GE Z-wave toggle light switch, only 2 wires


(PATRICK SCHMIDT) #1

I’m trying to install a GE toggle light switch. Turns out I only have two wires, white and black. I connect white to neutral and black to either load or line and turn on the breaker, and my light flashes rapidly and continuously, and the hub won’t find it. I tried flipping the switch up to put it in pairing mode, and I tried up 4 times then down 4 times for factory reset. Also reversed the wires with no change. Pretty sure it’s in range of the hub because it’s right next to a z- wave smart lock that works great. I don’t want to spend too much time troubleshooting if it will never work with my wiring configuration. TIA.


(Bryan) #2

GE switches require a neutral, which you likely don’t have. If there are only two wires coming into the box, then the white is not a neutral; it’s just returning the hot back to the light.

Is this in a single gang box or multiple? Any other wires in the box not connected to the switch?


(PATRICK SCHMIDT) #3

It’s a 3 gang box with 2 other switches. Sounds like I’m going to have to work out neutral and move it over, and work out which of my 2 is line and load.


(Steve Phillips) #4

Only two wires? No ground? In many homes, the ground and neutral buss bars are connected in the main panel. So a ground could be used as a neutral. I’m sure this is not up to code, but it would work. The white and black in you box would be line and load. Black “should” be line and the white “should” be load.


(PATRICK SCHMIDT) #5

Yes I’m finding many bad DIY jobs in this house, and I think this is one of those. Might hire an electrician to confirm and/or bring this up to code before proceeding. Thanks for the replies.


(Bryan) #6

If the other switches are on the same circuit, you can pigtail the neutral over to your switch.

There is nothing wrong with how that switch is wired. It may not be code now, depending on what your state uses (if in the US), but it was legal at least at one time. Your configuration is likely power to the light, so the hot just needs to be switched. That’s done with one Romex. Perfectly legit. You may see black tape on the white wire to indicate it’s not a neutral, but that marking is not generally required.


(Eric) #7

that’s the great thing about standards - there are so many of them.


(Bryan) #8

Yep, things change. It wasn’t all that long ago that we needed neutrals in boxes. Those mechanical switches work just fine without them!!


(PATRICK SCHMIDT) #9

Great info here, thank you.


(Steve Phillips) #10

It’s amazing how many things get past building inspectors. My house is only 10 years old. I bought it brand new. The amount of screwball issues I have found will upgrading the house over the years would boggle the mind. Outlets and switches without grounds connected. 4 gang boxes with switches, also being used as junction box. And that’s just the electrical issues. All kind of shoddy plumbing, construction, and other issues. I’ve told my wife, if I wasn’t handy, these issues could have cost us a fortune. Or worse.


(Eric) #11

here’s a legal wiring cheat.


FS GE Z-Wave Dimmer Switches
#12

Not necessarily “legal” but it follows NEC code and may work as long as you understand what you’re doing and your local jurisdiction allows it. This is the option we usually describe as fishing up a neutral from elsewhere on the circuit. You’re still using a neutral, it just didn’t sit in the box when you first opened it.


(PATRICK SCHMIDT) #13

Turns out I had neutral. I’ve learned a lot since this post, and installed multiple switches and fan controls. This group is indispensable.