4-way switch with aux missing the neutral

I have a four way switch that I changed over to a GE z-wave setup today.

Here is what I’ve got:

Master switch is wired and operates the lights as intended. This switch is in the box with the incoming source power. This box has a neutral.

Aux switch #1 is wired and operates as intended. This switch took the place of the four way switch. This box has a neutral.

Aux switch #2 does not work, because there is not a neutral in this box. This switch replaced a 3-way switch. The traveler is connected as well as the ground. The other two wires are connected together as they are the line/load wires for that box.

This particular box was an add on after the house was wired. The electrician put a switch for the stairs by the front door (a good distance from the bottom of the stairs) and the other switch at the top of the stairs. Before closing I made the electrician install a switch at the bottom of the stairs. He did not run a neutral to this switch.

So what are my options to make this switch work? The master and aux #1 work great.

Can I connect the neutral to the power source in the box to give aux #2 power?

In Aux 2 how many wires do you have? You mention it was a 3 way so I would assume 3? Red, black and white? I just changed a similar setup at my house and I had to send a neutral connection to one of the Aux switches which was previously a 3 way. Often the white wire serves as a traveler to a 3 way in a 4 way setup.

If you have a white wire, figure out which of your other 2 locations that wire is going to and bundle it with your other neutrals. From there you should be good!

Aux 2 had one four wire romex - red, black, white. The white wire is covered with black tape.

The red is the traveler wire. The black and the white(black) wires are tied together because they are the load/line wires.

I’m also not fully understand what you mean in your post.

The box with the four way switch had two black and red sets coming into it. I tied the blacks together and the reds went to the aux traveler connections. I tapped that neutral into the others in that box.

Switch #2 had no neutral

To confirm, the black and white wire coming from the same Romex are tied together? That doesn’t make sense. I have seen a white, marked with black tape tied with a black from another Romex but not the black from the same wire. If that is the case you can untie them and change the white to a ground.

Replying to your edit, in the 4 way box, what are the 2 white wires from the red/black Romex connected to?

In the four way box there were two romex writes going to the switch. Black/red and black/red. The white wires both tied to the neutral.

I’m thinking the problem is that the source power is in the box that the 4-way switch was in.

So I think the set up is that the light is between a 3-way switch and the 4-way switch. While the the other 3-way us tied to the 4-way.

Ok, now the box with no neutral has an always hot wire in it. There is only one four wire romex in this box. Red, black, white, ground.

Red is the traveler
Black is always hot.
White is taped black.

Disconnect the black and white wire in this box, I tied them together, disables the entire circuit.

Question: since the aux just needs some juice to do whatever it does over the traveler line, and I have an always hot line, can I just connect the neutral tab on the aux switch to the hot line?

Our will that blow stuff up?

If the source power is in the old 4 way you may need to move the master there. And if there is a light between the 4 way and the 3 way you will need to change the wires in that fixture to make the white wire a neutral.

The 4-way switch is in a 4-gang box with the different sources. The source for this circuit is upstairs where the master is.

This is just confusing me even more. I think I’m going to take it all apart and start it over!

But I’m thinking the problem is that this switch was added in after the rest of the circuit was already done… And the drywall was up to. So I think the electrician just tapped in just made it work.


Here’s an idea. What if I wire an aeon micro switch to the aux switch.

Will that work?

Or if I use a dumb toggle switch with the micro switch (the toggle would go to the low voltageside of the micro switch) would that work in line with the master?

edit: nevermind… no neutral… duh.

I think what I’m going to do is take it all apart and start over.

Unfortunately no because you need to stick to the same compatible devices under the same manufacturer. You could have a situation where the micro was off and then your GE switches wouldn’t work.

If you post pictures of each box with explanation on where wires are going I can try to help. I just replaced a 4 way setup at my house and I had to carefully place the master and aux switches and analyze where each wire was coming from. I even labeled them so I could put the old setup back if I couldn’t get the Zwave setup to work.

Yeah, I figured out I couldn’t use the micro switch.

So, what I’m going to do it take it apart, take pictures of it all and go from there.

I’m sure it’s something simple and I’ll post details of all of it here when I get it working.

I just wanted to give an update here and thank everyone that helped.

I got the switch wiring figured out.

I had to move the master to a different box. It started in the box that I thought had the source power, but I was wrong. The source power was actually coming into the box that had the 4-way switch in it. The master is now there.

Once I got the master switch moved it was pretty easy. I used my fluke meter, some extra wire, and a 12 y/o to figure out which wire was which.

One thing that was throwing me of was one of the aux switch boxes only had one romex line in it. The installer used the one line for both line, load, and traveler.

In the 3-way switches in my house so far I’ve had to tie the line/load wires together in the aux box. In this box just the one wire was capped.

Now everything is working as it should.

I only have one more the way to change and one more four way to change. Then the rest are just on/off switches.

I know it’s been a while since you installed this but I’m running into a similar problem where one of the boxes doesn’t have a neutral. How did you overcome this?

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