I’m installing a smart switch and add on switch to control a light (i.e. 3 way). I’ve successfully installed the on/off switch and it works manually as well as through the smartthings app. However I’m having problems with the add on switch. Currently it has a black wire (which is hot) and it is plugged into the input port on the dumb switch and a red and white wire which are plugged in the “output” port on the dumb switch. There is no bundle of white wires like my other switch which I pigged tailed on for neutral.
It was pretty easy to determine on my other switch which was my line (always hot), my load (only hot which switch is on), my neutral and my traveler. Of course the add on switch only has a neutral and traveler port so I’m confused what to do.
Is the dumb switch still installed along with your smart switch? There’s a few different configurations for 3-way switches, but typically the line (hot) comes in to one switch location, and the load (light) comes in to the other location, and there’s a pair of travelers between them. You’ll need to use a multimeter or similar tool to identify your line, load, neutral, and traveler wires. If both your line and load go to the same outlet box, where your main switch is currently installed, you may be able to use one of the travelers to “jump” the neutral from the main to the secondary location, then use the other traveler as intended to connect the two switches. The most important part though is positive identification of each of the wires in your setup, you can’t go by wire color alone as there’s no mandated standard.
When installing the main on/off switch I identified the line with a meter which was always hot. I think I identified the load which was only hot when I turned the switch on but maybe that was a traveler. There was a bundle of wires tucked in the box which I pig tailed to and connected to my neutral and then were was a final wire which I connected to the traveler. Again this was all on the main switch.
What’s interesting though is I hooked the add on dumb switch back up and it DOES NOT work. Did I wrongfully identify the load wire on the main switch?
GE smart switches are only compatible in 3-way with an add-on switch. You can’t use a smart switch and an old 3 way switch together. I have linked two wiring diagrams. They must be wired in one of these two ways.
How far apart are your switches? If they are close you can use the continuity function of your multimeter to figure out which wires are the travelers. Since you already know the line/hot, identifying the travelers shoudl leave you with only one unidentified wire, which will be the load.
jhamstead, those diagrams help but I’m still confused. Your comment about not being able to use a smart switch and dumb switch together makes sense however I currently have both hooked up and my smart switch is working fine so am I causing any harm?
Second I’m still struggling which set up i have. The add on smart switch of course only has 3 ports (neutral, traveler and ground). The ground is not a problem, I’ve got that one figured out. There is a black wire that when I put the meter to it is hot regardless of whether the switch is on or not. Additionally there are a red and white wire which are only hot when the switch is on. So I’m thinking the black (always hot wire) and possibly one of the other wires should be tied together and the other goes to the neutral? Then would the traveler be empty?
POSSIBLY - do not apply line voltage to the traveler port of the smart switch, this will damage it.
Here is another possibility, with the line and load in the same box:
This is why it’s critical to have positive ID on your wires before you hook stuff up, configurations will be different depending on how you are currently wired up. After re-reading your original post, I’m leaning towards this being what you have. If this is the case, you could join the white wire to the neutral bundle in the left/main box and use it to “jump” the neutral to the right/aux box and connect to the aux switch. You would then use the red wire as the traveler to connect the main and aux switches together, and the black “hot” wire in the right/aux box would be unused and capped off.
Actually, after re-re-reading your post, I’m not so sure this is what you have. This setup would not have a hot in the main box (well, technically it’s in the main box but it’s jumped straight over to the aux box), it would be in the aux box instead. So again, testing and positive ID is critical.
It’s hard to give functional directions without knowing what the current wire configuration is, so here’s some generic ones:
In a “3 way switch” situation, line enters one end of the switches and load exits the opposite end. If line and load are in the same box, then you’ll probably see one or the other capped off and “sent” to the other box in order to make the “opposite end” statement work for you.
The GE add-on switch setup is NOTHING like the typical 3 way switch wiring. Think of it more as its own circuit that only talks to the main switch. The main GE switch needs line and load in the same box - if it wasn’t before you installed it, then you likely had to cap off a line or load wire to get it there at some point.
Assuming you’ve got your line/load sorted out and you’re using your blacks for those things, you need to use your red and white wires to send neutral and the GE traveler signal to the add on switch. This means you’ll need to confirm that those two wires aren’t hooked up to anything else and repurpose them for this new “circuit”. Do NOT connect line/load to the add on switch.
unfortunately that did not work. I capped the hot wire and put the white wire in the neutral and red in the traveler on the smart switch and not only did it not work but the main on/off smart switch stopped working too.
Here is a picture but of the current dumb switch which when it’s hooked up the on/off works so I think I may just leave well enough along and get a pro out to check it out.