Wiring with hot wiring going though the lights


I have two different situations where I’m wondering if I could use Inovelli switches, the condo is an old one so the wiring it pretty messy, but here I go:

First situation:
I have an Inovelli dimmer (red series), and in the box I have:

  1. Neutral
  2. Ground
  3. Hot wire coming FROM the lamp (no other hot wire)

Second situation (same box):
I want to wire a first gen on/off switch in a 3-way setup.
Right now the hot wire goes though the lights, then a first switch, two wires go to the other switch, and in this box (same as the one above), I have a neutral, and ground.

Is there any way I could make this work? What if I was able to get (another) hot wire in the box?

In the first application you have Neutral and the other side of a lamp where the 1st side of the lamp is Line.
There are not enough wires to use a smart dimmer here. But lets continue.

Situation two: You have two wires coming from a 3-way switch. Still not enough wires for a Smart dimmer.

Clearly if there were a line / neutral coming into this box you would be in good shape.

Are these the only two switches in this box?

BTW the ground = safety ground = bare or green wire. This goes everywhere, I usually ignore them in my wiring diagrams because there is nothing interesting you can do with. They just go to every metal part in you electrical boxes.

Agree with @JohnRob re #1 that you don’t have sufficient wiring. But just so you are aware, you do not have a neutral there. You have a hot and a switched hot (ignoring the ground). I’m not sure how you think you have a neutral there, but you cannot rely upon wire color if that’s how you arrived at that conclusion.

Regarding the 2nd situation, if your hot is coming from the light, you won’t have a neutral there either, more than likely. In most cases, the neutral stops at the light.

So if you are correct that the hot is coming from the light in both cases, you have two non-neutral configurations.

It might help if you posted pictures of both boxes with the switches and wires pulled out so that we can see the connections. The pictures should be clear enough to see both the connections at the switches as well as into the boxes so that we can see what is coming into the box and any bundles as well.

thanks for the answers, I can’t take pics right now, but I will try to clarify:

I do have neutral wires, that is actually part of the issue, the light are wired backward, and it is the neutral that goes though the switches.

so the box which contains the two switches had two neutrals, and one “hot” coming from the light, and two wires coming from the other switch in the 3 way installation, one of which is “hot” depending on the position the switch in the other box is on.

I used a multimeters to verify all this, but basically connecting my “hot” wire (either the one from the dimable light or the one from the 3 way switch) to ANY neutral and/or ground (bare wire) turn the corresponding light on, confirming that the hot wire is first going though the light, and the neutral is the one being switched.

I basically have:


I have no idea where the lights are connected to the hot wire as it is hidden in the wall or ceiling, and so re-wiring that part is tricky and I’d prefer to avoid it.

I think I understand now what you mean by backwards. So for #1, the neutral is being switched. Forgetting about the Inovelli for now, can you get at the light to fix that? That’s a really dangerous situation, as the light will always be hot, even with the switch off. Not sure if this is a screw-in bulb situation, but there is a real danger here changing the bulb if you don’t turn off the breaker.

Yup I am aware, but the cables are hidden somewhere in the ceiling (it is actually 6 sockets embedded in the ceiling), so it’s really challenging to change anything. I have no idea where the hot wire is coming from.

I did think about switching the cables on the electrical panel side (would feel real wrong, but work), but the same breaker also powers some outlets that are wired the right way (I guess I could swap those at the socket level >_< Anyway our place it a real mess.

When I first wired the dimmer assuming the lights where wired the right way, the fading was a bit janky, but it did work otherwise (I have had a GE z-wave dimmer on those lights for months, it’s been flickering at some levels of dimming but otherwise worked properly).
That’s why I’m wondering if there is some way to wire that in the current state of things.