I thought that it was power at the switch, but I suppose it could be the split option above also. It’s a switch with a light at the bottom of the steps, then two switches at either end of the hallway at the top of the stairs and two more lights up there. Line in appears to be coming to the box at the bottom of the steps where I have the (working) dimmer installed. If it’s the power at the switch option, would my wiring choice be correct, and if it’s the split option, I’d have to wire differently at the 4-way location?
Actually, I pulled the box with the dimmer installed in it and it’s not quite how I thought it was when I wired it. If you look at the picture:
- The line in to the dimmer switch is white and 120v whether the switch is on or not, which I think means that switch isn’t the first in the circuit.
- The red traveler wire is also 120v whether the switch is on or not.
- The neutral wire shows minimal voltage whether the switch is on or not.
- The load wire shows a few volts (LED lights dimmed low) when switch is on and minimal when switch is off.
Can I keep this dimmer switch here, or does it need to be where the original line from the breaker comes into this circuit? I can’t mess with the other two switches right now since people are sleeping in the rooms next to each, but does this change anything on the wiring suggestions?
It needs to be in the box where the power comes in to. Also, in theory, this should be the box that has a load line running to the light(s). If it is wired correctly and in the correct box, then the lights will work with the other two switches disconnected and none of the wires joined together. This diagram might help (its not mine).
Alright, thanks. I’ll have to pull them all and test which one still has a hot line to the box. The fact that I can get the two on the ends to work fine is what confuses me, since the 4 way one has to be in between the two, meaning the wiring should be the same unless it heads up to one of the lights before coming back down to the 4 way.
1st, full disclaimer. I’m not a electrician, licensed or non licensed.
If it were me I would probably remove all the switches and untwist all the lines. From there, I would test for the hot line and tone out (non hot) lines to confirm current wiring and where and how they were run. If HOT(LINE) is WHITE logic would lead me to believe power is at fixture, if HOT (LINE) is black I would assume power is at box. Using that knowledge along with NEC wiring standards and what was learned from toning out the wirings I would draw up all my wire runs, boxes, fixtures etc. After that it should just be a matter of installing new switches following manufacturer instructions.
I personally would install the main in the gang box with the HOT(LINE) but depending on the wire runs could install in one of the other boxes.
Also due to the size of the GE Z-Wave switch a loose connection in the gang box is entirely plausible if a switch isn’t working, not to mention I’m in total agreement with JD Roberts previous post regarding GE Z-Wave switches. I still use them…but have experienced a couple failures.
Thanks for the suggestions. I’m going to have some time Wednesday or Thursday to mess around with them, so I’ll try pulling all three and finding which one is actually hot from the breaker and starting there with the master dimmer. I could also test continuity to see if the wires really are coming from where I think.
When I first installed these three and flipped on the breaker, I went to switch 1, worked, switch 2, worked, thought it couldn’t be this easy, switch 3 at the far end of the hall… Nothing. Turns out I was right.
Alright, I had a chance to pull all the switches and try to test for the line in and continuity between the switches, and I’m left even more confused now. It appears that line from the breaker comes in at the 4-way on the white, and I’m not sure the 4-way box has a neutral wire in it. There are two 14/3 wires going into the 4-way box. One runs to the switch at the bottom of the steps and the other I’m guessing goes through the light(s) to the other switch at the top of the steps? I can get continuity between the two upstairs on each wire except for the white (line) at the 4 way. Any ideas on how the line from the breaker could be coming in to the 4-way box with only two 14/3 wires coming in there? I have it all wired back up without the switch at the 4-way being wired up and it’s working fine at the other two switches.
Does this match your wiring? If so you have no neutral and smart switches won’t work since power is coming through the light.
This is how mine is wired. I was scratching my head at first, because I thought I knew where the power would be entering the circuit from the breaker box. After diagramming what I had, I realized I was going to have trouble.
My plan is to disconnect the “line” from the light (black and white), wire nut it to a new wire from the light (which is on the ceiling of the upstairs, which has an unfinished basement above) to JB1 (junction box on the left above), essentially redirecting it so the “line” enters at JB1. There, line “white” will wire nut to white from JB2, white jumper to the 12724 smart dimmer neutral terminal, and white back to the existing 14/2 that was already running to the light. Red for the traveler to JB2, which then continues along with neutral to JB3.
I am pretty sure this works. This should be a fairly short cable run, but getting it into the junction box will be fun. At least it’s not an exterior wall, so I should not need to fight with insulation (except for the 10 or 12 inches of blown insulation in the basement.
Sounds fun, right?
I’m about to install the GE 12722 and two GE 12723 add-ons in my 4 way set up. From the looks of things my wiring at the 4-way matches the “power at the light” diagram (two white, two red attached to switch, with two black wires wire-nutted). However I DO have a neutral in the box from another switch (that controls a different light) that’s in the same junction box. My plan is to tap that as the neutral. I’m not sure tho about the rest of the wires and how to use them. Can this work for me, or does your statement “if so you have no neutral and smart switches won’t work” still apply?
Is that neutral on the same circuit. If so then yes this should work.
I’m not sure if it is on the same circuit. I think so. I read elsewhere on the net that the neutral is essentially just a path back to the breaker box and that it does not have to be on the same circuit. They emphasized “NOT”. I do not know if that is accurate however.
I have three junction boxes. In box 1 I have two red and two white (plus ground) connected to the 4 way switch. No black on the switch, instead the back are wired nutted together. Also in this box I have two white wires wire-nutted together not attached to anything. In box 2 I have just one romex feed. White, red and black and ground attached to the switch. Using a volt meter I only get 120v between the black screw and ground when the switch is in one position. So I do not believe this is the line. In box 3 I also have just one romex feed. White, red, green and black attached to the switch. Unlike in box 2, in this box 3 I do get 120v between the black screw and ground regardless of the switch position. So clearly this is the Line. So to summarize, box 1 is the 4 way, box 2 and 3 are the 3 ways, with box 3 apparently having the Line and box 2 feeding the load (light). In box 1 there are a total of FIVE romex feeds, which I think two are for a separate 3-way (more on that below) and the other 3 are for the 4 way I’m concerned with here, I think…
In box 1 there are two switches. One switch is related to this 4 way setup. The other is part of a separate 3-way for a different light. I have already installed a GE 12722 into box 1 for that separate 3-way unrelated to this 4 way, and tapped the wire nutted whites in there to feed the 12722 in that box. I then have the add-on 12723 switch in another junction box. So that separate three way with a 12722 and 12723 is installed and working great for that. So I am not trying to get this 4-way for the other light working, which happens to share a same junction box with the Line/Primary switch for it in this same box. I only mention that part here to say that I am successfully using the neutral feed from there for that. I have pigtailed another lead off of that which I plan to use to feed the neutral for this 4-way setup for the other light. I hope I am making sense here…
OK so with that background I’m hoping now that you have the full picture of what I am trying to do. My questions are:
Which box should I set up as my primary for the 12722? In box 3 there is the Line so I kind of think that means I must use box 3 as the primary? I would have the black wire for Line, the white wire in it for Neutral (can this be used even tho its not part of a wire-nutted loop?), and red wire for a traveler, however I would have NO wire set pass along for Load. So I think that means I cannot use box 3 as the primary. Which means I’d have to use box 1 as the primary then. However at box 1 I have no “Line”. Only black wires in there are wire nutted together.
If you or someone can kindly tell me what box needs to be primary, and how to wire it per #1 above that wold be fantastic. Then from there, can you please explain what wiring I would need to do in boxes 2 and 3? It seems that I will somehow need to reuse the wires for different purposes to get this to work, if that’s even possible? I do know that running any additional wires to/from box 3 is not possible, tho if absolutely necessary I could run wires between box 1 and 2, I think.
EDIT: I meant to also say that the 3 way setup (the one already working GE 12722/12723 system) that shares a box with the 4 way in box 1 are one separate circuits from each other, in case that matters. That said, I am feeding that 3-way with the neutral that seems to be part of the 4-way and that is working. I think the main challenge is that the neutral is in a different box (box 1) than the Line power feed (box 3).
Great. The remaining challenge is that there is no “Line” in the 4 way box where the neutral is. There are two black wires wire-nutted together. Unless I am supposed to break those apart and reroute this somehow? Please see the details here GE Jasco 12723/12724 4 way switch install only working on 2 switches . I am hoping to get enough info to finish this project today. Thank you.
It is very important that you disconnect all the wires from all the switches in this 4 way setup and wire nuts so you can determine which wire is the line from the breaker panel. You can leave the other switches in box 1 alone. You also need to figure out which wire is the load to your fixture. I would bet both are in box 1 based on what you you have provided. From there a post of mine from last year should get you going to get this setup:
Thank you Michael. Once are the wires are disconnected how do I determine which is the Line and which is the load? The Line will be the only one that has 120v between the black I measure and ground? How about which is to the load? There are three lights that make up the group of lights (all on or off) that this 4 way controls. Hopefully this will not require removing those light fixtures as that will be very challenging due to their type and location. Also I was unclear in your subpost where it said to remove the white wire from the bundle of black wires, as I do not have a bundle of black wires with a white.
Here’s some more info that I hope will help you assess the situation. In reviewing this page http://www.do-it-yourself-help.com/4_way_switch_diagram.html there appears to be only one possible wiring scenario based on how the 4 way switch itself is set up, and that is this one “Source and light center” as diagrammed below:
I say this because when I look at the 4 way switch in box 1 (the only switch with 4 wires connected) it is the only one that has two red along one side and two white on the other side. The other diagrams either have the white and red across the tops/bottoms (not sides) or involve the black wires attached, which there are none attached on my 4 way switch.
Also here are a few more observations that may help… In box 2 and 3 there is only one Romex with red/white/black/green all attached. No additional wires wire-nutted in these box - just the single Romex. And in box 1 with the 4 way switch there are apparently 4 Romex wires used for this 4 way setup - 2 red and 2 white come out of 2 of these Romex feeds and go to the switch. Then there are two blacks and two whites which are wire-nutted together across various Romex feeds in there.
What I’m hoping to get is an updated “best guess” from you on what approach I should try as an experiment and see if it works (aka most likely to work do this and that). Thank you!
Edit: Just to clarify, box 1 has two sets of 2 black wires wire nutted together and one group of 2 white wires wired nutted together.
Disclaimer here, I am not an electrician by trade and I am only providing advice as a favor via this forum. If you don’t feel comfortable with this you may want to hire an electrician.
Based on what you have provided boxes 2 and 3 only have 1 romex wire coming in right? No other wires in those boxes? If so then your line and load have to be in box 1. The line will be the hot wire that you can measure 120v on using either a ground or neutral. The load is typically a wire with just a white, black, and ground, unless this is a fan where sometimes a wire with red/white/black is used. Again I say typically based on my experience in my own home.
So if you look at all the romex wires hooked up to the 4 way switch, you should have 3 total: 2 with red, white, and black that feed box 2 and 3, and another wire with just white and black. The white and black again should be your load and it may not be hooked directly to the switch, but it could be connected to one of the wires in the red/white/black romex wires. Again this wire will either be hooked up to the switch directly or one of the red/white/black wires.
Once you figure that out, then its really rather easy to setup.
- Wire nut the two white wires from the red/white/black romex wires along with a short wire that will go into the neutral of your new switch. This will feed a neutral to your aux switches in box 2 and 3.
- Get a short wire and connect this to your neutral bundle in the box and also hook up that to your new switch.
- Hook up both red wires to your switch for travelers.
- Put a wire nut on both of the black wires on your red/white/black wires since you no longer need those.
- Hook up the black load wire to the load
- Hook up the black line wire, 120v, to the line
- Put a wire nut on the black wire as you don’t need those.
- Hook up the white to the neutral
- Hook up the red to the traveler
I hope this helps. I about to start a project of my own and won’t be able to reply until this evening. Good luck!
Thank you! One point of confusion is that I have four Romex wires involved in this 4 way (plus one additional Romex wire in the same box unrelated to this 4 way, for the other 3 way). Two Romex feeds are red/black/white, and two are white/black. The 4-way setup controls a set of 4 hallway lights that act as a group, either all on or all off, as any switch is flipped. So perhaps one of the black/white Romex goes to one of the lights and the other goes to another of the lights and the light in the middle is wired to each light. I’m just guessing here, but the point is there are 4 Romex feeds in the box not 3. How does this change things?
I made a diagram that shows how these 4 Romex feeds are connected in the box (box 1). They are labeled R1-R4, as in Romex 1, Romex 2 etc. Also shown is the switch with the four terminals that is in this same box, with the top left and top right screws being the black screws. Please ignore the arrows on the lines (couldn’t get the drawing program not to put the arrow heads on them). The junction boxes for the other two switches are not shown. Those are as described in a previous post - just a single Romex with a black wire on the black screw, red wire and white. I suppose we can assume that these are feed from the R1 and R2 in the diagram. And perhaps R3 or R4 represents the Line and the other represents the load? Here’s the diagram:
Sorry to be dense about it, but I wasn’t quite able to follow some of the steps you outlined. Like how the whites in box 1 step one are different than the whites in box 1 step 2. And when you say in step 3 to hook up both red wires to the switch as travelers, since there is only one terminal on the 12722 switch for a traveler, and then something needs to connect to the switch as Load, at least normally?
What would be tremendously helpful and most clear would be if you could kindly explain step by step what to do with the wires from each Romex. For instance “put a wire nut between the whites from R3 and R4 and connect a tail to that and put that into the Neutral on the 12722” like that?
Thank you so much. I feel like we’re getting close and hopefully this post along with your response will do the trick!
Where is your line (power from breaker) in this setup? Is that a 5th romex?
I am not sure what r3 and r4 are doing in this setup but suspect they are your load to the fixtures. Maybe @Navat604 has an idea.
I’m not sure where the Line is. My guess is that its on R3 or R4. There’s not a 5th Romex, at least not for these (there is a 5th but that’s definitely for the unrelated 3-way for a different light). FWIW box 3 with just a single romex has 120v on the black wire that’s on the black screw regardless of the position of the switch (inferring that its hot, but that’s likely fed from R2 or Rr1, I would think, since you said the Line must be in this box with the 4 way switch since there’s only a single romex in the other boxes (the ones that don’t have the 4 way switch). And to answer your question earlier, no there are no fans involved here.