ground wire

Help Support House Repair Talk:

kking16

Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2021
Messages
10
Reaction score
1
Location
Ontario Canada
I have a ground wire on a new circuit comming in to a 4 gang box, and connected properly to all 4. Can this ground wire then branch off to another device and return to the same 4 gang box? How would it be connected?
 

kok328

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2007
Messages
3,142
Reaction score
355
Yes it can branch off.
Connect it "properly" as you have already identified.
 

bud16415

Fixer Upper
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Feb 5, 2013
Messages
6,444
Reaction score
2,439
Location
Erie, PA
Welcome to the forum.



Your question is not real clear to me.

In your home all the grounds (bare copper) are all tied together and all take a path back to the ground in your panel. So they are all common to each other, and their job is if anything fails and there is a short to something metal there will be a path to ground that will blow a fuse or trip a breaker and protect you as you will not be the path to ground if you touch something metal.
 

Snoonyb

Lifetime Supporter
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Sep 30, 2006
Messages
4,483
Reaction score
965
In the 4 gang box you connect to the existing grnd bundle, which the additional conductor may require a different size wire nut, if that is the present encapsulator. The device you are adding may have a dedicated form for attaching the grnd, conductor, albeit under a screw or a preformed pigtail.
 

kking16

Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2021
Messages
10
Reaction score
1
Location
Ontario Canada
Thanks all. I do not think I expressed myself clearly. I have the first line ( one hot, one neutral, one ground) coming to a new 4 gang box. I am connecting first a light switch and a receptacle but using only the first 3 gang space in the box. The 4th gang space will have a 3 way light switch installed and the cable is run to another room close by. So this cable from the 4th gang has a ground wire, but how is it attached when it returns to the box. To all the other grounds? To all the other gangs? Can it be attached?

The ground on this 4th gang will be circular. Leaving the box to the other room, and then returning to the box.
Thanks for your help.
 

bud16415

Fixer Upper
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Feb 5, 2013
Messages
6,444
Reaction score
2,439
Location
Erie, PA
Thanks all. I do not think I expressed myself clearly. I have the first line ( one hot, one neutral, one ground) coming to a new 4 gang box. I am connecting first a light switch and a receptacle but using only the first 3 gang space in the box. The 4th gang space will have a 3 way light switch installed and the cable is run to another room close by. So this cable from the 4th gang has a ground wire, but how is it attached when it returns to the box. To all the other grounds? To all the other gangs? Can it be attached?

The ground on this 4th gang will be circular. Leaving the box to the other room, and then returning to the box.
Thanks for your help.
The 3way switch is taking it’s power from the other location, and is picking up its ground there?



I don’t think it would hurt anything having it connected back to the panel on both ends, but if it is grounded on the other end I would just connect that ground to the switch and not back to the one in the 4 box.
 

kking16

Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2021
Messages
10
Reaction score
1
Location
Ontario Canada
The power and the ground to both 3 way switches is coming from the same cable that goes to the 4 gang box.
 

Snoonyb

Lifetime Supporter
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Sep 30, 2006
Messages
4,483
Reaction score
965
The cable from the 4 gang switch box, going too the 2nd switch box with the 2nd 3-way switch, will be either a 12/3 and a grnd., or a 14/3 and a grnd.

There is only a single grnd. conductor, which is connected as described in post #4, too the screw on the 2nd 3-way switch and too the group of grnd, conductors in the 4 gang switch box.

I would suggest that you google 3 way switch wiring diagram, for clarification.
 

ajaynejr

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 27, 2011
Messages
64
Reaction score
17
All ground wires entering a box must be connected together there. This may or may not result in a circular ground path, say, leaving the panel, going through several outlet boxes, and returning to the panel via another route. Use additional short lengths of wire (as pigtails) if needed to also connect the network of ground wires to the ground screws of the various switches, etc. in the box.

If there are too many ground wires to fit in one wire nut you can use two wire nuts with a pigtail connecting the two.
 
Last edited:

afjes_2016

Established Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2016
Messages
622
Reaction score
272
I am still a bit confused by this:
The ground on this 4th gang will be circular. Leaving the box to the other room, and then returning to the box.
What do you mean by a "circular ground"? Not quite sure why it would leave the box from the other room and then returning to the box.

I think I am missing something - could be I am only on my first cup of coffee this morning. :coffee: :cool:
 

bud16415

Fixer Upper
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Feb 5, 2013
Messages
6,444
Reaction score
2,439
Location
Erie, PA
I am still a bit confused by this:


What do you mean by a "circular ground"? Not quite sure why it would leave the box from the other room and then returning to the box.

I think I am missing something - could be I am only on my first cup of coffee this morning. :coffee: :cool:
I’m also on first cup. I know I slept in but nothing else seem worth getting up for with the cold snowy day.



I’m also confused as I asked if the 3way got its power from another circuit maybe even off the other side of the panel and it came with its own ground. In that case I don’t see the logic in giving it two grounds with a pigtail and making a circular ground path, but I didn’t see where it would hurt. @ajaynejr said that is not the case and all grounds must be connected. I have no reason to doubt that may well be what code says.

But then the OP said that wasn’t the case that the 3way lights also get their power off this 4gang box. So I don’t understand where an extra ground is coming from. Unless he is using a 2wire with ground as the traveler wires and running 2 romex to make it work or something like that. I have seen that done where someone didn’t have the right wire. :coffee:
 

afjes_2016

Established Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2016
Messages
622
Reaction score
272
Yes Bud I re-read it again and again and I still can't make out what you, kking16, are asking us. You stated:

So this cable from the 4th gang has a ground wire, but how is it attached when it returns to the box. To all the other grounds? To all the other gangs? Can it be attached?

The ground on this 4th gang will be circular. Leaving the box to the other room, and then returning to the box.
Why would the ground on the 4th gang be circular leaving the box to the other room and then returning? Maybe you have your wiring figured incorrectly which is giving you this impression. But more than likely maybe we are just not following you. Maybe if you draw it out for us.

The main thing that is confusing is why the ground would be coming back to the box in a circular path.
 

bud16415

Fixer Upper
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Feb 5, 2013
Messages
6,444
Reaction score
2,439
Location
Erie, PA
Yes Bud I re-read it again and again and I still can't make out what you, kking16, are asking us. You stated:



Why would the ground on the 4th gang be circular leaving the box to the other room and then returning? Maybe you have your wiring figured incorrectly which is giving you this impression. But more than likely maybe we are just not following you. Maybe if you draw it out for us.

The main thing that is confusing is why the ground would be coming back to the box in a circular path.
It wouldn’t. Before I knew that number 4 got its power from the same feed as 1,2,3 I assumed that maybe it was getting its power from a different feed in the other room where the 3way could have originated and the second 3way switch was in the 4gang box. If that was the case a ground from the panel would have came with each feed starting at the main panel and when they would both be connected in the 4gang that would be a circular path of ground wires. I don’t think it would hurt anything but I also didn’t see it as necessary. According to the one poster it is required to be done that way.
 

kking16

Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2021
Messages
10
Reaction score
1
Location
Ontario Canada
I am sorry for my poorly written posts. This is my first time in a forum and have wasted your time. This should explain my problem.

I would like to install two new 3 way switches to a stairway light. At present the power supply cable comes in to a single pole Switch A at the bottom of the stairs, then runs to the light above.

I want to change Switch A at the bottom, into a 3 way switch and then run cable from A to the top of the stairs and install a 3 way switch which I will call Switch B. The power would be from A to the Light and also from switch A to B. Switch A is in the middle.

The instructions found so far do not cover my situation which will be 2 switches on same side of the light, power to the middle switch. I can find only instructions for power supply from Light to A to B. Or from B to A to Light.

Can anyone direct me to a source for safe and reliable instructions?
 

bud16415

Fixer Upper
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Feb 5, 2013
Messages
6,444
Reaction score
2,439
Location
Erie, PA
I am sorry for my poorly written posts. This is my first time in a forum and have wasted your time. This should explain my problem.

I would like to install two new 3 way switches to a stairway light. At present the power supply cable comes in to a single pole Switch A at the bottom of the stairs, then runs to the light above.

I want to change Switch A at the bottom, into a 3 way switch and then run cable from A to the top of the stairs and install a 3 way switch which I will call Switch B. The power would be from A to the Light and also from switch A to B. Switch A is in the middle.

The instructions found so far do not cover my situation which will be 2 switches on same side of the light, power to the middle switch. I can find only instructions for power supply from Light to A to B. Or from B to A to Light.

Can anyone direct me to a source for safe and reliable instructions?
That’s correct. Here is my thoughts as you will likely want to keep the wire running up to the ceiling light BWG I would then run two wires from the switch where the power is located a BWG to carry power to the second new switch upstairs and a RBWG to act as the traveler wires.



Doing this should position the switches as you want (power-switch A-switch B- light). Switch A upstairs.



It is not any harder to pull two wires as pulling one.

Others may come along with a better solution as I’m not a pro.
 

afjes_2016

Established Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2016
Messages
622
Reaction score
272
.

No, kking16 you do not have to apoligize for wasting our time. We are here to help. Sometimes proper terminology gets in the way and throws us off. Not your fault or any other DIYers. We just have to be sure of what you are attempting to accomplish so that we can give you the best advice or guidance.

I'm still a bit unsure of the exact wiring scenario you are looking to achieve kking16.

There are about 5 different ways you can set up a 3way switching. I provided a link just below to give you an idea.

The most important thing you have to remember is to always know where the "common" screw is on the 3way switch. Although it is called 3way it is actually only 2 locations being switched. On one switch the common must be connected to the load (wire going to the lights) and the other switch common must have the incoming power connected to it. Then you have your two travelers which get connected to the other two screws. The common is usually a darker colored screw than the other two screws. Be sure you are working with 3 ways switches.

3Way wiring scenarios

More 3way scenarios

I think you want to convert your single pole switch setup into a 3 way setup which does make sense in a stairway.

Let's simplify:
First - "cable" has one or more wires in it.
Second - "wire" is an individual wire.

since power is coming into existing position of A box you can run a cable to your new location for the new 3way switch box. Since new code dictates you must have a neutral at all locations now you will need to run a 4 wire cable to the new switch B location. The neutral in this scenario will be capped off for now (if needed for a smart switch at a later time).

Once you read up a bit more on the theory of how the 3 ways switch works you will have a better understanding of exactly how the cables should be run and how many wires per cable you will need.

Look my link over a bit. It will help you understand how to run the cables. Once you figure the best way to run the cables you can then post any more questions you have. I say once you figure how you want to run the cables because we are not there and we don't know what type of access you have either from the top (attic) or bottom (basement) meaning which would be the easiest way for you to run cables.
.
 
Last edited:

Ron Van

Active Member
Joined
Oct 2, 2019
Messages
37
Reaction score
10
Location
Elk Grove, Ca., USA
afjes_2016
.There are about 5 different ways you can set up a 3way switching. I provided a link just below to give you an idea.
3Way wiring scenarios
More 3way scenarios
Look my link over a bit. It will help you understand how to run the cables. .
Excellent Links. The problem is whether or not there is a neutral at the first switch or not. That's what determines if the setup is NEC2011 compliant or not. NEC2011 says there should be a neutral at the switch. I'm not sure why code wants that but I do know some digital timers require a neutral to charge their internal batteries. There are digital switches that do not require the neutral but they generally cost more. Does anyone know why new code wants a neutral at the switch box?
 

bud16415

Fixer Upper
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Feb 5, 2013
Messages
6,444
Reaction score
2,439
Location
Erie, PA
My solution above assumes there is already a cable with only a WB/G running from the single pole switch that’s going away to the light fixture. Generally the harder run to make with a finished house especially a two-story house is one in the ceiling below a finished floor. So I suggested using those wires that are in place already.

That then leaves running a cable between the old switch location and the new location on the second floor. Walls are easier to fix IMO. That cable needs to have the traveler wires WBR/G. that then needs a power supply cable to the upstairs WB/G. There may or may not be power close to that new switch location, but my thought was that needing to fish one new cable between the switches you might as well fish power along with the travelers killing two birds.
 

bud16415

Fixer Upper
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Feb 5, 2013
Messages
6,444
Reaction score
2,439
Location
Erie, PA
There should be a neutral in the 4gang box, but there is no neutral running up to the light as it is a switched leg where the power goes out the black and returns on the white.
 

afjes_2016

Established Member
Joined
Aug 28, 2016
Messages
622
Reaction score
272
Since the power is coming into the Switch A box already and there is a cable BW/g going to the light from there then the common screw on switch A should have the "power in" black wire. Then run a BRW/g cable to the new switch location switch B. At this common screw connect the black wire to the common then on switch A "location" take the black wire that is going to the light and connect that to the black wire coming from switch B's common screw then just connect the two other travelers to switches A and B. The neutral connections in switch location A should not be changed. They can remain wire nutted together. This seems to be the easiest solution.

There should be a neutral at switch B by code only because now so many people are using smart switches where many of them on the market requires a neutral. Not having a neutral at switch B location is not a safety factor code violation.
 
Top