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Wireless switch clicking


ryanm

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I installed a c4 sw120277 to control my fan( remote operated fan/light). Wall switch is merely power on off.There are only three wires in the box. Black white ground. I connected black to black and ground to green. And I connected white and red to white as there is no neutral in. As soon as I turn the power on and the switch on it starts clicking very loudly. Any solutions? Short of having an electrician come out...I am going to but just so I know what I did wrong.

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What you did wrong is wire it wrong, and against the install guide, guessing/assuming.

Electrician can do little - unless he can pull new wires. You do not have a neutral, and you cannot wires a switch without a neutral.

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If you stick with electrical code, Cy is right.  Unless you can pull a neutral from another nearby outlet, your electrician would have to pull a neutral from the circuit breaker panel, which would likely be fairly painful, both in terms of the work required and the cost.  That's the only truly safe way to install a switch there.

There is another option that would technically work, but it's also against electrical code and for pretty good reason.  Neutral and Ground are never supposed to be the same wire, because if something plugged into your home had a short circuit and dumped a bunch of voltage onto the ground wire, having that voltage on a neutral line could damage other things in your house, or worse.  But electrically speaking, neutral and ground are pretty much the same thing.  If you connect ground from the wall to both ground and white in the switch, then black to black, and red from the switch to white from the wall, it should function just fine (assuming you haven't fried your switch already).  That's basically the same thing as etrochez is suggesting.  But *keep in mind that there is a risk with this*.  If something else in your home shorts or fails and puts voltage on the ground wire, this switch could get fried.  I've seen several dealers recommend doing this.  The dealer who originally installed a few switches in my home actually wired two switches up this way, even though there was an actual neutral in the wall, because it was easier to do than fish for the common neutral wire.  I've since gone back and re-wired every switch I can to properly comply with code.  I *do not* recommend doing this unless there's no other option (which there isn't in your case) and without being fully aware of the risks.  An honest electrician should refuse to do it, because it's against code.

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22 minutes ago, etrochez said:

Connect black to black, red from switch to white from box. Cap off white from switch, don't connect it to anything. Green to ground.  If you haven't damaged the switch, it will work 

No it will not - the C4 switch REQUIRES a white to operate - period.

 

13 minutes ago, Joshua Pressnell said:

That's basically the same thing as etrochez is suggesting.  But *keep in mind that there is a risk with this*.  If something else in your home shorts or fails and puts voltage on the ground wire, this switch could get fried.  I've seen several dealers recommend doing this.

No it isn't the same thing.

You also risk death - while theoretically mostly, and the chances are low, the possible consequence is very much death.

Those dealers shouldn't be dealers.

15 minutes ago, Joshua Pressnell said:

unless there's no other option (which there isn't in your case)

Ah but there ARE other options available - but these options should at all times be done by a person who knows what he's doing.

17 minutes ago, Joshua Pressnell said:

I've since gone back and re-wired every switch I can to properly comply with code

You should go back and redo the REST as well - or specifically HAVE them redone to be proper.

On all of the above - are you seriously suggesting these option to somehow who just randomly twisted together a switchleg and a neutral? Wow.

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32 minutes ago, Cyknight said:

No it isn't the same thing.

You also risk death - while theoretically mostly, and the chances are low, the possible consequence is very much death.

Those dealers shouldn't be dealers.

You should go back and redo the REST as well - or specifically HAVE them redone to be proper.

On all of the above - are you seriously suggesting these option to somehow who just randomly twisted together a switchleg and a neutral? Wow.

Redoing the rest is on my to-do list. Somewhere in the middle of the priority queue, since they're all working properly at the moment. 

I agree very much that the risks are there, which is why I stated my post the way I did. It's something that can be done, but isn't really a good idea. In my opinion, if you don't know what you're doing, then you should differ to a qualified electrician. I know what the wiring is, what it does, and why, along with what the risks are and what the relative likelihood of each negative outcome is.  I tend to err on the side of giving all the information there is, and appropriate warnings, so that if the OP goes and finds some option on some other website, he's at least armed with what the implications are  

If it were me, I'd do my own wire pull for a neutral line from a nearby outlet. Given that the OP doesn't sound like that experienced of a DIY guy, it's likely best to get an electrician to quote the wire pull... And then decide what's best to do in their situation. 

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I'd err on the side of not telling anyone to *ever* use safety ground as a neutral.

Even though they're connected together (hopefully!) at the meter base in a typical residential install, and the ground wire *electrically* should be at a 'neutral' potential, the ground wire is *not* a power carrying conductor, and wiring it as one opens up risk of fire, risk of injury / death, and a *lot* of liability.

If the ground is being used as a power return, and for example, an electrician opens the neutral connection on the panel (or the neutral connection was somehow faulty in the first place), they could then get a fatal shock from the (now energized) ground wire.  Also, from any metal appliances that have a grounded case.

In a more common case, if a circuit has multiple paths from the transformer source, through the load, with some devices returning to the transformer using a proper neutral, and others using a ground conductor, local grounds could be at a higher potential than actual ground (i.e. your bare feet on a wet floor), causing the same issue.

The ONLY time current should flow in any quantity on the ground conductor is when there's a ground fault in the equipment, and this is intended to cause the circuit breaker or fuse to trip/blow.

It's a *very* bad idea to wire as described above, against the NEC (and likely all other international codes), and should *never* be done.

RyanE

 

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there is a reason why control4 requires installation of their lighting products by a licensed electrician.

Control4 lighting products them-self are powered, and need to be powered by the same as the load. There are situations where this can be done with out (dimmers). There are a lot considerations, to factor in especially when retrofitting a home.

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Thanks for the detailed explanation. I knew it was against code and had potential risks, but hadn't thought of some of these. I've actually done work in a friend's condo where someone mis-wired ground on the washroom circuit like that and any time you touched their clothes drier, you'd get zapped. 

I've seen other forums that suggested this kind of wiring as a stop gap. I now have more motivation to go rewire those other outlets the previous dealer (or maybe owner of the house) wired wrong. I was just going to leave them until I could work out the wire pull to do it right. 

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Dimmers can install without a dedicated neutral, but I wouldn't use a dimmer if your controlling on/off power at a fan like that.

If there are only three wires in the box it sounds like a switch leg wiring, which are pain in the asses.

What wiring do you have running into the fan box?  I'm assuming 14/2 romex.

Have an electrician come out as you would either have to 1) give up 2) pull new wire or 3) install a switch at the panel (I know.... I know....) where you have access to the neutral.  So Panel (with new wire) to Switch and then Switch (existing fan wiring) to Fan.  Then install a programmable keypad at different location near the original fan switch (kill the fan switch), and program the keypad to control the switch at panel.  If you're got 14/3 running from the panel to the fan however, then you can wire up a keypad at the original fan switch location, if not, place the keypad at different (but nearby) location.

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Well that generated a lot of feedback. I had an electrician come out as I said. Unfortunately I wasn't home. Both my C4 installer/certified electrician and the independent electrician figured it together and said it was good to go. I wasn't here so not sure on what they did. But I had them remove the remote control from the fan and light for now, and will be putting in a fan controller. 

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Then I hope they didn't install a dimmer. And that you have a dedicated curcuit for the light, because you can't run a fan switch without a neutral either, nor can/should it be used with a light.

Then again, you shouldn't put a dimmer on a fan either......

 

I HOPE there were multiple devices in the box, or an outlet etc available to pull a neutral...

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