4-way wiring GE On/Off Switch

I’m having some problems wiring a 4-way GE switch. I’ve read many posts in this forum, but I can’t quite figure out what I should do. I’ve done 3-ways no problem.

Here’s the wiring I have now. (Excuse the bad drawing!)

There obviously also ground lines in there. My original thought was that I would put the master in box 3, because it’s the farthest away, but now I’m not sure.

In box 1, there is a neutral bundle. In box 2, there is a bundle capped off that is white but with black tape. There is only one 4-wire bundle in box 3–it “dead ends”. That white wire with black tape is attached to the switch–there is no neutral bundle.

I got one aux switch installed in box 1. I ran the neutral from the bundle, used the traveler, and capped the two black wires together. The other two (old) switches work. But when I went to do the next ones I got stumped. Any advice? Is this going to be possible without a neutral in box 3?

(I realize you probably need more information, and I may be out of my comfort zone for doing this myself. But I really want to understand what’s happening here, too.)

Thank you!

Look like you don’t have neutral going to your switch boxes. The white with black tape is most likely your line hot. Your neutral is at your light fixture. An Aeon micro or a relay module at your light fixture are the only options I can think of that will allows you to use the 3 physical switches.

Seems like you have some electric experience (also my issue) … Let me say this… Only the primary switch completes the circuit… The other switches communicate to the primary to complete the circuit… The secondary switches need power via a common and traveler wires. You need to complete the circuits in the boxes (wire black to black/ white to white) and pigtail the commons to power the secondary switch. This will completely not make sense to anyone with some electrical ability. Hope this helps

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So, I get this and it kind of makes sense.

I can easily put the master in the first box. The power appears to be coming through there or before the light (I know, I need to determine that for sure). But the the aux switches are stumping me. I can do the travelers and cap off the black wires in box 2. But I’m not sure if the white wires with black tape are neutral or hot (or, rather, at what point they become hot). Even if I could determine they ARE neutral, I’m not sure what I’d do in box three with the black wire? Cap it off? There’s only one wire.

I think I need to cap off the black wires in box 2, and cap off the black wire and white with black tape in box 3 to complete the circuit. This would mean the white with black tape in box 2 are not neutral. So, some sort of neutral line would need to be run (which is beyond my electrical skill). I’m willing to pay an electrician to do so, but I don’t want to pay them to come out and tell me they don’t know what to do or don’t think it’s possible.

Hmmm, there shouldn’t be a scenario where you only have one black wire in a box unless it’s pigtailed off a completed circuit. In your drawing you aren’t reflecting neutrals (to simplify). Also you aren’t reflecting your power source or main service. If you where to draw it you would see black, white and traveler to every box line and load.

How was the switch in this box 3 wired before the zwave switch? Keep in mindthe primary switch will function if you complete the circuits in the other boxes. (This was my epiphany moment) as one person mentioned on another thread, you have no idea what the handyman did before you. So this may come down to throwing a meter on the wire to check voltage on those white wires Marked with tape.

I had this exact setup and got mine working. I am happy to help, but you need to tell me which box has your line/power source and which box has your load/wire to your lights. Don’t worry about the wire colors for now as that will change.

White wires with black tape mean they are not neutrals and they carry power. This is typical in 4 way situations and common in 3 way as well.

Okay, try this. All wires in boxes 2 and 3 are hot. I could complete the circuit with only box 1. There is another single switch in that box for another light (I’m not making z-wave), so there are a total of five bundles: 1 power in and 1 out to light for that; 1 power in, 1 out to light, and 1 traveler out for the 4-way switch I’m working on.

Not sure if this will make it better or worse. But, for reference.

Box 1: The wires on the upper left are for the other light.

Box 2:

Box 3:

Ok thank you. Same setup I had.

Box 1 needs your master switch.

  1. Remove the white wire from the bundle of black wires, this will become your neutral for the Aux switches.
  2. Get a small wire and add that to that black wire bundle, this becomes your line.
  3. Get a small white wire and add that to your neutral bundle, this becomes your neutral
  4. Cap black wire that is in same wire as your white wire taped black, you don’t need it.
  5. Then hook up wires to your switch:
    a. New small white wire and black taped white wire to neutral. You can remove tape if you want to since it’s no longer a positive wire.
    b. New small black wire to line.
    c. Other black wire from 3 way to your load, not one you capped
    d. Red wire from 3 way to your traveler

You can turn back on power and test that this switch now works.

Then in box 2:

  1. Cap both black wires as you don’t need them.
  2. Hook up both white wires to Aux neutral
  3. Hook up both red wires to Aux traveler

Then in box 3.

  1. Cap black wire
  2. Hook up single white wire to your Aux neutral
  3. Hook up single red wire to your Aux traveler

You are done! Hopefully this makes sense.

THANK YOU!!! It works! Sorry it took so long to respond, but I couldn’t get back to it until today.

Awesome to hear. Glad you got it working.