GE 12724/12723 Zwave 3 Way Wiring Help?


I’ve successfully installed two 1:1 GE Zwave 12724 switches, but the 3 way configuration has me stumped on this latest project.

Can anyone identify what is going on? The neutral bundle is in the back with the wire nut (and hot, obviously, and not connected to the neutral of the GE switch) with the only other hot at the moment where the tester is pointing to (currently on the load terminal). I have nothing on the traveler terminal right now.

What else can I try? At one point I added the neutral jumper to that bundle and into the neutral on the GE, but it still didn’t work. I know I need it, but was just testing.

Gangbox 1

Gangbox 2 (haven’t done anything to this, reference only. All three terminals on this switch are hot)

(sidjohn1) #2

Are you trying to use 2 GE Zwave 12724 switches to control the same light? I’m sure how well that will work but the GE 45610WB Z-Wave Add-On Switch was made to preform the aux function and your current GE Zwave 12724 can to the master just fine.

(sidjohn1) #3

From the 45610 manual

This dimmer switch may be used in new installations or to replace an existing wall switch. It may be used by itself for 2-way control (one switch & one load), with one 45610 Auxiliary Switch* for 3-way control (two switches & one load) or with two 45610 Auxiliary switches for 4-way control (three switches & one load). When used by itself for 2-way control, please make sure that the screw terminal for the traveler wire is insulated (Do Not Remove the tape over the terminal if you are not using the traveler connection).


My plan was a 12724 on one gang (first pic), and the 12723 on the other gang (second picture).

I was hoping to get the 12724 working before tackling that second picture. How 3 wires integrate with a two terminal add on switch is something I’m going to have to figure out.

Picture 1 initially had 1 white, 1 black, and 1 red. I didn’t take a picture of the setup before diving in, because I didn’t think this would be that difficult.

Picture 2 (second gang) has the same wiring color setup.

(sidjohn1) #5

This is a wiring project i have mess up MANY times. If you don’t know what gang box handles line, or load and if you don’t know how or don’t have the tools to figure that out, i’d recommend calling an electrician 3-ways are very confusing.


My father in law is a master electrician and my alternative option, but he’s out of town for several more days.

It turns out the black is load, white is line, red is traveler and then adding the jumper wire to the neutrals is the correct configuration. It’s working.

Now for the add on switch, I just need neutral and the traveler it appears. So what do I do with the black/white remaining? I’m having a hard time following the instruction wiring diagram, but it appears that I wire nut them together to complete the circuit?

(sidjohn1) #7

Kars85, i can’t tell you how to wire your home… no one in the forums can as we are not onsite electricians. The best anyone on the forums can to is provide the docs for you to help yourself or encourage you to use an electrician if you are still not sure what to do. Wiring a home wrong can be very dangerous as i’m sure your father in law can attest to.

(The Viking AKA "Holy Crap You're a Giant!") #8

Look at the below wiring.
Power comes in on the first box to the three way switch.
The Black and Red that leave the first box to head to the second box are BOTH capable of carrying voltage, and do so when the switches are flipped one way or the other. But only one of them carries the voltage at a time.

I was going to offer some advice on what to do, but I see a white wire on the other switch. This is not right. This wire should be marked line by either a tag or coloring on it. This tells me that they are using the white as a possible line rather than a neutral. You need to confirm this before wiring anything up.

You need to make sure your neutral continues from the panel through all three boxes (Switch A, B and Light).
You’ll tie your neutrals on your switch master and slave into this.
Line (usually black) in from panel connects to Line in on the master switch. Load out to the second switch box would be the black wire, and traveler would be the red.
In the second box, you’d take the black coming from the first box, and connect it directly to the black wire that goes to the light/load box. You have now successfully wired in a single switch circuit and your light should turn on/off without issue from that single switch.
Now, connect the red wire in the second box to the traveler/signal screw on the slave switch, and make sure your neutral is hooked up.
You have just completed a three way circuit.

I just had to do a ton of wire chasing at home using a multi-meter, a twenty foot section of romex and some wire nuts in order to make a 4-way circuit in my back entry stairs work. I have a landing several steps down from my kitchen that splits into two directions. One to laundry, one to back door. I have a switch at the top of the stairs at the kitchen, a switch at the back door, and one at laundry level, all for the same light in the back stairwell.
Once I figured out that most of it is just wiring for a single light switch, and then using the traveler as nothing more than a “Hey I see you!” wire for the slave switch, it coalesced.

(Darin) #9

I looked at one of my 3ways about 6 times before I said no way. I’m glad I did, as the electrician (good friend, cheap) was nearly stumped as well. I had two traveler wires for some reason. He hooked it up after studying it, and got it the first try. I’m glad I had him do it, there was no way I would have ever figured that out.

(Andy) #10

I just wired up 3 dimmers and 3 corresponding add-on switches… Using the video from the Jasco/GE, I was able to get everything working with minimal futzing.


Thanks everyone for your encouragement and suggestions. I was under a bit of a time crunch only taking a half day off work to get these switches done (9 in total so they all color matched). In an ideal world I would have paid $80/hour for a journeyman to come out and lose his mind like I did, as I can almost guarantee all the big names in Central Iowa have not touched these switches either.

But to me, some of the spirit of home automation lies within knowing you overcame obstacles, did it yourself, and did it right.

All I can suggest is have a lot of patience and don’t expect to nail your first 3 or 4 ways right away. Figure out the line/constant hot and the load wire once the fixture is turned on.

Luckily, with just enough time, as well as energy to go up and down the stairs to turn breakers off and on, I got it. The next switches will be a piece of cake.

It’s even wired better as all the switches I touched are now grounded.

(Eric) #12

that’s a good learning experience.

You can never assume the wire colors are consistent with function. Sometimes electricians will change wirecolor in a hidden, unknown or unexpected location, for the same line.


Can you post a picture of what it looked like after you finished. I have red, black, and white wires on both of my switches and can’t figure this out.

(Chris Hall) #14

Hi folks - late to this thread. I am trying to add the GE 12723/4 Smart Dimmer Switch to a 3-way switch circuit that is represented by this wiring diagram:

The manual for the GE 12723/4 Smart Dimmer Switch does not describe how its switches might be used in this configuration, and not sure it is possible. (For instance, the “Add-on Switch” only has two terminals: Neutral and Traveler, whereas I have 3 wires (other than Ground) to hook up on the distant switch.)

Can anyone help out with this?



The GE auxiliary switches are not intended to control a load. So they cannot be used in that specific wiring pattern, but should still work to give you a three way set up.

You might be able to do it without wiring the auxiliary to the fixture in the middle just by following the standard wiring diagrams for the GE switches.

With the GE switches, the auxiliary acts as a remote to the master switch. It just sends a signal over the traveler telling the master to turn the load on or off.

So basically you need to change the way both switches are wired so that the master controls the fixture all on its own, and the auxiliary just talks to the master.

In nonnetworked switches, it’s fairly common to have a sort of figure 8 set up where either the auxiliary or the master is completing the circuit to the fixture, and the other drops out of the loop. But you can’t do that with networked switches because network switches have to always be on power even if they look like they’re off so that they can hear the next “on” command.

Before doing anything, take pictures of the existing wiring, including exactly where the wires attached to the screws and label the wires so you could put it back if you had to.

Then you need to test every segment of every circuit so you know exactly what it is. You can’t go just by wire colors because wire colors are not mandated by code in the US. People can and do grab any wire color, especially if it’s the end of the day and there’s just one roll left in the toolbox. So your white wire might be the one that’s labeled red in an Internet diagram or vice versa.

If you don’t know how to do this test or this explanation has not been clear, you need to either bring in an electrician or get more education. If you live near a Home Depot, many offer a class on how to put in a light switch. It won’t typically cover network switches, but you’ll learn a lot more about wiring and the tools used. And since Home Depot does carry these particular switches, many times the instructor will be able to give you more help as well.

But the main point is that when you have a networked switch you are not necessarily going to exactly replicate existing wiring. That’s OK. Network switches are wired differently because of that always on requirement that I mentioned. But that’s why you need to test every segment so you know exactly where you’re starting from. :sunglasses:

(Chris Hall) #16

Thanks. I am learning that the GE switches are Master/Slave. Looks like I
will not be able to use them for this set up.

In fact, I completed the rough electrical installation for this circuit
(like Option #3 in my original post), with a 3-way switch on each end, line
/ supply on one switch, and multiple LEDs in the middle. So I’m clear on
all the rough wiring and identification of all the wires.

Appears that I will need to abandon the GE Smart Switch for this set-up,
which is fine. Can use for something else later. Really I am looking for
a Z-wave- or Zigbee-enabled dimmer that I can replace the non-networked
3-way switches with, so that I can control this circuit with Smartthings.

Thanks for your help – hope this makes more sense now!



To the best of my knowledge all the available Z wave and zigbee switches use a master/slave configuration. None have an auxiliary that also controls a load. The only difference is whether they communicate with the master via physical traveler wires or wirelessly.

The advantage of one that uses physical traveler wires is that it will work even if your home automation system is down. The ones that communicate wirelessly between slave and master generally have to use Z wave association as well in order to remain functional if the hub has failed or your SmartThings cloud account is unavailable.

If you get one that communicates to the master wirelessly, you should be able to slide it into the same physical location, it just needs to get power.

But maybe I missed one where the auxiliary does also control the load, doesn’t hurt to look. :sunglasses: But both the master and the auxiliary will have to always have power.

(The Viking AKA "Holy Crap You're a Giant!") #18

Based on your schematic in your post, the GE switch will work just fine.

Where your main power comes in in box 1 (left), connect black hot from source to the GE “Line” screw, connect white neutral from source to the GE Neutral screw and to lights, and connect ground.
Then, connect black to light boxes to the GE “Load” screw, white should be connected to lights already. Connect red to the Traveler screw on the GE switch.

In light box, black from master switch to hot terminal on light fixture(s), white to neutral on light fixture(s) and to box 2 on right, and red passes through to box 2.

In box 2, connect ground to slave, connect neutral to neutral, connect red to traveler.

Reapply power. All done.

(Michael) #19

I agree with @Synthesis that your setup will work, it will just require wiring changes in your fixture box as well.

My only addition to the steps provided is to put a small wire nut on each end of the black wire that goes from the fixture to box 2. It’s not needed but it’s best to cover with a wire nut or electrical tape. Believe code may also require this in some areas.

(The Viking AKA "Holy Crap You're a Giant!") #20

Good call @ritchierich.

Our home was built in 1958 (or 1961, depending on who you ask and what the title and land deed says). It was built for a very well-to-do family and features five or six three/four/five way switch setups.

I’ve had to trace every single wire when converting to Z-Wave switches for these setups, and I’ll tell you it wasn’t fun.
But once you have a solid understanding of the wire layout, or better yet you’ve run the wires yourself, it is super easy to figure out the connection points for the GE Master/Slave switches.

Basically, the master switch is the only actual switch in the circuit. It directly controls the load.
All of the other switches are there simply to tell the master to turn on/off when they are pressed.
When retrofitting an existing system, you end up with one spare wire in each box that gets capped. When wiring new, you never need the 14/3 or 12/3 with a ground… You can get by with two conductor without issue within the limits of the electrical code.

Source: I grew up remodeling homes with my father, who was the electrical inspector for the town we lived in in Florida after he retired from the NAVY. I wired close to 40 homes myself before I was 20.