GE Z-Wave Lightswitch help


#1

For anyone that read this post initially, I did more trial and error and totally re-wrote this post to explain what is happening.

Today I installed a GE Z-Wave paddle lightswitch, and an accompanying GE add-on switch. They are working great for manual toggling of the lights. I am having some issues with Smartthings though. I have paired the main switch with Smartthings. If I open the Smartthings app on my phone, I can toggle the lights on and off as long as I am standing right in front of the main switch or within about a 2-foot radius of it. As soon as I take more than 2 steps away from the main switch, I seem to be unable to control the switch using the phone app. I dont understand how the proximity to the phone should have anything to do with the control of the device. My phone should not be related at all to this lightswitch. I should be able to turn this light on and off using the app from anywhere in the world. What am I doing wrong?


(Don) #2

The GE add on switch does not have a radio to talk to smarthings.
It talks to the master switch via the traveler wire between it and the master. The master switch sees the signal on the traveler from the remote switch and then it controls the load and talks to smarthings.

I would guess from your description that you have it wired wrong.

The remote switch should have 2 wires connected to it. The traveler from the master switch and a neutral wire.
The master switch needs line,neutral, the traveler to the remote switch, and the load (light).


#3

As a reference, here is how to wire 3-way GE smart switches.


#4

Thank you for your reply.
I believe I have it wired correctly. I will open up both of them tomorrow to make sure. What I dont understand is, if it is not wired correctly, then: a) why do they work properly when toggled manually? b) Why do they work properly when I am standing very close to the master switch?


(Dan) #5

The only thing I can think of is that your body, in proximity to the switch, is somehow reflecting the Z-Wave signal to allow the switch to be controlled by SmartThings. If possible, keep standing there while having someone else (further away) try to operate the switch via SmartThings. That will tell you whether or not it is your body’s proximity to the switch that is helping.

I agree, the phone being nearby should not impact the performance. As you stated, the phone can be across the planet and still should be able to control the switch.


(Don) #6

I recommend you look at the 3 way wiring link that @jhamstead shared.

As for your questions. I can’t explain the phone thing? That makes no sense at all. I can’t even come up with a well maybe on that.

As for why works manually. Is it really working 100% correct? It’s odd because smart switches are NOT wired like the dumb switches at all. I have read where some people wired it off a little and the remote switch does kill power to the master and the load. I’m not an electrician so can’t figure that out either.

Also it wouldn’t hurt while you have the covers off to verify which wires are which. You should be able to find the line with a non contact tester.


#7

This is pretty crazy. As @ogiewon speculated, it is definately related to my body being in between the main switch and the add-on switch. If I stand right next to, but behind, the main switch, and stick my phone out so that it is directly in front of the switch, and I press the smartthings button, the light will not turn on. But if I stand in that same spot where the phone was, it will work. I have tried a number of different combinations of where I stand in relation to the main switch and it definately seems like the signal is bouncing off my body somehow. If I stand one step behind the switch, and press the Smartthings button, and then quickly jump out in front of the switch, the light will turn on when I jump out. Even if I kneel down or lay down on the floor right in front of the switch it will not work, but once I raise up to be at the level of the switch, it works.
So does this confirm that one of the wires is wired wrong? Manually it still definately works 100% perfectly. I have tried every combination of on and off with both switches. I will open it and look tomorrow.


(Jason "The Enabler" as deemed so by @Smart) #8

It confirms that you need a zwave repeater


(Don) #9

Don’t open it try moving your hub closer with a long cat5 cable. If that fixes it then you’ll need to follow @bamarayne advice.


#10

I moved my Smartthings hub closer and now the lights work perfectly. I can probably just keep my hub in this location for now. Thanks everyone.