It probably doesn't need a neutral wire because it is just
a switch. The only difference between it and a regular
switch is that it has a little wind up clock motor in it to
turn the switch off after the time you set.
If it is an electronic time switch it probably has a battery
in it that will run the timer. The problem with this
set up is that you have to replace the battery every once
in a while. I had one and it had to be turned off between
uses or it ran the battery down very quickly. This kind
of defeated its purpose, since you couldn't just start
the timer and walk off and forget it until the next time.
I took it out and put in one of the mechanical ones.
Did you get it working with the timer at the light-end (not hot feed end)?
The advantage of not needing a neutral is that there is often not a
neutral available at a switch. Because timers that are powered from the
line are becoming so common the most recent code requires a neutral at
most switches in new wiring. As you probably know, your timer doesn't
need a switch because it has a battery.
No Bud, I had to wire it at the hot feed end per instructions. I
tried almost a whole day everything I could think of, getting
frustrated trying the leg end until I read on a site (not in the
instructions by the way) that it had to be wired from the hot feed
end. As soon as I switched it to the feed end, it worked. Funny
thing is I haven't programmed it yet, just working it in manual mode
right now. It is kinda funky tho on a 3 way switch because the timer
controls the 3 way circuit (well at least in manual mode) so if you
try to control at the other end, it won't work. As long as the timer
is turned on, the other switch works fine. To me, that's not a true 3
way circuit but what do I know <grin>. I think it really would be
better on a single pole switch which is what I plan to do with the
other timer I have.
Some timers used the ground wire in place of the neutral. If the current
is within the allowed "leakage" current it can (or at least could) pass
UL. It is possible that is what Leviton is doing (so it needs to be at
the power end). (Doesn't seem likely since there is a battery.) It is
one reason the code now generally wants neutrals at switch locations.
I would expect that if the timer is turning the light on maybe both
switches wouldn't work. If timer is not turning the light on both
switches should work. Does not sound like that is what is happening.
Just to clarify in case I wasn't clear... this timer replaced the hot
end switch. The other end (leg end) had to be rewired tho when this
timer was wired up. If you didn't see the schematic and want to, I
posted it in early message.
Some of these timers use a voltage robbing circuit to power them, which
is a pia because they shut down when the bulb that they're controlling
blows, and have to be reprogrammed.
Strangely, the diagram for the 3 way wiring showed the timer being
located at the feed end of the circuit, but when wiring it as a single
pole, it doesn't matter which of the two wires you connect to are hot. I
haven't installed this particular model, but when I've done other
Intermatic models, it hasn't mattered which side the thing went on.
(lol) None of them work very well, for very long, anyway.
Well, from my experience with Intermatic electronic timers, most
failures occur right at the time of installation, at such a high rate
that I always carried two on my truck. If you're in an area subject to
voltage spikes from lightning, they're toast. Other than spikes and
DOA's , I've seen them last for many years and work just fine. One
caveat, they don't work well on 3 way systems where the switches are
pretty far apart, like front door and garage. These days, unless the
customer specifically requests and electronic in wall time switch, I use
the Tork in wall mechanical timer. They have to be installed in a single
gang switch box, by themselves, and they require a neutral, but they are
I live in an area that doesn't get too many spikes but I've gotten
some over the last 10 years or so. I haven't programed it yet but it
works in manual mode so I presume that means not DOA. I guess time
will tell. Thanks for the info...
Whole house surge supressors are fine for more durable electrical
devices, depending upon the make and model of course, however unless
you're spending a boat load of money on it, it won't do squat for
sensitive electronic devices
They should protect electronics that only connects to power. A lot of
sensitive electronics also has phone or cable connections. In that case
they may or may not completely protect (they don't limit the voltage
between power and signal wires). They should be listed under UL1449.
This is certainly one area I know little about. Every time I go through
this exercise, I come up pretty much empty handed. My suppliers explain
it to me like this: Lightning and voltage spike devices are rated by "
clamping time", which is how fast they can shunt the spike, and by
"joules", which is the size of a spike that they can handle. I can buy
one for $5, and I can buy one for $20,000. I have always passed on the
$20K. When the customer really insists on something, I use a $50 unit
that wires into the service panel. Problem is, I have no way to
determine if it's actually protecting anything. From my experience,
the most sensitive things, the ones that seem first to blow out during
an electrical storm are telephone answering machines, which of course
have the phone line as well as power, garage door operators, and GFCI
I know what you mean. That's why besides the specs
and claims, I would not use one from an unknown
manufacturer. I recently installed an Intermatic IG1240RC,
about $100, for a friend. I believe that properly installed
they do offer sufficient protection on the incoming AC
power. For devices like TV, phone, etc that are connected
to other lines, whole house protection plus
plug-in surge protectors that clamp the other lines to
the AC is the best we can do.
On 3/5/2012 8:01 AM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
About everything has MOVs as the voltage clamping element. MOVs are fast
enough ("clamping time") for any surge.
The maximum surge with any reasonable probability of occurring is
10,000A per service wire. (That is based on a 100,000A lightning strike
to the nearest utility pole in typical urban overhead distribution.)
Higher ratings mean longer life. A guide from the IEEE suggests 20,000 -
70,000A per wire for residential, or 40,000 - 120,000A in high lightning
For best protection the entry protectors for phone and cable should
connect with a _short_ ground wire to the building earthing system. The
distance from the N-G service bond to the common connection point should
also be short. The longer the ground wire the higher the voltage between
power and signal wires. For phones, 10 feet is about the maximum. Also
short wire for dish, but probably not as critical.
GFCIs probably all have MOVs L-N. The UL standard maybe 5 years ago
required better surge protection.
I agree on using major-brand devices.
And I agree that when using a plug-in protector, all wires (power,
phone, cable, dish, ...) to a set of protected equipment need to go
through the protector.
Protection is defined by the item that absorbs hundreds of thousands
of joules. That is not a protector adjacent to appliances that does
not even claim to protect from typically destructive surges. That is
The 'whole house' protector protects all appliances even from
direct lightning strikes because it connects destructive surges to
earth. The distance to earth is critical (ie 'less than 10 feet'). A
protector too far from earth and too close to the appliance can
connect that surge to earth destructively via the appliance. An
adjacent protector does not even claim protection.
Your 'whole house' protector also does not protect from surges.
Instead, it connects destructive surges to earth. Hundreds of
thousands of joules must be absorbed somewhere. No way around that
Either you connect that surge to earth BEFORE it can enter the
building. Or that surge goes hunting for earth destructively via
appliances. With or without an adjacent protector.
A typically lightning strike is 20,000 amps. A minimally sized
'whole house' protector starts at 50,000 amps. Direct lightning
strikes must not even damage a protector. 'Whole house' protectors
are sold by the more responsible companies including General Electric,
Leviton, ABB, Siemens, Keison, Polyphaser, Square D, and Intermatic.
A Cutler-Hammer solution sells in Lowes and Home Depot even for less
But again, most important is the item that absorbs those hundreds of
thousands of joules. Earth ground. To connect a surge to earth means
a protector must be low impedance (ie 'less than 10 feet') to that
single point earth ground. This is how it is done in every facility
that can never have damage. A protector is only as effective as its
dedicated and 'must always exist' connection to earth. The effective
protector is rated by how much current it can connect to earth. A
least 50,000 amps.
Here we go again with the surge protector nut.
No one said a surge protector absorbs hundreds
of thousands of joules. No one said anything about
"absorb", until you did. But now that will be the
strawman to argue against.
It certainly may, but I would not count on it being 100%
effective and would not be surprised if there
were some damage to AC appliances by a massive
direct lightning hit to a house. In my view, the more realistic
and common scenario is that they will protect against surges
on the incoming AC lines that are caused by nearby lightning
Of course the IEEE disagrees and says that the
plug-in, point-of-use type of protectors can and should
be used as part of a tiered protection strategy.
I guess that's a new version of English that you're using.
By any rational usage, if a whole house protector connects
destructive surges to earth and as a result the electrical gear in the
house is not damaged, then it has indeed "protected from
So now a whole house surge protector installed at the
panel in my basement is now useless? Not only the IEEE,
but every surge protector manufacturer that I know of
Says who? I live in an area with moderate thunderstorm
activity. My house has NEVER been directly hit by lightning.
Don't know a single person's home who has. I do know of
instances of appliances damaged during thunderstorms
when there were hits somewhere in the nearby area.
Bud already outlined how it's very unlikely a full lighting
surge is going to make it to the surge protector anyway,
because arcing will occur BEFORE the surge protector,
leaving the protector with more likely a 10,000 amp per
So, why is it wrong if I choose to use a surge protector that
can handle 20,000 amps?
I've asked you in the past to show us the link to that $50 mythical
at HD or Lowes that meets your above 50,000 amp miniumum rating.
Yet, here we go again. It's never been provided because it doesn't
Then why do electronics manufacturers put surge protection
in their appliances? You have a 10 ft ground on your microwave
The poster asked about parameters that make a protector effective.
Protection is always and only about where those hundreds of thousands
of joules dissipate. Always. Joules that a protector can absorb are
not a relevant parameter. Important is its current rating. To remain
functional even after a direct lightning strike.
We routinely suffered direct lightning strikes without damage to
anything. We properly installed what absorbs hundreds of thousands of
joules. And connect a protector low impedance (ie 'less than 10
feet') to that solution. Sorry that reality, micky's question and
RBM's answer makes you so angry. That anger also does not answer
A request was for relevant parameters. A typical lightning strike
is 20,000 amps. A minimally sized 'whole house' protector starts at
50,000 amps. Direct lightning strikes must not even damage a
protector. Or a timer switch. Current in amperes is important for a
protector and for connections to what must absorb that energy. Single
point earth ground. Useful answers always discuss where energy
dissipates. And what is necessary to also protect an electronic timer
micky - even bud's citation says what makes any protector effective
AND what is most critical to making a 'whole house' protector useful:
Motorola's R-56 Standard says same:
Protecting an electronic timer switch means a properly earthed
'whole house' protector. Protectors, without a short connection to
what absorbs energy, are routinely called "useless".
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