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Solution for no neutral at switch


asbril

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When I automated my home there was one switch where I could not find a Neutral cable and therefore was not able to change it to a Zwave switch. I thought that I had found a solution when Inovelli claimed that it had new switches that do not need Neutral, but that did not work out. I tried everything as per their instructions, including the minimum wattage of the light. Adds to this that inclusion/exclusion of Inovelli switches is different and more temperamental than most other Zwave devices.

Then yesterday, while browsing Amazon, I noticed a Ecolink switch that I had never seen before, and it was delivered to me in one day with Amazon Prime. You add this switch on top of your existing, plain old standard, switch, include it to ISY, and 'voila'  it works.  It uses 2 AA batteries that supposedly last about a year. It took me 5 minutes at most to install it and it actually looks nice and works like a charm (at least so far).

To be sure, I actually included it to ISY next to my ISY before installing it at the desired location and after installation I performed a 'Heal network'.

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1 minute ago, Mecheng70 said:

Interesting.  I have 4 non neutral and 3 normal switches from inovelli. 

The ecolink seems like a good alternative. 

Thanks for sharing.  

You were able to make the no neutral Inovelli work for you ? I have 2 of these and will eventually use them with neutral.

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Sure did.  I did have to put the aeotec bypass on all of the fixtures because they are LED.  Like that the led on the switch can be changed to any color based on events.  For example, I have the led on the switch change to hot pink when any door is unlocked.  

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No neutral there means for the load path no neutral was needed right?  And the only reason our Insteon devices don't work in that box is because of no drain path for the tiny dc currents of the electronics portion.  There has got to be some solution other than jumping thru hoops, changing brands??  How about a tiny fuse and...................

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I had one no-neutral light circuit left after I recently renovated my new house (missed it).  

I'm an Insteon switch guy so I rewired the no-neutral circuit going to the switch to be a standard circuit (live + neutral with no load control).  I then put a 2477D in as the wall switch and installed an aeotec nano dimmer in the light box itself.  Works great and I haven't needed the bypass even with a 4W LED load.  

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3 hours ago, io_guy said:

I had one no-neutral light circuit left after I recently renovated my new house (missed it).  

I'm an Insteon switch guy so I rewired the no-neutral circuit going to the switch to be a standard circuit (live + neutral with no load control).  I then put a 2477D in as the wall switch and installed an aeotec nano dimmer in the light box itself.  Works great and I haven't needed the bypass even with a 4W LED load.  

I'm just saying what is worse, a no neutral Insteon gimp, cramming extra devices in a box, using a different brand Z-Wave, or a device that uses batteries in there? It would keep me up at night (like now). Seems worse to me than just using the Insteon device's white wire with a tiny fuse connected to that bare copper wire that always seems to be in there too (lol).  Works, and I've never measured anything near what you would call an eddy current like the older homes seem to have all over the place.  All the current is just whizzing by there nothing is being returned to the load center from that location (except a chip's worth or two).  Never had to do it permanently but it always works.  All Insteon that's what I say!  

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So...I am surprised nobody has mentioned the insteon micro-module solution.  This would be similar to the solution by io_guy, but with the micro module in place of the aeotec nano dimmer.

No neutral at the box suggest that supply enters at the fixture box.  Add a micro-module at the fixture box, repurpose wires to switch box as hot and neutral (rather than switch loop) and install standard insteon switch.  Like switch and micro module.  No batteries.  No fuses.  No z-wave.

I would be a little hesitant to risk energizing the ground conductor.  I would imagine that there are safety considerations there, along with code considerations.

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4 hours ago, redridge said:

I'm just saying what is worse, a no neutral Insteon gimp, cramming extra devices in a box, using a different brand Z-Wave, or a device that uses batteries in there? It would keep me up at night (like now). Seems worse to me than just using the Insteon device's white wire with a tiny fuse connected to that bare copper wire that always seems to be in there too (lol).  Works, and I've never measured anything near what you would call an eddy current like the older homes seem to have all over the place.  All the current is just whizzing by there nothing is being returned to the load center from that location (except a chip's worth or two).  Never had to do it permanently but it always works.  All Insteon that's what I say!  

Yep, that'd work fine.  

As long as you don't care about electrical code and don't have a GFCI or AFCI on the circuit.  

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8 hours ago, redridge said:

No neutral there means for the load path no neutral was needed right?  And the only reason our Insteon devices don't work in that box is because of no drain path for the tiny dc currents of the electronics portion.  There has got to be some solution other than jumping thru hoops, changing brands??  How about a tiny fuse and...................

I haven't heard of anybody trying these yet but it seems simpler to me. The 1.8 Watts of heat  should keep your fixture dry. :)

https://www.aartech.ca/lds-e-120v-led-dimming-stabilizer-120v-yellow.html

or you can pay twice as much and get free shipping from amazon.
https://www.amazon.ca/PCS-LDS-120V-Dimming-Stabilizer-120V/dp/B07B1LY2J9/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=LED+Dimming+stabilizer&qid=1589032478&sr=8-1

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17 hours ago, io_guy said:

Yep, that'd work fine.  

As long as you don't care about electrical code and don't have a GFCI or AFCI on the circuit.  

Right, wouldn't be bragging to the inspector about any of these solutions.

16 hours ago, larryllix said:

I haven't heard of anybody trying these yet but it seems simpler to me. The 1.8 Watts of heat  should keep your fixture dry. :)

https://www.aartech.ca/lds-e-120v-led-dimming-stabilizer-120v-yellow.html

or you can pay twice as much and get free shipping from amazon.
https://www.amazon.ca/PCS-LDS-120V-Dimming-Stabilizer-120V/dp/B07B1LY2J9/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=LED+Dimming+stabilizer&qid=1589032478&sr=8-1

 

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18 hours ago, oberkc said:

So...I am surprised nobody has mentioned the insteon micro-module solution.  This would be similar to the solution by io_guy, but with the micro module in place of the aeotec nano dimmer.

No neutral at the box suggest that supply enters at the fixture box.  Add a micro-module at the fixture box, repurpose wires to switch box as hot and neutral (rather than switch loop) and install standard insteon switch.  Like switch and micro module.  No batteries.  No fuses.  No z-wave.

I would be a little hesitant to risk energizing the ground conductor.  I would imagine that there are safety considerations there, along with code considerations.

The micro modules are pure crap.  Cause all kinds of noise problems with unrelated loads, suck with LED lighting, dimming ballasts, and present the ISY with lessor dimming control and feedback.  I think I still have 1/2 a dozen of them that I assumed I could use and had to remove and replace with full size devices.  Big waste of time.

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I had to use the mirco modules in a situation where there was no room for a full size module. Multiple switches to control a room outlet for a lamp for example. I did have a problem with it not working from some switches especially the one furthest away. Just the length of wire on the trigger sensor kept the module in one state. I did solve this problem by adding a tie down resistor to the trigger sense. However they still do occasionally switch on from line noise.  Never attempted to use the dimmer module.

Gary

 

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On 5/9/2020 at 8:28 AM, oberkc said:

So...I am surprised nobody has mentioned the insteon micro-module solution.  This would be similar to the solution by io_guy, but with the micro module in place of the aeotec nano dimmer.

No neutral at the box suggest that supply enters at the fixture box.  Add a micro-module at the fixture box, repurpose wires to switch box as hot and neutral (rather than switch loop) and install standard insteon switch.  Like switch and micro module.  No batteries.  No fuses.  No z-wave.

I would be a little hesitant to risk energizing the ground conductor.  I would imagine that there are safety considerations there, along with code considerations.

I thought about this solution as well as the Aeotec bypass, but that would have involved getting in the high ceiling light fixture (tall ladder, removing and re-installing  the light, etc...). Both good solutions but the Ecolink was a quick and easy solution.

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On 5/9/2020 at 1:13 AM, redridge said:

no neutral was needed right?

The neutral is at the light fixture and not anywhere close to the switch. Also impossible to pull an extra wire from the light fixture to the switch.

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9 hours ago, redridge said:

Right, wouldn't be bragging to the inspector about any of these solutions.

 

Those tiny loads are approved by the necessary inspection approvals and an octagon/round  box usually has enough air space in it to accommodate these devices. I doubt this would violate any electrical codes in Canada, let alone in the USA,where codes are typically looser.

https://www.aartech.ca/lds-e-120v-led-dimming-stabilizer-120v-yellow.html

Are you aware of some particular code violation? The 1.8 Watts was an assumption by another poster here, based on the 18mA of current. My guess is they are all capacitive which means there will be no heat generated and power=0,  pf=0. This would make it no different than the speed changing capacitors inside a fan switch wiring box.

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9 hours ago, larryllix said:

Those tiny loads are approved by the necessary inspection approvals and an octagon/round  box usually has enough air space in it to accommodate these devices. I doubt this would violate any electrical codes in Canada, let alone in the USA,where codes are typically looser.

https://www.aartech.ca/lds-e-120v-led-dimming-stabilizer-120v-yellow.html

Are you aware of some particular code violation? The 1.8 Watts was an assumption by another poster here, based on the 18mA of current. My guess is they are all capacitive which means there will be no heat generated and power=0,  pf=0. This would make it no different than the speed changing capacitors inside a fan switch wiring box.

Completely wrong. 

Under no circumstances in NEC or CEC can you use the ground wire as an intentional return path.  

Not to mention, in the US this circuit (new build) would be on an AFCI that would trip.  Canada ignores this for all-lighting circuits but that will change in the next revision.  

Dimming stabilizers go between line and neutral, not intended for ground connection.  

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2 hours ago, io_guy said:

Completely wrong. 

Under no circumstances in NEC or CEC can you use the ground wire as an intentional return path.  

Not to mention, in the US this circuit (new build) would be on an AFCI that would trip.  Canada ignores this for all-lighting circuits but that will change in the next revision.  

Dimming stabilizers go between line and neutral, not intended for ground connection.  

Read the application note on the main page of the device advert linked to, first.
https://www.aartech.ca/lds-e-120v-led-dimming-stabilizer-120v-yellow.html
It is not legal to tie your load to a ground wire, and this device doesn't promote that.  It is wired across the lamp bulb from live to the neutral.

It is an approved  dimming stabiliser for Canada, and approved dimming stabilizer for the US :)

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7 hours ago, larryllix said:

It is not legal to tie your load to a ground wire, and this device doesn't promote that. 

I am missing something.  If you did not originally post this as a load path via ground, then how does this solve the "no neutral" problem, the topic of this post? 

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7 hours ago, larryllix said:

Read the application note on the main page of the device advert linked to, first.
https://www.aartech.ca/lds-e-120v-led-dimming-stabilizer-120v-yellow.html
It is not legal to tie your load to a ground wire, and this device doesn't promote that.  It is wired across the lamp bulb from live to the neutral.

It is an approved  dimming stabiliser for Canada, and approved dimming stabilizer for the US :)

You quoted off my post of not meeting code, which had nothing to do with a stupid $25 capacitor (neither did the thread topic).  My post was path to ground vs. neutral.

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On 5/9/2020 at 9:11 AM, io_guy said:

I'm just saying what is worse, a no neutral Insteon gimp, cramming extra devices in a box, using a different brand Z-Wave, or a device that uses batteries in there?

You are right that a solution in the fixture box is better than a battery device. However, as explained before, the fixture is in a high ceiling and it is just easier for me to change the battery once in a while than getting up a high ladder, removing and putting back the chandelier. My point of posting this device was for others to know about the existence of this well working alternative.

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19 hours ago, larryllix said:

Those tiny loads are approved by the necessary inspection approvals and an octagon/round  box usually has enough air space in it to accommodate these devices. I doubt this would violate any electrical codes in Canada, let alone in the USA,where codes are typically looser.

https://www.aartech.ca/lds-e-120v-led-dimming-stabilizer-120v-yellow.html

Are you aware of some particular code violation? The 1.8 Watts was an assumption by another poster here, based on the 18mA of current. My guess is they are all capacitive which means there will be no heat generated and power=0,  pf=0. This would make it no different than the speed changing capacitors inside a fan switch wiring box.

I'm confused, how does this led stabilizer address no common wire?

Is the 1.8 watts a number you are using for an Insteon switch?  At one point, I wired up 10 Insteon switches on my bench simultaneously to a Kill-A-Watt and it came in at .7 watts each based on letting it run over night and doing the math.

@io_guy would an arc-fault circuit interrupter pop with leakage to ground?  I thought they were designed to detect noise associated only with arcing.

My in-laws have a ~7 year old house that it would seem had been mandated to have combined dual mode arc + ground fault breakers at pretty much every location.  These stinkin things are about $50/ea and he has already had two go flaky on him where they pop for no reason.  You might say he has a ground or arc fault, but replacing the breaker fixed the issue, not fixing something in the wiring.  Even on outlets going to appliances, fridges included.  I told him to put in standard breakers, but he decided not to.  All you need is for one of these over engineered breakers to needlessly pop when you are out of town and you are home depot buying a new fridge cause you can't get the stink out of the old one.

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1 hour ago, io_guy said:

You quoted off my post of not meeting code, which had nothing to do with a stupid $25 capacitor (neither did the thread topic).  My post was path to ground vs. neutral.

You quoted my post to use these  load stabilisers that are designed for the job using legal wiring methods stating "Completely wrong" and further went on about connecting loads to ground, demonstrating you must have missed the device description.

Are you also using the Redridge account name?

Go back and read the thread title again. "Solution for no neutral at switch"

There is a lot of confusion here. Perhaps some posts did not show up?

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