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#210796 - 08/06/13 10:26 PM Re: 404.2 switches  
harold endean  Offline
Member
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 2,233
Boonton, NJ
Someone just asked me today this question, so I thought that I would throw it out here. This would be for new construction and as per 2011 NEC. Section 404.2(C)

Here is the example:

By the front door you have 2 three way switches. One for the spot light between the front door and garage the second switch is by the garage door.
One for the overhead living room lights and the other switch is by the kitchen opening.
Both 3 way switches are "Dead end" switches, meaning that the feed and neutral is at the other side of the 3-way switches.
1) Should that install fail inspection? There is no neutral at the front door.
2) Do you have to have a neutral in that double gang switch box to meet code?
3) What if there was a four way switch for that living room light and it is by the dining room opening.
4) Would the 4-way switch (in a 1 gang box) need a neutral in it.

What are your thoughts?


2017 / 2014 NEC & Related Books and Study Guides

#210797 - 08/06/13 10:56 PM Re: 404.2 switches [Re: harold endean]  
HotLine1  Offline


Member
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 6,857
Brick, NJ USA
Harold:

As neither of the exceptions likely apply, the neutral should be present at each switch location.

That is how I understand the written word. Now, from a practical real world inquiry.....is a neutral required for the operation of multiple lighting controls at EACH location??

Gentlemen, let the comments begin.



John

#210799 - 08/07/13 02:09 AM Re: 404.2 switches [Re: harold endean]  
gfretwell  Offline


Member
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,103
Estero,Fl,usa
If you are following the letter of the law in 2011, I agree with john. You need a neutral there. I am not sure how you deal with having more than one feed into a location. Again the letter of the law will require a separate neutral for all of them.

We are still on 2008. I have not seen this litigated.

It seems the "switch loop" as we know it is gone. From a practical sense you need to feed through switching locations, not down and back.


Greg Fretwell

#210801 - 08/07/13 09:23 AM Re: 404.2 switches [Re: harold endean]  
HotLine1  Offline


Member
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 6,857
Brick, NJ USA
I have to find some time to see if any of the multi location lighting controls that are available do require a neutral connection at each location.

My point is, if there are no devices for multi control points that require a neutral, why is it required?


John

#210804 - 08/07/13 11:11 AM Re: 404.2 switches [Re: harold endean]  
ghost307  Offline
Member
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 907
Chicago Illinois USA
The reason that I was given at the IAEI conference to review the 2011 NEC was that there are switches available that require a grounded conductor and in most cases they ended up using the ground wire to complete the circuit. Add to that the number of times that a homeowner decides to add a receptacle into a switchbox and the CMP decided that the addition of a neutral wire was cheap insurance to allow a proper installation in all cases.


Ghost307

#210805 - 08/07/13 12:08 PM Re: 404.2 switches [Re: HotLine1]  
BigB  Offline
Member
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 719
Tucson, AZ USA
Originally Posted by HotLine1
I have to find some time to see if any of the multi location lighting controls that are available do require a neutral connection at each location.

My point is, if there are no devices for multi control points that require a neutral, why is it required?


There are. HAI switches for one, require a neutral, as do most Insteon devices. Also your electronic low voltage dimmers require a neutral. I am sure there will be new energy saving devices on the way that will need that neutral.


#210806 - 08/07/13 12:09 PM Re: 404.2 switches [Re: ghost307]  
BigB  Offline
Member
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 719
Tucson, AZ USA
Originally Posted by ghost307
The reason that I was given at the IAEI conference to review the 2011 NEC was that there are switches available that require a grounded conductor and in most cases they ended up using the ground wire to complete the circuit. Add to that the number of times that a homeowner decides to add a receptacle into a switchbox and the CMP decided that the addition of a neutral wire was cheap insurance to allow a proper installation in all cases.


I had surmised that the code change was looking into the future to accomodate home automation, occupancy sensors and the like. It is dissapointing to hear that it was done to dumb down our installations to accomodate future additions by unqualified persons.

Last edited by BigB; 08/07/13 12:10 PM.

#210807 - 08/07/13 12:34 PM Re: 404.2 switches [Re: harold endean]  
gfretwell  Offline


Member
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,103
Estero,Fl,usa
As usual the NFPA gets pressured by manufacturers to make code accommodations for devices that do not even exist yet.

I remember several years ago that IAEA had a scathing article in the magazine condemning switches and other equipment that were powered through the load (like 2 wire timers and occupancy sensors).
I figured it would just be a matter of time before they put a stop to that. This is the first step. In 50 years, most houses will have an available neutral.

I would have been 117 years old wink


Greg Fretwell

#210810 - 08/07/13 02:52 PM Re: 404.2 switches [Re: BigB]  
ghost307  Offline
Member
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 907
Chicago Illinois USA
Actually the addition of the neutral to save people from their own stupidity was secondary.
What actually started the proposal was the decision of some manufacturers to make a switch that required power to operate and then decided that the way to sell even more of them was to use the hot and ground to power the switch. This put 'objectionable current' on the grounding conductor which the Code doesn't allow...but the manufacturers refused to withdraw or modify their product so the rule was passed to accomodate their poor product design.
Once again one bad apple ruined it for everyone.
Thanks a lot to the marketing guys at the *** company.


Ghost307

#210811 - 08/07/13 05:05 PM Re: 404.2 switches [Re: harold endean]  
gfretwell  Offline


Member
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,103
Estero,Fl,usa
NEMA used to (and may still) allow something like a half a MA on the ground without considering it objectionable.
This is plenty to power most CMOS devices.
That was how it got started but IAEA seemed to be more concerned with load powered devices that put current through the load at a very low level, when the device was considered to be "off".
I think the title of the article was something like "Is it really off". That was the first time I heard the push for requiring a neutral everywhere.


Greg Fretwell

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