Switch Recommendations Needed

I need recommendations to switches to cover two separate situations:

  1. Three way circuit where power comes in to the light which is in between the two switches. I have a GE regular and add-on switch and have found that it cannot work for this configuration.
  2. End of run switch. The box only has one white, one black, and one ground. I know I can run a spare black into the box but if I can do this without extra wiring that would be better.

I’m kind of frustrated with the JASCO switches. I’ve used them everywhere but just never ran into these particular use cases. I get why it’s different but it makes simple stuff painful. Grr…

Thanks for all recommendations.

Most jurisdictions in the US do not mandate color for most wiring, so just knowing the color doesn’t help. We need to know the circuit mapping.

How you had a chance to look at the three-way switch FAQ yet? There might be something there that would help. (The topic title is a clickable link)

Tagging @TheSmartestHouse and @Eric_Inovelli in case they have anything to add. :wink:

I have reviewed that. I think it was very well done but my setup is the very last image, one of two that the author says cannot be accommodated. The post says that "relays or switches by Cooper or Linear " can work but when I look at that my head starts to hurt. That’s why I asked for the rec.

The issue in not the wire color but simply that it is an end of the line switch, so effectively you have two hots and no common.

The reason for that is that Jasco/GE switches require a physical traveler wire. And that doesn’t work when the fixture is in the middle of the circuit.

The other two brands use what is essentially a “virtual three-way“: no physical traveler wire required. Instead, the auxiliary switch also has a radio inside of it. So it can communicate wirelessly to either the master switch or to the hub. However, these do mostly need a neutral.

I tagged the two device manufacturers in case they had any specific ideas using their models. Both are very popular in the community and generally cost quite a bit less than the other options.

You didn’t say whether the end of the line switch has to be able to control the fixture or not (is a master switch), or whether it also is just an auxiliary for a different master switch.

If it’s just an auxiliary, there are lots of options.

If it has to be able to control the fixture, are the lights in the fixture dimmable, or not? There are now several available dimmer micros which do not require a neutral wire. Or a Lutron Caseta dimmer.

So there are some options, but it depends on the exact details. :sunglasses:

The end of the line switch controls three hanging fluorescent fixtures (shop lights) that have been converted to LED and a set of native LED fixtures. By memory, (been a while since I wired them!) power comes in at the native LED fixtures and flows through the three shop light fixtures and then onward to the switch. The switch is not a three way install and the lights are not dimmable.

It would be super nice if the switch in the three way setup could just drop into the place of one existing three way and use the same wiring but I’m betting that’s not possible because power to the switch would be interrupted.

Right, switches that have radios inside them need something to power the radio and switches that don’t have radios inside them need a traveler wire to the master, so it’s an issue either way.

Again, maybe the device manufacturers will have some ideas.

There is one more alternative, which is to use a smart switch cover that fits over the existing switch and physically moves it. We just discussed this about a week ago with regard to a higher voltage switch as a non-wiring option to make it smart.

They are not aesthetically as nice, but it’s a really simple solution for some use cases, so might be worth looking at:

Smart switch for heavy load? (1hp motor)

Take a look at the sample wiring diagrams for the Zooz Zen26 and Zen27 3- and multi-way switches, and see if one of them suits your case.

I used a Zen27 successfully for four-way switch installation with the loads between the switches.


The 3-way with power to the light and in the middle is the toughest to deal with. You can do that with an Inovelli dimmer, as long as you can get to the light to rewire it. Basically, you install the dimmer on one side as a non-neutral. On the other side, you use an Aux. In the light, you have to rewire to accommodate the non-neutral Inovelli and to send power to the Aux.

That sounds like a classic non-neutral. You can do that with an Inovelli dimmer.

Unfortunately, the lights being controlled are not dimmable.

The switch is not a three way install and the lights are not dimmable.

The physics for dimmers are different than for simple on/off switches and there are more choices that work without a neutral if it’s for a dimmer.

Both locations sounds like no neutral is present in any of the switch boxes so we would recommend using a Qubino or Fibaro relay installed at the light fixture where neutral is always available since a dimmer that doesn’t “need” a neutral can cause all kinds of issues with LED lighting.

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Inovelli dimmers have a setting called Smart Bulb Mode that insures the dimmer is always at full power (i.e. Z-wave 99%). It essentially makes the dimmer work like a switch, but you can use it in non-neutral situations. The only thing you need to check is the compatibility of the bulb(s)/tubes with the switch.

On page 28 of the Qubino documentation it shows the exact wiring situation I have for the end of run switch. The proposed solution shown on pg 29 solution for that has a neutral pulled into the switch box. In looking at this, I’m thinking that if I put the relay into the last ceiling box and then treated and marked the neutral (white) wire from that last ceiling box as a common that I could move the relay but still use the basic wiring scheme shown. Does this make sense?

I feel like the three-way application shown on pg 26 is SO close to my power through the light three way that I can use it. Problem is that like the end of run switch that I’ll have to move the relay to the ceiling box. That’s at the top of a stairway so I need to think a bit before I move on that.

I’m learning as I go and each time I see something like this relay and see how it could be used to maintain the existing switching and wiring while extending the capability I get a bit more excited.