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Thread: Neutral required in switch box?

  1. #1
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    Neutral required in switch box?

    Hi guys. I'm working a job where the inspector claims NEC requires a neutral conductor in every box even if its only a switch in a box on a dead end run. He hasn't given me the code reference yet but I'm wondering if anyone's ever heard of this before.
    (yes it's REALLY my name) HVAC/ Electrical Contractor licensed Chicago,IL ... I said its OFF! Don't you trust me?

  2. #2
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    If you are under the 2011 then the inspector is correct but there are some exceptions. Read art 404.2(C)

  3. #3
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    404.2 Switch Connections. See related UL

    (A)
    Three-Way and Four-Way Switches.
    Three-way and four-way switches shall be wired so that all switching is done
    only in the ungrounded circuit conductor. Where in metal raceways or
    metal-armored cables, wiring between switches and outlets shall be in accordance
    with 300.20(A).



    Exception: Switch loops shall not require a
    grounded conductor.


    Mike Whitt
    God answers Knee-Mail.

  4. #4
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    Thanks Dennis, but in this case the inspector was wrong... the exception applies. Thanks for the tip... I was looking all over for that code reference, guess its time to buy the 2011 code book.
    (yes it's REALLY my name) HVAC/ Electrical Contractor licensed Chicago,IL ... I said its OFF! Don't you trust me?

  5. #5
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    404.2(A), does this apply to all 3-way and 4-way switches, or just where using metal raceways or metal-armored cables? A little confusing to me too. Also see 404.2(C). I think 300.20(A) only refers to avoid induction by grouping conductors in the raceway and not about having the neutral at the switch. Just wondering.
    Right Slowly will always beat Wrong Quickly.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by donselec View Post
    404.2(A), does this apply to all 3-way and 4-way switches, or just where using metal raceways or metal-armored cables? A little confusing to me too. Also see 404.2(C). I think 300.20(A) only refers to avoid induction by grouping conductors in the raceway and not about having the neutral at the switch. Just wondering.
    It applies to all switches. I believe Massachusettes passed an amendment that allows for just one 3 way to comply with 404.2(C)

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis Alwon View Post
    It applies to all switches. I believe Massachusettes passed an amendment that allows for just one 3 way to comply with 404.2(C)
    I agree that 404.2(A) applies to all 3-way & 4-ways, but then what about 404.2(C)? They seem to conflict. I never noticed that before and haven't run into any conflicts in the field yet. Do 3-ways require a neutral at the switch or not? I'll keep studying on it too.
    Right Slowly will always beat Wrong Quickly.

  8. #8
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    404.2(C) has no exceptions for 3 ways so a neutral is required at all switches. The reason is because of the high use of timers, motion sensors, occupancy sensors etc which , in the past used the egc as a CCC. This code makes a neutral available so the egc is not used to carry current

  9. #9
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    Well I guess if you're going to use the egc as a neutral then you're probably not going to worry about what it says in the Code , but we need a little more study yet on 404.2(A) exception, "Switch loops shall not require a grounded conductor," and 404.2(C), "the grounded circuit conductor shall be provided." Must be an answer somewhere or maybe I'm just not seeing it. I am getting old it's true.
    Right Slowly will always beat Wrong Quickly.

  10. #10
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    can someone post art 404.2(C) nec 2011?

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