Ripping my hair out over a GE 3-way setup


(The fish is still dead.) #1

I’ve got a GE 3-way switch kit. I think I’ve got the master wired correctly, but the load is between the master and the aux switch. The master works fine to turn the lights on/off both with the physical switch and the app. The aux switch does absolutely nothing.

Here’s what the master looks like:

And here’s the aux:

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/1650375/aux.png

I feel like I’ve tried every permutation of wires to/from the aux, so any insight you guys can provide would be tremendously appreciated.


(The fish is still dead.) #2

I’ve now also tried a second Aux switch with the same wiring as above with no luck. ARGH!


(Hans Holm) #3

I don’t think the master GE uses a neutral… pretty sure I blew up a switch doing this exact thing. only a neutral to the aux.
(I am referring to the GE 3 way dimmer however)


(Chrisb) #4

It depends on the master. There are some masters that use a neutral, though they are rare. But if there is a spot for a neutral, you do need to wire it up.

I think the problem here is a common one when moving from a ‘standard’ three-way to a z-wave 3-way. A normal 3-way has two traveler wires. The white and red are likely your traveler wires.

Starting with your master:

  1. Line in - looks good.
  2. Load out - looks good.
  3. Neutral… if your switch uses this, it should be pig tailed to other neutrals in this box. This wire does not (should not) be connected to the AUX.
  4. Traveler - looks good.

Now, the Aux:

  1. Neutral pig tail - looks good.
  2. Traveler from master - looks good.
  3. Neither black nor white are obviously attached to. The black should be the one with electric coming from the master switch. This should run to the light switch.
  4. The white shouldn’t be connected to the master, and isn’t connected to the aux either.

(The fish is still dead.) #5

Thanks for taking the time to help out! The switches are the GE 45638 kit, consisting of a ZW4001 (master) and a ZW2002 (aux).

The master switch does have a terminal for the neutral, so that should be correct.

Regarding the Aux… connecting the white and black that come from the master make the lights turn on. If I pull out the aux and just let the wires hang loose, the white from the master is the hot one when the master is on. I figured the should have been marked with black tape to indicate a hot wire.

So shouldn’t these be tied together since the aux isn’t an actual switch but is just signaling to the master “hey, this fool wants to turn the lights on!”


(Engelwood) #6

Wondering if you have a bad switch?

Ran into a similar problem this week.

I purchased a few 3 way kits from Lowes (believe these are the same?), and couldn’t get them to work for the life of me. The main switch would work great, but the auxiliary switch would not respond.

Bit the bullet and hired an electrician thinking there was something incorrect with my wiring Three hours and $300 later he couldn’t get them to work either. As a last ditch effort, he checked the voltage using a multimeter coming from the main switch. It turns out the main was sending incorrect voltage down the traveler wire to the aux.

I exchanged the switches at Lowes, and had the new ones working within 10 minutes.

I believe the date code on the back was either 1331 or 1337.


(The fish is still dead.) #8

It’s worth a shot. The kit I got is from Lowe’s, so I’m sure we’ve got the same thing. I’ll swing by tomorrow and pick up a replacement kit and see how it goes. What were you seeing voltage-wise, and what should it be?


(Acastal) #9

I have the same switch hooked he same (including connecting the 2 wires to each other the aux side) and mine is working. Where I wasted the most time figuring out that I need those two wires connected to each other. Maybe an issue with he neutrals?


(The fish is still dead.) #10

It was a bad switch. I picked up a new kit today and swapped them out wire for wire and all is well. I’m guessing I juiced something when I went and followed the instructions instead of checking online first. =)

Thanks, all!


(Beckwith) #11

I blew a couple when accidently wiring the traveler wrong. It was my third set and I was getting cocky and wasn’t paying attention. It is easy to mess these up if you aren’t careful.


(Engelwood) #12

Glad to hear you’ve got it working!! Did you happen to note the date code on sticker on the back? I’m wondering if there was a bad batch of these kits that went out to lowes stores?


(Jody) #13

I think I might have the same issue. How do you get the zw4001 into pairing mode, just so I can be sure that I do have a faulty switch and not simply user error.


(Engelwood) #14

I put SmartThings into inclusion mode, pressed the top toggle on the master, and it paired. Sometimes SmartThings will hang and act like nothing is happening. However If you back out, it will show the switch paired just fine.

All that being said: the master worked great. If it’s the same issue, you’ll likely be able to pair it. I was able to pair the master, turn lights on/off both physically and through the app. The issue was that the master wasn’t sending enough current to the AUX switch so the AUX switch didn’t work at all.


(Jody) #15

Thanks @englewood. Turns out I had the same problem as others in this thread. After 5 hours of troubleshooting I took the switch back to lowes and exchanged it. The new one installed and paired within 5 minutes.


(Engelwood) #16

Nice! Glad you got it working.


(smartoldhouse) #17

@engelwood I am having a similar issue that you experienced with the zw2002 - my primary switch works fine but the auxiliary switch does nothing.

Do you happen to remember what voltage was being sent down the traveler wire on your broken switch?

The voltage being sent over the traveler wire in my non-working configuration is ~102V. I am assuming this should be 120V which is why my auxiliary switch is not working.


(Engelwood) #18

I’m thinking it was around 100V but it was a while ago so I can’t be fully sure.