red together. This will need to be connected to the neutral terminal of the Aux Switch.
  2. The white wire that is coming in with the red wire will be the hot line. This should be connected directly to the load line that is going to your light completing a direct path from the master switch to the light.
  3. The red wire we’ll connect to the traveler terminal on the AUX switch.

(Chrisb) #13

Here’s a pictures with typical three-way setup at the top, and how you’ll set it up for the Jasco stuff at the bottom.

Note this assumes that that the location of the master is the “first” in line between the line and the light. If you wire it up this way and the master switch doesn’t work, then you can try swapping the load and line wires on the master.


(Darryl) #14

I can try that out tomorrow after work…

This is the image of my old 3way switch:

I put it back in after the aux failed, but no success and when I re-wired it, when it is OFF, my main switch doesnt work. WHen it is ON, my main switch works. (Hah!).

As for my existing “3 way location”, sadly, I did not have a seperate wire. I have the standard 4 wires, Red, White, Black, Ground. I dont think there is an additional neutral. I will check the master switch though tomorrow as well, and confirm my master is wired as you indicated.


(Chrisb) #15

@darrylb

Okay… Looks very much like the standard setup in my little example pic. The white and red are the two “traveler” paths from the old three-way setup. We only need one traveler wire with the Jascos. The other wire will be for bringing the line/load from the other side.

If you don’t have neutral at this location then we’re going to have some issues. The AUX needs to have a neutral. There are three possible ways to handle this:

  1. You can potentially use the ground as neutral. This should be okay, but it certainly isn’t up to code and might cause a problem. I don’t recommend this, but it’s an option. If you do decide to do this be aware that it might cause problems, including possible electrical shock and/or fire. I’m not an electrician so I really don’t know the full scale ramifications of this.

  2. You could wire up the neutral line in parallel with the load line. This means a trickle of power will always be going through the lights. It may be low enough that it doesn’t light anything up, but it might cause them to flicker or glow very dimly.

  3. You could get a 45612 master switch instead of the 45609. This master does NOT require a neutral. Then we’ll put the 45612 in this location and the Aux will actually end up going where you’re master is right now. This is the sort of setup I had to go with in my dinning room. I didn’t have a neutral at one location so had to put the 45612 there and the Aux in the other location. Please note that the 45612 is only supposed to be used with incandescent lighting. It may work with LEDs assuming that you have enough resistance in the lights (ie, enough wattage). If it’s only one light or very low wattage lights you may see a faint glow even when the switch is off.

I put it back in after the aux failed, but no success and when I re-wired it, when it is OFF, my main switch doesnt work. WHen it is ON, my main switch works. (Hah!).

This actually makes perfect sense. If you look back at my pictures you see that I want you to tie the white and black wires here together. What you are doing with you switch is essentially connecting them when the switch is on, and then disconnecting them when the switch is off.


(Darryl) #16

@chrisb : Thanks for the comments.

Of all places, this is the one where I might be able to run a new neutral, if just needs to get a neutral from the circuit breaker…

Is there any way I can put a voltometer on the lines and confirm what each one is? At one point, the 2nd switch was able to stay on/off and the master work fine. So i definately didnt wire it back properly. I find it odd that most of my house has neutrals, but in some cases it doesnt.

As for the 45612’s, the good news is I dont use LEDs… too expensive! Though I do use a lot of energy-efficient CFL’s though.

I definately do not want to ‘hack’ a solution together, which is why your #1/#2 options are not too appealing to me.

Thanks again!, you have been of great help.


(Chrisb) #17

@darrylb,

You will almost certainly have problems with CFLs and the 45612. Can’t say for certain with dimmable CFLs… never tried them. But regular CFLs are a definite issue. The 45612 is a dimmer switch, not just on/off like the 45609. If you’re using CFLs here and don’t want or can’t use incandescent, then you’ll want to try and get a neutral run there. It just needs any neutral that goes back to the circuit breaker. If you can get neutral there, that’s the best option for sure.

As for putting on a voltometer… you can try… no idea how successful it will or won’t be. My brother, who is an electrician, helped me setup my first three way in my house and get me a crash course is three-way wiring. When he was putting meter on some of my lines he was getting odd readings on a lot of them. Old housing, weird wiring. Gotta love it. :frowning:

I find it odd that most of my house has neutrals, but in some cases it doesnt.
It's probably more common to see no neutrals in three-way setups. The three-way setup is basically a complex on/off dual-gate along the hot line while the neutral is just plain-jane. I think people tended to wire up hot and neutral to the first switch, then neutral goes to the light while hot go through the fancy traveler wire configuration to the second switch, then to the light. I many of my areas I've got neutral, but in the three areas that I have three-way setup, I've always had one area without neutral.

(Darryl) #18

Time for me to bring this post back from the dead!.

I ran across a 3-way that I thought I could handle, as it had a neutral… Well, again, that’s what I had thought…

I was able to fully wire the main switch, and as long as my 2nd switch was “off” (standard switch that was on the wall), the primary switch would work. The moment I went and swapped the 2nd switch with an auxiliary, I could not get either switch to work.

I played around with the wires a bit, alternating them. I have 2 white (Neutral), 1 Red, 2 black, 1 Green (Ground) I ran Red as Line, and then tested with both blacks as line. Only 1 way would power the switch, so that must have been right…

I ended up removing the 2nd switch, and quickly wiring up the original. Any thoughts on why this might have been problematic? I have yet to call an electrician on my other 3 way switch that has the same configuration (without a neutral though). I still have 1 last 3way switch in my kitchen, haven’t checked neutral on this.

I am starting to question the Jasco 45610. I may order 1-2 spares and see if another one works. But as simple as they are to setup (ground, Neutral, Line) I was pretty sure I had it right…


(Darryl) #19

Okay! So, purchased new auxiliary switch, put it in place, no success.

I know I have the traveler correct, Red on both the main and secondary switch. Connected the two neutrals, and ran a pigtail to the neutral on the auxiliary. attached the ground, and returned power to the switch. Sadly, didn’t work.

Is it possible that the 45609 can have a burnt/damaged auxiliary connection? (Like I put the wrong wire on it, and burned it out when originally wiring?)


(Chrisb) #20

@darrylb,

Let me know what wires you have in the main and in the aux spot. Also, if you can remember, how where the old switches wired?