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Thread: Single pole switch replacement

  1. #1
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    Single pole switch replacement

    I'm trying to replace a light switch with a wireless Caseta switch. I don't need the dimmable feature, so I bought the non-dimmable PD-6ANS wireless Caseta switch. Note that the PD-6ANS is supposed to be good for single pole setups (my case) and 3-way setups.

    The instructions show that after removing the old switch, you should end up with two black wires and the ground. Step 4 shows that these two black wires should be connected to the black and red wires from the switch. In addition, it also shows that a neutral, white wire needs to be connected. Is this connection to the neutral necessary? (I see a bunch of white wires connected together at the back of the box; should I make the connection there?)

    I ask because 1) it doesn't work without this connection and 2) I connected a dimmable Caseta switch and it does work without the neutral connection. Why does the non-dimmable switch need the neutral connection and the dimmable switch doesn't? I should note that when I say that it doesn't work, I mean hitting the on button didn't turn on the light with the non-dimmable switch.

    If someone can explain how I should connect the black, red and white wires from the switch to the two black wires (assuming that I don't need the neutral connection), I'd really appreciate it.

    Thanks in advance,

    Cliff

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robocheme View Post
    I'm trying to replace a light switch with a wireless Caseta switch. I don't need the dimmable feature, so I bought the non-dimmable PD-6ANS wireless Caseta switch. Note that the PD-6ANS is supposed to be good for single pole setups (my case) and 3-way setups.

    The instructions show that after removing the old switch, you should end up with two black wires and the ground. Step 4 shows that these two black wires should be connected to the black and red wires from the switch. In addition, it also shows that a neutral, white wire needs to be connected. Is this connection to the neutral necessary? (I see a bunch of white wires connected together at the back of the box; should I make the connection there?)

    I ask because 1) it doesn't work without this connection and 2) I connected a dimmable Caseta switch and it does work without the neutral connection. Why does the non-dimmable switch need the neutral connection and the dimmable switch doesn't? I should note that when I say that it doesn't work, I mean hitting the on button didn't turn on the light with the non-dimmable switch.

    If someone can explain how I should connect the black, red and white wires from the switch to the two black wires (assuming that I don't need the neutral connection), I'd really appreciate it.

    Thanks in advance,

    Cliff
    Connecting the neutral fixed the problem. I guess that the 3-way capability of the switch makes connecting the neutral required.

  3. #3
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    I don't think it is the 3-way. The dimmer bleeds a small amount of current to power it's electronics. The nature of a switch doesn't allow for that so you have to have the neutral to make the switch work. Yes, there are some electronic switches without neutrals.

    FYI - I would connect the neutral on the dimmer if it has one.
    LED, Incorporated
    Raleigh, NC 27614

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    Quote Originally Posted by randyc View Post
    I don't think it is the 3-way. The dimmer bleeds a small amount of current to power it's electronics. The nature of a switch doesn't allow for that so you have to have the neutral to make the switch work. Yes, there are some electronic switches without neutrals.

    FYI - I would connect the neutral on the dimmer if it has one.
    Thanks, Randy. The Caseta dimmer doesn't have a neutral

  6. #5
    The Caseta switches need power themselves to operate. Think of it as plugging the switch in so that it has power to "listen" for commands from Picos, your app, etc.

    The Dimmer "plugs in" THROUGH your light. The current that the switch uses for its own operation is trickling through the light bulb even when the bulb is off. The current is small enough that it doesn't cause the light bulb to light up (although it can cause 'ghosting' with LED bulbs).

    The PD-6ANS could be controlling fans or other items that you don't want to be sending a constant current through so it adds the white lead which allows it to be "plugged in" without using the load/light as part of its circuit.

    The other difference that you noticed is the red wire. In the dimmer, it doesn't matter which black wire goes to HOT and which to the LOAD. Now, since it's creating it's own circuit for it's internal power needs you need to connect the HOT to the switches BLACK lead. The RED lead is the switched-power that is connected to the load/light.

    Since you light is working, it sounds like you have the RED and BLACK leads connected correctly. Often, you can identify the HOT wires in the box because several black wires will be connected to together. One of those blacks is bringing power into the box and the other(s) is carrying power out to another light or electrical outlet in a daisy-chain fashion.

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  8. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry in TN View Post
    The Caseta switches need power themselves to operate. Think of it as plugging the switch in so that it has power to "listen" for commands from Picos, your app, etc.

    The Dimmer "plugs in" THROUGH your light. The current that the switch uses for its own operation is trickling through the light bulb even when the bulb is off. The current is small enough that it doesn't cause the light bulb to light up (although it can cause 'ghosting' with LED bulbs).

    The PD-6ANS could be controlling fans or other items that you don't want to be sending a constant current through so it adds the white lead which allows it to be "plugged in" without using the load/light as part of its circuit.

    The other difference that you noticed is the red wire. In the dimmer, it doesn't matter which black wire goes to HOT and which to the LOAD. Now, since it's creating it's own circuit for it's internal power needs you need to connect the HOT to the switches BLACK lead. The RED lead is the switched-power that is connected to the load/light.

    Since you light is working, it sounds like you have the RED and BLACK leads connected correctly. Often, you can identify the HOT wires in the box because several black wires will be connected to together. One of those blacks is bringing power into the box and the other(s) is carrying power out to another light or electrical outlet in a daisy-chain fashion.
    Wow, thanks, Larry. That is a great explanation. When I initially connected the neutral and the red and black wires, it didn't work. I always viewed the two black wires in the box as equal. Only after I said "what the hell" and switched them did they work. The instructions didn't mention that I should pull a neutral nor that I should try reversing the black wires from the box.

    Thanks again,

    Cliff

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