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Retrofitting C4 lighting for a 3 way setup


lasvegas_rob

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We are configuring my Sales Guy's house for lighting in his kitchen, and he has an existing 3 way switch (2 switches, 1 light). How do we install C4 devices to replace the existing switches? We have replaced one of the old switches with a C4 dimmer, but what do we do with the other side? It has the switchleg for the load, but we can't install a 2,3,or 6 button keypad there because it isnt constant power, and we can't put a 2 button switch or another dimmer there, because the install guides say to only use one dimmer or keypad per load. I'm lost here. Should we just leave the existing switch there? And if so, I guess we would just need to add a keypad in a different location to allow for a 6 button for lighting scenes, etc., right? thanks, guys and gals.

Rob

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I believe the dimmer goes on the load then the other should just be a C4 switch. It's important that they are both C4 for proper functioning. There is no need for a "traveler" or "carrier" wire so you can convert that to a neutral for the switch if possible and if there's no neutral there.

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C4 says in a 3 way design, you have to use a 2, 3, or 6 button keypad on the non-load side of the circuit. I can tell you from experience, that is not the case. If the load side has a dimmer, I suggest using a 2 button keypad on the non-load side to have dimming functionality on either switch. If the load side has a switch, you can just use a normal C4 switch on the non-load side. Through programming, you can get this to work the same as with a 2 button keypad. If you plan to do this, let me know, and I can help with the wiring.

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I believe the dimmer goes on the load then the other should just be a C4 switch. It's important that they are both C4 for proper functioning. There is no need for a "traveler" or "carrier" wire so you can convert that to a neutral for the switch if possible and if there's no neutral there.

I'm sorry this is incorrect. You must use a keypad for the 2nd location (2, 3 or 6 button) but a keypad none-the-less not a switch. You also must use blue wire from the dimmer and a travler wire for the hot for this keypad, so there is an air gap to conform to the NEC. See my attached diagrams for details.

I hope this helps,

Rob

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wait, this was about installing a three way ...

i can't ever imagine a wiring scenerio in a 3-way that wouldn't have at least a hot and a neutral coming from the other light switch or from the light.

i have come across a 3-way once where the original installer ran hot to the light ... and then two legs down to two locations for the switches :mad:

the easiest way to solve these wiring problems is just to describe what you are having to deal with and there will be a solution for retrofitting ... there ALWAYS is a solution.

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I know this is probably not code but isn't Neutral the Same as ground? They go to the same block in the circuit breaker...

Neutral IS NOT the same as ground.

neutral carries a load ... ground does not.

do you guys know the history of how lights were wired and why you sometimes don't find a neutral in the box? here's some cheap trivia ... back in the "good ol' days" ... there was NO electricity (i'm serious!). and when electricity was invented only the wealthy got to have it. and all those old places were retrofitted with lights ... but ... they got a light and a PULL CHAIN. power came in ... went to the fixture ... end of story. well, then some smartass invented the wall switch ... more "retrofitting" by just breaking the hot with a toggle switch ... true luxury! ... well, you can see where this is going ... then finally plumbing and a toilet and an Archies comic :D

some of the "good ol' boys" from the "good ol' days" still wire a house that way. feed to light (load) and then down to the switch (switch leg). PITA ... and i don't think it is code anymore in most places.

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some of the "good ol' boys" from the "good ol' days" still wire a house that way. feed to light (load) and then down to the switch (switch leg). PITA ... and i don't think it is code anymore in most places.

Your right, some of the good ol' boys still use that method. Around here any way. Most of the apprentices that I went to school with a few years ago were no longer in the habit of doing that, though. Just think, if there is a connection that you need access to wouldn't it be easier to go open up a switch instead of pulling out a ladder, removing a light just to get to the wires... you get the picture. It's not so much a code issue as it is convenience. Although the NEC is a national code making panel - each individual state, and some cities or counties have the ability to make their own codes because of local laws giving such areas jurisdiction, over their own code making panels to accept or reject portions of the NEC.

Here in Idaho the state inspectors didn't have to power to enforce the low voltage sections of the NEC until Jan 1, 06, they could make suggestions, but they couldn't say, "You SHALL fix that". (NEC joke... sorry, for those of you unfamiliar with the NEC it speaks in terms of SHALL and SHALL NOT.)

Blake

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Just think, if there is a connection that you need access to wouldn't it be easier to go open up a switch instead of pulling out a ladder, removing a light just to get to the wires...

the big push for the code change, around here anyway, is mostly because with a light wired with a switch-leg the power remains at the fixture even when the switch is turned off. there has been too many "do-it-yourselfers" that have been jolted on a ladder changing a light fixture thinking that because the light is off, the power is off to the fixture.

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Now you understand why we use fiberglass ladders! Getting shocked while standing on a ladder is bad enough, but add an aluminum ladder into the equation and you could be in serious trouble. All of the houses in my neighborhood were wired by homeowners with little to no electrical experience. Since I moved in 3 years ago I have rewired several of them because of the issues they created by not following code. Don't get me wrong, DIYers can do a lot of great things, but there are just some things that should be left to a professional in my opinion.

Blake

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  • 2 weeks later...

One of the travelers will typically be hot in a three way setup whether the light is off or on, because of the nature of a three way switch. If, for example the travelers are red and black... if the red is hot when the light is off than the black will be hot when the light is on. Throw a 4 way into the middle of it and it changes things up a little bit, but it is essentially the same.

You bring up a good point with areas with conduit, luckily you can add a nuetral if you have conduit... romex is a different story. Conduit can be very nice in the long run, but it has it limits too. It's a whole 'nother ball game when conduit is involved.

Blake

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  • 2 years later...

Unfortunately i do not. For some reason the forum dropped them out. Perhaps I can help you get the information you need.

It's pretty straight forward I have to say.

C4 is overall extremely simple. A 3 way switch/dimmer is a dimmer on one side and a keypad on the other. The keypad requires 110 all the time and so does the dimmer. Only difference is dimmer controls the load to the light.

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  • 5 months later...

Just asking for some clarification. I have attached a picture of a typical 3-way switch wiring diagram. As you will see there is no neutral on one switch just two travelers and hot. If you have a finished room that was wired with Romex how do you use the Keypad? Also if I was doing new construction this is how I would wire a room with a three way. Assuming I knew I wanted to use Control4 would I pull a extra white 14ga wire connected as a neutral?

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Just asking for some clarification. I have attached a picture of a typical 3-way switch wiring diagram. As you will see there is no neutral on one switch just two travelers and hot. If you have a finished room that was wired with Romex how do you use the Keypad? Also if I was doing new construction this is how I would wire a room with a three way. Assuming I knew I wanted to use Control4 would I pull a extra white 14ga wire connected as a neutral?

You have all the wire you need to make this work.

Top box

0. Hook all the bare copper grounds together to the green wire on the C4 dimmer

1. Hook white wire from the C4 dimmer, the lines and the white wire going to the box that has the light

2. Hook the black wire from the lines (source) to the black wire on the C4 dimmer

3. Hook the blue wire from the C4 dimmer to the red wire that goes to the box for the light

Middle box

0. hook all the bare copper grounds together

1. Hook all the white wires together and connect this to on terminal of the light fixture

2. Hook the black wire from the top box above to the other terminal of the light fixture

3. Cap the black wire going to the bottom box. We will not use this wire.

4. Hook the red wires together.

Bottom Box

0. Hook the bare ground wire to the green on the C4 2 button key pad

1. Hook the white wire to the white wire on the C4 2 button key pad

2. Cap the black wire, as we will not use it

3. Hook the red wire to the black wire on the C4 2 button key pad

Disclaimer: I am not a certified electrician and my not know exactly what I am doing so check with a certified electrician before you try to install anyC4 dimmers or key pads.

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Alan,

Have you used this wiring schema before?

Yes. I just finished a 4-way setup at my own house about an hour ago. I also have two 3-ways at my house wired exactly as I described.

If you look at the C4 "Wireless Dimmer Installation Guide" included with every C4 dimmer you will see that this is similar to what is explained in the "Two-Location Scenario-Power Source at the Wall Box" instructions. There is even a nice little schematic.

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