Add-On Switch Problem

I have a multiple switch configuration to turn on my porch lights…a master switch in my garage and three add-on switches in various locations. These are Enbrighton switches.

I paid an electrician $500 to hook this up. He spent about 5 hours at the house troubleshooting the previous wiring, tracking everything down and wiring the new switches.

At the end of the day, the main switch works (and is connected to ST), the add-on’s turn the lights OFF, but only intermittently turn them ON. Sometimes they turn on right away, sometimes it takes several presses of the button, sometimes the add-on doesn’t turn the lights on at all…again this is only in the case of turning the light on. The add-on switch turn the lights off immediately.

I called Enbrighton technical support and they said this is likely due to the wiring distance being over 100 feet. The garage is about 35 feet from my furthest add-on location…however they said it could be 100 feet or more by the time the wiring ran to and from the lights to the switch boxes, etc.

Does this sound right? Could it be that the switch wiring is not correct? It’s odd that the off function works immediately and consistently…the on function is the one that is not working.

One note is that I noticed the add-on switches call for a neutral, but he did not use a neutral on the add-ons…he used two of the wires in the box (not sure which…both black) and capped off a red wire.

It really sucks having switches that are not reliable…especially after paying an expert $500.

Any ideas are appreciated!!

I’m sure that’s very frustrating. :disappointed_relieved: If the add-on switches don’t work at the wall, it pretty much has to be something in the wiring, because those auxiliary switches are connected directly to the master through a traveler wire. Your home automation system actually isn’t involved in that step at all. And yes, the run length can vary inside the wall so it sounds like you probably did go past the maximum reliable distance.

The easiest way to handle that is to substitute a different kind of auxiliary switch which will communicate either directly to the master switch by a radio or first to the hub and then to the master switch. That gets around the distance issue. In fact, you can even use a battery powered switch for this kind of set up. And it doesn’t have to be the same brand as your master switch since the connection is through your home automation system instead of through a physical connection.

If you’re interested in that, we can talk more about some of the options. It would mean replacing the two auxiliary switches you have, so I hope you can return those or use them somewhere else in the house. :thinking:

Sorry, I just noticed that you said the Enbrighten add on switches called for a neutral. What’s the specific model number? Many smart switches do need a neutral in order to power the radio even when the switch is “off“. Or sometimes just to complete the circuit in a three-way.

In the US, wire color doesn’t really tell you anything because in most places it’s not mandated by code, it’s not uncommon to see a black neutral wire. But if your electrician used something other than the neutral, then that could be a problem. But again, the first rule of home automation applies: “the model number matters.“

This manufacturer video shows you what your electrician should have done to install the switches. But again, the wire colors could be different. And the maximum distance to a switch in the specs for that model is 75 feet, so it sounds like you may have exceeded that.

It’s possible that your House didn’t have a neutral at the position of the add-on switch, in which case, your electrician should’ve stopped and talked to the manufacturer. But maybe it was in the back of the box and you just didn’t notice him connected, or maybe, again, it was a different color.

If you can, it would be helpful if you can take pictures of the existing switches with how the wires are connected to each screw. But I understand if you don’t want to do that.