Eaton Device Associations

Bought an Eaton switch for a 4-way (3 switches, 1 light.) Successfully installed the Primary Switch. The Accessory Switches (2) never installed. The Eaton uses wifi communication between the switches as opposed to the mechanical communication for the GE version and Eaton requries I create an Association between (amoungst?) the 2 Accessory switches with the Primary.

How does one create an Association between 2+ switches?


What’s the specific model numbers of all three devices?

Most people in this forum using Eaton devices are using the Z wave ones, and that’s when the term “association“ typically applies.

I see they do have a new line of Wi-Fi devices, but I haven’t heard of anyone using those with smartthings yet. And while the Z wave models can use radio communication between the accessory switch and the master switch, the Wi-Fi models appear to use a physical traveler wire. So we do need to know the model numbers before going any further. :thinking:

OK, I have reviewed the installation instructions for the Eaton Wi-Fi devices. They specifically say they are not compatible with smartthings, and they do require a physical traveler wire between the primary and the accessory switches. These are models EWFS15 or EWFD30 as the master and EWACD as the accessory.

If instead, you have the Z wave models, let us know, and we can discuss those options.

Thanks for the (amazingly always) quick reply.
Primary is RF9601. Accessories RF9617. The primary permits a physical (non-associated, non-wifi) accessory switch, which I have not yet tried. The Primary is successfully connected to ST with no Accessories connected. I was able to successfully connect an Accessory, but not ‘associate’ it to the Primary. A non-wifi Accessory switch does not need an always hot connection with Neutral to run a wifi. The Eaton does. The GE version did not.

Any insight or magic would be much appreciated.

Ok, I’m confused. :thinking:

Eaton RF9601 and RF9617 are both zwave devices. Not WiFi.

It is correct that those do not use the traveler wire in a three-way set up and instead communicate by radio either with each other or with the hub. But none of those devices use Wi-Fi in any way. :thinking:

If you do, indeed, have the Z wave models, then you will have three options for how to set up the three-way so that the devices stay in sync. So that part isn’t that difficult. I just want to make sure that we are all talking about the same thing. Are these in fact Z wave, not Wi-Fi? If they are Z wave, the RF 9617, the accessory switch, should have a Z wave logo label on the side:

Regardless of the method that you use, if they are indeed zwave you will have to have added each of the three devices to your SmartThings account. (If they are, instead the Wi-Fi models, you would only add the master switch, and it would communicate with the accessory switches via the physical traveler wire.)

So check the user manual that came with the accessory switch and see if there are instructions to adding it to a Z wave network. It is possible that you might need to do a general exclusion first, but again, before getting into the details, I just want to be sure that we are talking about zwave models, not Wi-Fi, as the setup process is quite different.

Also, do you have a link to where you bought these, I’d like to see the product description.

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Zwave connection.
No instructions on how to Associate the devices.
I can successfully add all, Primary and Accessory, to ST. All communicate to ST. But, no instructions in ST or Eaton on how to create the Association.

I am interested in how an Association can be created between any devices, but for simplicity, I will use normal switches (Line, Load, Safety) for the Accessories just so I can get the light up and running.


Excellent, then you have 3 options to synchronize the switches.

  1. use a regular SmartThings routine and just have switch A turn on when switch B turns on, etc. And then make a second set of routines going the other direction. And obviously you have to do this for each accessory switch.

Pros: each individual routine is straightforward.
Works in all regions.
works for all protocols, and any mix of protocols. So you could have a Z wave master switch and a Zigbee accessory switch. Or vice versa.
This should work locally, depending on the exact options you choose for the routine.
Because you are doing a routine, you can change up exactly when the switches are synchronized. But in a typical three-way, that wouldn’t matter.
As long as your hub is connected to the SmartThings cloud, the SmartThings app should have the correct status for both the master and the accessory.

Cons: it’s tedious to have to set up so many different routines.

  1. if you are in a region that supports it, use the “sync with switch“ option in the Smart lighting feature.

Pros: all the same pros as option one, but requires fewer routines, basically just One for each accessory.

Cons: not available in all regions.

  1. zwave direct association. Now we come to it. :sunglasses: this option is only available between 2 zwave devices.
    The device which is going to be the “trigger” must support association, which, in this case it does.

Direct association gives permission to the trigger device to send a “basic“ (basic has a specific meaning in this context, basically on, off, or dim) zwave instruction directly to the Target device without going through the hub.

In the case of a three-way, the accessory switch is the trigger switch, and the master switch is the target switch. So when you turn on the accessory switch, it will send a message to the master switch to turn the light on. Note that this will always happen, even if you unplug your hub. It is very fast.

In order for this to work without the hub, the trigger device will keep a little list of the device IDs of the devices that it is allowed to talk directly to. That is what “setting up an association“ means: you are just giving the trigger device the list of devices for it to talk to directly. Note that you don’t need to do anything with the Target device, it doesn’t care. It will receive an appropriate radio instruction and then follow it.

So… how do you tell the trigger device which target devices it can talk to?

Unfortunately, this is where SmartThings falls down, compared to pretty much every other certified zwave platform. It doesn’t give us an easy way to do this. But it is still possible. So you have to go through a couple of steps.

First, you will need to go to the advanced page of the official web interface to your SmartThings account and find the network ID of the Target device.

Now you need to find a way to give that information to the trigger device. So you are going to do the next part of each process once for each of your accessory switches.

Ideally, you will be using an edge driver which includes the fields you need to set up a Z wave association. None of the standard official edge drivers do, unfortunately. But there are quite a few custom edge drivers that do for different devices. So you’ll need to see if there is one that exists for your particular model that exposes the associations. I’m tired today, so I’m going to leave that research for you to do yourself. Try the edge_lighting list and see if there’s one there

FAQ: Using the quick browse lists without the community wiki

If there isn’t one, @Mariano_Colmenarejo Does have a Z wave utility that will allow you to do this for any zwave device. You will temporarily assign the trigger switch (the accessory, not the master) to that edge driver, update the direct association list that that device keeps for itself, And then switch back to your regular everyday edge driver.

(EDGE Driver-Mc): Z-Wave Device Config Mc - #149 by David_Johns

But how do you know which association groups to use? You will have to go to the official Z wave alliance site, look in the catalog of certified devices, find the trigger device (in this case, the Eaton, RF9617) and see what associations it supports.

In this case, it’s quite simple. Put the hub’s device ID in group one if it’s not already there, and put the Target Device’s device ID in group 2.

Again, you have to do this once for each of the accessory switches that you want to have permission to send messages to the master.

And that’s it. It’s much harder to do this in smartthings than it should be, but it is doable.

Pros: once you have this set up, it should be fast, easy, and reliable.

Cons: it’s way more work to set up than it should be.
It can only work between 2 zwave devices, and only if the trigger device supports association.
In some cases, the smartthings app may not correctly reflect the state of the trigger device (because the request didn’t go through the hub.)
Also, once you have it set up, it works the same way every time: you can’t break the association with other filters. But again, for a virtual three-way, that probably doesn’t matter.


Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! This is precisely what I wanted to learn. Excellent job. I will try this, but if I’m not back in three days, please send in a search party. :slight_smile:

Again, thank you.


If you mean you’re going to use dumb switches in the accessory positions for now, you probably can, but if you turn the light off from one of those switches, then your new smart switch May not be able to turn the light on at all until the accessory switch is back in the on position.

This depends on exactly how the wiring works. (there are at least eight different ways to wire three-way switches.) so it’s hard to say exactly what’s going to happen. But it may not be what you want.

I see in the user manual for your master switch that there is a way to use a physical traveler wire from that master to a dumb switch. If you’re interested in that option, see the user manual. But that kind of set up typically means that the accessory switch ends up acting as a toggle. Sometimes up is off, and sometimes up is on. But you can try it and see. At least, if you follow the instructions in the user manual for the smart switch, all your network commands should continue to work. :thinking:

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The switches replace an existing wired 4-way set up, so I do have the traveler wires. The Eaton switch is designed to change the on/off setting if a change in voltage occurs on the ‘blue’ wire on the switch. It all works. The center (primary) switch is the Eaton and the Accessories are wired to the ‘blue’ wire plus a Neutral. All 3 or 4 way setups have the changing function of the switch. It is the nature of the wiring.