3 way wiring help needed

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.

Tagging @ritchierich

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Deleting. My advice was not correct

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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.

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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

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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.

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