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Author Topic: Question on controll 3 wire circuit  (Read 4786 times)

watson524

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Question on controll 3 wire circuit
« on: December 06, 2009, 10:39:20 AM »

Hi all,

Last year at this time, I installed some x10 modules in my house to deal with controlling Christmas lights/window candles. I put a coupler/repeater in my box to make sure the signals got out to both phases as they should (approximately 2,400 sq ft home over 2 stories). We have some plug in lamp links and we also changed out a few outlets to the 15a split receptacles. All of this is controll by a lcd mini timer (looks like a small alarm clock).

There are a few things not controlled by the x10 system yet that I'd like to work on. We have a 3 bank of switches on one side of the front door that we flip one switch to control an outlet in a 2 story foyer (up top on an overhand) to turn on a small tree in a picture window, and another switch we use to activate outside outlets (2) where one outlet is switched and one is always one to turn on home outside trees. Also - we have 3 light posts outside. This is a 3 wired circuit where the lights are on a switch in the front hall and the outlets at the top of the posts are always hot. Right now, we wrap the light posts, plug in "on at dusk for 6 hour" times and go with that. I'd like to control all this.

On the upstairs foyer thing, I can probably just plug in a lamp link and leave the switch in the on position (outlet is only controlled by the one switch).

On the outside tree lights, 2 outlets, one switch involved. Must be 3 wire if one part of the outlet is always on. What can I do there? I was thinking of changing the switch somehow (do the switches use normal face plates?) but with the 3 wire thing, not sure how that would happen. I assume in the switch box (didn't take off the face plate), I'm only going to see 2 of the wires (and a ground?) so I'm thinking the always on outlets won't even matter.

On the lamp posts, since it's the always on piece of it that I want to control. I think this circuit is on it's own breaker. What I thought I might be able to do is trace from my panel and in my basement somewhere, install an x10 outlet in series and then just turn that outlet on and off with the controller which would then control the lights around the poles. Does that make sense? Can you control something not plugged into an outlet like that?

thanks in advance!
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watson524

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Re: Question on controll 3 wire circuit
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2009, 12:40:26 PM »

As an update, I just went and tracked down the breaker the light poles are tied to. Right next to the panel, there's a GFI outlet. This feeds the exterior outlets and lights.

The outlets that the tree lights go into (top always on, bottom switched) and the light posts (lamps switched, outlet's always on) all come off this breaker. The outlet next to the panel has a GFI outlet in it (I assume since it feeds outside vs the expense of a GFI breaker).

What I don't get is how are different things working off different switches in the same circuit.
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Mellowmark

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Re: Question on controll 3 wire circuit
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2009, 03:38:21 PM »


Their is an extra wire in the set one for power most likely black one for switch red and one for neutral white. You could control them all together or separate them with different switch's or x10 devices.  most likely the three wires go from the  switch location to the receptacle and the tab on the receptacle is broke away to separate the top from the bottom.
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watson524

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Re: Question on controll 3 wire circuit
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2009, 08:57:04 PM »

So for what I control now with a switch, can I just replace my regular switch with an x10 switch?

Still not sure what I'd do with the receptacles on my light poles that are always on. The lamp part is on a switch but I don't know where I'd put a device in the mix to control the always on receptacles part.


Their is an extra wire in the set one for power most likely black one for switch red and one for neutral white. You could control them all together or separate them with different switch's or x10 devices.  most likely the three wires go from the  switch location to the receptacle and the tab on the receptacle is broke away to separate the top from the bottom.
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Mellowmark

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Re: Question on controll 3 wire circuit
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2009, 09:07:46 PM »

well you most likely have several options.

1 you could use an appliance module for the plug and leave it hot for summertime
2 you could find the hot wire in the switch box and hook it to the switch leg  (This might be a little confusing but everything in the switch box should be on the same circuit and most likely there. 
     A: Like black  is hot and red is switch leg , unhook the two black wires and hook the one that is with the red together and now the plug is switched on both)
3 You could install an x10 switch next to the GFI in the basement and switch the whole circuit .
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watson524

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Re: Question on controll 3 wire circuit
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2009, 04:51:54 PM »

well you most likely have several options.

1 you could use an appliance module for the plug and leave it hot for summertime
2 you could find the hot wire in the switch box and hook it to the switch leg  (This might be a little confusing but everything in the switch box should be on the same circuit and most likely there. 
     A: Like black  is hot and red is switch leg , unhook the two black wires and hook the one that is with the red together and now the plug is switched on both)
3 You could install an x10 switch next to the GFI in the basement and switch the whole circuit .

Ok I think option 3 is my best bet. I would just use something like http://www.smarthome.com/2031W/X10-In-Wall-Light-Switch-White-WS467-W-PLW01-W-/p.aspx right? And put that just after the gfi outlet in the basement? So I would leave the switches I already have turned on all the time, then program this to switch the power one and off? What about in the summer when I want to go back to "normal" operation? I would just not send a signal to this but leave this new switch in the on position all the time and operate the other switches as normal?

One other question, for my foyer 2nd story tree that's on a switched outlet, there shouldn't be a problem just leaving that switch on and plugging in a lamp link at the outlet to put the tree into right?

thanks!
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Mellowmark

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Re: Question on controll 3 wire circuit
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2009, 05:04:29 PM »

Yea You can do all of what your thinking in my eye.   You just need to use one of these switches though  you will have full power of the circuit http://cgi.ebay.com/XPS3-X10-Decorator-Appliance-Fluorescent-Switch-20A_W0QQitemZ170405416306QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item27acf44d72 

I just used the link for you to see you can get these anywhere you have been shopping.  X10 etc.   this switch is is for appliance and is just like a relay no dimming.  The other one would cause some problems if you set it to dim. 

Good luck.
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M M ElectricMan

watson524

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Re: Question on controll 3 wire circuit
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2009, 06:37:15 PM »

Yea You can do all of what your thinking in my eye.   You just need to use one of these switches though  you will have full power of the circuit http://cgi.ebay.com/XPS3-X10-Decorator-Appliance-Fluorescent-Switch-20A_W0QQitemZ170405416306QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item27acf44d72 

I just used the link for you to see you can get these anywhere you have been shopping.  X10 etc.   this switch is is for appliance and is just like a relay no dimming.  The other one would cause some problems if you set it to dim. 

Good luck.

Awesome, thanks! I'll be ordering up some new "toys" tonite.
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Mellowmark

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Re: Question on controll 3 wire circuit
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2009, 07:39:41 PM »

I hope you read this before you get your toys.  I am sorry if it is a problem.  You really need to use an appliance module for the foyer tree also.  But I forgot to ask if it was on the same circuit as the outside stuff.  If it is, it will probably not work as you would want. So it may not be necessary.  Because the basement switch will be in control of it.
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watson524

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Re: Question on controll 3 wire circuit
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2009, 08:23:57 PM »

I hope you read this before you get your toys.  I am sorry if it is a problem.  You really need to use an appliance module for the foyer tree also.  But I forgot to ask if it was on the same circuit as the outside stuff.  If it is, it will probably not work as you would want. So it may not be necessary.  Because the basement switch will be in control of it.

Nope, I didn't order anything yet (trying to get our 12' tree decorated first.....) Anyway, the foyer tree isn't on the same circuit. Can I just get a plug in appliance module like the one below? What exactly does the appliance part do? The tree lights up there only have 2 prongs, will that matter?

http://www.smarthome.com/2002/3-Pin-Grounded-X10-Appliance-Module-AM466-or-PAM02/p.aspx

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Mellowmark

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Re: Question on controll 3 wire circuit
« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2009, 09:12:05 PM »

Yes sir that one is perfect what fun hope it all goes well.  Merry Christmas 

OH don't pack that mod away with the Christmas stuff

You might want to play with it on your portable fans or whatever else you can think of.   >!
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M M ElectricMan

watson524

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Re: Question on controll 3 wire circuit
« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2009, 09:19:05 PM »

Yes sir that one is perfect what fun hope it all goes well.  Merry Christmas 

OH don't pack that mod away with the Christmas stuff

You might want to play with it on your portable fans or whatever else you can think of.   >!

Cool thanks! As soon as we get this tree done, I'll be ordering things up.
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