GE zwave dimmer 3 way switch overload questions- please help!

Hey everyone… I received some insightful and awesome help before with some under cabinet LED lighting… now I’m hoping to better understand smart dimmers and slimline LED recessed lighting.

I purchase a GE zwave smart dimmer (with interrupter paddle included.) It is wired properly as a standard 3 way switch for my kitchen.

I also have 4 12 watt ultra slim LEDs wired one after another.

When installed, I was able to properly light the first light with the smart dimmer with no issues. Upon stringing in the remaining 3 lights… I BLEW out the switch.

My assumption is that I cannot have that many LEDs coming of that dimmer despite their low wattage?

My dimmer is rated for 600 watts and has in a 2 gang box reducing it two 500 watts according to the specs sheet.

What am I doing wrong? Are there alternative zwave dimmer switches I should be using? Is there a transformer or something i should be putting in between? These lights are meant to connect directly to a standard line and are not low voltage or anything.

I’ve foolishly destroyed 2 switches trying to figure this out.

Thanks for any insight, I’d be happy to supply further information as requested.



Brand and model of the LED s?

Also, when you say you have it wired into a three-way set up, you did replace the auxiliary switches as well, yes? Brand and model of the auxiliary switches?

I have 4 of these recessed lights installed in my kitchen ceiling:

Globe Electric 6" LED Integrated Ultra Slim Recessed Lighting Kit 4-Pack, 12 Watts, Energy Star, IC Rated, Dimmable, Wet Rated, Fixed Flood, White Finish, 91126

The initial 3 way dimmer installed was:

GE 45613 Z-Wave Wireless Lighting Control Three-Way Dimmer Kit, Works with Amazon Alexa

1 Like

When you say auxiliary switch… what do you mean? I want to make sure I’m answering correctly. Thanks!

1 Like

You answered correctly, thanks. GE calls their auxiliary switches “add on’s.”

1 Like

I’m not sure what happens when the lights are wired in series that way. @navat604 or one of the other electrical experts in the community might be able to say more.

1 Like

I hadn’t even considered that the shouldn’t be wired in series. I’d have to learn more about wiring the other way (parallel, right?)

I assumed the switches was rated too low and that maybe I should look at the 1000w dimmer switches, which end up being rated at like 450w for LEDs or something of that nature.

1 Like

First let’s see what the electricians say. :sunglasses:

( I know just enough about wiring to know when to call in the experts. )


Agreed :grin:


Unfortunately the dimmer kit you bought is very old and not rated for led lights. You need the GE switches in the black and green boxes or the new z-wave plus versions. Those are rated for a 150 watt led load. There’s no problem with wiring 4 led pot lights in series either. I have three circuits of pot lights in my kitchen, two with 4 lights and one with 9. Each of lights are 9 watts.

1 Like

Interesting… so I can buy the zwave plus model of the 3way switch and I should (in theory) be fine?

Latest Z-Wave Plus GE by Jasco Wireless Lighting Control Three-Way On/Off Kit, Works with Amazon Alexa (Retail Packaging)

Additionally… should I then be using zwave plus switches whenever I plan on using LED bulbs in normal light fixtures? I hadn’t even heard of zwave plus until right now and I do quite a bit of reading about this stuff. Looks like I need to scan this boards more…

Any specific recommendations for these switches?

That link is also old switches. Seems to b a shady seller. There are no kits wit the newer models. I would buy the new zwave plus versions unless you can find the previous gen ones for a good price. Heres a pick of what I have throughout my house. These are the models between the ones you posted and the new plus ones. Most of the ppl here have these. 20171203_205349

1 Like

That’s definitely the older dimmer switch. Most lighting company will have a compatible dimmer list for their lights so you should check their site first. All the LED dimmers will work but not guarantee for buzzing or proper dimming unless it’s on their list.
As for connecting the light bulbs. They should be connected in parallel.


“Not rated for LED lights” normally means that the use of LED lights might cause buzzing or flickering. Not that it could damage the switch, though. Just that it might not be a satisfactory customer experience.

I would still look into the wiring issue if the switches were damaged.


Hmm, is there a simple way of identifying which models are dated? I know Amazon often states a “newer model available”

So you’re suggesting something like:

…which is rated for LEDs instead of incandescently.


Also, this post was flagged for being an advertisement? Is that because of my links that i posted?

The Z wave chip which is used for home automation is only made by a couple of licensed companies.

Then all the other companies that actually make devices like light switches or locks will purchase the Z wave chips from the authorized makers to include in their own devices.

The most current generation of the chip is the fifth generation, also called series 500 or the fancy marketing name of “zwave plus.”

There are some significant improvements in this chip over the prior generations (now called “classic Z wave”), in particular, longer transmission range and better battery Life for battery powered devices.

As far as telling what is the newest version of any given device, you generally have to go to the manufacturer’s website.

In the case of GE zwave devices, GE licenses its name to Jasco, and Jasco lists its products on the following site:

But any zwave plus model should be newer than any Z wave classic model. The logos are a little different:


1 Like

So essentially, get a newer zwave plus dimmer that can handle LEDs and give that a go. In theory that should be able to handle 4 of the 12 watt LED
wired in series?

@Navat604 is an electrician, and he said they should be wired in parallel. Maybe he can say little more about that. I’m still concerned about why the older one burned out, that shouldn’t be just a matter of using LEDs with it instead of incandescents.

1 Like

I’d love the input.

I just put in a standard “dumb” switch in place of the smart dimmer to see if everything is wired properly and if it works in series.

Everything worked as planned… which almost makes it more confusing somehow to me…