Pool Light - Neutral Wire

Mar 1, 2017
5
Queen Creek
Hello,

I am just wondering if someone can advise if my theory sounds like a good solutions.

I am trying to add a "Smart Switch" that works off WiFi or Bluetooth. Seems like all the ones at the local hardware store need a neutral wire. My neutral wire from the pool light goes into my GFCI Service Outlet. Can I just come from the same connection (where the Neutral wire is connected) and take it to the new switch? My set up is attached as best I can display.Pool_Light_Wire_Diagram.jpg

Again, I'm wondering if it's okay to just go from the same neutral wire connection on the GFCI and take it to the switch?

Thanks,
Chris
 

madwil

Well-known member
May 2, 2011
370
lebanon tn
Chris how many wire are on the switch? And what colors? Any green or bare goes to green or bare in your gfci. If only one white and one black remain then it goes in series with the black hot lead. In other words the same as your current switch just the wire from switch to gfci becomes white. If you have two blacks and a white then the two blacks wire the same as the switch above and the white ties to white at the gfci
 

Jimrahbe

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Jul 7, 2014
11,317
Bedford, TX
Chris,

Welcome to TFP... A Great resource for all your pool questions.. :lovetfp:

What specific "Smart Switch" are you planning on using?

Thanks for posting,

Jim R.
 
Mar 1, 2017
5
Queen Creek
Right now, it's just 2 reds (black from pool light was extended with a wire nut and red wire). So, a black/red direct from the pool whip to direct to the switch and then one red from the GFCI to the switch. The green wire from the whip goes to a grounding bus and the white wire from the whip goes to the GFCI outlet. As shown in the diagram.

- - - Updated - - -

I'm thinking of either a Belkin WeMo switch or a GE In-Wall Bluetooth Switch. I had picked up another brand, that turns out doesn't work off WiFi or Bluetooth like I thought. I went to install and that's when I found out I need a neutral wire to the new switch if I want to use it. Both switches I am thinking about say the must have a neutral wire as well. The pool light neutral goes direct to the GFCI outlet though. Guess I just need to know the best way to get a neutral to the new switch.
 

jmastron

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 21, 2014
254
Sacramento, CA
Right now, it's just 2 reds (black from pool light was extended with a wire nut and red wire). So, a black/red direct from the pool whip to direct to the switch and then one red from the GFCI to the switch. The green wire from the whip goes to a grounding bus and the white wire from the whip goes to the GFCI outlet. As shown in the diagram.

- - - Updated - - -

I'm thinking of either a Belkin WeMo switch or a GE In-Wall Bluetooth Switch. I had picked up another brand, that turns out doesn't work off WiFi or Bluetooth like I thought. I went to install and that's when I found out I need a neutral wire to the new switch if I want to use it. Both switches I am thinking about say the must have a neutral wire as well. The pool light neutral goes direct to the GFCI outlet though. Guess I just need to know the best way to get a neutral to the new switch.
Can you post a picture of the setup? Are the GFCI outlet and switch in the same box? If so, then yes, you can directly use the neutral wire from the "load" side (very important) to connect to the switch.

If they're not in the same box, you can still do this, but I believe in that case it's required that you bring the neutral back from the switch also (i.e. connect the light's neutral at the switch box, rather than at the GFCI box).
 
Mar 1, 2017
5
Queen Creek
The Top (Load) side of the GFI is as diagrammed previously. The line side of the GFI has a red wire to the breaker and a white wire to what I assume is the neutral bus. I didn't notice that before. Is it possible for me to go off the neutral bus to my new switch in order to gain the Neutral I need? Or would it be better to piggy back on the neutral wire from the load side (I can come right off that top screw connection).

20170301_112033.jpg20170301_112132.jpg
 

jmastron

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 21, 2014
254
Sacramento, CA
Thanks Chuckdobro and everyone else for the quick feedback! I'll try to use the neutral from the bus tonight and see what happens.
Unless I'm missing something in the picture or in my head (possible), you do NOT want to use the neutral from the bus -- you want the neutral from the LOAD side of the GFCI (the one that currently goes directly to the pool light). The neutral bus next to the breakers appears to be (and should be) on the LINE side of the GFCI.

If you use the neutral bus, the GFCI would (hopefully) trip, as if would be seeing a differential current between the load hot (which feeds the switch) and load neutral. A pigtail from the GFCI load neutral wire-nutted to both the switch and the light is what you want.
 

Chuckdobro

New member
Jul 10, 2016
4
Marblehead, Ohio
That is not how a ground fault circuit interrupter works. If you are trying to switch the neutral, then one side of the switch should be attached to the neutral bus and the other side to the light.

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
 

jmastron

LifeTime Supporter
Jul 21, 2014
254
Sacramento, CA
That is not how a ground fault circuit interrupter works. If you are trying to switch the neutral, then one side of the switch should be attached to the neutral bus and the other side to the light.

Sent from my SM-G900V using Tapatalk
First, the OP isn't trying to switch the neutral; if I am understanding correctly he or she is wanting to use a smart switch that controls the hot output, but requires a neutral input in addition to the hot input for its own power.

But either way, that's exactly how a GFCI works -- it uses a differential current transformer to detect any imbalance between the current flowing on the 2 load-side wires (which are also connected to the outlet itself). A difference of more than a few milliamps trips the GFCI. https://www.nema.org/Products/Documents/NEMA-GFCI-2012-Field-Representative-Presentation.pdf

If you put a device (e.g. the smart switch) between the load "hot" and the line "neutral" (which is what the neutral bus in this picture is connected to), the GFCI will see more current on the load hot than the load neutral and should trip as designed. If you connect the smart switch neutral to the load neutral, the current will always be in balance no matter what the switch or light are drawing.
 

dtlight

Well-known member
Jun 28, 2012
94
It looks like your previous switch was located inside the box to the right of the timer? You probably are going to find then no RF controlled switch is going to work inside a metal box.
 
Mar 1, 2017
5
Queen Creek
Thanks All!

I ended up getting a "dumber" switch... one that doesn't work on WiFi or Bluetooth. One that has it's own remote bundled with the switch. This ended up not needing a neutral and is working great from the distances that I need it to. Remote works from from inside the house with the switch inside the box and the box closed. The light even dims now, if desired!

If I do decide to upgrade the switch to something that I can control from my mobile device (WiFi or Bluetooth), looks like I have the answer. Just come off the neutral on the load side of the GFCI to the new switch.

Thanks again for all the help. This place is a great resource I intend to use the in the future when needed!

- CHRIS
 

right.idea

New member
Jul 10, 2017
4
Raleigh, NC
Thanks All!

I ended up getting a "dumber" switch... one that doesn't work on WiFi or Bluetooth. One that has it's own remote bundled with the switch. This ended up not needing a neutral and is working great from the distances that I need it to. Remote works from from inside the house with the switch inside the box and the box closed. The light even dims now, if desired!

If I do decide to upgrade the switch to something that I can control from my mobile device (WiFi or Bluetooth), looks like I have the answer. Just come off the neutral on the load side of the GFCI to the new switch.

Thanks again for all the help. This place is a great resource I intend to use the in the future when needed!

- CHRIS
Late to the thread, but I can't believe nobody asked what switch you used. So, what switch did you use?
 

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