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Timer Light Switch not receiving power

Unfortunately I do not have a voltage meter so I found online that usually the black wire that comes from the top of the electrical box is the hot wire and the black wire that comes from the bottom  of the box is the load. So following the directions that came with the Timer Switch, I matched the wire one would assume is the hot to the black wire on the timer, the load to the red on the timer, the ground to the green on the timer and the neutral wire from the timer has been added to the 4 neutral white wires bolted together in the back. 

So you could safely assume the wiring is correct, HOWEVER for some reason it is not working. The timer doesn't even seem to even be receiving power as the LED screen wont light up and the battery back up is now dead. 

My two thoughts are that the wiring of the house (17 years old) is backwards and the hot & load are switched OR I have too many neutral wires together. 

I know there is power flowing through the neutrals though because the other light switch in that gang set is working. 

I would really like to avoid having to pay for an electrician to come out and fix something I know I can do. Can someone give me some guidance here? 
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Posted 2018-03-21T00:18:46+0000  by kgbryant kgbryant
Hello kgbryant.  Welcome to the Community!

Well, you know that green or bare is ground, wherever they come from.  And you know that neutral wires are white wherever they come from.  Both these types of wires eventually lead back to the breaker box. 

Power line wires can enter a switch box from any direction.  Load power wires can be run from any direction.  There is no convention that says the line in wire comes from the top.  Besides, you have power in to the switch right next to where you want to put the timer. 

Where did that power wire come from?  Were there pigtails on that power wire that allowed both switches to get power?  Are they on the same circuit?  Did your switch work before you removed it to install the timer?  How many loads/lights/outlets do these switches control?

All in all too many questions for me to give you much guidance. 

I can address the neutral wire issue.  IF there were 4 neutral wires tied together when you opened up the switch box, then adding one more because the timer needs one should not be an issue.  In fact, that is what you need to do.  You are lucky in that respect, as switch boxes often have no neutral wires in them at all.  Simple switches do not need them.  Since you have them, they should have been just pass through wires in that box.

Secondly,  You will cause no harm by switching which black wire goes to the timer's black and red wires.  It may work, or it may not.

If this does not work, then you need to start tracing the circuit (s).  If you are comfortable with this then it's time to buy some tools.  Otherwise I think calling in onsite professional help would be your best bet.



Posted 2018-03-23T13:38:04+0000  by Chris_HD_CHI
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