SmartThings Community

[FAQ] GE 3-Way Wiring


(Chris Sanner) #41

so I pulled down the can that’s lit and took a look - it’s got a 14/2 running back to a junction box with 4 additional 14/2 cables running into it.
New photo by Chris Sanner
looks like four of the neutrals are wired together, one cable has its neutral AND its live wired together with the live from one of the other 4.

now what?
(oh, one of the three that are directly wired in common runs to the can I pulled down, another runs directly to another can, which I suspect runs in series to yet another can…)

(Chris Sanner) #42

so I pulled all the cans down.
I’ve only got three wires (including ground) between each one. they’re (mostly) wired in series, except where that one odd junction box is.
even there, though, I’ve got 14/2 coming in and going out, despite having 14/3 at the switches.
I have NO Idea how that is even possible…


The others likely are in series so those would not need to be touched. Unfortunately you have a floating box that you linked above. If both switches have only one 14/3 wire and are not connected together, you likely have another floating box in your wall somewhere. @Navat604 might have more to add, but your existing setup was likely not done by a licensed electrician. I’m not a licensed electrician but as I understand it, non accessible junction boxes are against code. I’m not sure what to suggest at this point.

(John C) #44

[quote=“jhamstead, post:43, topic:74962, full:true”]
The others likely are in series so those would not need to be touched.[/quote]

Lights are likely in parallel.

That’s my understanding, as well. Perhaps you need a licensed electrician to straighten out the mess! :sunglasses:


Yes, they are most likely parallel. Thanks @Barkis for the correction.

(Ray) #46

Looks like you have Neutral/Line romex going into the junction box.

This is to bring the line hot down to your switch box since the black wire in the same romex is used as your load.
Looks like the romex with the red tape is your power source but a little hard to see since there is another romex going to the same connector. Possible to a receptacle.
I am assuming we are talking about a 3 ways switch. If so then the 14/3 is used as your travelers from switch box A to switch box B.
All lights run in parallel and you can see it in the junction box with all white connected together and black load connected together.
You will need to get your meter and identity Line, neutral and Load. also the confirm 14/3 romex. Once that’s done you should be able to reconfigured at the Junction box.

you could make it accessible by mounting it beside your light but that will definately be an eyesore.


Thanks @Navat604! Great insight as always.

@Chris_Sanner As a note if the 14/3 does travel between the switch boxes, which seems likely, you have power in light and cannot use 3-way smart switches. You would need to use a relay.

(Greg) #48

Was hoping the ST community could help me. Trying to install GE switches in a 3 way set up. I have a main switch (12724) and the add-on. (12723)

i have a black, white, and red + neutral at each box. I’m starting to get the sense this is one of those setups that are not possible with the GE switches, but hoping you guys can confirm.


(Ray) #49

Are you saying you have only a 14/3 romex going to the switches? If so then most likely your neutral is at the light fixture but since I see another switch beside the first pic. How is that wired? Are they on the same breaker and neutral there?

(Greg) #50

I made a typo. I meant I have a black, white, and red + ground going to each switch.

I asked the electrician when installing the boxes to make sure there is a neutral in each box though.

The switches are on the same breaker.

(Ray) #51

You didn’t make any typo. The ground wire is usually not counted. So a 14/3 actually have 3 wires plus a ground.
Possible your electrician installed the neutral on the switch beside this 3 ways circuit because the amount of wires you have for the 3 ways wiring is not possible to have both neutral and Line at the switch.
You should do a little more investigation on the circuit beside this 3 ways circuit unless there are more hidden wires behind the switches.

(Bobby Robinette) #52

Thanks for such a good FAQ on these switches. This is my first attempt at GE switches and 3-way to boot. I can’t quite figure out how to get this to work or if maybe my wiring isn’t correct. I followed the directions for the switches with two lights between - my concern is that I don’t have another black/white wire bundle in my secondary switch box.

Anyone have any thoughts on this? I’m attaching a diagram of my ‘dumb’ switch wiring that works as a 3-way as well as the attempt of wiring the smart switch. Looking forward to any help.

(Ray) #53

Not sure what’s the romex with the “??” is but I don’t see you hooking the load of the GE switch to the light.

(Bobby Robinette) #54

That was one thing that didn’t make sense to me. In JHamstead’s original post for two lights in the middle… the black wire coming from the LOAD of the primary switch ends up getting capped off in the secondary box.

that being said, my black wire coming through was daisy chainned off a line wire in the primary box. So the wire going into the the neutral spot of the GE Switch is actually the load coming from the primary, it’s just white in this case.

This is where I get a little lost on how to correct it.

Hope that makes sense? The diagram shows it better than I can explain since I’m not too familiar electrically.

(Ray) #55

How did you come up with the Config you have? Did you measure the wires? If not then you should measure them cause I think you have this Config below. What wires are on the black terminals of the dim switches?

Edit : the romex with the “??” is probably your load.

(Bobby Robinette) #56

Thanks Navat! Just the clarifying picture you posted and some wire testing helped me trace it all and get it together. Working great. Really appreciate the response.


Just a word to the wise. I know it’s been said before, but if everything you do doesn’t seem to work, check all your wiring. I installed a 3 way in my hallway a while back, and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t working!
Well, after a lot of second guessing and trying different things I probably shouldn’t have I made a discovery. I finally pulled the light off the ceiling to find out that the traveler wire that was ran switched colors at the light! I’m not sure what knuckleheaded electrician would do that. But just goes to show, you never know what you will find within your walls.

(Bill S.) #58

Yeah, I’ve seen some wonkiness in my wiring here. Our house was built in 1962 and for whatever reason, they ran neutrals to only a few of the switches. The reasoning is lost on me because there is no pattern as to which switches have neutral wires and which ones don’t.

On top of that, I’ve found that I have wiring both above and below the house. Consistency is lost here.

(DawgOnKing) #59

Is the following config an option for GE + Addon? It appears to be what I’m dealing with…


As you see in the FAQ you have ‘3 way switch (power into light)’

Other wiring configurations that are not supported with GE 3-way switches:

You will need to use a relay installed in the light box or additional wires for the image above. Another new option is Lutron Caseta or Leviton’s ZSS10-G0Z switches that do not require neutrals.