Help with Wiring 4-way GE/JASCO Light Switches


(Freddie) #1

I am trying to wire in a 4-way switch system to replace 3 light switches and am having a hard time figuring out how to do it. My 3 switches are wired as shown here:

I tried several configurations but can’t get the single GE/JASCO 45609 and two 45610 to work at all. Is the master 45609 supposed to go on the middle switch?

Appreciate any help!

Thanks,
Freddie


(Chrisb) #2

It’s going to depend on what sort of wiring you have to determine where the master (45609) is supposed to go.

If you were installing new wiring you’d run the line (hot - Black) from your breaker box to the location with the 45609. Then you’d run the load from that switch to your lights. This supplies power from the breaker box, thru the switch, to your lights.

Then you would have a neutral (white) running from the lights back to the breaker box. This completes the circuit. Ideally you’d run this neutral back thru the switch box because the switch needs a neutral too.

Next each aux (45610) will run a “traveler” wire from it’s switch box to the master switch. Each aux also needs a neutral.

Obviously the neutral’s from the AUX don’t have to go back to the breaker box on a separate run. If you already have wires leading to the main box then they can tap into neutral here.

So, that’s if you’re wiring from scratch. But you’re not. So, the question is: What does your existing wiring look like? And how do you get it to fit with the different way z-wave switches work? You probably have something like this:

I’m just guessing here of course, but I suspect this is at least a semi-typical setup. I’m not as familiar with 4 way setups, so I might be talking out of my butt here, but the three color paths (red, blue, green in my drawing) are the traveller paths. Flipping any of the three switches in this layout will open or close different paths along this line.

Now HOPEFULLY they ran the neutral from the light back through at least one of these switches, but there is no certainty of this. If there is no neutral here, then you have to get neutral to one of these boxes some how.

The other thing of course is that your wires will almost certainly NOT be nicely color coded like my drawing. But, assuming your wiring is like my drawing and assuming you can figure out which wires are which, here’s how you could set it up:

Put your master in the first box. Connect the black line from the break box into the “line” spot on the switch. We’re going to turn the “blue line” into our load line now. So connect blue to the ‘load’ part of the master switch. In the second box, we’ll connect dark blue to light blue. In the last box we’ll connect light blue to black leading to the light. We now have a complete run of power from the breaker to the light thru the master switch.

Next we need to hook up the traveler wires. So much an aux in the third box. We’ll use the “red line” for traveler. Connect the light red to the traveler on the first aux. Put an aux in the second box. Now connect light and dark red to the traveler spot on the second aux. Finally, connect the last dark red to the traveler spot on the master switch. And we not have a complete line from both aux switches to the master.

Finally, we need neutral for each switch. If you have neutral in all box, no problem. If don’t have it in any box, then we have a problem. You need to get neutral to at least one box. If you have it in one box but not all, we’ll use the “green line” to spread neutral to the other boxes. Assuming we get neutral to the middle box, we’ll connect the neutral to the light and dark green along with one extra wire we put in. That extra will connect to the neutral of the Aux switch in this box. Then light green will get connected to the Aux in the third box and dark green gets connected to the neutral on the master switch.

Again, I have to repeat that your wiring will NOT be as nicely color coded and this would be a serious mess trying to figure out which black, white, red or whatever color in box 1 is what color in box 2, etc. This may be a job for an electrician.

Finally… sorry if this is very simplistic. I don’t mean to insult your intelligence. It’s entirely possible you know more about this than I do. I’m just trying to make it as basic as possible so anyone can follow who might have a similar question later.


(Chrisb) #3

Here’s how the new setup in my example would look:

I know it looks a little confusing, but just follow the color groups. Blue and Black is your power line from the break to the light.
Red is the traveler lines. Green and White is neutral.

Also note that if neutral comes to the first or third box you just need to adjust according.

Finally, you don’t have to have the master in the first box. You can put it in any of the boxes really. Just follow the same pattern. Use the “blue lines” for power, “red lines” for traveler, and “green lines” for neutral.


(Freddie) #4

Chris,

Thanks for your reply. Not sure why but the link I had included did not come through on my first post. Here’s a link to my current installation:

http://www.how-to-wire-it.com/wiring-a-4-way-switch.html

My house was just built so it’s up to code :slight_smile:

Thanks,
Freddie


(Chrisb) #5

Okay… very good. There’s a couple of diagrams on that page. If your wiring it like the first diagram shown with color coding just like that, then this will be a piece of cake!

Pick any spot for your master switch. Where ever you put your master switch you’ll connect the black from the breaker panel to the LINE terminal of the master and the black leading to your lights will go to the LOAD terminal. In the other two boxes just connect black to black. This establishes that all important path of power from the breaker panel to the light, thru the master switch.

Obviously the the AUX switches go into the other two boxes. If you put the master in the middle box, tie both red wires to the TRAVELER terminal of the master switch and the red wire in the left and right box to the TRAVELER terminal on the auxiliary switch.

If you put the master in one of the side boxes, then the auxiliary switch in the middle box will have both reds going to the TRAVELER terminal and the master and aux on the sides will just have one red wire going to the TRAVELER terminal.

Finally, connect the white lines in each box to the NEUTRAL terminal of each switch.

If your wiring is like the second diagram, then things will be more complicated because that diagram does NOT have neutral wires to any of the switch boxes. You will need to get neutral to at least one of those boxes.

Let me know if this is your setup and if you can get neutral to a switch box, then we can go over how to do it.


(Freddie) #6

Thanks again Chris.

My setup is like the first diagram so I’m thinking it’ll be easy as you describe.

A couple of things I want to clarify since I want to make sure I don’t burn down the house!

Here’s my interpretation of this part of your message:

"Pick any spot for your master switch. Where ever you put your master switch you’ll connect the black from the breaker panel to the LINE terminal of the master and the black leading to your lights will go to the LOAD terminal. In the other two boxes just connect black to black. This establishes that all important path of power from the breaker panel to the light, thru the master switch."

First I need to decide on which of the two “outside” switches is the line from the breaker coming in. Once I figure that out, I would splice the line to one of the existing traveler wires from that box (say the black one) to the location of the existing 4 way switch (I’ll keep the 45609 in the same location). That’s become the line into the 45609. I’ll then splice the load wire from the other switch into one of the other travelers (say the black one as well) so I can get the load going to the light.

Obviously the the AUX switches go into the other two boxes. If you put the master in the middle box, tie both red wires to the TRAVELER terminal of the master switch and the red wire in the left and right box to the TRAVELER terminal on the auxiliary switch.

Connect the two reds into the Traveler terminal on the 45609.

Finally, connect the white lines in each box to the NEUTRAL terminal of each switch.

I have other switches in those boxes and the neutrals are all tied together. On a different switch, I spliced a short length wire into the pigtail and connected it to a different 45609. Is that OK to do here as well?

Thanks again for your help and patience!
Freddie


(Chrisb) #7
First I need to decide on which of the two “outside” switches is the line from the breaker coming in. Once I figure that out, I would splice the line to one of the existing traveler wires from that box (say the black one) to the location of the existing 4 way switch (I’ll keep the 45609 in the same location). That’s become the line into the 45609. I’ll then splice the load wire from the other switch into one of the other travelers (say the black one as well) so I can get the load going to the light.

Yes, although there isn’t a whole lot of danger of burning down the house! :slight_smile: I’ve already wired a switch wrong (Load->line and Line->load) and it didn’t have any long term problems. Obviously it didn’t work, but once I swapped the wires it worked fine. I can’t say if this will always be okay, but like I said, I’ve done it twice now with no issues.

I have other switches in those boxes and the neutrals are all tied together. On a different switch, I spliced a short length wire into the pigtail and connected it to a different 45609. Is that OK to do here as well?

Absolutely. Neutral is basically just a path back to the breaker. You can use any neutral available. It does NOT have to be the neutral coming from the light.


(Justin Novack) #8

Insteon made this REALLY easy, I don’t know why Z-Wave had to fuck it up.

An Insteon/X10 node would join a group and respond accordingly to group commands. If 1 of the switches turned off in the group, they all could, thus making a X-Way switch VERY easy.


(Chrisb) #9

Well, you can do this in SmartThings as well. I have. I have two three-way setups were one of the switches is just a “dead” switch… has line and neutral connected, but no load. The other is wired to line and neutral and load. Then I’m running a simple little app called 3way wireless where it watches for any of switches in the group. If one turns on, it turns them all on. One turns off, it turns them all off.

You can use it with any number of switches, not just two, despite the name.

One advantage of using the wired AUX unit though is that it is usually significantly cheaper. In Freddie’s setup, for example, getting three 45609 switches at ~$45 would cost him at least $135. On the other hand, one master 45609 at ~$45 + two 45610 at ~$25 saves him $40. And if he bought the 45609 + 45610 as a kit and then just added a 45610 it would save even more.

And that’s just the GE/Jasco stuff. Levitron’s aux units are even cheaper yet. Of course the masters are more expensive.


(Dan Lieberman) #10

You can also do that with a SmartApp. See @wackware’s Switch With Me project: http://build.smartthings.com/projects/switchwithme/ and the Double Tap SmartApp in the catalog.


(Chrisb) #11

If I’m not mistaken though, wackware’s Swith With Me is a one-to-many relationship. One switch turns on or off multiple other switches. But turning on or off one of those other switches will not turn on or off the master.

So if I have two switches: SwitchA (which is connected to the load) and SwitchB (which is not connected to the load):

If I assign A as the master, this obviously does nothing for me as B, being the slave, will never tell A to turn on or off.

But If I assign B as the master it will obviously turn A on or off, but I what I don’t know is a situation like this:

  1. A = off, B = off, Light is off.
  2. I flip switch B. The app reads this and tells A to turn on.
  3. A = on, B = on, Light is on.
  4. I flip switch A. The app doesn’t do anything because A is the slave.
  5. A = off, B = on, Light is off.
  6. Now I flip on switch B. What happens? Does the app still read this as an “on” press and respond accordingly? Or does is this ignored because switch B was already on? I tend to think it’s ignored.

(Freddie) #12

Chris,

Thanks for your help! I finally had some free time and was able to install the switches as you describe in your 8/20 8:37PM message. Worked like a charm!

Freddie


(Chrisb) #13

Fantastic. Glad it worked for you.


(Mitch) #14

Old thread but hoping someone can weigh in.

I have a legacy 4 way switch in the center of the run (master). On one side of the legacy 4 way I have two reds (travelers) - one to each post. On the other side of the legacy switch I have the line and the load (one to each post). For the new smart switch (new master) I have a blue and a black (and of course neutral and ground). I need some guidance on which wires I ‘bundle’ for the new smart switch… do I bundle both travelers with the line to the blue on the smart switch and the load to the black on the smart switch?

Thx.


(Chrisb) #15

@mitch

Take a look at this link: http://www.how-to-wire-it.com/wiring-a-4-way-switch.html

The second diagram, looking at the middle switch sounds like the setup you’ve right right now, correct? Do the two other switches look similar to what this diagram shows?


(Mitch) #16

Thanks for responding.

They do - and I saw that diagram when you helped the earlier poster - but I couldn’t figure out from your guidance to him how I needed to wire the master. My issue is trying to figure out how those four wires (two travelers, the load and the line, get wired to the GE/Jasco switch when all it has is the ground, neutral, blue and a black wire…


(Chrisb) #17

@mitch,

Okay…Now, obviously without seeing exactly the wiring you’ve got here, here’s my best guess:

Back on the page linked above, look at the third diagram down. I’m hoping that this is the same setup that you have: A black wire going into the three-way, then a black and red going out of the three way.

If so, then this should be easy. What you’re going to do at each three-way junction is connect the two black wires together. This will complete a full circuit from breaker box to master z-wave to light.

In the 4-way box one of the blacks goes to load, the other to line. As for the reds: Put both of those together into the traveler post on the master. These will act as the traveler to each of the AUX switches.

Back at the 3-way boxes the single red obviously goes to the traveler post on the AUX switch. Then connect neutral to each of those (as well as the master of course) and ground wires, and that should do it!


(Mitch) #18

Chris - sorry to be dense but I’m not understanding when you say ‘put the reds on the traveler post’. the smart switch only has a blue and a black line (bedsides the ground and neutral). On the legacy switches, I see where the traveler posts are but ‘mapping’ that post to the smart switch leads is where I’m lost.


(Chrisb) #19

Oh… okay. I think I misunderstood from the get go here.

Do you know what model number of switch you have? I’m guessing that this might be one of the older models, like the 45606 or 45607. These were older models of GE/Jasco switches that had wires out the back instead of post holes where you inserted the wires.

The fact that these are older switches isn’t bad. I’ve got a few of these in my house. However, I believe that at least one of the models (06?) is NOT designed as a switch that can be used in a three-way setup. This might be the case here. Can you post a picture of the back of the switch?


(Mitch) #20

They’re Linears (rebranded GE’s I think I read somewhere). I’m uing a WD500z-1 as the master and WT 00z-1 as the slaves. I used these in a traditional 3 way configuration (ie w/ two light switches) and got them to work fine - but the second traveler for the 4 way legacy switch is where I’m stumped. I can post a pic - but it’s literally 4 wires that come out of the back - white, green, blue and black.