Best smart switch to replace a three way switch?

Quick question for the forum…

I have a hallway with several light bulbs and light switches at either end of the hall to control the bulbs (i.e. a three way switch). I’ve decided that replacing all of the light bulbs for smart bulbs would be pricier and won’t really give me much benefit (no need for color or dimming capabilities…I just need on/off control)…so i’ve decided to replace the three way switches with a “smart” equivalent instead.

What would be the best “smart” three way switch to purchase for ST compatibility? On the website store I saw the GE In-Wall Paddle switches but they didn’t seem to be three way. I also saw a reference in another forum post to GE/Jasco switch (http://www.lowes.com/campaign/iris/pdf/45637_45638.pdf) but I don’t know if that’s the best option or if there is something better. Thoughts?

Thanks in advance,

@Daveuk100, I use that exact same three way switch kit by GE. I purchased them from Lowe’s, and have installed 6 of the kits. They’re rock solid devices.

Thanks for the reply! Is it the same as this product/kit? http://www.homedepot.com/p/GE-Z-Wave-Wireless-Lighting-Control-Three-Way-Dimmer-Kit-45613/202453957#customer_reviews

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That’s the same kit. Just make sure when you are wiring it you either know what you are doing it have someone help that does. Only one switch is wired to the lights. The other uses the traveller and power to the switch only. The upside is that up is always on and down is always off at either end of the hall. The downside is that is you don’t just wire nut the line properly on the traveller side your lights won’t work. :slight_smile:

@Daveuk100, I get all my GE switches from Lowe’s. A lot of their Iris stuff that supports Zwave also works with ST, like smoke/co2 detectors, water leak detectors, sirens, etc. Here’s the GE 3 way kit I bought: (better price than HD too)

http://www.lowes.com/pd_339584-1353-45638_4294713508__?productId=3707744&Ns=p_product_qty_sales_dollar|1&pl=1&currentURL=%3FNs%3Dp_product_qty_sales_dollar|1&facetInfo=

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Thanks guys. The information about the wiring differences between standard 3-way switches and z-wave’s is very helpful. I can see that i’ll need to do a bit more research into my existing 3-way wiring before I pull the trigger on this purchase.

@Daveuk100, no problem. Wiring can be a little tricky, but it really isn’t that bad at all. Just remember that most switches (3 way’s or not) will require a neutral.

Here’s a decent resource for dimmers and regular switches:

http://store.homeseer.com/store/HomeSeer-Z-Wave-Wall-Switch-Matrix-W7C37.aspx

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I have a Staples Connect Hub (by D-Link) and have been trying to add two GE 12722 Smart Switches. These are made by Jasco and claim to work with any Z-Wave device. I followed all of the included directions, and everything I could find online, but no luck.

Last idea I had was to try to REMOVE the device from my hub before I added it. Seriously. FFS! These are all new items that have never been paired with each other, but in order to ADD the switch, I first had to REMOVE it from the hub it was never paired with. Unbelievable!!!

To add more confusion to the mix, the Staples Connect logo is printed right on the side of the GE Smart Switch box, but a call to GE Tech Support was fruitless… They told me to call Staples. I traded emails with someone at Staples Tech Support that claimed that the GE/Jasco Smart Switch is not compatible with the Staples Connect Hub. I emailed him a picture of the box, with the Staples Connect logo, but he had no answer… Sigh

Anyway, if you’re stuck and cannot make Z-Wave things talk, try removing them first. Would’ve saved me a couple hours of my life to know that.

Glad you figured it out! This process is called “exclusion.” It’s a standard Z wave step. Usually the first thing you try if you have a Z wave device that won’t pair with a new controller is to do a “general exclusion.” It sounds like this is what you did. :sunglasses:

This isn’t removing it from the new network, although I know it could look like that. Instead, it’s just telling the Z wave device to clear any controller information that it has stored. This will actually be the information from the previous network.

Once the device’s controller fields are clear, you can then add it to a new controller. Here are the instructions:

https://support.smartthings.com/hc/en-us/articles/200878314-How-to-exclude-Z-Wave-devices

By the way, sometimes you can buy a brand-new device and it won’t care until you do a general exclusion. The reason is it was probably pair to a test network at the factory, and just didn’t get cleared correctly. That can happen.

Any Z wave controller can issue the command to do a general exclusion. Then any Z wave device that is in range and has been put into exclusion mode will clear its stored controller information. This is also what you do if the hub itself breaks. You don’t have to worry about all your existing Z wave devices being locked to it forever. You can just do a general exclusion with whatever controller you get next.

Hi, first post!

I’ve got an Echo dot at home, and have ordered a Smartthings hub (from Ebay), and am receiving two kits of Philips Hue colored bulbs (great sales on Amazon).

Anyways, my question is this: I want to put two of the bulbs in my hallway with the 3-way switch. Now, if I have the Hue bulbs and this smart switch, can I use them concurrently?

i.e. If someone turns off the lights with the wall switch, can I still turn them on with Alexa, or must I turn them back on with the switch first? If I lose internet, will these switches still allow local control with the Philips or Smartthings hub? Would the Lutron Caseta switches be more effective here?

Just want to know what my options are.

Thanks in advance!

[EDIT] Is there a way to get email notifications for this thread?

This is an interesting question, as I’ve contemplated something similar.

When wired properly, if the switch is off, it cuts power to the bulbs, and the bulbs become unavailable to the hub and can no longer be controlled. You would have to turn the switch on, have the hub wait for the bulbs to become active (a few seconds), and then turn the bulbs on. The bulbs will not be able to light without the power being sent to them via the switch. Therefore, you couldn’t control them at the same time, but perhaps a delay could be set up with a virtual switch that would do the job for you. i.e. “Alexa, turn hallway blue” (Alexa turns on hallway switch and blue virtual switch, which delays a second or two before changing bulbs to blue).

Another option might be to hardwire the light fixtures to stay on all the time, and wire the switch so that it doesn’t actually send current to anything, but acts solely as a trigger in the hub. The switch would then become a push button that would execute a command to turn the bulbs on or off. This, in turn, would make the bulbs retain their last color and brightness settings instead of coming on as white all the time, and it would make the bulbs available to the hub 100% of the time. Also, this would allow control with Smartthings hub even without internet.

Control via phone or Alexa will not work without internet. Those devices require connections to the cloud in order to operate.

Well, I guess I’ll keep regular LED bulbs in the hallway for now. BTW, if anyone’s looking for an awesome light switch, I purchased two Inovelli On/Off switches + scenes, and they are awesome! I sent several emails to Eric and Jason asking tons of questions, and they were extremely helpful. The switch can be used as a normal switch, 3-way, and 4-way. I was able to use one as a smart 3-way switch while keeping the other, regular 3-way.

I still haven’t been able to figure out my dream scenario, as it think it’s going to require more programming than I’m capable of at this point.

If I understand your question, this is easy. You just have to wire the bulbs to always be on power and then use a separate switch which does not control the current to the bulbs. That Switch can either be battery-powered or mains-powered.

Because the bulbs remain on power at all times they will work fine with Alexa or other home automation rules. :sunglasses:

We have an FAQ for exactly this set up: (this is a clickable link)

I’ll read that when I get home, but my concern is this: if I lost internet, will this setup still let me turn the lights on with the switch?

That FAQ covers multiple options. Some would, some would not. It depends on the exact devices chosen.