DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum > DIY Home Improvement > Electrical and Wiring > Purpose of neutral wire?




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Old 05-11-2014, 11:36 PM  
LeakingFaucet
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Default Purpose of neutral wire?

I am replacing a Panasonic FV-WCCS1-W WhisperControl Three-Function On/Off Switch that recently stopped working. I intended to use a Leviton single pole light switch but noticed it lacked a neutral wire.

Here's what I think I know:
Red wire - positive voltage
Black wire - negative voltage, 180 degrees out of phase with red wire
Green wire - ground, grounded via some conductor dug into the foundation in my house

What is the purpose of the neutral wire?



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Old 05-12-2014, 12:38 AM  
nealtw
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Start over: the single pole has black in and black out, with white tied together in the box

The other switch has black to the light and red to the fan or the other way around



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Old 05-12-2014, 11:04 AM  
beachguy005
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Forget what you think you know. Are those the colors of the leads on the switch?
What is the color and how many are the wires coming into the switch box?

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Old 05-12-2014, 11:05 AM  
LeakingFaucet
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The Panasonic switch comes with 4 wires. 3 are soldered to the PCB inside the switch, 1 is screwed to the metal plate which screws to the junction box.

3 soldered wires:
Red - Live, understand what this does.
Black - Live, understand what this does.
White - Labeled as neutral. What does this guy do?

1 screwed wire:
Green - Ground, understand what this does.

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Old 05-12-2014, 12:01 PM  
slownsteady
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I can understand if you don't want to pay $$$$ for an exact replacement, but are you willing to give up the extra features of the Panasonic switch?

http://www2.panasonic.com/webapp/wcs...del=FV-WCCS1-W

A single pole switch is simply not the same thing. But if you just want to turn the fan on or off manually, you should wire the new switch just like a light switch.

Does the power source go to the fan first, or directly to the switch that you're replacing?

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Old 05-12-2014, 03:10 PM  
JoeD
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Neutral goes to neutral. The dimmer PCB needs to be powered so it needs a hot and a neutral wire.

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Old 05-12-2014, 04:07 PM  
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It should go to the other two white wires that are in the box.

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Old 05-12-2014, 05:07 PM  
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I installed a Leviton Occ Sensor a while back and it came in two different models (w/ & w/o neutral connection).
The neutral most likely pigtails off the neutral in that circuit.

However, if your installing a regular light switch, then just cap it off with a wire nut.

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Old 05-12-2014, 06:13 PM  
Wuzzat?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeakingFaucet View Post
What is the purpose of the neutral wire?
Nominally it provides a return path for the current that is supplied by the 'hot' lead. But since it's AC, the roles of the 'neutral' and 'hot' conductors are actually exchanged 60 times per second (in the US).

It's something like a 110v to 120v volt battery connected to two wires and the battery polarity is switched 60 times/second.

However - the neutral, being grounded at the panel, should never have a voltage more than two or three volts at the distant end when measured with respect to earth ground.
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Old 05-12-2014, 06:28 PM  
beachguy005
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If you're looking to replace that control with a single pole switch, it doesn't matter what wires it comes with. You need to determine if you can wire in a sp switch with the existing feed.

As for the neutral, it does the same thing as a ground wire.



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