Temporarily remove switches from circuit


Hi everyone,

I am new to the SmartThings community, but I have a question. I successfully have installed two GE switches in two rooms. I foolishly ordered a third one but not any addon switches for a circuit. We would like to temporarily remove the traditional switches from the circuit, so we have a single switched circuit until I actually get the addon switches (I’ll be out of town for a few days before they come in, but want the automation functionality on the circuit). Any ideas?


Sorry, I’m confused. Why do you want to temporarily remove the nonnetworked switches? If you’re just having a problem with people turning them off, you can get a switch lock for a few bucks that will keep the switch from being used. These are sold for both child proofing and some office uses. Also called a switch guard.

Home Depot should carry them for $4 or $5 for a two pack, or you can find them online.


You and me both :frowning:


??? Why is ordering a third foolish???


Entirely fair. I had no idea that such a thing existed. I suppose that might work. I did leave them in but the light will no longer turn on, so I assumed that was the problem. The GE switch has the LED lit so I guess I’m just confused.


Not ordering the add-on switches was the foolish part :smile:


If you just need an inexpensive switch guard, these are typical.


It’s also possible the new networked switch wasn’t wired to the load correctly.

(Edward Pope) #8

Do you mean that you have a 3-way setup or simular? It is confusing about what you are asking? Especially with the fact that after putting the swtich into the wall that your light is not working. This makes me think that you have a 3-way associative connection or more, and that you put a normal switch into the wall. If that is the case, you will need to purchase a 3-way z-wave compatible switch


Thank you. I’ll take a look when I get home from work. I’ve got a Home Depot close enough that I can run and get those guards on the way.


Yes it’s a 4 way setup actually. My understanding is the switches I got will work in a multi-way setup and just need the add-on switches for any secondary or tertiary switches. What I have is the GE 12722 switch.


This is probably obvious, but just to be sure…

Some three ways, especially older ones, allow each of the switches to control current to the switch which leads to situations where sometimes turning Switch A up turns on the light and sometimes turning Switch A down turns on the light, all depending on the positions of switches B and C.

That’s when a temporary switch guard is very useful, because you can lock switches B and C into the positions you need so that the unlocked Switch A (in your case, the networked switch) works as you want.

In most newer configurations, though, only the Master switch controls the current to the light. The other switches on the 3 way are “auxiliaries” or auxes, who send messages to the Master switch requesting an on or off. These don’t have to be networked: the “message” can just be current sent directly between the Aux and the Master along a " traveler" wire.

The point here is that if you replaced an Aux with a networked Master switch, you probably can’t turn the light on and off from it, because that point on the wall isn’t set up to control the light anyway. Just to communicate with some other switch which is the real Master. If that’s the case, the switch guards won’t make any difference.

Note that in this second case the LED status light on the switch may be on and the networked switch may be receiving the “on” command just fine–but if it’s not actually wired to control the load to the light, the light won’t change.

Three ways can be wired any of about 8 different ways. So in order to switch from not networked to networked it’s not just a matter of replacing a switch. You have to know how the control wiring is set up and then put in switches to give you the functionality you want to end up with.

So the switch guards are only useful if there is some current configuration where the networked switch does correctly control load to the fixture. If there’s no switch configuration where that happens, you have to back up and figure out which nonnetworked switch controls the load and start from that.


I believe I’m setup the older way, since the on and off positions for each switch vary depending on the positions of the others. I’ve got the switches pulled away from the wall now so I can tell you how it’s wired. To follow your nomenclature, switch A has a black, a white and a red. It is in a box with 2 other switches. None of these switches have a neutral wire attached, but there are neutral wires in the box wire nutted together. Switch B is identical to A, except there is no neutral wire in the box and there are no other switches in this box. Switch C is the 4 way switch and has 2 black and two white wires attached. In this box there is another switch and there are neutrals wire nutted together as well as 2 reds which are wire nutted together.