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Jason
Jason, Service Technician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 3665
Experience:  Over 15 years of experience in all types of installations, troubleshooting, and repairs.
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I am using and Intermatic EJ351 timer and replaced it twice.

Resolved Question:

I am using and Intermatic EJ351 timer and replaced it twice. It will work in manual mode but does not program. The house has several other EJ351's and they all seem to work properly. I cannot see any difference in the installation between the switches.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Jason replied 2 years ago.

Jason :

Hello. Welcome to Just Answer.

Customer:

hello

Jason :

Can you tell me how many wires are in the wall box, and the colors of those wires?

Customer:

there are two wires connected to the switch and several others not related to the switch. one wire to the switch is red and another is blue

Jason :

Are those wires that are coming out of the timer, or are they wires coming into the box from inside the wall?

Customer:

they are coming from one conduit that i assume is feeding to the light

Customer:

since the timer works in manual mode i assume that is a good circuit

Jason :

Thank you for the additional information. I am currently looking Online for the manual for your timer. In the meantime, can you tell me if the timer has any other wires on it?

Customer:

no other wires

Jason :

Does the timer have a ground lead on it?

Customer:

no

Jason :

Just found the manual, can you stand by?

Customer:

yes

Jason :

Are both leads coming out of the timer black?

Customer:

yes

Jason :

Are either of them marked in any way?

Customer:

no and the instruction do not indicate there is a difference

Jason :

In scanning the manual, I didn't see any indication of that sort either.

Customer:

i don't understand how the timer can work without a neutral but the other timers (EJ351) seem to work fine

Jason :

That's always been a bit odd to me too. Some electronic switches use the ground lead as a neutral. I recently installed an occupancy sensor that didn't require a neutral connection. But it would not work until I grounded it.

Jason :

I was looking at the troubleshooting guide. Have you already consulted it and followed all suggested steps?

Customer:

yes

Jason :

You indicated that you have replaced the timer twice. So, you have tried a total of 3 timers in that location?

Customer:

the house has thinwall conduit and I had thought it used the grounding of the thinwall

Jason :

It probably does if there is no ground wire in the pipe.

Customer:

yes I have replaced it twice with new ones and even tried another that I removed from another location that we know works

Jason :

That was going to be my next suggestion. So, an identical timer that works in another location will not work at the location in question, correct?

Customer:

correct

Customer:

I just noticed that the instructions indicate incandescent

Jason :

Yes, I saw that too. Are you trying to use the timer with CFL's?

Customer:

yes I think the fixture has CFL

Jason :

Will you be swapping out that bulb for an incandescent, to see if that changes the functionality of the timer?

Customer:

well I'm not sure the customer will want that

Customer:

not even sure I can buy an incandescent

Jason :

I have an idea that you could try, but I've never tried it myself. It's possible the timer could control a relay coil, and you could switch the light off an on through the relay's contacts.

Jason :

But you would have to locate the relay in the wall box, or in a box near the light fixture... above the ceiling, if possible.

Customer:

interesting for sure just can't seem to understand why that would make a difference between the cfl and incandescent

Customer:

a relay would solve the problem but not sure I would have room in the box

Customer:

it is a 1900 box and this is the only switch in the box

Jason :

I was wondering the same thing, especially considering the fact that the troubleshooting guide doesn't list CFL restriction under the section that says "Failure to Program".

Jason :

Could you put in a box above the ceiling, near the light, to house the relay?

Customer:

I can't remember if I have a neutral available in the box to power the relay

Jason :

If the conduit runs from the switch box to the light fixture, you could tap into the neutral at the light and pull one in from there to the switch box.

Customer:

is there a small relay available that might fit the box

Jason :

There are very small relays available. Let me see if I can post a picture for you.

Jason :

This page has a wide variety of (120 volt coil) relays. Do you live near a Grainger location? It's somewhat difficult to discern physical size through pictures. I have used small plug in relays though.

Customer:

i have a grainger near me

Customer:

looks like these are typical "ice Cube" relays and doubt they will fit

Customer:

access to the ceiling is not possible unless we cut into it

Jason :

I agree. But it's likely they have some smaller models available. If not, an electrical supply house would. I got mine at All Phase, but I don't know if there is an All Phase location near you.

Customer:

all phase is not a familar place

Jason :

How about Kendall Electric?

Customer:

I am in the Chicago area so we have several large Electric Supply places

Jason :

Oh, okay. I'm not far from you. South Bend, Indiana.

Customer:

wonder if Intermatic could have a fix for this?

Customer:

knowing that the CFL's are here to stay I would think they would have overcome this

Jason :

They may, but I wouldn't be surprised if they don't. However, if you are wondering about the compatibility of a different timer, then that is a definite possibility.

Customer:

I would have used an alternate timer in a minute but this timer fits a standard cover plate and in one of the locations there is a four gang plate with two timers and two regular switches

Jason :

Yikes, sounds like your options are very limited. Do you have room in the wall to swap out the box for a deeper one? One that will house a small relay?

Jason :

Or, could you go to a 5 gang box, with one gang of the cover being blank?

Customer:

really major drywall work that there and she is not ready for that

Customer:

i am not sure i can sell her on the CFL being the problem

Jason :

Do you think she would be convinced if you showed her the troubleshooting guide?

Jason :

How hard would it be to remove the light fixture, then the ceiling box, and work through that hole to locate the relay there?

Customer:

if the troubleshooting guide indicated that other than just the "incandescent" note

Customer:

probably not possible

Jason :

You may be surprised at how small a relay you can get. There is also the option of a RIB relay. Are you familiar with those?

Customer:

no, never heard of RIB

Jason :

It stands for Rely In a Box. Basically, it's a small plastic box with 1/2" male threads, for mounting in a knockout on any type of junction box. The leads for the coil and contacts come through the male threads. So, this relay would be mounted OUTSIDE of any box you locate it at. But all of the leads would be IN the box. Would you like to see a link to that product?

Customer:

ok, I know what it is and have actually used one some time back

Customer:

I will get in touch with my supplier and see if he can recommend something

Jason :

I thought you were probably more familiar with it than you were thinking.

Jason :

OK, sounds good. Best of luck getting it worked out. I'm sure you'll come up with a solution.

Customer:

i think we have solved the problem with the switch

Customer:

thanks so much for your help

Jason :

I agree. You are most welcome. Have yourself a great weekend!

Customer:

you to

Jason, Service Technician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 3665
Experience: Over 15 years of experience in all types of installations, troubleshooting, and repairs.
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