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Old 04-01-2017, 07:48 PM
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I've struck rock bottom here.

I'm looking to install a timer for my outdoor lights. The timer is a Honewell Econoswitch RPLS740B. The three wires pre-installed on the timer are line, load, and neutral. My current setup is 3 outside lights controlled by 2 switches. I have a switch (I'll call it switch A) that controls all 3 lights and a switch (switch B) that controls only one light.

With everything disconnected (no switches attached) and wires capped, I get the following readings from the wires. At switch A, the red and white wires are hot. At switch B, the black, white, and red wires are hot.

Both switches have a black, white, and red wire + copper ground. Switch B must be on for all 3 lights to work, otherwise just 2 lights turn on. The previous owner had some push button system and when we moved here, I swapped the push button at switch A for a 3-way traditional switch. I honestly don't need switch B as I always run all 3 lights outside and never touch switch B.

Any help is greatly appreciated
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Old 04-01-2017, 07:58 PM
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This will be fun! Your timer with a three way switch...

If you can eliminate the three way and just go to a two way switch, it will be easy.

Not doing so I will bow to the electricians!
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Old 04-01-2017, 08:02 PM
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Not a electrician but don't think you can wire it with a 3 way switch
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Old 04-01-2017, 08:07 PM
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If you draw a diagram it may help.

A sheet of paper and draw the circuit out and label your wires with the colors.

Let me think about this for a second. My house is similar, one 3 way & one 4 way
switch.
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Old 04-01-2017, 10:04 PM
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If you can hook the timer to the beginning of the circuit before the 3 way loop it will work but you can't put it in the travelers. You could also abandon the 3way altogether if you like
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Old 04-02-2017, 04:31 AM
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Sorry, but your configuration sounds f'ed from the first round of DIY replacements: "Switch B must be on for all 3 lights to work, otherwise just 2 lights turn on. "

My suggestion would be to call a pro, although that's not typically the popular approach around here.
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Old 04-02-2017, 05:40 AM
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Honeywells web site says you need one of these models for a 3 way.
RPLS530.531, 540,541,550,551. TI032, 034, 73, 72
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Old 04-02-2017, 06:42 AM
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Get a clapper instead
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Old 04-02-2017, 06:58 AM
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Your description is incomplete. What OTHER wires are at each switch location? In a normal three-way setup, the first box will have a black/white pair coming from the breaker panel, and a black/red/white set going to the second switch. Then the second switch will have the three conductor from the first switch, and a two conductor going to the lights. All cables will also have a ground, but we don't count those when figuring out the wiring.

And with all switches removed, there should NEVER be power on the white wires. So there's something else going on in your setup. Pull all the wires out of each box and see what other connections are going on in there. Draw a diagram.

Last edited by FlyingDiver; 04-02-2017 at 07:57 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 04-02-2017, 07:54 AM
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There may be power on a white wire if it is in the switch loop although the code has required reidentifying it (usually colored tape) for the last several cycles. In the cases where a (reidentified) white wire is used in a switch loop it should be the "hot" and the colored wires will be the return.
I agree it sounds like the 3 way loop is wired wrong from the OP's description but there is not enough information here to tell him how to fix it.
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Old 04-02-2017, 08:15 AM
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Find the breaker that feeds those lights,
If it does not feed anything else, put the timer in between the breaker and the lights and switches. will not have to change anything else.
Line is from the breaker neutral is just that, load is what heads to the lights/switches.

If breaker feeds other things you will need to find out where the wire from breaker heads to and is terminated for the lights and put the timer in line before it gets to the light/switches
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Old 04-02-2017, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by 99yam40 View Post
put the timer in between the breaker and the lights and switches. will not have to change anything else.
But in this case the breaker will not be able to turn the lights on if the switches are off.
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Old 04-02-2017, 09:01 AM
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Time for a diagram AND a professional if you can't diagram it.
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Old 04-02-2017, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by km1125 View Post
But in this case the breaker will not be able to turn the lights on if the switches are off.
Don't think a breaker would ever be able to turn lights on if switches are off...
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Old 04-02-2017, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by ericinmich View Post
don't think a breaker would ever be able to turn lights on if switches are off...
doh! T-i-m-e-r
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Old 04-02-2017, 11:33 AM
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As long as he leaves the switches in the on position the timer will turn them on and off
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Old 04-02-2017, 12:19 PM
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Sounds like he has a switch-not three way-to turn on two lights and another switch also not three way, to turn on the additional light. It isw wired into the switched leg from the first switch. A white wire can be hot when used as a switch leg from a light fixture, but normally it should be neutral. White wires are not otherwise wired to a switch.
How many terminals are on each of the switches?
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Old 04-02-2017, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by mfix View Post
Honeywells web site says you need one of these models for a 3 way.
RPLS530.531, 540,541,550,551. TI032, 034, 73, 72
You're right, I see that now

This what I've drawn up for my current schematic. Not sure if this helps anyone

I appreciate the help so far. Does anyone see a way to completely disable Switch B and use the current timer I bought?

It seems unfortunately my best option is to purchase a 3-way timer
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Old 04-02-2017, 02:02 PM
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You still need to find out what other wires are in those two switch boxes and what they're connected to. Until you document that, no one can tell you anything useful.
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Old 04-02-2017, 03:01 PM
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a quick search will lead you to lots of info on how a 3 way is wired properly, but we have no idea what you have wired up right now.
a 3 way is only good for when you have 2 - 3 ways wired up.
looks like yours is not wired up properly

You should never have 3 hots on a switch

https://www.familyhandyman.com/elect...witch/view-all
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