Pulling my hair out trying to wire GE12723 & 12724 (4-way) HELP!

Ok, so I’ve successfully wired these switches in my foyer in the 4-way config controlling two ceiling light fixtures, however I’m absolutely stumped on the upstairs lights. I have three boxes. I can get the master and one slave to work placing them at either end but no matter what I do the slave in box 2 will not work. I’ve tried another known good slave so I’ve ruled out a defective switch. I only have a super cheap multimeter but as far as I can tell with all 3 boxes unhooked, wires exposes, and the breaker live there is power going to the lower right white wire (line wire?) in box 1 and the white wires in box 2 (I tapped there for my neutral…?). I’m usually the one fixing people’s problems in other forums but A) I’m really a beginner with home improv stuff, and B) I’ve just hit a mental wall at this point and the wife’s not very happy that there’s no lights upstairs, lol.

Box 1 is downstairs next to the front door. I’m assuming this is the start of the circuit due to the live power line? (EDIT: Apparently not initial live wire)

Box 3 is at the other end of the upstairs hallway near the master bedroom. 4 romex cable into this box: 3- 2wire+ground & 1- 3wire+ground. (EDIT: Appears to have original hot line in)

Box 2 is at the top of the stairs

In the main box, there should be a 3+ ground wire that goes to box 2. Its not completely clear, but you may not be sending neutral from the main box to the second box, and from there to the third. The pictures just aren’t clear enough.

When I’ve done my 4+ way switches, it has been done as follows:

  1. Assume box 1 has line, box 3 has load.
  2. Connect line, neutral, traveler, load to main box.
  3. Going to box 2 should be load, neutral and traveller.
  4. In box 2, cap load together and bypass the switch. Connect neutral and traveller from 1 to switch, also connect neutral and traveller going to 3 to the switch.
  5. Switch 3, cap the load lines again, bypass switch. Connect neutral and traveller from 2.
  6. Profit

Things to check- you are sending neutral, capping line/load in transit and any middle add on switch has 4 wires attached (two neutral, two traveller).

Thanks for the help. It now seems that power actually comes into box 3. There is a capped bundle near the bottom of the pic of 2 black and 1 white wire. One of the black wires in that bundle, when separated, appears to be the original hot. What I’m a little confused by is that that hot wire makes the white wire in that bundle hot too as it leaves to go to box 2. After tying together black/black and white/white in box 2, box 1 ends up having to have white/black tied together. Going to take a little break before I get at it again.

I have struggled with 4-way too for many hours, but was able to make it happen. What’s happening is that the original wiring is not always what most expect or documented. Basically there is no single “main” box and traveler can be used to pass hot or even load between two boxes so you need to expect that remembering that in zwave the you need clean wire (no load or hot) for control so position your main accordingly. Assume nothing but that if it works on physical it is doable with the GEs and use common sense from there, there aren’t as many options as it seems. Good luck!

Don’t assume that colors have any particular meaning, as they aren’t required to do so. I’m getting more of the feel that you may need some professional help to identify which wire is which in this circuit. Once you are certain what each wire is, it should be very simple to hook up from there…