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Electrical help required - Z-Wave outlet has 3 wires, my box has 4?

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  • Oct 18th, 2017 9:53 pm
[OP]
Sr. Member
Apr 5, 2009
734 posts
185 upvotes

Electrical help required - Z-Wave outlet has 3 wires, my box has 4?

I just bought this Z-Wave electrical outlet and planned on replacing a dumb outlet in my kitchen. I thought it would be straight forward, but the original dumb outlet has a copper ground, white, red and black wire connecting to it. The Z-wave has a green (ground) and black and white... what's the right connection? Or did I buy the wrong smart plug?

http://www.gocontrol.com/manuals/WO15Z-1-Install.pdf
11 replies
Deal Guru
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Mar 23, 2008
10512 posts
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Edmonton
Here's my guess...

The existing outlet is set up as a split receptacle. The black is hot (live), the red is hot (live), the white is neutral, and then there's the ground. If you look at the receptacle, is the tab removed between the top and bottom on the hot side?

If that's what was set up, I'm not sure this is a good candidate for a smart plug. There may be some out there, but all the ones I've seen are designed for a single-circuit setup. And by code, I think you typically require either a 20A plug (and wiring?), or a split receptacle.

Depending on what you're trying to achieve, you might be able to utilize another circuit or run a new one. What were you planning on doing with the smart plug?

C
Deal Guru
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Jun 12, 2007
14954 posts
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London
That's a "split" kitchen outlet. It's common in kitchens where multiple high draw appliances can be plugged in and run simultaneously.

It's two independent circuits in the same receptacle. The top outlet is on a separate circuit breaker compared to the bottom outlet.

The smart plug you bought is probably the wrong one
[OP]
Sr. Member
Apr 5, 2009
734 posts
185 upvotes
Hmm. U guys might be on to something. The outlets are above kitchen counter so intended for kettles coffee machines mixers etc. Plus I think the circuit breaker said 20 amps or something. Shoot. My intention was to have the kettle turn on in morning or from upstairs bedroom. Guess Ill just use this smart outlet for a lamp now. :(
Deal Guru
Feb 9, 2006
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Brampton
Use a plug in type smart plug it'll be easier
Deal Addict
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Oct 14, 2010
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Barrie ON
stansoltz wrote: Hmm. U guys might be on to something. ........ I think the circuit breaker said 20 amps or something.
If the breaker had a bar between the two switches, like in this image, that will confirm what the others have suggested. This type of breaker ensures that when you kill the power for the upper receptacle, the the lower one is also turned off.

Image
Deal Addict
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Oct 14, 2010
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Barrie ON
tebore wrote: Use a plug in type smart plug it'll be easier
Exactly what I did for my coffee machine. I used this Leviton switch which plugs into the lower outlet and the upper one is still available for other devices. I actually have have the switch turn off when I enable my home alarm system. When I turn on the alarm I am either leaving the house or going to bed. Either way, I don't want a heating device running on the kitchen counter-top.
Image
[OP]
Sr. Member
Apr 5, 2009
734 posts
185 upvotes
yes, that's the breaker - with the bar. and yes, I just ordered a Samsung plugin zigbee... geez. I thought i had a good grasp on these gadgets and electrical. :-(
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Oct 14, 2010
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Barrie ON
stansoltz wrote: I just bought this Z-Wave electrical outlet
stansoltz wrote: I just ordered a Samsung plugin zigbee...
What type of hub do you have that uses both Z-wave and Zigbee? I found that my Vera hub communication with Zigbee devices is kinda touch and go compared to the Z-wave devices which works 100% of the time. I suppose that if I had more Zigbee devices (i.e. closer together), the comms would be better. In the future I think I will stick to Z-wave only.
Sr. Member
Jul 2, 2013
583 posts
148 upvotes
Aurora
stansoltz wrote: I just bought this Z-Wave electrical outlet and planned on replacing a dumb outlet in my kitchen. I thought it would be straight forward, but the original dumb outlet has a copper ground, white, red and black wire connecting to it. The Z-wave has a green (ground) and black and white... what's the right connection? Or did I buy the wrong smart plug?

http://www.gocontrol.com/manuals/WO15Z-1-Install.pdf
This work requires an ESA permit but we all know nobody is going to take out a permit for one receptacle.
If you do go the permit route, disregard what I have typed below because it will not pass inspection.

It's a split receptacle. Two 15 amp circuits tied together at the breaker. You could marrett the red wire at your outlet box and just use the black but this would be a code violation. If you do this, the tie bar should be removed from the breaker so you can essentially de-energize the red wire.
Once again, this is a code violation but more of a convenience code. If you as the homeowner are mindful of the fact that you no longer have 2 circuits at that outlet, you shouldn't have a problem. In other words, don't plug a stand mixer in one half and a toaster in the other.

If and when you sell the home, you will have to convert it back to a standard split receptacle.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Apr 5, 2009
734 posts
185 upvotes
Thank all. Like I said... gonna leave the 20amp outlets as is. Got a samsung zigbee plugin plug coming via amazon and will use my original z wave purchase elsewhere. @Joker guy.. Samsung smartthings hub which is like $90 supports both z wave and zigbee... although I agree in my short time with home automation I would pick z wave over zigbee like 90%... one of my zigbee bulbs goes offline like 2x week
[OP]
Sr. Member
Apr 5, 2009
734 posts
185 upvotes
thx. I won't go down this route but good to know for future!

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