GE 3 way switch


(Coolcatiger) #1

I am trying to install GE 3 way switch into my existing 3way switch.
I have 4 wires in each switch box (black-live, red white and ground)
I followed and tried different combinations but my AUX switch is not working.
Any help ?


(Cory S) #2

One of those will be a traveler wire going to your aux switch, do you have that hooked up?


(Coolcatiger) #3

Yes I have traveler. Do I need one more neutral ?
I have only 4 cables including ground in each box.
Do you need additional for neutral. That is what felling I am
getting from looking at manual.

I though GE switches are compatible with existing 3 way circuits.


(Cory S) #4

For your main switch you need Load, Line, Neutral, Ground, and traveler. For your aux switch you only need line, neutral, ground, and traveler.


(Coolcatiger) #5

Looks like I am missing neutral . I am wondering how my old 3-way were working ? Any solution besides running neutral physically ?


(Cory S) #6

Z-Wave devices need power when the switch is off to power the radios. Your options are to run a neutral, or change out your outlets for z-wave dimmers. Keep in mind the dimmers have iffy success with CFL & LED lighting.


(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #7

Just guessing (as I haven’t received my 3-way switches yet, nor checked my wiring):

I think you can run a Three-way install without a traveler, IF there is some way to run the second switch (i.e., the slave switch) as a “remote control” for the master. In other words, since the system uses Z-Wave, the second switch no longer has to directly pass power to the light (though, ironically, the existing non-RF 3-way wiring already does this…).

This concept, however, might make it simpler to upgrade the 3-way to Z-Wave, provided both Master and slave/remote switches can be powered…

Guess it is rather silly to speculate. I’ve read the installation documentation for the GE’s; but won’t make sense until I also attempt an install in my old home.

Let me know if you need the PDF of the documentation for any reason.


(Coolcatiger) #8

The AUX switch passes signal over 2 wires traverser and neutral to main switch. The main has 5 wires and AUX 4 .

Looks like I am out of luck as I do not have neutral running. Any ideas are welcome


(Coolcatiger) #9

@Cory S , I am using dimmer, how do you think dimmer will make difference ?


(Cory S) #10

Dimmer should work fine without a neutral for the main switch. Reason being is they never actually turn off they just “dim” the power down really low to stay running (which is why they don’t do well with low wattage lighting). I’m not sure how the aux switch works as I don’t have any, but I’d think it would still need a neutral.


(Coolcatiger) #11

ok, i found different ways to setup 3 way switch here http://www.homeimprovementweb.com/information/how-to/three-way-switch.htm
my setup is like this (power is supplied to load) http://www.homeimprovementweb.com/information/how-to/three-way-switch-option4.htm
Now how do I replace this with GE z-wave switch?


(Chrisb) #12

Not sure if you got this resolved or not, but here’s my setup:

Notice here that my second junction box does NOT have a neutral in it. Because of this I had to get some 45612s which do NOT require neutral on the main switch (Aux still needs neutral). The 45612s are not supposed to be used with CFLs or LEDs. The 45612s also do NOT work as a repeater with the switch is turned off.

For those new to three way wiring, read on. Others can skip to the next paragraph. Looking at by setup, I have right now installed just two standard 3-way switches. What happens is that power is coming in on the black line from the left. The first switch can either connect black to the blue wire, or black to the red wire. If the switch in the first box is sending power along the blue wire and the switch in the second box is connecting the incoming blue to the out going black, my light turns on. If either switch is flipped, there is no complete circuit as one switch is connecting black to blue, the other black to red. If I then flip the other switch so it connect black to red then I again have a complete circuit. Black to red to black… my light goes on. The Red and Blue wires in my example are called traveler wires.

So, my plan tonight is this: In my first box I will take the incoming black wire and connect it to the blue wire. This will feed my incoming power along to the second box via the blue wire. Then in second box I’ll put in my main switch. Blue with be the incoming power. Black will go to the load (my light). Red will get connected to the traveler line on the main switch. This of course feeds back to my first box where the aux switch will be. The Aux will connect to the red line for communication back to the main. Also to the white neutral line that is available in junction box one.

Now, if I had neutral in box 2 as well as box one, I’d probably put my main switch in box one. Again my load would come in, then connect to the blue wire. In box two blue would be tied directly to black.

Does that make sense?


(Cory S) #13

Wow, I didn’t know the 45612s didn’t work as repeaters when turned off…that’s interesting.


(Chrisb) #14

Well, it makes sense in a way. If there is no neutral they there isn’t a power flow through the switch when it’s off. That’s why all these zwave’s require a neutral. Gray pointed me to a pretty good site:

http://store.homeseer.com/store/HomeSeer-Z-Wave-Dimming-Wall-Switch-Comparison-W16C42.aspx

A like side-by-side comparison for many of these switches.


(Chrisb) #15

Ya know what I’m starting to wonder about though… if there is no power flow and therefore no ability to act as a repeater, how can the z-wave radio still be “alive” to receive communication from hub?


(Cory S) #16

There is powerflow while off. That is why those dimmers aren’t compatible with low wattage lighting. They simply “dim” the wattage way down to keep the radio powered, by completing the circuit with the light fixture. the problem is that is sometimes enough to flicker low wattage lighting.

I often wonder how much power these waste as well.


(Chrisb) #17

Ah… that makes sense. I guess the power drop is significant enough that they can’t act as a repeater as well.

As for power wasted… let’s not mention that around my wife, okay? I’m sure there’s some lost power, but in my humble opinion it’s made up for in the cool geek factor. For some odd reason my wife doesn’t put as much importance into the geek factor that I do. She’s strange that way. :slight_smile:


(Cory S) #18

I wish my wife was concerned about how much power she used! She will drop the AC down to 60 while it’s at 75, even though she plans to leave in 15 minutes. She also just doesn’t get the whole setting it lower doesn’t make it blow cooler “theory” I have explained to her over, and over.


(Coolcatiger) #19

@cory Same here …


(Eric Schuld) #20

Yeah - these were a pain to install… I ended up having an electrician buddy come and help.

You HAVE to have a neutral for the main switch to work. If there isn’t one in the box - you’ll need to find a way to get one there. For me - I was lucky enough to have an outlet directly below the light switch box that had a neutral - so we just pigtailed a neutral up to the light switch box.

You can also run the setup without the aux - but then you lose the other switch… but - that doesn’t take away the need for a neutral.

Good luck!