Cannot run a traveler wire, any possible way to remove control GE Dimmer with another Dimmer?

I have a GE dimmer:

And an add-on switch:

They are physically 30 ft apart and are not connected by a traveler wire. After doing some reading it looks like they need to have a traveler wire. This is new construction and we’re trying not to cut into the place and run more wires, so here is my question:

Can I remove the add on switch completely and replace it with something that can control the primary GE dimmer? Ideally have it function just like the primary dimmer? Basically in this new construction they put the primary dimmer way across the room not near the door, so you have to fumble around in the dark for a while to find the light switch.

Thanks!

So you have a primary dimmer that controls an overhead light presumably. There is a 2nd box that has an auxiliary switch in it. What is the purpose of that 2nd box? Does it also control the same light as the dimmer? Or is it being used for something else? It sort of sounds like it’s another switch that controls the same light, but you said there aren’t travelers, so that suggests it’s being used for some other purpose.

Perhaps you can explain in a bit more detail what wiring-wise is in the 2nd box.

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You should be able to use any smart switch (not an add-on/auxillary) in the second box and then create automations/controls where button presses from the second switch to turn the first switch on/off. This is sometimes referred to as a virtual 3-way set-up.

As implied above by Bryan, how you’d go about doing this would depend on what’s going on with the wiring in the second switch location, which isn’t at all clear from your post.

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Hi there,

So it was an oversight that the primary dimmer wasn’t installed near the door, and there was some extra space on the wall by the door so I just had them put the add-on switch there. It’s just hooked up to the power there, but it doesn’t actually control the load to the light at all. So basically the purpose of the 2nd box is to hold some switches for other lights in the room and some outdoor lights :slight_smile:

So it sounds like a “Virtual 3 way setup” is probably what I want here. You say I can use any smart switch… Any tips on what to pick here, is “direct association” an option to cut down on lag time? (I may not be saying the right thing here, just didn’t know how the virtual 3 way setup is accomplished if all of the presses are going to smarthings hub and back)

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Direct association may be possible. It requires that both of the switches in the virtual three-way be zwave and be relatively close to each other, and that the auxiliary (which will be the trigger) support association.

Pros:

  1. A direct association will work even if The hub itself is not working, or if the Internet is not available.

  2. it will probably be a little faster than going through the hub, but to be honest not that much faster if you have an efficient zwave network and you are using the local features of smartlighting… Humans might not be able to perceive the difference.

Cons:

  1. There’s no way to set filters or modifications on the operation of the virtual three-way if you use direct association. It’s going to be just like a wired three-way in that sense. Every time you turn on the auxiliary, the master will come on. That’s probably fine for a three-way set up in the same room. People do sometimes use virtual three ways using the hub method when they want light levels to be different at different times of day, for example so that pressing the auxiliary between midnight and sunrise only turns the light on to 50%.

  2. Not all direct association devices will update the hub when the state changes, which means the hub may think the lights are off when they are actually on or vice versa. Direct association is an older method which was used before people had smart phones for everything, so they didn’t care that much about the hub knowing what the state was. But now people expect to see it. This varies from model to model and it’s rarely documented, so sometimes you just have to try it and see. In contrast, the methods which go through the hub will update the state because obviously the hub knows what’s going on.

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In general, I think direct association is a good choice for zwave virtual three ways. I especially like the fact that they work even if the hub is down. But I understand the advantages of being able to control events with filters, too, so it’s a personal choice. :sunglasses:

On the other hand, I no longer usually recommend zwave direct association for “motion sensor turns on the light” or “contact sensor turns on a siren” which were some of the original use cases for the method when it was first introduced, because nowadays I think people are just much more likely to want to have filters on those. :scream: :rotating_light:

One way to do this is using the mirror function in Smart Lighting. Yes, it goes to the hub and back. As long as you’re using stock DTH so you get local execution. Lag will be minimal, should not be noticeable.

How is the additional box wired, just a 14-2 Romex from the breaker panel to power a smart device?

You’ll want smart switch that has an option to not energize the load terminal by disabling the internal relay. Some Zooz devices and some Inovelli devices can do this.

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Thank you for your answers! The electrician is here on Saturday and I will ask how the additional box is wired.

Is this Zooz device an example of one that will work? You said I need to be able to disable the internal relay, is that a setting or some specific way of hooking up the dimmer?

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You’d just need to connect power (line) and neutral to the dimmer. We recommend getting in touch with us before you place the order to request the latest firmware which will give you more flexibility when it comes to programming. We’ll be happy to guide you through the process once you have the dimmer installed.

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You can use a smart remote/button like a smartthings button to control a smart switch. Another cool thing about the smartthings button is that it has a temperature sensor. www.samsung.com/us/smart-home/smartthings/buttons/samsung-smartthings-button-gp-u999sjvleaa/

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