Installing Lutron Maestro MA-PRO switch

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RJHNY1

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Hi guys, I was hoping for some guidance in installing a light switch.

In my bedroom, I have MR16 LED bulbs and a light switch by my bedroom door (on/off switch, no dimmer) and another one next to the bed (dimmer switch) that control the same 4 lights. I am replacing them because I want to change the color from almond to white and I want the ability to dim the lights from the bedroom entrance rather than one side of the bed.

Initially, I installed the Lutron Maestro MACL-153M, but this switch is causing me problems and makes a loud buzzing sound when it tries to dim. LED M16 bulbs have issues with dimming. So I contacted Lutron and they advised me to get the Maestro PRO. They also told me to make sure I have a "neutral wire" to hook up the PRO.

If you look at this video, they show you what the PRO looks like:


Here's the instruction manual for the PRO: https://www.lutron.com/TechnicalDocumentLibrary/3691112_ENG.pdf

I have 3 wires. White, black, red. Red goes on the blue traveler wire screw. Black goes on the black screw. White goes on the gold screw. What do I do with the middle of the three screws (the silver terminal) that's supposed to be for "neutral." Do I need to have something go there? My concern is if I do not have something set up for the neutral wire on the silver terminal? I'm concerned if there's no wire there set up, it will not act as a PRO, but will act more like the MACL-153M switch.

In the wall box, there are two other switches that control other lights in the bedroom. Behind these three switches, there are a bunch of white wires bundled together into a single wire nut. Would I take the neutral wire that comes with the switch, attach one end to the PRO silver terminal and the other end to the bundled white wires? I'm not an electrician and I'm not an expert with this stuff. I've swapped out outlets and light switches before and there's no issue as long as I know which wire is going where. I can post a picture if you guys would like it.

The PRO is hard to find and Home Depot and Lowe's do not carry it. Only local electrical stores do and I wouldn't be able to return it if I open it. So I want to make sure I can actually hook this switch up before I make that $60 plunge.

I hope someone can help me and provide some guidance. Thank you so much for your time.
 

wwhitney

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From the narrative, the cable from the bedside location to the door side location for the 3-way lighting circuit does not have a neutral in it. While using a different neutral from the box at the door side location could work, it's likely not the best approach. [In particular, does shutting off the breaker that turns off the MR16 LEDs under consideration also shut off all the lights controlled by all the switches in the door-side box? If not, using that other neutral is almost certainly a bad idea.]

The proper way to start is to first restore everything to the way you found it, to the best of your memory. Confirm everything is working as previously. Then for each of the two boxes, open them up and make a diagram of each cable entering the box and how many conductors (other than ground) it has, each device, and how all the wires are connected from each device. Some info of what the other switches do, without actually opening any boxes associated with them, would be good to include.

From that information it may be possible to infer how the cables are run and come up with a good way to wire things. If the lighting fixture(s) with the MR16 are surface mounted over junction box(es), then opening up those junctions box(es) could also provide helpful information, if it's not hard to do. If there's just one box, it would be good to know if it has just one (presumably 2 conductor) cable going to it, or multiple cables. Likewise, if there are multiple junction boxes, one should have only one 2 conductor cable going to it; others should have two 2 conductor cables going to them; and if there's another one with more cables, the diagram of that box would be useful.

Cheers, Wayne
 

jadnashua

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The electrical code gets modified as lessons learned and new products become available, and today, you're required to have a neutral at the switch location. For many, many years, that was not the case. Many of today's switching devices require neutral to work properly, and the Maestro series is one of them. The neutral must be from the same circuit as used in the lamps it's controlling. The red lead is used more as a signaling line versus a switched power line when using that series.
 
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