Need Help! Complicated 3 Switch Circuit

That last junction box has a switched hot, a neutral and an unswitched hot according to your diagram.

But the electrician that installed it cut the hot wire off in the back of the box so I cannot tap into it.

Thanks.

Todd.

Awesome… Just cutoff, not even enough room to get a wire nut and extend it 4 inches?
Having a hot un-insulated conductor in a junction box probably isn’t the best situation to be in.

if you can’t get that hot you are in rough shape I think. No outlet or something nearby you can pull another from?

Your solution is a little more expensive but seem like the only option. Don’t forget to either remove the circuit breaker for the cut wire or cap off that wire at the panel.

@Mike_Maxwell,
I completely agree, that’s why I said in my original post:

All caps, exclamation points, because it’s stupid, and potentially dangerous.

It is literally cut even with the rest of the Romex sheathing back where it is clamped into the box.

The “good” news is, it turns out that what I wanted to do doesn’t work anyway, I had the exact same experience that is talked about in the thread linked above on another circuit. I got the Aeotec Micro Smart Switch working, and after I stuffed it all into the box, it works with ST turning it on and off, but no longer detects a switch state change (current or no current) to toggle the load.

So, my only recourse is to use Z-wave switches and slaves. Oh, and I found another 3-way wired with a cut hot wire and will need to do the same thing there. So between the Aeotec modules not working as designed and the stupid electrician move Instead of 3 aeotec modules, I’ll need 7 z-wave switches or slaves. ($300 instead of $125)

The electrician actually did two stupid things. Cut the wire, and chose to run one 14/2 hot to each end rather than using 14/3 like the text book circuit requires.

Thanks!
-Todd

Regarding the three way micro trigger states. The LV input has three configurable trigger states:
Toggle: the default (follows toggle switch)
Momentary (on if off, off if on)
Three way, which I’ve not used, but given the name, is probably the one to use.

@Mike_Maxwell,

This thread talks about using it to control a 3-way circuit:

It just doesn’t really work reliably.

I hooked everything up in a different circuit in my house and it worked exactly as I expected it to. I turned off the breaker to stuff everything in the box and when I powered it back up, ST could control the light, but flipping the switches had no impact on the light state. Others in the thread above have had the same experience.

-Todd

Yea, I know, been posting in that thread to. I run all my three way Aeon’s (dimmers and switches) using low voltage/dry contact, and I’ve not had any issues. The only conclusion I can make is that the AEON micro switches aren’t as durable using 120vac control, hence me trying to convince everyone to use low voltage for these when in a three way config.

Yep. They work great when they are just running LV on the switch loop. That’s not always an option. I’m thinking I might just foregone the 3-way capability in some cases and let the switch in the box with the Aeon control it (cut out the other switch(es)).

-Todd

I’m not giving up on you man, in those two other boxes you could stuff cheapo monoprice contact sensors, wire the toggle to the aux contact port and do three way control in ST?

I can think of at least 3 ways to do this - only one of them would utilize traditional “wiring” schemes - the rest are all based on ST solutions;

1.) Replace the light bulb with a Hue (if you have a Hue system) or a Wink light bulb. Then use the white and black to have it always on and replace the three switches with Leviton or GE switches (i wouldn’t use the AeoTec) and use ST to turn them all on/off when any one of them is switched (light included)

2.) The same as (1) but use whatever light bulb you want and break the circuit at the last switch closest to the light - i.e. use the black wire from the prior two switches as just a pass through since you can’t get to your hot lead closest to the light. Then use the same mentioned switches and un-cap the white in switch 1 to power the first two “dumb” Z-wave switches.

3.) Use it exactly as it is wired but insert a DPDT relay in the box closest to the light - that way you will have power available for a SmartSwitch… Even when all the others are off…

Sorry to rez this thread, but did the OP consider pulling the switch box out of the wall and pigtailing that cut black wire out? Then you can put an old work box in the hole or angle screw a new work box in. It seems like it would have solved all your problems.

Sorry to further resurrect the thread, but hoping someone can help me on a very similar note…

Here’s my situation:

  1. Equipment: AEON Micro Switch (Dimmer) G2.
  2. Location: Kitchen
    Dimmer Switch (yes I know, it’s not Zwave) connected to another On/Off
    Switch at the other end of the kitchen. **Trying to install the Aeon at
    the On/Off switch at the other end of the Kitchen (what I believe is the
    Aux).

Working Assumptions:

  1. The switch on the other end of the kitchen is the aux (THIS IS WHERE I’m INSTALLING AEON MICRO).
    I tested it and the black wire on the AUX is cold when I disconnect the black wire at the Kitchen Dimmer.
    The Black Wire at the Kitchen dimmer is always hot – I’m assuming that’s the AC LIVE

  2. The black wire at the Aux is a live wire (unless it’s a traveler somehow? – this one confuses me) I probably should have disconnected the normal dimmer switch and tested all the wires coming into it… not just the black.

  3. The red wire at the Aux is the Load (This also confuses me as I’d expect a red to be a traveler from the Master)

  4. The white wire is a traveler from the Master

Here’s a diagram of how I’ve wired it up… after looking at it, I
realized I need to connect the green wire on the Master to the
Neutral–it’s currently not connected. I’ll try this tomorrow to see if
it helps.

HERE’s what’s happening

  1. When I turn on the power and the AEON Switch is On and the Kitchen Master Dimmer is ON, the lights are On.
  2. I cannot turn off the lights via the Kitchen Master when the AEON Switch is On.
  3. When I turn off the Kitchen Master and THEN turn off the AEON Switch, they go off.
  4. So long as the AEON Switch is OFF I can then use the Kitchen Master to turn it on/off at will.

This confuses me* After I turn off the Kitchen Master and the AEON
Switch, I cannot turn the AEON Switch Back on with ST’s… at least I
don’t believe it’s on because the light stays off and it keeps saying
“turning on” via the app.

I am not an electrician (clearly) and am hopeful that I’m close
enough that someone could offer a small tweak here or there and point
out my error. Any help would be super appreciated!!! Thanks in advance.

-Josh

Your diagram doesn’t match your verbal description, and I’m not sure you understand how the traveler system works. Did you take pictures of everything before you disconnected the original switch? Also, was your original non networked set up the kind where sometimes you flipped switch B up to turn on the light and sometimes you flipped it down? There are about 8 different ways to wire a nonnetworked 3 way and not all work for networked switches. So the first thing an electrician would figure out is exactly how the old switches were wired.

The fact that you can’t turn off the lights from what you’re calling the Master when the Aeon switch is on indicates either you have the aux and the master confused or it’s not wired correctly.

  1. makes sense from your diagram except I doubt if your diagram actually represents what’s happening inside your walls. Remember that a networked switch must always have some current or it won’t be able to hear the next “on” command. This might help:

Wire colors can be completely arbitrary, you never know what the previous person actually used. The connector colors are more consistent in their significance, but you haven’t mentioned those.

All of that said, don’t connect the green wire to the neutral unless an electrician tells you to. (And that electrician is not a beneficiary in your will. Or having an affair with your wife. :wink: ) Ground and neutral are not the same thing.

If you live near a Home Depot, many have one day classes in how to install a light switch. That would be a good place to start. Otherwise bring in an electrician.

Do what @JDRoberts suggested also remove the aeon micro switch or the master dimmer asap. It’s not meant to be control by another dimmer switch. It will get damaged. Green usually is ground. Not neural unless it’s bonded at the breaker and check by an electrician.
There are a couple of posts on the forum about the aeon micro switch. Take a couple of pics of your old wiring and confirm your wiring and we will be glad to help.

@Navat604 ,

Good catch, I missed that the OP was trying to use the dimmer version of the micro switch in the aux! You’re right, of course, that shouldn’t be used with another dimmer.

Thanks @JDRoberts and @Navat604. I’ve removed the micro dimmer and will use the standard (non-dimmer) Micro Switch–I’m assuming that is okay?
I also appreciate the clarification on the green wire being ground and not “neutral.” I won’t attach it (thanks for saving me from myself). I was looking at a diagram from another support forum and somebody had it winged to a “white wire,” so I foolishly assumed I should do the same. I guess I shouldn’t copy everything I see posted.

I’ll swing by Home Depot today for a crash course on 3 way… I feel like a complete moron… clearly I need some education or I’m going to burn the house down. :disappointed: : I did all my 2 way switches without any issues–I hate 3 way.

To answer your questions:

Yes, just as you described–it was an alternating 3 way that depended on the position of the other switch.

I didn’t–but I could recreate and/or describe. I have a very vivid memory and remember exactly what went where–there are 4 holes on what I think is the “Aux” On/Off Switch. The bottom right (with the black screw) had the black wire, the top left had the white wire, and the top right had the red wire. I then foolishly went by the colors from the Aeon Instructions–i.e. assuming the red was the load, the black AC Live coming in… which now I see was wrong-headed. Although it’s confounding how the light could be turning on if I put anything but the “Load” into the Load L section of the micro switch.

So unless I’ve got the Master and Aux flipped, maybe the red & white are the travelers and the black is carrying the load to the light? *I do think it’s unlikely I’ve got the Master/Aux flipped because the Master has Power after I disconnect the Aux, while the Aux only gets power when I have the Master connected…

Perhaps someone spliced the travelers and changed colors at the light box? There are 6 lights in the kitchen connected to these switches.

Thoughts?

Thanks,

Wanted to follow-up and close this out. I solved it a few days after the post. Thanks for the help.

1 Like

I want to share my contribution with the community as this solution resolved my problem. I have working device handlers for Aeon micro switch and Aeon micro dimmer. They’ve been working great in my home for last 7 months. You can download them from here: https://github.com/northam/smartthings
You will need only these two files: aeonDimmer.groovy and aeonSwitch.groovy.
These drivers address the most important parameters to make them work as “normal” switch and “normal” dimmer.
Screenshot: https://github.com/northam/smartthings/blob/master/Aeon%20Switch%20recommended%20settings.png