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Wiring Help


wpauljohnson

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I don't know is this is the right spot for this, but....

 

I am trying to install a Aeon Labs Nano Dimmer that doesn't require a neutral, but I need to differentiate between line and load.  I have K&T wiring and just have two unmarked wires.  When you touch them together, the light comes on, when you separate them it doesn't.  I expect that it is NOT a switch loop, but rather a hot from somewhere that stops at the switch and then continues on to meet the neutral at the lamp.  K&T wiring was done like that, as it doesn't come in the form of a cable and you didn't have to parallel the lines back then.  I can't tell which is line and which is load.  I tried a multimeter to a ground and both show to have voltage relative to the ground.  How to tell which is which? 

I know at least one of the wires should run back to the fuse box and one to the lamp.    This house is about 95 years old, we have fused hot and neutral lines.  

Will I mess up the Dimmer if I install backwards?  Any suggestions?

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One way or another power will go through the different inputs of the Nano, so why not try the alternative possibilities ?

I have been reading about these non-neutral devices. I have one switch in my home where it is practically impossible to get neutral and I would love to use that device, but I wonder how it works without neutral.

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2 hours ago, wpauljohnson said:

 

Will I mess up the Dimmer if I install backwards?  Any suggestions?

Check the voltage to ground on both terminals of the switch  to ground (i.e. the junction box) when the switch is turned off.  One should be about 0 which will make it the neutral. The other should be 120 VAC.

Paul

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2 hours ago, asbril said:

I have been reading about these non-neutral devices. I have one switch in my home where it is practically impossible to get neutral and I would love to use that device, but I wonder how it works without neutral.

If you read the specs for these devices they require a "minimum load".  In other words they need maximum resistance on the load.  Through this load, that has a neutral on the far side, they draw some current to make the electronics functional, perhaps a few uA, without making the light come on.

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Well, all is working now.  I had blown a fuse messing with the wires.  I think that I blew the fuse on the neural, so nothing made sense.  All the guides on the internet assume that your neutrals are not fused,  but as I said before, this is an older home...

Anyway it works well now, I had to swap in an old light bulb instead for 4 LED bulbs to get consistant responses. 

Thanks for the help!

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5 minutes ago, wpauljohnson said:

Anyway it works well now, I had to swap in an old light bulb instead for 4 LED bulbs to get consistant responses. 

The dimmer you're using calls for a 20W minimum load when using it without a neutral.  Perhaps the LED bulbs load less than this.

Paul

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In general, LED loads are incompatible with any neutral-less dimmer.  The issue is more than the load; it's the nature of the load that can also cause problems.  I'll skip the details, but in general, any neutral-less dimming device needs to be able to satisfy its required minimum load with a non-reactive load (i.e. resistor-type load or incandescent lamp load -- not LEDs, CFLs, and certainly not things like fan motors).

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1 minute ago, mwester said:

In general, LED loads are incompatible with any neutral-less dimmer.  The issue is more than the load; it's the nature of the load that can also cause problems.  I'll skip the details, but in general, any neutral-less dimming device needs to be able to satisfy its required minimum load with a non-reactive load (i.e. resistor-type load or incandescent lamp load -- not LEDs, CFLs, and certainly not things like fan motors).

Yes, this true for the Insteon "neutral free", RF only switch as well. 

I realize this is a z-wave switch, but I'm wondering if the Insteon Micromodule could be used.? Install the micromodule up in the fixture with the light where there is a neutral, and then pick one of the options to connect to the wires running to the switch? I've not used it this way but it seem a possibility, and would navigate around the minimum load and load type limitations.

image.png.50788c18b0951d9c32df6f66faacd66e.png

 

Paul

 

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13 minutes ago, mwester said:

In general, LED loads are incompatible with any neutral-less dimmer

Perhaps an over generalization. These dimmers actually can actually be compatible with the right LED bulb, as their documentation suggests. As you say it depends on the nature of their standby load as well, but some LED designs.

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Just noticed the documentation for the installation of this dimmer actually talks about installing a "bypass device" to make sure their is enough current to keep it alive if you are using some non-resistive load.  They suggest a small incandescent bulb in parallel. Standby load is 0.8 watts or maybe 7mA.

https://www.aartech.ca/related/ZW111-nano-dimmer-manual.pdf

They actually sell these bypass devices and you can buy on amazon

https://tinyurl.com/ycbsjnw4

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