Problems with my GE Switches

Today I installed my first switch. I choose the GE On/Off switch not knowing how my house was wired. I bought a Dimmer for backup. My box has 3 wires. Line, Load and neutral (white), at least I assume that is neutral. That was it. No Ground. Got everything wired and sure enough the light came on and paired fine with SmartThings. The problem is it won’t shut off. If I manually hit the off on the switch, it shuts off and then comes right back on. Same with the app. Any Ideas?

I finally gave up and installed the Dimmer. Seems to work fine, except if I manually shut off the switch, it never seems to report OFF to SmartThings. If I shut it off in the app though, everything seems to work. Is this a known issue? I searched to forum but didn’t see anything.

GE switches do not support Instant Status.

Lutron owns a patent relating to instant status, which is the ability for switches to notify the controller when the switch is manually flipped.  Some companies like Cooper and Leviton license the patent so their products can use instant status.

The GE/Jasco switches don’t support instant status, and therefore do not report their status change to the controller when the switches are manually flipped.

Therefore, the controller periodically polls the switches to find out if they’ve been flipped.  Depending on how many switches you have, this could range from minutes to hours before it cycles through and polls every switch.

There is a bit of a workaround used by some other brands of controllers (not SmartThings to my knowledge) with GE/Jasco switches, which helps the controller know sooner in some scenarios.  Basically, the switch sends out a broadcast message when it’s flipped, and if the controller sees that message, it knows something happened, and polls the switch immediately, and sees the status has changed.  However that only works with certain brands of controllers, and only when the switch is communicating directly with the controller, and isn’t routed through other devices on the z-wave mesh network.

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OK, well that make sense. But what about the GE on/off switch. Why would it only shut off for a second and then turn back on? Since I did have a neutral (just no ground) was it just a bad switch?

Also, again I am new to all of this, but there seems to be a delay between the time the motion sensor sees me and the light comes on. What is normal to be expected? The slowness of the dimmer only makes this seem even slower.


Did you try swapping the load and line wires? I think I had something similar once when I’d hooked the wires up the wrong way on the On/Off switch.

Three will be a delay… sometimes about a second or so.

Oh, and yes… SmartThings does use the ‘trick’ to see when a GE switch has been manually flipped and so does a poll. There are two issues with this though. First, it requires direct communication between the switch and the Hub. If the switch is communicating through the mesh, then this trick doesn’t work. Second, dimmers… again here’s where that slowness creates a problem. The dimmer is pressed and sends out that update communication. The Hub sees this, and does an instant poll of the switch. Well, the dimmer is still shutting off so it’s technically still on so it reports to ST that it’s on (even though a second later as the dim function finishes it’ll be off).

SmartThings does do periodic polling. If you’re running the old firmware on the Hub this should update with in a few minutes max. If you’re running the newer (Beta?) firmware on the Hub it should update within 10-15 seconds.

chrisb>> No, I didn’t try to switch only because I knew which was the Line and Load as I tested it first with the power on. Do you think reversing them, even though they were correct might have been the problem? When you say you had this happen before, was it the same simptom, come on but doesn’t shut off?

chrisb >> How does ST know it is a GE dimmer? When I installed it the type just shows as a ‘Dimmer Switch’. I went into the IDE to change this to a GE Dimmer, but it is not listed.

It would be nice if I could actually change the ‘rate’ the dimmer dims. The GE does have this ability which would make this switch much more responsive, but ST doesn’t have to option to change this and unless I have a Z-Wave remote, I can’t figure out how else I could change it.

I really didn’t want a dimmer for this room (kitchen). My light switch is across the kitchen so I just wanted the lights to come on when I entered. The dimmer is cool, but sometimes I am make it to the switch before the lights actually start to dim up.


First: I honestly don’t recall exactly what happened but I do seem to remember that I had the line/load wires flipped on one of my switches. It’s been 6-8 months since I installed it so my memory is a little foggy, but I thought I remembered that the LED was on and when I hit the switch to turn it on it would flip on, then flip off right away. But again… that was many months ago.

Honestly, if you have the load/line setup on the dimmer the same way you have load/line on the switch and the dimmer works, I would tend to think that ISN’T your problem… doesn’t hurt to try it though. You might just have a bad on/off switch as well.

Second: How does it know it’s a dimmer? The switch tells the hub when it pairs what it is. And it’s just Z-wave dimmer, not specifically a GE dimmer.

Third: I agree on changing the rate of dimmer. Supposedly you can do this in SmartApps but I’ve never tried. Even if my smart app is able to do it, it’s still when I turn on/off the switch manually that I really want it to happen. Ideally this would be a configuration option in SmartThings, but it probably isn’t high on ST priority right now. It wouldn’t hurt to send an email to support to suggest it as a feature.

I am starting to think it was a bad switch. I actually found a place for my motion detector that brings up the light quickly enough (I am using white Velcro strips for mounting which is nice as I can move it around until I find a good place for it). My concern is my halogen lights in my living room. i am worried about getting a buzzing sound if I use a dimmer on it. I will try the dimmer on them later this week. If it buzzes, then I will try a new on/off switch. Hopefully one works.

Thanks for your responses on this. One of the reasons i went with ST is because of these forums. Seems like a great user community.

I have installed quite a few GE/Jasco On/Off and Dimmers in my home. Through the course of the project I have had 2 bad On/Off switches - one I could not get to turn off, the other would randomly come on after being turned off. Your thinking it may be a bad switch may be right on.

Well thanks. That gives me hope. I am getting use to the dimmer feature but I do have rooms that it probably won’t work well. I will give it another shot.

Figured this one out. The fix is only for Smart Apps because you can edit those files. Replace any that you have in the file with this command, settings.MultilevelSwitch?.setLevel(99). GE Dimmers will just pop right on.

@realsol Did you create a SmartApp to change the dimmer levels? I have a Z-wave remote and I’ve been able to program the levels w/ my remote. I was planning on writing a smart app to go change the levels but I haven’t had the time yet.

I assume you are talking about the dimming speed. I understand unless your hub supports this feature, which SmartThings does not, that a remote is the only way to adjust this setting.

No, I haven’t written an app yet. This is not my language. I have been a software developer for 25 years now but been too lazy to learn Java. Anyhow, just now working on sample apps, but I wouldn’t share them yet. I did find that if you are writing an app for a dimmer, instead of calling switch.on(), if you call switch.setLevel(99) it basically turns on like a standard on/off dimmer.

@realsol It is just a Z-wave parameter, same as controlling the light indicator status for the different switches and being able to adjust that. I just haven’t had time, but I’ll see if I can make it and put it in there. You should be able to adjust the z-wave parameters the same as the light indicator status.

Yeah, it is just changing the level and I did work with that on a Smart App, adjusting the ramping rates and levels should be the same as changing indicator status.

I write software as well, I’m just curious what have you been writing in if you haven’t touched Java. I do a lot of .NET development.

I sell software for pulling credit reports that I sell to banks, credit unions, collection companies …

I have the GE Smart Dimmer 12724

When I turn it on/off with the switch on the wall its slow to turn on and slower off. The switch is just turning on a real outlet hook to a lamp (non-zwave). Does this switch still use ST even when using the switch on the wall without the app? I don’t know why it so slow.

I have been slowly automating my house. Yesterday I installed two Garadget controllers and two GE smart switches to control my outside porch and roof lights. I installed them properly according to instructions given in the manual. They are in separate bays with two other three way switches. The LED of the switches behave just opposite to each other. One lights up when the switch is on and the other lights up when the switch is off. Any ideas to why they behave differently?

Go to the switch in the Smartthings app, press the gear icon on the top right of screen and you can change when the led lights.

You’re not alone in seeing this, although I don’t know what’s happening to Cause it: