Neutral vs Ground

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gfw

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In the wall box where I'm working, there is the hot wire, the load wire (goes to chandelier) and two bare wires that are wired together.

The existing switch ties is grounded to those two bare wires, so I think I'm safe in assuming at least one of those bare wires is truly ground. Is it likely the other is the neutral? Is it normal or common for neutral to be grounded?

Thanks,
Greg
 

Square Eye

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No.
Neutral and ground are NOT the same.
Neutrals should never be connected to a ground wire and ground wires should never be used as neutrals.
So, it's not common. But from what I've seen, anything is possible. That doesn't make it right.
Hopefully you're looking at a switch leg (2 hot wires with a switch between) Maybe the ground wires come from a back to back box?
Need a picture on this one. Are there jacketed Romex wires in the box or are the wires run in conduit? One of the bare wires could be pigtailed from the switch body to the box?
 

gfw

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I think I understand. There are two complete wires entering the box. Each contains an insulated black, an insulated white and a bare. The two black ones go across the switch, so one is hot from source, the other is hot to load. The two white are wire-nutted together so they are neutral, and the two bare are wire-nutted together with the ground from the switch body, so they are ground. Have I got it?

The reason I'm asking is because I think the dimmer switch I've ordered will require a neutral connection, unlike the switch I'm replacing. I'm replacing the existing dimmer switch because it's incandescent-only, and I just replaced the incandescent chandelier with a 12V halogen one. A lot of the low-voltage compatible dimmers seem to require a neutral connection. Until the new switch gets here, we're using the existing switch all-on or all-off.
 

kok328

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Yes, you understanding is correct and your new dimmer will break the hot and tap the neutral (assuming it needs neutral) & ground.
 

Kabris

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Most of the electronic dimmers that require a neutral will have leads coming off the switch. All you need to do is wire nut them to your wiring in the switch box. The instructions will tell you which leads are the hot, switch leg (load), traveler (if 3-way), neutral and ground. The neutral and ground shall never be bonded anywhere except your main panel.
 

Kabris

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Just saw the date of the OP, I think he got this figured out by now lol. And yes, all switches require a ground.
 

afjes_2016

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And here I am thinking it was a new thread and reading the entire thing getting ready to reply to it. Wow, 9 years old. Urgh!!
 

bud16415

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And here I am thinking it was a new thread and reading the entire thing getting ready to reply to it. Wow, 9 years old. Urgh!!
I call these “Golden Oldies” and the hits just keep on coming.

Sometimes you read something from a long time poster that vanished and it makes you wonder what happened to them.

Don’t feel bad it happens to all of us. I hate the ones where someone asks a good question and we all answer only to find out they are a spammer.:mad:
 

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