SmartThings Community

4 way switch help

(Joshua Thompson) #10

Actually this is my current setup:

(Michael) #11

Well in this last diagram you don’t have a neutral as the white wires are travelers, but you say your switch in box 1 works so a neutral is coming from somewhere. I don’t believe the last diagram is your setup. You can confirm by removing the fixture and checking the wires in that box.

(Joshua Thompson) #12

It must be this one then:

(Ben W) #13

Just did this 2 days ago.

Pick your primary switch location and hook up the traveler/Line/Load/Neutral/ground to the 12722. I had 2 travelers coming into the box (one for each child) and stuck one in each hole on the traveler port on the switch,

On the child switches hook up the traveler/Neutral/Ground. The Line and Load in the gang box will need to be connected together, get a proper wire connector cap. The instructions are not super clear on that.

If it doesn’t work switch line/load on master 12722 it is probably backwards. Dump switches don’t care, but smart switches do.

(Joshua Thompson) #14

here are some pictures of the box. There are 5 wires going into the main box and 3 switches. This box controls a recessed light group, a fan, and it’s light. I wired the way you said but the fan light still does not work. I am not sure if I blew something in the fan.
The right most wires are the ones I am working with and the middle switch is the one that controls the fan light. The other two switches work fine. I will note the red wire from one is twisted into the white wire from another.

(Michael) #15

OK so you definitely have your power source (line) coming into this box. That is the large bundle of black wires. So the black wire hooked up as load is going to one of your other boxes. You say that this switch is working OK its just the auxiliary switches that are not working? I am surprised that the aux switch in box 2 doesn’t work.

Are you sure there aren’t any other Romex wires in those boxes that would connect it to the light? My 4 way in the kitchen was this way. Are the black wires in box 2 just wire nutted together?

Maybe pictures of the other boxes will help as well. Believe you are so close to solving this.

(Joshua Thompson) #16

Box two has 2 sets of 4 Wires: Black, Red, White, Ground. The switch has 5 wires hooked to it: Both Red, Both Black, and Both Ground (tied together as 1).

Box 3 has 1 set of the same 4 wires, one of which is coming from box 2.

(Michael) #17

Did you say the switch you are working on is for a fan light? Does the fan switch happen to be to the right of it in your picture? At first I was wondering why you have a red wire and a white wire bundled together. I believe that is your neutral wire for your fan/light assuming the right switch is indeed the fan. I’d like you to confirm that so please take the wire nut off and use a multimeter to see if that is a neutral. Once that is confirmed I have an idea on how you can wire this up to work. Also confirm that your right switch (assuming fan) has power on one of those black wires.

(Joshua Thompson) #18

Hello! You are correct the middle switch is for the fan light and the switch to the right of it is the fan blades. I will have to test when I get home to see if it’s neutral but it probably is. How would I wire it in that scenario?

(Michael) #19


Well after further thought, the reason your auxiliary switches don’t work is because they aren’t getting a neutral connection. That white/red bundle is your load for both your fan AND light. The reason the red from that wire is connected to the white in the wire right next to it is for the completion of the 4 way circuit for your light.

The far right wire coming in from the top is your load for both your fan and light:
White: neutral for both your fan and light
Black: load for your fan
Red: load for your light

To solve this:
Box 1:

  1. Unbundle the white and red wire
  2. Remove the existing Load black wire that is at the top right of your middle switch and put a small wire nut on it, you don’t need it. Just to confirm this comes from the second to right wire from the back top of your box.
  3. Hook up the red wire you unbundled in step 1 to the Load (top right) on your middle switch.
  4. Hook up the white wire to the neutral on your middle switch - you should have two holes there so just add it to your existing jumper.
  5. Box 1 is done so you can turn power back on and test that the light and fan still works, if not don’t proceed.

Box 2:

  1. If your black wires are bundled, remove that wire nut and unbundle them and put small wire nuts on them individually as you don’t need those wires any longer.
  2. Hook up both white wires to neutral on your auxilary.
  3. Hook up both red wires to the traveler on your auxilary switch.

Box 3:

  1. Put a small wire nut on the black wire as you don’t need it any longer.
  2. Hook up the white wire to neutral on your auxilary
  3. Hook up the red wire to the traveler on your auxilary switch.

You should be good to go! I see in the picture that you still have the tabs on the side of your 3 smart switches in Box 1. You will need to remove those in order to screw them in as there isn’t enough width. You can remove them by getting pliers and bend them towards the front groove and go back and forth.

(Joshua Thompson) #20

Awesome I will try this in a few hours when I get home, thank you very much for taking the time! Fingers crossed!

(Michael) #21

No worries, please let me know if this works. Have a nice weekend.

(Joshua Thompson) #22

Hello! Sorry to report the setup did not work :frowning: no lights at all from the main switch in that configuration. :frowning: I have it wired now so that the main switch works, and the two aux switches turn the light on but will not turn it back off. If this gives any clues I can share how it’s wired now.

(Ben W) #23

That is odd. The aux switches don’t really control anything, they just send the command to the primary switch (along the traveler).

When I hooked up mine, I just did the primary switch first and on the aux switches connected the line/load together (black wires). This allowed me to test everything on the primary first, as I often get the line and load backwards. Then added one aux, repeated test. Then second.

(Dale C) #24

It seems you just have it terminated wrong and should be easy to fix. The question is and this is very important to get you working, is what EXACTLY do you have at each of the boxes for your wiring? I think you might have made a slight mistake on reconnecting wires at Box 1.

Here is one of the photos you posted that I marked up to help clarify our communication based on what you posted. Let me know if this is correct; We will refer to this box as B1 which is the primary (still hot when other boxes wires completely disconnected) and has 5 romex (labeled Rr, Rpi, Rpo, Rs, Rf) entering the box. Your romex has 3 wires and ground and we will reference them by romex label then color. For example Rs-red means the red conductor in romex Rs to 4-way switch. There are three switches in B1 that I have labeled as S1 for the recessed light group, S2 is the fan light, and S3 is fan motor, correct? So from now on we need to communicate based on the switch number, box number, romex label so I know exactly what you are addressing. Which circuit is it not working; the S2 fan lighting? So the 4-way conversion we are doing is for a single ceiling fan light only, no other light loads, correct?

I apologize for the long post but the more info I can get the faster we can get this solved.

UPDATE: I just went though the solution that @ritchierich provided you and I believe he is exactly correct if the romex goes to where we think it goes below but we need to add one step 4a.

IF my assumptions are right the whole problem may have been misunderstanding wires and not doing step 4a? See photo above; the romex to the far right I’ll call Rf. Rf goes to your fan/light. The romex next to Rf I’ll call Rs. Rs goes to your switch box B2. I am modifying his post to make sure you understand which wire and romex he is referring to. FYI; we are doing three stages of testing, one for each GE switch so don’t jump ahead.

If S2 and S3 is working then proceed to next step below after turning off breaker.

Box1: Reconnect red wire (Rs-red) to TRAVELER on middle switch S2

Box 3: Temporarily disconnect all wires from GE 12723 (S5) and leave open. We want to test box 2 switch S4 first.

Box 2:

  1. The black wires are spares and not needed. Cap them individually with wire nuts
  2. Hook up both white wires to NEUTRAL on switch S4 (GE 12723 auxiliary add-on switch)
  3. Hook up both red wires to the TRAVELER on switch S4
  4. Hook up grounds to the GROUND on switch S4
  5. Turn back on power and verify S4 works properly with S2. If not don’t proceed

Box 3:

  1. The black wire is spare and not needed. Cap with wire nut
  2. Hook up white wire to NEUTRAL on switch S5 (GE 12723 auxiliary add-on switch)
  3. Hook up red wire to the TRAVELER on switch S5
  4. Hook up ground to the GROUND on switch S5
  5. Turn back on power and verify S5 works properly with S2, S4. If not don’t proceed
  6. Celebrate!

Troubleshooting Note: if we are still having issues, it’s possible your GE Add-On Switches 12723 (S4) and (S5) were damaged from applying line voltage power unintentionally from that bundled white (Rs-wht) and red wire (Rf-red) of the original install? Also based on your picture, seeing black tape, you may have exceeded the capacity of the red wire nut holding all your neutrals together which could also be why you are having issues. Tug on on each of the new white pigtails from the smart switches. You might need to split some out and jumper to a second wirenut?

GE 3-Way Light
(Joshua Thompson) #25

Hello All, thank you for the replies sorry I have been away from my house until late last night. I will take pictures at each box with my Canon 6D when I get home and post them here.

(Joshua Thompson) #26

Hello! Thank you very much this worked! Sorry it took me a week to try it I have been out of town. You are a gentleman and a scholar. Many many thanks!

(Dale C) #27

AWESOME! I’m glad you got it working finally. :grinning:

Just to help out anybody searching your post for answers in the future, click on the check box icon at the bottom of my post which identifies it as the solution. That way someone can jump from the original posted question to the solution if they want to save time from reading the entire thread. Only you as the original poster can do this.

So now that you got this running you might want to try out a smartapp I did for a little automation on your ceiling fan to have it run automatically if you have a temperature sensor in the room.

(Joshua Thompson) #28

Thanks! I will try out the smart-app for sure.

(Joshua Thompson) #29

If you still are around it would be awesome if you could help me with this one too: Duplex Switch Help (Leviton VRCS2-MRZ)