Potential Wiring issue with GE SmartSwitch and Add-on

I"m not an electrician and don’t really consider myself overly mechanical included - I do enough to get by… BUT I was able to set up a SmartSwitch and Add-on in my family room where I have a 3-way switch. Everything in that room matched the instructions perfectly and didn’t cause any problems.

Then I went into the kitchen to try - same setup - a 3 way switch. Behind switch #1 I have 2 black wires and a red connected to an old-fashioned toggle. White/Neutral was NOT connected to the switch but is present and wire nutted. Behind switch # 2 I had ONE black wire, a red and the white WAS connected to the switch. I went for the obvious setup - Switch # 1 wasn’t a problem everything matched up. Light #2 I connected red and white and then capped off the black to the Add-On.

When I did it this way Switch #1 got power - I got the blue light on the switchplate, but the light itself would not go on or off. I could hear it click from the switch like it was trying to power on, but it wouldn’t do anything. (I tried switching the black wires on Switch #1 but got no power at all).

Any ideas?? I’guessing I need to do something different w/ switch #2 but not sure what combination makes sense.

In switch 1 were all the white wires bundled together or was one of them connected to a black wire? The white wire may even have black electrical tape on it. I ask because this is the white wire going to switch 2 that you need to make a neutral.

Hi Rich - on Switch 1, the white wires were bundled together (There was 2 of them). Neither was connected to the black wires.

The white wire going to switch 2 was connected to the switch (not bundled).

can you post pictures (1000 words) might help us help you

I’m at work now and can’t take a real picture (I put the original switches back on last night) - here’s my handy-dandy attempt at a wiring diagram. I have no idea what’s behind the walls/ceiling - all of that was done before we moved in.

Switch two the Master

If switch 2 is the master then what wires should I connect to the zwave switch? It has terminals for 2 black, a red and a white. I’m short a black wire. (And thank you for the replies BTW!)

ok Sw 1 master replace the wires one for one.
ground to ground
line to line
load to load
red to traveler under the tape.
You will need a short piece of wire for a neutral from white wire capped together this would go to the neutral on sw1.

You should now have wire on all four terminals.
Master complete

on the add on this is not your normal type of switch - what it does is it signals the master to turn the light on instead of doing it itself.

So to wire this sw all you need is the ground to ground
Red traveler to traveler terminal
neutral to neutral

CAP the last Black wire has it is not used…

You now have completed the wiring

this is the picture of the switches in their final configuration.

That’s the way I had it last night, that’s the same diagram I found online and used. When I set it up that way I got the blue LED on the master switch (switch 1) but the lights would not turn on/off. The master switch would click like it was doing something but no lights. :frowning:

Actually, I take it back - there was a ground on switch 2, no ground on switch 1 (It wasn’t there with the original setup) - would that be enough to do it?

SW 2 need the ground and SW1 need the neutral

Thats exactly how I did it then… Think maybe one of the switches was bad? (Both were brand new).

line to line
load to load
red to traveler under the tape.
White to capped white.

Red traveler to traveler terminal
neutral to neutral
Ground to ground
Cap the Black wire has it is not used…

Here is my “guess” as to what is going on. I’m assuming at switch 1, one of the black is the line(power) from the breaker box(likely the left one the way your diagram shows it). The other 2 wires are travelers. The whites obviously are neutrals and you would need to get a small piece of wire and splice into those to get a neutral regardless of what switch goes where.

Switch 2 is a crapshoot. There is going to be 2 travelers and probably the load. I’m assuming there is NOT a neutral hooked up to the switch as its not needed in a standard switch. I would guess based on how you are showing the switches being wired, that the white is going to the load(lights) and the black and red are the travelers from the other switch.

If you have a multi-meter you can test this fairly easily. Get a 9v batter and tape the red and black wires onto the terminals. Go to the other switch and test the voltage across them and you should be able to see ~9V if they are indeed the correct wires.

You will likely have to grab/splice a neutral from the “bundle” in the box just as you did in box 1.

What you’ll have to do is either:
A) Mount the main switch in box 1 and wire nut the load from box 2 to one of the travelers to get the load over to box 1. Then mount the add-on switch in box 2.
B) Mount the main switch in box 2 and wire nut the line(power) from box 1 to one of the travelers to get the power over to box 2. Then mount the add-on switch in box 1.

(this is what I had to do)
Yours is similar other than the wire going to you light fixture could be white.

If you can take pictures of the boxes that will help. I need to know where your line and load are. The fact that a white wire was previously hooked up to your 3 way switch makes me think we need to confirm what each wire is going to.

This video here really helped me do mine, but you may have already seen it.

Here you go… hopefully these pics help!

Odd, seem to be missing wires. Just to confirm there isn’t a 3rd switch controlling these same lights?

Is it possible that power is going to the light instead of the switch? I have some of my lights wired that way. If that is the case you cant use a smart switch. I used the Aeon microswitch in the light base.

Ah good point. That has to be the case here.

Nope… no third switch. just these 2.

I guess it’s possible the power is going to the light, that might explain why when everything seemed like it was hooked up correctly the switch worked be didn’t power on the light.

Not a big deal, I guess I’ll just go without smart switches in the kitchen. :expressionless:

I wouldn’t give up quite yet. Its going to take a bit of investigative work but I would rather know FOR SURE, how its wired.

Go unhook both switches(take pics so you can hook them up again) and also take down the light fixture.

Then turn the breaker on and go test for 120V power at each switch(measuring from each wire to the ground and also at the fixture with a multimeter. This will confirm where your power comes in at. If indeed it comes in at the fixture, atleast you know.
If not, we can go from there.