SmartThings Community

[FAQ] GE 3-Way Wiring


(DawgOnKing) #61

Thanks @jhamstead,

Yeah, I read through the FAQ above but the example shown is slightly different as the power source resides between the two switches as opposed to my example where the power source and light are at the beginning.

Was hoping for a different result but I assumed with no neutral that I was out of luck.


Ah. There are two power into light diagrams in the FAQ. You have the first one. Neither are supported with GE awitches but the one with power in the center has additional options. Unfortunately, your wiring really only leaves you with using relays, needing a Caseta bridge or a switch that is very hard to find.

(DawgOnKing) #63

Thanks again! I’ll opt for using my switches in an alternate locale for now.

(Ian Journeaux) #64

This FAQ was extremely helpful. Coupled with the following y-tube video, I was able to get my switches installed

(IcyJmars) #65

Read through all the variations op listed (good work thank you!), but still scratching my head here, I’ve got something tricky.

There are 2 traveler cables.

My original line switch, had hot wire, the hot wire is also directly wired with one load wire to the light.
Meanwhile my load switch has a different wire to the light, too.

What are some possible diagrams of my scenario? Really got lost… Thanks!


It sounds like you may be referring to line-switch-load-switch-1. Hard to say without pictures though.

(Daniel Widdis) #67

Hi guys. Great FAQ! I think I’ve got a simple line-switch-switch-load setup but have a few weird results that make me not 100% sure. Seeking crowd wisdom.

Switch #1 has FOUR lines.

On the bottom of switch 1 are two black wires coming from separate 2-wire Romex bundles. Ground and neutral (white) are bundled together from these. They always have power regardless of the state of the switches/light.

On the top of switch 1 is a black and red wire leading to the same 3-wire Romex. Which one has power is toggled based on the state of the switch.

Switch #2 has THREE lines.

On the top of switch 2 are a red and black wire. When the light is off, only one of these wires shows hot, matching the hot wire leaving Switch #1. However, when the light is on, BOTH of these wires show hot.

On the bottom of switch 2 is one black line. Power on this one matches the state of the light.

Questions for the community:

  1. On switch #1 I believe that the two wires on the bottom with power are line-in and a continued hot line leading elsewhere in the house and they should both be wired to my GE switch’s “Line” connection. I’ll connect the red and black wires on the top to load/traveler, and connect neutral to the bundle of white wires. Is this a reasonable assumption?

  2. On switch #2 the odd result is that both traveler and other wire on the top show as hot when the light is on. I don’t understand how this can be and think it may be a false hot reading because the wires are twisted together nearby. Is this reasonable or is there some weird setup I’m not aware of that could possibly make that line hot (with the light off they match the other switch but with the light on, the same wire appears hot at switch #2 and no power at switch #1).

(Daniel Widdis) #68

Switch 1

(Daniel Widdis) #69

Switch 2

(Will Hinton) #70

I’m struggling to figure out how to add a GE smart switch to an existing 3-way setup. I have two separate switches that control a flood light on the outside of my house. I recognize that I can’t mix the smart switch with a dumb switch so I’m hoping to take the dumb switch out of the equation entirely.

Switch #1 (this is where I want to install the smart switch)

There are a lot of wires in this box as there is the switch to the left and another one on the other side of that wall. I have four wires coming out including the ground. My assumption is the black is line, white is load, red and traveler, and bare is ground based on current setup with dumb switch. See reply below for another view of this box.

Switch #2 (dumb switch that I want to remove)
This box is a little simpler as there is just one other switch that controls a ceiling fan in that room. There are three wires coming out. My assumption is black is line, white is load, and red is traveler. It appears there is no ground though the other switch in the box does have a ground. See reply below for images.

Wiring the GE smart switch at location #1 seems pretty straightforward. But I don’t know what to do with location #2. I’d like to leave the dumb switch there but not wired up. Not sure what to do about the three wires in that box.

Any suggestions or help would be greatly appreciated.

(Will Hinton) #71

Switch #1: view of box

(Will Hinton) #72

Switch #2

(Mike) #73

Watch this. You will need a GE smart switch and Add-on switch

(Matt) #74

I need help with the wiring. Basically, I have 3 main lights in the room. 2 switches that control one light each, and 1 that has an add-on up the stairs. This configuration also has 2 additional lights on the stairs it controls.
Note: Ignore the configuration of the wires currently. When I took the switches out some of them loosened, and now all I think I know is that the one with blue tape is a line wire to the box. The meter shows voltage when I test it.

Thanks for all your help! I really appreciate it!

(Matt) #75

Here is the 2nd image. The one for the stairs that is the add-on.


You need to test the wires. Your assumptions are not feasible – between the two switches, there is one line and one load, not one of each at each switch. The position of the switches determine which of two other wires (travelers) complete the circuit between the switches and the load, and the topology of switches and load determine whether line and load are both at one switch, or are split between them. For example, the black at one switch could be line in, the R and W are travelers, and the B at the other switch goes to the load. In that case, the white should be labelled as potentially hot. In another case, the switches could come after the load, so white is in from the load at one switch, black and red are travelers, and white is out to common at the second switch. There are other options.

You need to test each wire, with the switches in all four possible states, to see which is always hot, which depend on the state of one switch, and which depends on both switches. Also, how are the three conductors bundled into Romex? They can’t all be in the same cable, what other conductors are in the bundles with them?

(Andrew Hansen) #77

I need help. I’ve tried this on 3-4 occasions each time thinking this would be the day that I get this working, only to give up 2-3hrs later and admit defeat. Herr is what I have going on.

Entry way door area:
2 outdoor lights, already controlled by a GE smart switch. No problems here.
Inside the same outlet box by the door I have a second switch which is my 3 way that controls the entry way light as soon as you walk in.
In a separate outlet box I have the other end of my 3way.
Pics attached. I thought I had a 3 way with the light between the switches, but I have not had any luck attempting to use that diagram.

Pic 1 - Hallway shot showing the light on with standard switches and both outlet boxes exposed.
Pics 2-4 - Outlet boxes and current wiring.

ANY HELP is super appreciated.

( #78

I have a 3-way lofted ceiling fan (~20ft in the air) that receives power at the fan -i.e. wired according to the last diagram in the original post. Which of the 4 switches would work for that configuration that would require no re-wiring? I would prefer not to use the Lutron Casetra’s since it looks like they require a bridge to work with ST.


If it is the last diagram, you can use switches that have a radio in the add-on.

For example, here is an Add-on switch.

This switch does not control the load but instead “pretends” it is on/off (or dim if needed). You can directly associate it with a master switch or use smart lighting rules in SmartThings to pair it with any master switch you choose. With a V2 hub and smart lighting, most setups can be configured to run locally (works even if your internet is down).

Important caveot, if you want direct association (works whether or not the SmartThings Hub is on), you’ll need a master switch that supports association. Also, you’ll have to use something like a minimote to pair them since the SmartThings Hub doesn’t support configuring switch-switch association.

Linear master switch with association:



did you get this resolved?
if you haven’t check this vids out:

How to wire Zooz Z-Wave Plus On Off Wall Switch ZEN21 and connect to SmartThings?