SmartThings Community

[FAQ] GE 3-Way Wiring



Wow it’s 5:14 AM where I’m at and did not think I’d get a reply so fast haha! So I would tap into the neutral of the light fixture and bring a neutral down to switch 3. Then how to do I give the other switches neutrals? Can I repurpose the traveler and make them neutrals? And not use travelers and travelers?

I was reading from another post of yours in a different thread to have better understanding of add-on switches. I think what I plan on doing is test if that white bundle I have in the wall is really the load (line switched) and not the neutral. If it is the load then I would drop a wire from light to master to provide a neutral for switch 3. The original “line switch” will then plug into the load and I can repurpose all the old out “line switch” to the neutral and provide neutrals to my 3 add ons.


You actually only need to run one wire from either of the lights to any of the switches. I can help with a diagram if needed.


Awesome! I was able to get it running without having to run another line. I thought the line was going to the 3-way but after undoing all the wires and going switch to switch, the line was going to the 4 way which was also ran in sequence to the one without a neutral. My home builder I guess used the neutral as a hot, but since my line and my load were in the same switch gang, i did not have to use the old “hot” wire anymore. I just ran the line and the load to the 3-way GE switch and I was able to repurpose the old “hot” line and tap it into the neutral bundle in the master gang. And voila! I have a complete circuit, all the slave switches now have neutrals and travelers.

Wow, thank you so much to this forum, it has taught me so much.

(Miaad Safari) #166

For anyone using Leviton smart switches, this FAQ is still really helpful. However, for my setup,


I also needed to connect the black cable from the line in the master box to the hot side of the leviton addin connector.

I am guessing the leviton adding switches need constant power whereas the GE’s do not.

Thought I should mention this in case anyone is having issues.


This post has been very helpful but I still had a few questions for everyone. I am trying to hook up the GE 3-way switches and have a few questions based on my layout. The first pic or set of pics (add_on) is the corresponding to switch. I believe this is the one that takes the load. The second switch(main_1,2,3) has the line. However, I’m confused about the wire on the left side. I believe that’s the transfer line but not 100% positive because it’s a while wire and I thought those were usually neutrals. it looks like I have a bundle of neutrals in the back of the box though as well. Any guidance would be appreciated. Thanks!

Edit: I added a link to google photos since I can only post one image.

Photos Link


I’ve another 3-way switch question. I have wiring that looks like:

This has the obvious problem in that power is supplied into the fixture.

I think that the following will work around that:

So, any reason not to rewire it this way?
Thank you

(Michael) #169

In most power to light scenarios there is only a single 14-3 Romex running to each switch. In that situation you don’t have enough wires to get neutral and load back to the fixture. The fact you have a 14-3 and 14-2 Romex running to one of your switches then absolutely your wiring should work.


Appreciate the reply. The rewire worked as hoped.

(Carmichael Patton) #171

Hi there,
I just attempted to wire in an add-on switch for a stairwell light, but it did not work, so I went searching and found this item. Based on the drawings, I have the setup with the light between switches. based on the instructions on the ge add-on pamphlet, I intuitively installed it as the chart states with the black wire capped off and the traveler, neutral and ground in their proper places. With the power back on, I was unable to switch on/off the light fixture from either box.

Taking it back out, I tested the wires and it seemed like the black and red wires completed a circuit, bu the white and red/black would not. Based on the original placements of the wires to the switch, they look fairly the same, but it appears my white and red wires are swapped.

While I was testing the power on the wires, and when I touched the tester to the red and black ends, I could audibly hear the switch downstairs turning on off, but the light never turned on or off.

I gave up to do more research, so I restored everything back to the way it was, and was wondering if anyone had any suggestions?

(Michael) #172

Just to confirm you have 2 switches that control a light. You mentioned Add on but not the master smart switch. I want to coenfirm you are replacing both dumb switches with a GE smart switch and a GE Add on.

(Carmichael Patton) #173

Sorry for the confusion. I swapped out the main switch with a GE 14291 Z-wave switch the other day. The wiring runs through that switch, to the light, and then to the secondary switch. Currently the secondary switch is just a standard 3-way switch. This works for me as is currently, as I can turn the switch on from downstairs, then control the light upstairs to turn it off on my way to bed and back on on my way downstairs to the main switch.

If the power on the main switch is OFF then I am unable to use the secondary standard switch. For this reason, I attempted to install the GE add-on switch, and I followed the appropriate wiring diagram, however, when I restored power, I was no longer able to control the either switches. I gave up and resorted back to the standard 3-way upstairs while I figure out the issue.

Hope that makes sense.

(Michael) #174

Ok your wiring is definitely wrong since the downstairs switch is cutting power to your smart switch. I suspect line from breaker is downstairs and load is upstairs based on what you describe.

If you can pull out both switches and take pictures of both boxes where I can clearly see the wires inside I can try to help.

(Bruce Olley) #175

I wish I would have found this thread a week or two ago. It would have help a lot. My issue was I kept getting confused with the white wire. For what ever reason, I kept assuming the white wire between the two switches was going to neutral on the panel and it wasn’t sinking in that the older switches did not require a neutral. Anyway, all is well. Still much appreciated I know someone else need it probably sooner than later.


I hope I am posting this in the right spot, if not please advise.

I have a working “Basic 3-way switch”. I want to replace with smart switches, but I do not want to use a master/remote. Reason being the Leviton remote switches follow the same LED on/off setting as the master. I have three of these switches in a box by my front door, and I want LED off when off. The “remote” switch would be at the top of the stairs in a much darker area, and I want it’s LED on when off. So I want to make the downstairs switch a single pole and up stairs a virtual switch tied back to the same light, in which case I can program the LED separately.

My thoughts are to wire the downstairs switch (with power source) as single pole switch and tie the neutrals with pig tails to power new Z-wave switch. Capping red wire no longer needed. In the upstairs box I would wire the switch as normal but with no load. Again capping the red, and wire nutting the “hot” together with the “load” wire to send power to the light.

Does that all sound right? Sorry I don’t have a way of making those diagrams you have posted.

EDIT - I would not cap the red it would need to be my “hot” for the virtual switch (pretty sure). So in the downstairs box, my red would be tied into my black “hot” wires (there are 3 switches in said box). Upstairs that red would be the “hot” for my switch and the black “hot” would be sent to the “load” the light.

OK I think that is right now. Sorry for the confusion remarks welcome.

(Lee Florack) #177

GE Z-Wave (the brand that this thread is about) master/remote switches are capable of programming each switch’s power on/off LED separately. If you want to only use Leviton, I don’t know about Leviton switches because I don’t have any.


Ok thanks, thought it was more of a general wiring thread, as the model would not change the circuitry. I wonder how different a GE would look next to the Leviton (only stick with them so they look the same)

(Lee Florack) #179

I’m sure you’ll get Leviton responses from those who have them, but I thought I’d point out that the GE switches do not have the LED issue you brought up. Good luck!

(Davin K Dameron) #180

One point of clarification regarding the GE slave switches. They do not have LEDs.

(Lee Florack) #181

Well, that’s kinda embarrassing. You are absolutely correct! My error. I was sure they did, but that’s what I get for not double-checking. Thanks for pointing out my mistake.

(Hal) #182

Hi, hope I’m not taking off on too much of a tangent.

I’m about to start on redoing our house with smart switches. House is brand new, in the US.

Advice I’ve seen here is “get a multimeter”

Anybody got advice on a particular one that’s adequate? Amazon has meters for anywhere from $10 up to $300 Flukes.

Kind of overwhelmed with choices