Help wiring GE Smart Switch (12727)

Brand new to SmartThings – just set up my hub today, in fact! First order of business was installing a GE 12727 smart switch. Thought this would be easy. I was wrong :slight_smile: I’ll post pictures below, but when I opened up the gang box I was pretty darned confused on what was going on back there. A couple issues:

  1. The GE switch requires a neutral. My fault for not researching, but that’s another story! I see a bundle of white wires nutted together in the back of the box. I’m assuming they’re neutral and I could just run the jumper out of there, but wanted opinions. I got “life” in the switch doing it that way during my experiments today, but I don’t want to put a fire hazard back in my wall, lol…

  2. You can see that the existing one pole switch I’m replacing is apparently being used to power the adjacent 3-way switch (and something else?), because there are 3 connections to 2 terminals (2 screw-in and 1 push-in), with one being like a “piggyback” that branches off to the other switch. I tried wiring the GE switch in the same manner, with one on the nut and one in the push-in, but it didn’t work as expected. The “push in” connectors are not the same as on the cheapie switches, and I’m not sure you can use them simultaneously with the screw-in.

I messed around with the GE switch today, and no matter what combo I used, one of the lights powered by these two switchs would always only turn on if the other light was in the “on” position. Whereas right now (the old wiring pictured), they’re independent of each other – one can be off, the other one…and vice versa. Hope that makes sense. I’m wondering if that’s simply a limitation of the new switch. In which case, I’m wondering how I remedy that. Would some type of pigtail need to happen?

Any advice/help is appreciated!

As for the bundle of white lines, those are likely neutrals and a pigtail would be what you need.

On the second topic, yes, you can jump a second line off the ge switch using the second line hole and it will work just like your picture.

Third, if you are trying to use the Ge switch on a 3 way circuit, stop that before you fry it. You must buy the add on switch for the other switch in the 3way, and then wire it properly as it does NOT wire up the same way as a traditional switch.

Thanks for the reply! I’m still a bit confused. In my picture, do you see the black wire on the bottom screw-in connection (nut) on the switch I’m replacing? It’s stripped in the middle, connected to that screw, then it continues over to the other switch. PLUS, there’s another connection coming into that push-in connector below it. I’m not sure what that one is or how to reproduce that with the GE switch. I assume the one on the screw is the “hot” (line), and that it’s providing power to both switches. Not sure what the other one is…

And I’m definitely not planning to use this switch in a 3-way setup – it’s replacing a single pole switch that is the lone place to turn a set of lights on/off in my dining area. So in theory it should’ve been simple…

Thanks again!

OK. I think I see what you mean now.

What I think is happening on the single pole is that it’s being used as a glorified wire nut for the lines in that box. I suspect that one black wire is your source line, the other black wire goes who knows where, then the one jumped to the three way is the source line for that.

However, based upon your symptoms, I suppose it could be possible that your 3 way switch is the line for that switch, but that also doesnt make sense because then the original switches would be pretty wonky.

So… It might be multimeter time to figure out which black wire is your line and go from there…

To reproduce the 3 wire bundle on the Ge switch, you would just wire nut those three and add a pigtail to the GE.

I believe they strip the wire in the middle of the hot like that because your not allowed to put 2 wires under 1 screw.

If you had a non contact voltage checker you could verify which of the 2 black wires is actually your hot. I assume the others are feeding 2 other switches / loads. You need to keep the hots (lines) all together, (since that’s how it started). It sounds like you moved one of them to the load side of a switch. That’s why it needs to be on before the other one will work.
You could group the hots (lines) several ways, you just need to make sure they are all connected together electrically. So your supplying power to all 3 loads and controlling them with the switches. With the load wires on the other side of the switch.

Finish up with GE switch neutral bundled to rest of neutrals.

Verify your wiring and connections. Then power up and make sure it works like you think it should.

I hope you marked or labeled which wires went where. If you started moving them around. It would be easy to get all those blacks confused. Just because a wire is black doesn’t mean it’s always the hot wire.

I am not an electrician nor am i your electrician. I’ve been doing this for at least 40 years, started in industrial work when we had our own training.

Can I suggest, with all respect… Either find a knowledgeable friend, hire an electrician that will let you watch and learn and also buy a good DIY Electrical book at one of the box stores.

Mist of your questions are pretty basic for those that have done some wiring. For the newbie it can seem daunting.

Applies even more if you plan on more projects.

There probably lots of U tube stuff but I’d guess separating the wheat from the chaff cam be a PITA.

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I would cut the hot wire where it’s stripped in the middle, strip it back some more and put those existing wires in a wire nut and then add a wire from it to your GE switch.

Thanks so much to everyone who replied – this is a great, active forum! I posted the same question to a DIY electric forum yesterday and got one reply – but it was the winner! See below.

As @Paul_Haskins mentioned, I really should take the time to read and learn, and so I’ll probably pick up a book or something. I’ve just always had such great luck asking questions on forums and/or using YouTube with everything else in my life. I mean, in the past year I’ve installed a golf simulator with hitting screen in my garage, redid my yard and installed a sprinkler system, changed the rear pads/rotors/calipers on my car, etc. That said, even though I got everything hooked up today and working perfectly, I’m now having visions of waking up to my house in ashes for some reason!

Notice wires A, B and C are all connected to the same terminal. That’s the line.

_ A and B wires need connected with 2 pigtails (snip off C).
_ One pigtail will replace wire C, the other pigtail is your line to new switch.

_ The load wire won’t change, it’s the single wire attached to the other switch terminal.

Glad you got it figured out! I ordered this book since I’m finishing my basement and I have been very happy with it

The B&D ones are pretty good. I think I have most of then (digital) and a few others on paper.

Seriously recommend paper…easier to grab and go.

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