Leviton dw15s 3 way smart switch install light flickering or not working at all (one way)

I hooked up my 3 way in my downstairs hallway with zero issues

I am trying to do the one on my stairs right now

My upstairs is the line wallbox, I hooked upp the DW15S like I always have in the past, black hot wire went into the ‘black terminal screw’, my traveler ONE black wire went into the ‘YLRD’ terminal next to it, neutral went into the white/chrome terminal, ground went to the green, and the second traveler wire (red), went into the red terminal

For the downstairs (load)unit I am using the Leviton DD0SR-1Z wall switch (which is the same one I used in my hallway 3 way) is the other one it only had 4 wires a black, red, white, and ground, what is odd is that the downstairs white wire seems to be my ‘hot or load’ which is new to me…
I connected the white and the red (which was traveler 2 upstairs) together along with a wire connector, grounded the device, and put the black wire in the YLRD slot.

My upstairs switch can turn the light on and off, downstairs does absolutely nothing

SO, I tried switching the upstairs traveler terminals, red in the YRLD, and black in the red terminal

I go downstairs and switch the red with black to connect to the white, and light begins to flicker whether or not the switches (up and downstairs) are on the on position.

I believe I have the upstairs hooked up correctly the first time, the black traveler 1 in the YRLD, and the red in the red terminal, because the light turns on using the switch upstairs.

I have tried multiple and I mean multiple combinations for the downstairs, and I cannot for the life of me figure it out.

I am pretty sure I do not have an LED bulb, because it would have most likely flickered with the 3 way switch that was already in the house. Plus I tried several other bulbs

I used this video:

Any tips would be great thanks

Also, since I dont have a neutral downstairs (cause the white is the hot) the switch wont make that satisfying click noise, not sure if that is an issue or not, as mentioned before, 4 wires, 1 ground, 1 black, 1 red, and 1 white, the white seems to be the hot/live.

#1, why would an LED flicker with a 3 way? On off switches aren’t special. They all work for all bulbs. Dimmers are special… Some support LEDs other don’t.

As far as the wiring goes, are you absolutely sure about which box the power comes into first? Wire colors mean nothing but having a hot as white is a bit of a surprise. Have you tested with a multi-meter to see which is hot? If you have a multimeter, set it to AC voltage. The voltage reading between neutral and ground is zero where the difference between hot and ground is 120V. Just be careful not to electrocute yourself!
Remember, just because your hot might be White doesn’t mean you don’t have a neutral. If your house was built after the late 70s, there is most likely a neutral bundle in the box or near it. My condo was built in 78 and I’ve only found 1 switch without a neutral.
It sounds like you have the upstairs wrong and are bypassing the downstairs switch.

The switches I am using aren’t dimmers

I’m sure the bulb is not a led

What’s odd about the downstairs is that is there only 4 wires though, when I took apart the original switch the white was hooked up

Red white black and ground, should not I have 5?

I’ll buy a meter tonight, I was able to touch the together to determine which was the hot and which black went to whichever light fixture

My house was built in 99 as well

I’ll try to take pics later

I’m also using the same wires the old set of switches were using
All I added to the switch for the upstairs was the neutral wire as it was tucked in the far back unused

upstairs which is the actual smart switch
I chose the upstairs cause it was obvious that there was a neutral wire (tucked in the back similar to all of my other switch box outlets)


I put the white (supposed live) and the red traveler#2 together in the black terminal because it was cleaner at the moment and the unit still didnt work even when I had them connected via wire connector

If you are not sure what wire does what you should definitely get a multimeter and test. A hot white is kind of odd. I am not electrician but I think they are supposed to mark it with black tape if they are using it as a hot. Typically the red is a traveler, black hot, white neutral.

How was the switched wired before?

How is the fixture wired?

I only think it is the hot one because when red and white are connected, the switch upstairs work

I labelled the hot upstairs though

Originally the downstairs switch had all 3 wires being used on the switch. Red white black, I have NEVER seen a neutral wire actually being used on a switch in this house until this switch

The white neutrals in every switch box in the house (except this one) have always been connected together, and tucked in the back of the box, I have always had to pull them out to pig tail into my smart switch neutral terminal

Definitely agree with you. That is weird. Was the previous switch a dummy switch? Nothing mechanical? That is the only time a neutral would be used on a switch.

Can you trace the white cable back to some group of wires, whether hot or neutral? Wondering if the electrician ran out of cable and just used a white one. Forgot to put the black tape or if it fell off throughout the years.

Yeah, I would get a tester and test. You want to get it right.

Does the bottom switch work as a 3 way when wired like this?

Looks like, if the hot is white, that you are basically jumping the red traveler and hot together. The other black is dead?

The bottom downstairs switch does not work at all, I am jumping them because I followed the video I posted before and that is also what I did with my hallway light, except the white was black(hot) and I had an actual neutral.

My upstairs one will NOT work at all if the white and red are not connected on the downstairs switch

On the downstairs one, there is nothing to trace at all only 3 wires and a ground, the black did not fall off of the wire that is for sure, the house isnt that old lol, 1999

I dont think the downstairs black is ‘dead’ I figured it was a traveler wire, my traveler #1 upstairs is black.

Like I said I followed the video for my hallway and it worked, and I wired up the upstairs exactly the same as the hallway, the downstairs one is giving me the issues since i believe there is a missing wire or I have to wire up my upstairs entirely differently.

Will my remote switch work without a neutral? I know the SMART switch needs it for the wifi connection, but the remove is supposed to just act as a switch, but needed for smart switches

According to code, and your house was built after this rule was made, every switchbox MUST have a neutral for that circuit. The standard now is that the neutral MUST be white or gray. But i don’t know what the standard was in 99. That being said, just because when you put two wires together the upstairs switch works, doesn’t say anything about the wires. You could be connecting the traveler and the hot downstairs. In that case , the upstairs would also work.

Why do you keep saying “traveler 2”. You don’t have two travelers. The upstairs has a line, load, neutral and traveler. The light you are trying to switch is upstairs, isn’t it? I think your original switches were wired this way:

So you can see, the second switch there are only 3 wires. How the line from the box, the white and the red…this is because 3 conductor wire comes that way. The colors are meaningless. If this is the case, then then one of the black wires coming into that box is the “real” hot. Does that help you?

So I called a friend who was an electrician for a long time
turns out my ‘white’ wire is actually my hot wire in my downstairs switch, he told me as long as I had a ground, I could actually use the ground as my neutral as well, he had me check my breaker box to make sure ground and neutrals were bridged together, and sure enough they were

I did as instructed and viola, my downstairs switch works with red/white connected together, and the black traveler wire going to the unit itself.

GROUND AS YOUR NEUTRAL??? Wow…not a good idea. From our own @JDRoberts

Your are intentionally sending current through metal in your house. The potential for electrocution or fire is extremely high. Electricians can lose their license over doing something like that.

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He told me as long as the ground was also connected to the ground terminal it would be fine and as well as the neutral and ground are bridged together in my breaker box, which they are. The neutral and ground are basically connected together in the breaker.

I can take a pic of it as well, he had me remove the cover, etc

Can you please post a picture of the boxes where I can see how wires are hooked up. The key to 3 ways is one will have line to breaker and the other switch will have load to fixture. In many cases load and line are in same box which I expect is happening in your case. To make a dumb 3way work you have to “send” line or load to the other switch and I expect to find a white wire hooked up to a black wire in your upstairs switch box. If correct we need to change that so we can get a true neutral downstairs and NOT use your ground wire.

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Looks like I’m undoing my work lol
Doesn’t look like my stairs can have a smart switch

All of the neutrals are upstairs and my downstairs box lacks it

Do you have any unused wires in the box downstairs and upstairs? You can bring in the neutrals.

But if you can’t. These smart switches can do the 3 way with the old mechanical switch. I have them and love them and can’t say enough of the customer support from them. Check out their instructions. You can install one upstairs and keep the dummy switch downstairs.

Thanks for this reference, James.

I’m in a newly constructed house. Wanted to have the whole house done with smart switches before move-in but it just wasn’t affordable. So I’m doing them myself in small groups. Doing 3-ways has been making me nervous! :hushed:

So far I’ve bought a handful of Leviton switches. But the Levitons require special companion switch for 3-way. Looks like the Zooz switches could save me a bunch of money!