Change 3 way switch to 4 way with smart dimmers


My living room has 3 switches. 2 set up as a 3 way switch…and 1 switch on its own. They control 2 separate sets of lights track lighting in the living room ceiling.

I am converting my living room to recessed lighting and would like all the lights controlled by the 3 switches. My contractor wants to charge too much to make a true 4 way switch, because it would require opening up the walls instead of just the ceiling.

So I was wondering if I could do this with the ge smart dimmers instead. The 3 way switches could physically be wired to control all the living room lights…and the 3rd single switch would be doing nothing.

Is there some way to make that 3rd single switch also able to dim the living room lights without physical wiring changes?


Editing: misread. You can wire a GE smart dimmer and add-on in your 3 way and a smart GE dimmer in the other switch and make SmartThings have the two switches work together. If you want a “fake” 4 way. Disadvantage is they will not turn off or on together (slight delay) but no new wiring is needed.

You can open your ceiling and run a two wire line between lights and disconnect your single switch. Still using SmartThings there will not be the flicker on/off but you will still experience a slight delay with the single switch.

Now here’s an interesting point, since GE add-on paddles are different than standard 4 way switches. You should be able to run a 2 wire line from either 3 way switch box to either the single switch or light (where the 2 line wire from the single switch goes) in your other set and make 4 way switches (1 GE Smart Dimmer, 2 addons). 4 wire lines are not needed. In fact you can add just one 3 wire line to get everything to work if you go from either 3 way box to the single switch light.

Give me a bit and I’ll attach a diagram

Here are the 4 possible combinations of wiring you may have (if power from breaker is coming from your light then this is not possible). The two switches on the left would be your existing 3 way switches while the one on the right is the single switch. The first light is the one controlled by the 3 way, the second the one controlled by the single switch. These diagrams show the new 3-wire line you would need to add.

Thanks, let me get this to the contractor and see what he thinks.

So I think I’m going with the fake 4 way…so I don’t have to do any wiring. Just want to clarify how this works though. The existing 3 way would get a master switch and an add on right?
The switch on a separate circuit should be a master or an add-on? This separate switch doesn’t control anything anymore…it’s been disconnected from the track lighting it used to control.

You would need a master and add-on for the 3-way and a master for the fake switch. That switch would still need to be connected to power, just not to your lights.

If you want dimming capability, both masters would need to be dimmers as well. Of course the fake switch will only work when SmartThings is working.

Unfortunately, because you want the switches to work together, you can’t use the included smartapps and need to install a custom one.

I believe this custom smartapp would work for you.

If you need help on how to install custom code it can be found here

Thanks. I just got the smart things hub today. I don’t have the switches yet. Just wondering if it was possible to do what I want and then will purchase the switches.

I haven’t been following this thread really closely, but many people use the linear auxiliary WT00Z1 for a virtual 3 way. It’s not a master switch and does not control a load, but it is a Z wave device and communicates to the hub.

You can also use one of the battery powered devices, in particular the Cooper 9500 which looks just like a regular switch.

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Thanks @JDRoberts. The linear switch looks like an even better option as it is designed to be a virtual switch and you have power available.

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The Linear is popular for this type of use case because it is mains powered. The others are an option for when power is not available. :sunglasses:

If the OP wants all the switches to match, they can use the Linear master and the Linear auxiliaries and they don’t all have to be on the same circuit.

Another benefit of using a linear dimmer and linear accessory switches is once setup the hub does not even need to be working for the accessory switch to continue working. Even if you move :slight_smile: Just don’t exclude those switches.

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Here’s how to set the Linears up so they can work if the SmartThings hub or cloud is not available:

We should also say here before things get confusing that Nortek is one of the largest manufacturers of Z wave devices in the US. They sell their devices under many different brands, including Linear and gocontrol. They all have the same model number and they work exactly the same way, they just come in a different box. So the Linear and the gocontrol are the same device. :sunglasses: :level_slider::bulb:

Awesome…thanks. I was stuck on the GEs because I read they were the best. But maybe all Linear is fine. Wonder if there are any downsides…I don’t need a custom app to create the virtual 4 way with the Linear switch? It seems like the Linear creates a link to the master instead of to ST right?

It can, if you want to set it up that way. You can also have it talk to both.

GE switches definitely aren’t the best from an engineering point of view. They are one of the cheapest, so they are a popular value brand. But on a good/better/best scale, the GE’s are in the lowest tier.

And no, you don’t need a custom smart app. But you do need a device to create the associations, most people use a minimote, because it’s also useful as a remote. (You can use it as a remote with anything it doesn’t have to be just with the Linear switches. But it has the ability to do the set up needed to get the linear’s to talk directly to each other.)

Shop around, you should be able to find a minimote for about $20.

Is the Aspire RF9542-z similar to the Linear one? This looks like it can do a virtual 4 way also. It’s almost double the price though…you think it’s worth it?

Do I personally think it’s worth it? Yes, but hardly anyone agrees with me in this forum. :sunglasses:

I really like the engineering in the Cooper switches, which is reflected in their significantly longer warranty (5 years). They also have instant status update, which the Linears do not. These used to be in the “best” tier, but now that zwave plus switches are starting to come on the market and these are classic Z wave, you’d have to knock them down to “better” just for that.

But most people in this forum are looking for value switches, and would prefer the GE or the Linear just on a cost basis.

Alright…I’m getting the Cooper’s… Although they seem to be only 2 year warranty now

Following up on this to ask if there is a danger using a dimmer (in my case I’m thinking of one of the new Leviton z-wave plus models) without a load attached, that’s not specifically designed as an auxiliary?

There should be no problem using a switch without load attached. Obviously you’ll have no manual control but the switch should pair and can be used virtually or with association if available. The only caveat is if you used a switch without a neutral, then it would not work.

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Thanks. This applies to a dimmer too?