Problem wiring GE 12727 with two add-ons -

I’ve installed my first GE 12727 single pole in the bedroom without any problems. My next project was to wire the hallway light which has 3 light switches. I have the 12727 and two add-on’s but when I opened the gang-box of each of these 3 switches it wasn’t what I expected so maybe someone can give me some much appreciated advice.

the first box i opened had exactly what I expected. 4 wires plus a ground attached on the original switch with a neutral in the back of the gang box.

The second gang box has 3 wires plus the ground attached to the switch and two sets of wires attached by wire nut in the back of the gang-box.

The third gang box has 3 wires plus the ground attached to the switch and no neutral wires in the back.

I don’t know how to proceed at this point. The house is only ten years old so i’m really hoping this isn’t going to be much of a problem. Any ideas? Thank you!!!

Basically sit down and try to diagram exactly how the energy is flowing. Folks wire houses wierd when the throw the up in developments. This last Friday I literally STARED at a switch for an hour trying to figure how how the heck the 3-way was wired. They brought the line from breaker into a upstairs box but then tied the hot wire together with a line running to the downstairs box. The downstairs then had the hot (from upstairs), traveler, and ground… that was it. But since the load wire was back upstairs I was able to just disconnect the ‘hot’ going downstairs and use that line as neutral for the downstairs box since the load line was back upstairs. Even trying to describe it I feel I need a diagram to show the flow of everything.

So basically ignore how everything is currently wired and just sit down with how many wires you have going to each box and what they can do and figure out the puzzle.

This is most likely what you have.

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thanks Chris for your input… however, won’t I still have a major issue if one of the gang boxes only has one set of wires so there is no neutral?

Yes Navat604, that looks exactly like what I have. thank you! but in that diagram and my setup, you can see one gangbox doesn’t have a neutral. does that mean I can’t use these GE switches?

thanks

Keep in mind the two accessory switches only require neutral and traveler. So you basically need to ID where the load line is and where the supply line (from circuit) is. If you look here (http://www.zwaveproducts.com/product-documentation/GE-45612_User-Manual.pdf) on page 10 they have a good wiring diagram. If you know where the load wire is and the hot wire from breaker is let us know here and we can probably give you better suggestions.

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The add on switches need only a neutral and traveler. So you can tie all the white wires together for your neutral.
Your second box will be your master switch since all the wires are there. Let’s work on the second box and ignore everything first. The 2 white wires twisted together with a connector is your neutral from the power source.
The 2 black wires twisted together is your line hot.
The wire connecting to your switch terminal called common is your load wire.

You can connect those wires to your master switch and see if it work.

Take detail pictures, label and remove all the wires from all switches and cap them for testing g.

Edit : since I have people complained to me before. I better warn them to take my advice at your own risk :slight_smile:

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Ok… if your wiring is like the diagram this is what you would want to do (go over it in your head to make sure it makes sense to you as well).

In your main box you would remove the black wire nutted to the white/black wire from the power source. (The one going out to final gang box). This would now go into your GE 12727. Into your 12727 you would also attach the black wire going to the light (load) and use a pigtail to attach to the neutral. You would still have the red traveler out to gang two. The white/black strip wire that WAS connected to the hot (black) from circuit breaker in that image is now going to be the new neutral out to the other two gangs. Just tie that in to the existing neutrals. So now in gang 1 you would have a switch attached to the hot from breaker, the hot out to the load, pigtail to neutrals, and single traveler. In gang two you would now have a neutral coming in (white/black strip), and traveler. Going out you would also have neutral and traveler to gang 3. In gang two you would tie the two travelers together and pigtail to the add on switch. You should have the idea now for gang three.

OK, I will let @Chris_Crowder carry on since we have the same idea and I won’t duplicate the post.

Thank you guys!

I’m going to read up on that reference and pull out the volt meter. I’m gonna have to take a break at the moment because the fuse for the hallway is always linked to the wife’s bathroom and she wants to shower… of course!

But i do have question… in the 4-way diagram above, is the white wire on first switch the neutral? and is that line I should use for the neutral on the addon? in the mean time, I’ll do some more studying.

THANK YOU!!!

In the 4-way diagram above the white from the power source which is then nutted to the white to the light is the neutral correct. You can see how the ‘white’ wire for the romex going to the other switches has a black band which is to show that is has been used as a hot wire and is really ‘black’.
edit
Forgot second parts… Yes… That is what you would tie into for the add-on switches. So you would basically have a wire nut connecting 4 white wires in the first box. 1 from source (breaker), 1 pig-tail to z-wave switch, 1 to light (load), and 1 out to other gang boxes (the white wire in diagram with black band).

ah, that makes a lot of sense. again, thank you!

Anytime… trust me… I was not kidding when I said I was literally staring at my gang box for an hour Friday trying to figure the exact same thing (except only 1 add on).

I found that once u find the main switch just get a long wire and check continuity for travler which should also allow the use of one of your other wires to tie into your neutral and feed to add on switches

Well, i’m still struggling with this. Navat604 said; “Let’s work on the second box and ignore everything first. … You can connect those wires to your master switch and see if it work.”

the way i understand that, I can install the master switch GE 12727 (the switch from my second picture above) and test it by seeing if i can manually turn the light on and off without installing the add-on switches. Is that correct?

Correct. If you connect the hot from the breaker (black), the load out (probably the white wire in your photo), and the neutrals you should be able to test the switch without any add ons. For the neutrals leave the two connected as they are and use small bit of wire to connect from their nut to the switch.

I would say the load is the black wire on the switch. That was why I mentioned to look for the wire on the terminal called common.

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Very well could be… really you need to test and see which one is carrying current.

Well… i have the black wire set to “load” and red on “line”. when i try the old switches, they work and the GE switch makes the clicking sound. but when I try the GE switch, it doesn’t do anything and not even a click.

with that setup, my volt meter is telling me the red “line” is receiving 120 volts. i did try the black as line but none of the switches worked