[FAQ] GE 3-Way Wiring

Sorry, but isn’t this likely to burn out the switch? The wiring for smart switches and their accessories is somewhat different from the wiring for dumb switches. You can’t just replace them one for one. This is why there’s a warning label on the Master switch not to insert a wire carrying 120 V into the traveler connection.

A lot of dumb three ways are set up like a figure 8 loop if the figure 8 was turned on its side, and the circuit gets broken or completed as the different switches are toggled. You can’t do that with a smart switch and its accessory because you need each switch to always have some power so that the radio will work. So the line between the two, the new traveler line, is not carrying a full circuit load.

If you just randomly start reconnecting wires, you’re likely to fry the switch if you connect a hot line between the two traveler points.

You can see the distinction in the manual for the accessory switch:

You can also see at that same link from the wiring diagrams for a four-way that if the old dumb switch had two travelers, in the wiring for the new smart switch you will join the travelers to each other before they are connected to the Master. And again, it’s different from the way dumb switches are wired in a four way.

Or did I misunderstand? wiring is definitely not my area of expertise. :sunglasses:

No, not doing as I described. The wire used as a traveler in the GE 3-way set up doesn’t carry 120v. The one connected to load, of course, will. By swapping them at both ends, you’re just changing what each of the two wires does.

This is a very garden-variety line-in-one-box, load-in-the-other-box 3-way setup so far as I can tell.

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The traveler wire for GE switches will carry close to 110 volts so that is normal.

I am not following the issue. If you disconnect the add on completely does the main smart switch work? All lights turn on and off? Are there only 2 switches? Because if there is a 3rd switch somewhere you could have this behavior.

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If I disconnect the add on and leave the black wires (load and other traveler) connected it will still function. Only two visible switches sadly. If it was up to me I’d be fine with only one switch and it being wifi/automated, but my wife insists on having two physical switches leaving me trying to get the add-on figured out.

You haven’t mentioned the exact model of your main smart switch and the add-on.

That’s normal and a good sign. By connecting the black traveler to the load terminal and tying it to the load wire in the other box, you’re effectively making the 3-way into a single-pole setup. That’s how the GE/Jasco switches work.

The add-on uses the red traveler to signal back to the smart switch. Switching the load is entirely handled by the smart switch.

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Random suggestion.

For the add-on box neutral connections, you could eliminate the wire nut and pigtail by connecting both the neutral wires directly to the add-on.

Still no luck

I have never seen this issue before and honestly not sure what else to suggest. In my experience if the main switch works then the Aux should work. I’ve reviewed your wiring many times and everything looks OK. Only additional idea is to put master where Aux is and Aux where master switch is. This is possible in your setup since you have line and load in different boxes. This means the black traveler will become line and you would need to connect it to the line wire.

You may try reaching out to Jasco support (byjasco.com will have support phone number) to see if they have any ideas. I’d be curious what they say if you get this working.

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Are these measurements with the GE smart switch and add on? If it is then there definitely something is wrong.
Since you are using the black traveler wire for Load. It should be 120V when master switch is ON because that’s how your light bulb get the voltage from.
The red add on should not be 90-100V. That’s a floating voltage meaning one or both end is not connecting to anything.
Turn off your breaker and ring out your wire one by one. Possible there’s a hidden 4 ways or a 4 ways with neutral at the light fixture.

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I have two 3-way switches, each with two plain toggle switches. I plan to convert each of them (separately) to GE switches. However, I have a question about an unusual bit of wiring between these switches in one of the boxes that I’d like to understand before I start.

One of the black wires from each switch is connected to the other switch (remember, these are driving separate lights - one is for the outside garage lights, one is for the inside garage lights), and is also connected to a third black wire. Pic is below.

The other box does not have a similar config. These are standard simple toggle switches.

Any thoughts as to what this means for the configuration? I have converted multiple other 3-way (and a 4-way) switches in the house, and haven’t run across this anywhere else.

Thanks - Richelle

This can be normal. I suspect this black wire may be line from breaker since line is often daisy chained from one switch to another. But this said I hate to break the news the GE switches won’t work for you because you have line from breaker in one box and load to lights in the other and you don’t have enough wires given the white wire from your 14-3 Romex (red, black, white) is being used to send the neutral to the other switch box. You need another wire to send load since I suspect you have line here.

@rahlvers thinking about this more I was wrong above, I know of a way to make this work. Please post a picture of your other switch box and I can confirm.

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@ritchierich Sorry for the delay. Here are pics from the other box. I haven’t had time to pull the first box again and check for neutral wires, but there are white wires tied together in the “other” box - see here. These, though, still don’t look like the same as the neutral wires running everywhere else in the house.

Thanks - Richelle @rahlvers

@rahlvers right switch?

@ritchierich - this box only has two switches in it (the other box which I’ll call the “main” has three. That’s the original pic I posted. I have no idea what the third switch goes to - maybe it controls something at the neighbor’s, because it doesn’t seem to do anything anywhere I’ve been able to find).

@rahlvers I need to confirm which switches you are wanting to replace in each box. So these additional screenshots left or right?

If you are talking the very right switch, I see it has a single 14-2 Rome’s hooked up both black and white to each terminal on the switch. This leads me to believe it is a light or possibly a “half hot” outlet where one of the two outlets of a receptacle is switched.

So let’s assume you mean the right switch of the 2 gang switch you sent last.

Given line from breaker and load to fixture are in separate boxes you actually have the ability to put the master/smart switch in either location. Especially since you have neutrals in both locations. You may consider your mesh on which location to put this versus your Aux switch.

What is your preference? From there I can provide wiring directions.

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I am replacing my current 3 way switch with a smart 3 way switch, which is the load and which is the line wire? Thanks in advance

The red and black wires at the top should be your two traveller wires that run to the other switch. The bottom black is connected to the common terminal on the 3way switch, and that will likely be the line or load. Its going to depend on which switch you’re at. If it’s the switch at the line, the load will be at the other switch or vice versa. There is a chance the line is at the light, which would throw a big kink in your plans.

To know whats going on for sure, you really need a voltmeter. With the light off, check for voltage at that common terminal. Voltage while the light is off and you have the line wire. Also, it will likely connect to other wires that go to the other switches in that box to supply line power. If no voltage and that wire goes off somewhere on its own, its probably the load wire going to the light. No voltage means you have the load wire, and will need to connect the traveler to the line at the other switch to bring power to this one, or put your smartswitch at the other 3way.

Installing at 3way switches is tricky. To really do it without wrecking your new switch, you really need to find which of the two switches has the line and which has the load. The diagrams in the first post should help. Also checkout this video to help figure it out. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGyXhV0p-4w&feature=emb_rel_end

Duplicate thread and seems to have figured out installation

I made this account just to say THANK YOU! This guide was immensely helpful in getting my switches wired correctly.

I had the situation shown in “line-switch-load-switch-1”. I panicked a little when I saw that there were no neutrals in the spot where the Add On switch should go. But then I found this post.

It got pretty messy, I had wires everywhere, I was capping wires, adding new wires, but I followed the diagrams closely and wired up four 3-way switches. Eerything working correctly on the first try.

Again, THANK YOU!

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