Essentially when we talk about 2 wire or 3 wire with time switches we are referring to the Master unit in the Illuminated ranges only. The Master is the unit that is positioned where the switch live is connected to the load. The activator is positioned at any other switch positions in that switching circuit.
On a 2 wire Master this has a live and switch live connection only and a trigger line for using withd activators. These are perfect for lighting and for retro-fitting or where there is no possibility of getting a neutral to the switch position. They must also utilise a three core connection between the Master and Activator units to work effectively. A common mistake is for people to think that they can connect the whole system via 2 wires only without realising that three cores must run between the Master and Activator switches.
As with all rules there is an exception and it is worth noting that it is possible to work the Push button timers with only two cores between Master and Activator but the installer will have to sacrifice the blue LED locator ring at the activator positions. Illuminated PIR and Touch versions must have a three core connection between Master and Activators.
On a 3 wire master there is a live (live in), a switch live (live out) and a neutral connection. There is also a blank terminal which is the trigger line and is for use with the activators. A activator must be connected to a master unit with a three core connection utilising the live, switch live and trigger terminals.The Master unit recieves its own power because it is connected to the mains power and is therefore the easiest to set up. At Elkay we always recommend that where possible the Three wire master is chosen especially if it is possible to get a neutral to the switch position.
Another issue that crops up with the Illuminated 2 wire products are customers purchasing all two wire Masters and linking them together. This will not work as the Masters will send signals to one another and will keep the load permanently on. Activators are an essential part of the Master and Activator electronic switch set up. See the tables below for the correct part numbers and see the drawings on how to convert from regular on off switches to time switches.