SmartThings Community

[FAQ] GE 3-Way Wiring



I’m not exactly sure what you are doing above. What I do know is that can fry your switch by jumping connections. Install you smart switch in the box with load. And follow the line-switch-load-switch-1 wiring diagram. You will not need the neutral or line wires that already exist in the add-on box. You can just cap each of them off.

Obviously I’m only guessing your configuration from what you said above. Pictures or diagrams would be helpful.

(Steven Burnett) #22

After I diagrammed it out I am not sure that I have a true “neutral” in either box. I diagrammed out how the circuit must work it appears that each box has a line, load, traveler and ground. I will try to offer the most info I can and a drawing.

There are 4 wires red, black, white and bare. The bare is clearly a ground.I have the following potential differences between the following:

Black, white or ground to red=0V


From this I conclude that black is from the breaker. Red is purely a traveler. What I thought was a neutral is actually the load. Thus both boxes have line, load, ground, and traveler.

(Don) #23

Did you take a picture of these? Might help some to see how it was before you started.


Could you take some photos of your boxes. Normally every wire at least comes in pairs (plus ground). Your diagram shows many single wires going between boxes. I’m not truly sure what the actual wiring is.

(Steven Burnett) #25

Heres a picture of the two boxes

I apologize in advance the site only allows 1 pic per posted

(Steven Burnett) #26

This is the configuration both switches had it is staged atm. Red always has 0V with both switches removed.

(Steven Burnett) #27

This is the other box just for reference.

NOTE: Yes that is packaging tape. I didnt have electrical, couldn’t reinstall the switches because my wife started prying them apart and the blizzard prevented us from getting others/etape. Unfortunately the breaker for this light controls the entire upstairs.


You appear to have the same wiring as

This is not compatible with GE switches

(Steven Burnett) #29

That looks pretty similar just with the inputs reversed. I’ll have to find the junction box and see if I can rewire it there.

(Don) #30

Like @jhamstead said you can’t use GE switches when your house is wired like this. Your power is coming into the circuit from the light.

I have alot of these in my house. You will have yo buy a different smart switch that you can place in the light box.

You’ll have to use something like this:

Or like this:

I have used both of these, I think I like the Enerwaves.

But that would take this thread way off topic.

(Dale C) #31

Love referring people to this FAQ, great job!

In the final option that doesn’t have neutrals running down to the light switches I would like to suggest another solution using the new Aeotec Nano Dimmer This would be installed up in the light fixture gang box. The Nano updates the older Micro Dimmer G2 which is slightly larger but would also work that @TN_Oldman suggests and I agree with Don that I also like the Enerwave version because of it’s pigtails make it easy to install.

(Gary McCready) #32

Thanks![quote=“jhamstead, post:1, topic:74962”]
. Your diagrams were super.
Well after checking the lights, they all have black and whites already separated.
I have power to the main (line) switch, blue light is lit, but can’t get the Add-on to work.
The white going to the second switch “line” has no current in any switch configuration.
With the Main switch “off” the Red traveler is hot at the second switch. With the Main switch “on” the other switch has NO current. (ie in two configurations there is NO current at all going to the second switch, so I obviously need a neutral run) If I switch the Main “on” the second switch has no current, with the Main “on” and the seconds switch “on” the Black traveler is hot. Color me totally confused…lol I do have the option of running wires to the light, I juts don’t know how to run the traveler…black is cold traveler on Main switch, but becomes hot on second switch when it is flipped?
So looks like I have Power to light. I do have the option of fairly easily running a new wire to light, but I need to isolate the traveler.
Well after crawling around in the attic, trying to trace wires and boxes I gave up. Switched to using Lutron Caseta with remote Kit (with bridge), $70 new on ebay. Should have done this first…and saved me a lot of time and energy. FYI: If you go Lutron you need the bridge.

(Chris Sanner) #33

I’m quite perplexed about my setup.
I can’t see the lights’ wiring because they’re in the ceiling but the boxes looke exactly like “3 way switch multiple lights between switches #1” and I wired my smart switches to match the diagram below that - the neutral lines have power but nothing else ever does.
ONE of the lights in my ceiling is now lit - permanently - none of the others light at all.
going to put it all back the way it was for now but any tips are appreciated.

(Chris Sanner) #34

okay, this is…weird.
if I put the black wire in on the “remote” switch it all works…
but - one light stays on all the time. I even tried unscrewing that bulb…what I assume is the next one in the series comes one instead until I put the first one back in…


Unfortunately with 3 way multiple lights between switches there is a key statement in the FAQ

You will need to change the wiring in both switch boxes and your light boxes.

You need to make changes in the wiring in every box.

(Chris Sanner) #36

aha. I see. this’ll be a fun afternoon… :slight_smile:

(Chris Sanner) #37

looking at that - it appears I need to connect all the white to each other, all the black to each other, and the traveler straight across?


Yup. That’s correct. And the last of the wires between the lights will no longer be needed.

(Chris Sanner) #39

sorry, I don’t follow that last part?


You should have 4 wires between the light boxes. You only need 3 for a smart switch setup. So the last wire is not needed. (The second white wire in the wiring diagram).