Adding a 3rd wire to switch (neutral)

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by ingeborgdot, Mar 14, 2008.

  1. ingeborgdot

    ingeborgdot New Member

    Messages:
    119
    Location:
    Kansas
    If you are familiar with the insteon line of swithces and automation you know that they require three lines into the switch. It needs a neutral (as far as I know to send the signal) to make it work. I only have two lines coming into my switches. What is the easiest way to make this work?
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,019
    Location:
    New England
    Functionally, you really only have ONE wire in that switch box...one side is normally open, and when you flip the switch, the hot is connected to it. So, you really only have a hot lead (well, probably have a ground, too). You'd have to run a 1x/3 cable from the light fixture to get the neutral in there.
  3. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Messages:
    2,714
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Smarthome.com offers the following alternatives:

    What to do if you don't have neutrals:
    a) If ceiling fixture: Convert a swtich leg into a neutral and install a switchlinc (or keypadlinc) in the switch box plus an inlinelinc in the ceiling fixture
    b) if a 3 way circuit: simply convert one of the traveler wires into a neutral (bringing neutral from the "master" to the "slave" and install 2 switchlincs (since insteon does not require the travelers)
    c) hire an electrician to "pull" neutrals for you (and you might want them to install the INSTEON products at the same time) -- usually, this process isn't quite as expensive as most customers fear

    (a) might be viable for you, but it looks expensive.
  4. jdoll42

    jdoll42 Computer Systems Engineer

    Messages:
    68
    Location:
    In Illinois near St. Louis, MO
    OK pro's. Correct me if I'm wrong. I know this isn't the right way to do it, but shouldn't the switch be grounded anyway? You see where I'm going with this... I know, not the right way and probably against code, but couldn't he use the ground in a pinch for a return path to the main panel instead of a neutral?

    With that said, even if it would work, I personally wouldn't do it. I'm just curious as to whether or not it would work.

    Again, DON'T DO IT THIS WAY!
  5. Alectrician

    Alectrician DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    689
    You do not want to energize your grounding conductor.

    Someone could get hurt or, in the right (or wrong) situation, killed.
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