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rock6112hill
New Member

23 Posts

Posted - 01/31/2018 :  5:25:13 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thank you for the response OBERKC --- buried somewhere in this thread is a rendering of all the wires in BOX1 (it turns out that there is another circuit in this box that controls a single light). Thus, there is a bundle of white (neutral) wires in this box.
  • Can I "borrow" a neutral from this bundle in BOX1?
  • Similarly, there is another circuit in BOX2 -- can a "borrow" a neutral from here? Or, would it be better to "repurpose" the unused traveler in order to provide a neutral for BOX2?
  • If either one, or both, of the previous questions are true -- do you have any recommendations that will allow us to wire the Insteon switches into this three way circuit?



AM Smith
North Central Texas
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stusviews
Moderator

USA
15836 Posts

Posted - 01/31/2018 :  6:01:00 PM  Show Profile  Visit stusviews's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Not only is using a neutral from another circuit not in accordance with the code, it's unsafe. Such a neutral is unprotected (not on a breaker) and will carry the load from both circuits. If those circuits are at or near more than 1/2 capacity, then the neutral wire can burn out in the wall and/or cause a fire.

The wiring as suggested by oberkc uses the white wire from the 3-wire cable at the fixture to each switch box as a neutral and the black wire as the line. One of the two red wires connects to the load of one and only one Insteon switch. All other red wires are capped separately at each end.

An Insteon virtual 3-way configuration does not use a traveler wire at all. None.


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oberkc
Advanced Member

USA
3649 Posts

Posted - 02/01/2018 :  04:46:00 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
While I wholly agree with stusviews on his position, I wanted to check on one thing....by chance, are the "other circuits" in each of the two switch boxes on the same circuit breaker? I assumed not, and believe it highly unlikely, but I did not find this conclusive from your writeup and thought it was worth asking.

Edited by - oberkc on 02/01/2018 04:50:02 AM
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rock6112hill
New Member

23 Posts

Posted - 02/01/2018 :  08:23:48 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by oberkc

While I wholly agree with stusviews on his position, I wanted to check on one thing....by chance, are the "other circuits" in each of the two switch boxes on the same circuit breaker? I assumed not, and believe it highly unlikely, but I did not find this conclusive from your writeup and thought it was worth asking.


No, OBERKC, they are not on the same circuit breaker -- if they were, then I don't think I'd be in the confused state that I am in.

Thanks to both you, and STUSVIEWS, for your patience and for keeping us safe as we work our way through this mess.

The following link shows two rather crude drawings of the current set up and where I believe OBERKC's recommendations are intended to take us.
https://photos.app.goo.gl/Zq0WlDMAAbkxhON42

Please confirm that my interpretation is correct, or suggest alterations as needed. Note that we do have another three way that is wired just like this and it's fixture box is more available as it is only at standard ceiling height. Personally, I would like to use this one to pilot making the changes as there are several 3-ways we need to update. For the ones that are on our tall ceilings, I will probably go ahead and hire an electrician as I don't believe my husband should be on a tall ladder.

A couple of general questions:
  • Since box one has another circuit in it; is it standard practice to tie ALL the neutrals into a single bundle?
  • Or, instead, should there be a bundle for each circuit in the box?
  • Same set of questions for the grounds. Single bundle in the box for all circuits or a bundle for each circuit?


As always .... thank you for your assistance, and most of all patience.

AM Smith
North Central Texas
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oberkc
Advanced Member

USA
3649 Posts

Posted - 02/01/2018 :  10:34:32 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The right picture looks correct. All white wires, including the fixture, get tied together.

No, do not tie all neutrals together in the switch box. Since we established that the loads in the switch box are on separate circuits, the neutrals should remain separated as well.

Grounds, I don't believe, suffer the same risk as neutrals, but neither does connecting them together have any benefit. I suppose, with multiple failures, one could overload a ground, but this seems unlikely to me. Besides, the grounds are bare and may contact each other, even if not on purpose.
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rock6112hill
New Member

23 Posts

Posted - 02/01/2018 :  11:27:58 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thank you ... now I understand what to do with our simplest 3-way. We have a few others that encompass two lights that are wired between a pair of 3-way switches where power is supplied to one of the fixtures.

I will start another thread for that situation as I think this one has gotten long enough. It may be a day or two, based on this thread, I just might be able to draw up a crude diagram and have you confirm. I have a detailed diagram from an online source that shows how I believe it is wired now.

Regards .....

AM Smith
North Central Texas
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oberkc
Advanced Member

USA
3649 Posts

Posted - 02/01/2018 :  11:45:04 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Your two-light scenario will likely be just like this one, except the addition of an extra cable between the two fixture boxes. Solution will be similar.
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