Wiring question

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On 9/17/2011 11:40 AM, Dean Hoffman wrote:

Yes, as long as it is installed in compliance with the Code -- specifically, in reference to the OP's question, with all conductors being in the same cable. A DP breaker will also be required.
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On Thu, 15 Sep 2011 22:55:39 -0700 (PDT), Ivan Vegvary
remotely. This would obviate my walking across the room in the dark to get to the light switch.

Several of my switches have only a hot leg coming into the box with no neutral. X10 docs. recommend simply running a neutral wire into the box.

on the exterior walls. These locations are inaccessible from the attic since this is where the roof meets the ceiling ergo providing mere inches of crawl space. It would be much easier to run the neutral wire from below (I have a generous 42" high crawl space).

come from any circuit (even a separate new circuit) and run a white neutral wire to each switch box? Does it have to be from the same phase? X10 docs. do mention that if not from the same phase, then the phases can be joined at the box.

It will work if you connect any neutral, but don't do it and here's why: Suppose you are doing some remodeling or repairs down the road. You kill the breaker to a circuit, check with your meter to make sure the circuit is dead and start unwiring the circuit to replace a bad outlet say. You disconnect the neutral, and all of a sudden it's hot because upstream somewhere you connected your X10 from a different hot circuit to the neutral of the one that you turned off. When you break the neutral, the X10 provides a path to the other hot leg, and the disconnected neutral becomes hot. Yes, it's current limited by the x10 and wouldn't power a toaster say, but there's more than enough current available to make *you* toast.
This exact situation (doorbell xfmr, not x10) happened to me and I got a good shock. It's especially dangerous because you can check the circuit with a meter all you want before you break the neutral, and it won't show that it's hot (because it's not, at that time). This is why I always treat the neutrals as hot until they are disconnected and verified to be dead.
So bite the bullet and do this some other way. And it is against code, if you need another reason.
HTH,
Paul F.
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On Fri, 16 Sep 2011 06:41:00 -0400, Paul Franklin

remotely. This would obviate my walking across the room in the dark to get to the light switch.

location. Several of my switches have only a hot leg coming into the box with no neutral. X10 docs. recommend simply running a neutral wire into the box.

on the exterior walls. These locations are inaccessible from the attic since this is where the roof meets the ceiling ergo providing mere inches of crawl space. It would be much easier to run the neutral wire from below (I have a generous 42" high crawl space).

come from any circuit (even a separate new circuit) and run a white neutral wire to each switch box? Does it have to be from the same phase? X10 docs. do mention that if not from the same phase, then the phases can be joined at the box.

Can you say "red herring" or "straw man"?
When you shutt of a breaker you ONLY shut off the "line" - not the neutral.
When you go to replace that theoretical outlet, the neutral is STILL GROUNDED at the panel - so there is NO voltage differential between it and ground. Also, the X10 is not a load, like a bell transformer. It is a voltage controlled device - not current - so it is only "injecting" a couple of milliamps into the neutral - so even IF it was ungrounded at the panel (which would make the circuit totally inoperative) it would be doing good to give you a little tickle - muchless harm you.
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On Sep 16, 8:37pm, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

There not talking about the current, if any, from the X10 device. They are talking about the current from other loads on the circuit that the neutral is bootlegged from. If, in replacing the X10 device at some future point in time, the splice in the neutral of the circuit from which the bootlegged neutral was taken were opened the load side of that splice will go high to one hundred twenty volts.
I had such an incident with a bootlegged neutral serving a lighting fixture. I opened the switch to the light and installed a lock out device on it. I checked for other hot circuits in the box with a voltage proximity detector and got no voltage indication. I opened the splice to the neutral, using best practice non contact technique, and got a spark when I actually broke the neutral continuity. So I checked again with the proximity detector and got a voltage indication. I pulled out my Wiggy and got one hundred plus volts to ground. I applied a tracer transmitter between the two disconnected neutrals and it came on and produced a signal. When I opened the fuse it led me to the voltage and the signal went away. I then reapplied the power by closing the fuse and traced the neutral to discover were it actually came from. I was able to rework the circuits arrangement to clear the inter-circuit connection but, had I not used best practice technique, I might have received a fatal shock. -- Tom Horne
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Andy comments: Absolutely right .... That's why it isn't a good idea, since some hypothetical future problem would open up the neutral path back to the panel.... Incidentally, this problem also happens when the screw to the little white wire in the panel gets loose, or corroded.... which is why I reccommend tightening up the screws in the neutral bar in the panel every few years or so.... This can also cause an "apparent" voltage drop to the appliances being used, and is normally one of the first things to check when that happens....
Andy in Eureka, Texas
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On 9/16/2011 1:55 AM, Ivan Vegvary wrote:

remotely. This would obviate my walking across the room in the dark to get to the light switch.

location. Several of my switches have only a hot leg coming into the box with no neutral. X10 docs. recommend simply running a neutral wire into the box.

on the exterior walls. These locations are inaccessible from the attic since this is where the roof meets the ceiling ergo providing mere inches of crawl space. It would be much easier to run the neutral wire from below (I have a generous 42" high crawl space).

come from any circuit (even a separate new circuit) and run a white neutral wire to each switch box? Does it have to be from the same phase? X10 docs. do mention that if not from the same phase, then the phases can be joined at the box.

I'm curious as to the wording X10 uses. It is a code violation and potentially dangerous. There is a company that makes a wireless, batteryless, wall switch receiver - transmitter kit. The wall switch looks identical to a Decora switch, and can even be ganged with other switches. The receiver module is small and will fit in most fixture canopies. I've used them, they work great, the only issue is that the set costs around $200. The company is called Enocean
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On 9/16/2011 1:55 AM, Ivan Vegvary wrote:

remotely. This would obviate my walking across the room in the dark to get to the light switch.

That's a Code violation. *All* conductors are required to be in the same raceway, conduit, or cable.

Then run an entirely new cable.

Yes.
No.
That's not a meaningful concept with respect to the neutral.

No disrespect intended, but you should hire an electrician to do this for you. You don't appear to have sufficient knowledge to do this safely.
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wrote:

One possible solution is to use one of the X10 light switches that don't use a neutral. They only work with incandescent bulbs, but since he only mentions controlling lights that would seem to be at least a possibility that would save a hell of a lot of work.
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On 9/16/2011 7:45 AM, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

remotely. This would obviate my walking across the room in the dark to get to the light switch.

The basic X-10 wall switch (WS467) does NOT require a neutral in order to function. Its major problem is that it won't work with CFLs. However, if you are concerned about energy consumption, it WILL work with LED bulbs. While LED bulbs are quite expensive, they are a lot cheaper than rewiring and require zero effort. And you'll save the money back since WS467 switches are a lot cheaper than the CFL capable ones that require the neutral. This seems to me to be the simplest, safe way to proceed.
--
Peace,
bobJ

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On 9/16/2011 9:46 AM, Marilyn & Bob wrote:

Just checked the X-10 site and see that their new incandescent only wall switches DO require a neutral, however the hot wire only switches that I mentioned (WS467) are still available on Ebay.
--
Peace,
bobJ

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The other issue with all things X10 is reliability. Since he's apparently just looking to control some lights across the room the reliability will probably be acceptable. Meaning if once in a while it doesn't respond to a command he can just resend it. But for anyone considering rewiring to support X10, they should know it's not 100% reliable and may not suit the application.
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On Fri, 16 Sep 2011 09:46:55 -0400, Marilyn & Bob

remotely. This would obviate my walking across the room in the dark to get to the light switch.

Or throw a single 7 watt ( or higher)incandescent bulb in the circuit with as many CFLs as you want.
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Thanks M & B I will order the WS467 switches through ebay. Incandescent bulbs are fine with me.
Should I choose to upgrade to a system that needs a neutral feed, I will run a full cable (circuit) from the service entrance to the switch box. The many safety concerns and code violations posted above are taken to heart.
Thanks everybody,
Ivan Vegvary
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HUH, Unless X10 switch modules have been redesigned lately they DO NOT require a neutral. Most of my switches are on the ends of switch loops and I have replaced several switches with X10 modules. No Neutral available or required at these points..
Jimmie
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There are both kinds of X10 switch modules, ie those that don't use a neutral and those that do. The ones that don't only work with incandescent lights or similar resistive loads. The other ones are for any load. Apparently even the ones that don't use a neutral can be used with CFLs if you also provide a resistive load, eg a small incandescent night light.
I agree that if he can use one of the X10 switches that do not require a neutral it's the simplest solution to his problem.
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<<There are both kinds of X10 switch modules, ie those that don't use a neutral and those that do. The ones that don't only work with incandescent lights or similar resistive loads. The other ones are for any load. Apparently even the ones that don't use a neutral can be used with CFLs if you also provide a resistive load, eg a small incandescent night light.>>
I just tried an experiment. I have several infrequently used single socket overhead fixtures that flash very rapidly when used with the typical X-10 WS467 wall switch and a CFL. I just bought a two-way socket splitter, loaded one side with a small nighlite bulb and the other with a CFL. The switch worked normally now, although the illumination is slightly uneven and the CFL touches the plastic diffuser. I can fix than by lengthening the chain.
Sadly, the one light where it might have been useful is the porch front light which is a carriage house single bulb fixture. I ended up pulling new wire to new fixture in a spot closer to the driveway. As I believe Clare mentioned, the switch loops remain live and in an X-10 circuit if you forget to toggle the lockout slide, you can have a very startling "pop in the hand" experience as the (bad) bulb makes contact, activates the local sense circuit, turns the light on and the bulb "pops" in your hand (probably because of a bad seal).
<I agree that if he can use one of the X10 switches that do not require a neutral it's the simplest solution to his problem.>
On infrequently used lights, it's the best way to go But I'm happy that I can use socket splitters and can now replace a single bulb overhead fixture with a multiple bulb one, using a small nightlight in one of the sockets to provide a resistive load that can trickle current through to the X-10 circuitry.
This was a useful thread. This will have high SAF to be able to put some bright overhead lighting in for the fall cleaning season, which is about the only time we use them (other than for whole-house light flashing when the alarm goes off - very useful there, too).
The prices on 23W bulbs have really dropped. I guess the idea of people making do with 13W bulbs was pretty optimistic. I also noticed that the electronics pods on the last batch of 23W bulbs I bought were way smaller than those of bulbs bought two years ago. They actually fit in some of my desk lamps now.
-- Bobby G.
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On Thu, 22 Sep 2011 13:44:59 -0700 (PDT), JIMMIE

remotely.  This would obviate my walking across the room in the dark to get to the light switch.

location.  Several of my switches have only a hot leg coming into the box with no neutral.  X10 docs. recommend simply running a neutral wire into the box.  

are on the exterior walls.  These locations are inaccessible from the attic since this is where the roof meets the ceiling ergo providing mere inches of crawl space.  It would be much easier to run the neutral wire from below (I have a generous 42" high crawl space).  

simply come from any circuit (even a separate new circuit) and run a white neutral wire to each switch box?  Does it have to be from the same phase?  X10 docs. do mention that if not from the same phase, then the phases can be joined at the box.

If you have "incandescent only" switches there in no neutral required . Switches that can handle flourescents and electronic transformers require the neutral.
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Did you check outside the switch box, the neutral may be there.
You may want to consider Insteon which is an improved system over X10. It is not perfect but alot better from my experience.
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