Dimmers/Switches that don't need a common (neutral) wire? (2016)

Yeah, I’m surprised my electrician friend didn’t mention it but as I said I don’t think he’s used to switches that require power and was trying to actually get the same common as was connected to the light, not realizing it didn’t make any difference.

I’m really pleased with the way my home is automated now, although the recent outage with Smartthings makes me nervous that I’ll have issues in the future (it’s too bad there isn’t also a “local control” that could be used in case of server outages like that).

None of the switches in the ‘old’ part of my house have neutral or ground. They are all simple cloth-covered 2-wire.

You could, hypothetically, tie the green and bare wire on these switches to your incoming water main. But I’m not fond of that, as it potentially puts a load onto the pipe… and aside from the obvious issues with such a floating ground, water nowadays is chlorinated heavily. Introducing a load, even one that is not lethal or harmful, to the copper pipe induces the chlorine in the water to interact with the copper in the pipe. This creates ugly greenish blobs/deposits that interfere with your plumbing system.

So I have two locations that are accessible to do improvement without breaking walls. I’m going to run a separate neutral from the switch box directly to the breaker panel in both those locations (within the existing raceway, for compliance).

I don’t need a dimmer just the GE 12722 on/off switch, can I use that with no Neutral?
I called the support line before installing and they said no.

That model also requires a neutral. It’s not whether it’s a dimmer or not. The radios inside the switches are powered by the neutral so that they can hear the next “on command” from the network even though the switch is off.

There are some older model on/off switches which do not require a neutral, but again, those are only intended to work with incandescents not LEDs.

The Same brands mentioned above Make the on/off ones, but with the same restrictions. I believe the GE model of this type has been officially discontinued, but you can still occasionally find it.

Different retailers carry different brands. HA World has Leviton and GE, other vendors have the Cooper.



I have a 4 way installation and a 3 way installation that doesn’t have neutral lines. Can someone recommend a light switch (primary and slave) that supports SmartThings and doesn’t require Neutral.

I use GE ZWave elsewhere in the house and work great but can’t use it where I don’t have neutral as they have to have them in order to work.

Lutron is not a solution since it appears not working with smart things.


Here is an option by Cooper RF9534 or RF9536 with the slave switch RF9542 or RF9542-Z

FYI: Make sure to check ALL of the 3-way switch boxes and each of the lights boxes for the location of the neutral wire. The neutral location is basically where the electrician pulled the incoming power to. This is where the primary switch must be located because it needs to remain powered up at all times for it’s zwave/zigbee radio.

That being said it seems like in your case the incoming power will be at one of your lights? So instead of replacing the wall switches you could install the Aeon Labs DSC27103-ZWUS Light Dimmer (or the energy monitoring version) up inside the light box where the neutral/hot line is located and possibly re-use the existing wall switches for local on-off override but you could still dim from ST.

I had to do this for something similar for a ceiling fan light where the power was up at the ceiling box only.

I have several old Intermatic HA20 dimmers. They don’t require neutral and work great with SmartThings. The best thing, you can use them in 3- or 4-way setup using regular dumb wall switches. Obviously, they only work with incandescent lightbulbs.

Assuming works with Smartthings. Did you use it?
Also, do you know if I buy two slaves if it should work in 4 way setup?

I haven’t personally used it because I have neutrals at my house but just do a search here in the forums and you will read on others that have successfully used it. As far as a 4-way yes (according to the device description) it is like the others where you can slave multiple units so that will easily do your 4way setup.

Although it probably wouldn’t work for the OP, Another option is to use smart bulbs and a smart switch cover. This is a “no wiring” solution.

Hi, was wondering what device handler you are using? I found that only the Cooper 9500 gives instantaneous reporting. So if I turn on the switch by hitting the button, it reports back to the hub immediately. So this is great, but the issue is, when I try to turn on the light through the Smartthings app, it doesn’t work; it won’t actually turn on.

Just an update Since the new models have come on the market: there are now at least two brands of in wall micros which Can be installed at the switch and do not require a neutral, although you may need to use an additional “bypass” Device if the load is not at least 20 W.

Both of these are Z wave devices and are available in both the US and the UK.

Check the Aeotec “nano” line or the newest Fibaro dimmer modules.

Maybe the Aeotec works, but the Fibaro doesn’t (it says it requires a neutral for a 2-way switch).

The Fibaro Dimmer 2 does not require a neutral. The switch does.

Yeah, but what good is that for a two way switch (which was the original question)?

The Dimmer 2 can pretty much function as a switch - in my experience it switches on from 0 → 100% with no noticeable dimming and dims from 100 → 0% over a noticeable but sub-second timeframe.

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Okay, but (again) the original question I asked here which started all this is that I have a three way switch and wanted to automate it without a ground. Putting this in at one switch won’t work, I don’t believe (because the other switch won’t work with it).

So my original question still stands – does anyone make a 3-way switch that doesn’t need a neutral? (And I know the answer is no, not now. So perhaps some day).

I think you got your answer to that: SOL

I was simply clarifying what you said in case someone else read it and was misinformed.

Someone pointed me to this thread. Thank you everyone who posted here. I found this information quite useful.

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Hi, New here. I have three HA20C switches controlled by the HA07 controller. Wondering how you connected the HA20C to the Smartthings App. Thanks in advance.