Hello, I am in the process of installing GE 2nd gen smart switches throughout my home. I’ve had no issues with the single switches but I’ve come to a road block when trying to install my first 3 way switch. The attached pic is the best representation of my current situation. When both switches are disconnected and I test for power the white wire in the second box is the only wire with power. Can I install a GE 2nd gen switch with this set up? Should I purchase a different switch that doesn’t require a neutral? Should I rewire to make it GE switch friendly? Any help is appreciated, thank you.
Deleting. My advice was not correct
So if your wiring matches the diagram you posted, you will need a switch or dimmer that supports a non-neutral installation. In your case, power is routed to the light first. The neutral remains there, so there is no neutral in either switch box.
I do not know the GE switches well, but if by 2nd Gen you are referring to a GE46201, the documentation says a neutral is required. (As @JDRoberts always says, the model number matters!) I don’t know if GE has others that support a non-neutral.
If you were to install an Inovelli, then you would need a dimmer, as Inovelli switches do not support non-neutral installations.
With power going to the fixture first you don’t have neutral at the switches nor enough wires to get it there. GE/Jasco switches won’t work since you need 4 wires and you only have 3. They do make a no neutral switch but the Aux switch to make a 3way requires neutral so you are still stuck.
So would you recommend rewiring to accommodate the GE switches or wait for the “Inovelli ZWave Dimmer Switch (Red Series) | No Neutral Required” to come off backorder? I have five 3 way sets to do, I assume they will all be wired like this. Rewiring wouldn’t be the end of the world because I have things tore up to run CAT6 anyway but any extra time spend in the attic in July/Aug would be brutal considering it’s about 105 degrees outside by 7am.
I would rewire it if you can. If you are considering the Inovelli, while it will work with a non-neutral that configuration can sometimes introduce issues. If you can add a neutral so much the better
Sounds good, I appreciate the info. Is there a preferred wiring method or will any set up with a neutral in each box work?
Speaking in brand-agnostic terms, I would want a 2-wire hot/neutral to the box where the smart switch is located. And then a 2-wire Load up to the light(s) from either of the 3-way boxes, with a 3-wire between the two boxes.
But I would look at the wiring configurations for the specific brand of switches you are going to use and go from there. If you are using Inovellis, then what I posted above will work just fine as it allows you to use smart/dumb, smart/aux and smart/smart combinations. Can’t speak to other brands.