Smart light switch without load wire?

I have Decora Smart switch VB2-DW6HD-HD2 and it’s been really great in most of my house EXCEPT for like 4 switches…
The switch in my bathrooms and hallway do not have a load wire (2nd black wire) so i am unable to use the smart switch i mentioned above…
The wires i have available are only line and neutral…
so can anyone recommend me a new smart switch that can run off of these two? (i can ground the switch to the metal box)

I think the Aeotec Nano Switch can be applied at the fixture (combo fan/lite?). I got one and read the instructions but have not applied it yet.

INCORRECT: (The wall switch would be wired as a (low-voltage?) input to the Nano. )

RE-READING - 3wires (H,N,ground) required. The manual wall switch would have to remain ON. You could add a switch-guard to prevent casual override.

I think your are confusing wire color with wire function. White wire does not always mean neutral, especially if connected to a regular switch. A switch has to have a load wire, otherwise it wouldn’t turn anything on and off. It sounds like you have be dealing with 3-way switches where the white wire is used to carry current. Sometimes in these cases the white wire will have a black mark or black piece of tape on it to identify it as potentially hot.


the white wire doesn’t have any black markings or other marking besides the UL and product code stamp…
perhaps i am confusing it to not have a neutral? but if that’s the case, could you recommend any switch that doesn’t require neutral?

Also, the switch for the hallway is the only one that needs 3-way function

I’ve heard of these… but never really fully comprehended how/why these are used…

If your other switches have neutral, its highly likely so do these. Unless an old house has had an addition put in after original construction, the wiring will be uniform throughout. These sound like 3-way switches. Have you ever installed smart switches in a 3-way setup?

I have seen this before, albeit not in my house or in my apartment building. I have a buddy with an old house that was wired back in the 30’s or something like that. The house was old back then and all the wiring was done from the attic. They provided the hot wire direct to the light, then ran ungrounded 2-wire conductor to the switch. Basically, you have a hot line and a hot load, but no neutral, as the neutral is at the fixture.

If this is in fact your case, your best bet would be to install the Aetoc mini-switch (or mini-dimmer) in the box at the light and use the existing decora switches and wires as local control. The Aeotec device is what gets added to ST, not the switch.

I’m not saying this is your case, just this is what I have seen and it sounds very familiar.

Most models in the Lutron Caseta line do not require a neutral, work well with dumb LEDs, and have an official SmartThings integration. They are a very popular choice. The only thing is that you will have to buy their SmartBridge to get the integration. But because their auxiliary switches are quite inexpensive, the total cost is pretty comparable for most people to the Z wave switches. One bridge can handle up to 40 Lutron devices.

The Lutron switches are very well engineered and are what I use in my own home. :sunglasses:

The following starter kit has a dimmer switch, an auxiliary switch, and the bridge device.

Looks like they are auxiliary switches to be used with a smart switch in 3 or 4 way configuration and only the smart switch controls load.

If you don’t have a load then the dumb switches wouldn’t control anything. The load is the device being controlled, like a light. If there was no load wire going to a device then the switch wouldn’t do anything.

The color of the wire does not determine Line / Load / Neutral. My guess is that the electrician simply ran 14/2 wire to the switch.
The “white” wire is supposed to be marked in some way, but it frequently doesn’t get marked as a lot of electricians simply see its use as being obvious to other electricians; and some have the mindset of “if you can’t tell by looking at it what each wire is for, than you shouldn’t be messing with it”. Kind of like having to have “caution beverage may be hot” on a cup of coffee … Most people who drink coffee should know without reading that it is hot…

But I digress… If these are your only two wires, then you would have no neutral as one is line and the other is load.

if the black and white wire are connected directly to the switch, then in fact you have a “hot” and “load” (we call it switch leg) only. Sounds like and add on. The neutral will be at the light.

Traditional wiring usually has the source feed go to the switch and then to the load. In some cases the electrician will have gone to the load first and used a 14/2 to go to the switch and come back on the white wire. As mentioned this is supposed to be indicated by code but is often overlooked.
Get the nano switch and install it at the light. Use the 14/2 to the switch and watch the YouTube video of how to modify a decora switch to be momentary. I had to go this route for two of my lights so I know it works.

I have a similar issue with hugo Smart Wifi Light

I have a Timed Rotary Switch in my garage. It is connected directly yo a light.


Line Input: load and Line
Neutral: Neutral

Not working (but switch lights and wifi Works)

Line Input: Line Wire
Load Input: Load Wire
Neutral: Neutral ire

Line Input: Line and Load Both
Neutral: Neutral

Not true about the Load wire and my dilemma. If there is a separate neutral going to the light, then you don’t need a load wire. this is making things VERY difficult for me with light switches that want 4 wires. All of my light switches have just three.