Troubleshooting wiring of GE 12729 dimmer switch


#1

This is my first attempt to install a new GE 12729 dimmer switch; my smart home currently consists of a very robust SmartThings hub and 2 plug in switches!

I purchased the dimmer switch to install in our kitchen; the circuit powers two overhead pendant lights, one over the sink and one over the island. Seems like a very simple swap with one single switch. The switch is in a 3 gang box, but each of the 3 switches is on a separate circuit, as one switch works the lights (the one I’m attempting to replace), one works the disposal and the other the dishwasher.

I removed the cover and turned off the 3 breakers (Note: I write the breaker number on the inside/back of the switch plate for easy reference…try it!)… I confirmed each of the circuits were off, and I pulled out the switch in question. It had 3 sets of wires coming into the box for that switch, 1 set for line and 2 for load (the 2 light fixtures)… seemed pretty straightforward. The switch ONLY had the black/hot wires connected to it, which made sense to me.

I removed the switch from the hot wires, separated them, then turned that one breaker back on the confirm the line wire; using one of those “tone” sensors, I identified the one that was live; the other two were “load”…turned breaker back off.

I then turned my attention to the Neutral and Grounds… the 3 white neutral wires were all connected together with a wire nut and neatly tucked in the back of the box (not connected to the switch)… and ALL the ground wires for all 3 circuits in the box were connected with a wire nut…(none of the 3 switches were connected to the ground bundle)

So, here’s what I did… 1) I got a piece of bare copper wire from my garage to pigtail off the ground; connected it; 2) I pulled the circuit neutral wires out, and attached the jumper wire (included with the switch) to the neutral bundle, then 3) I wired up the circuit this way:

Put the ground into the ground slot in the switch; put the neutral in the neutral slot on the switch; put the line wire in the line slot, and put the two load wires in those two spots…checked connections, then turned on the breaker… I toggled the switch and NOTHING…

I then tried to connect the switch to my SmartThings hub and I could not find it. I swapped out a bulb in one of the fixtures…Nothing… I double checked my connections…Nothing…

I turned off breaker, disassembled the whole thing, re-installed the original switch, and LIGHTS! Dang It!!!

An interesting side note: This circuit also powers a few wall receptacles, and an old hard wired security system in our home (we no longer use it)… But, anytime I turn off that breaker, and turn it back on, the house siren sounds when it is powered back on (this is due to the backup battery being dead…)… BUT, when the GE Dimmer was wired up to the circuit, and I powered on the breaker, there was no siren… I don’t know what that means…

so…long story to say, I have a nice smart dimmer sitting on my study desk, and I don’t know what I did wrong; any input would be greatly appreciated…


Need some help with wiring a GE switch
(Patrick Musselman) #2

I had similar issues yesterday trying to add devices. They were all 3 way switches and an energy montior that my electrician installed . A few things that I noticed on pairing. First, I was only able to get one device to pair successfully on the first attempt. I had to reboot the app and the hub on main occasion. And sometimes after a reboot of the app or hub the device would show up. At one point I decided to threw the breaker and wait a few minutes and switch it becuase some of the devices I could operate in a normal manner (status was not reporting correctly). This seems to have done the trick. I am glad that I had my electrician install the 3 ways ( Oh an one 4 way) and the HEM. Last weekend when I was installing some single poles I thought I would try a 3 way. Right after I pulled out the existing 3 way switch from the gang box I put it all back. I am a bit of a chicken when it comes to this stuff. :grimacing: Some of my 3 way switches were (lack of better words) daisy chained I believe on the load. :confused: Just be safe and if you are note sure turn the power off and call an electrician. Sorry I don’t have any better advice.


(Ray) #3

Do you see the little green indicator led on the switch when you turn the switch on/off? That will at least indicate you have power to the switch. I would just hook the switch with just line, neutral and ground just to see if it will work first. Don’t worry about pairing it to ST yet. You don’t need ST for manual on/off.
Here is something I think might cause that problem. Instead of pulling the neutral white out. Just pigtail the neutral to the switch.


#4

Ray, thanks for the reply. This switch does not have an LED that I can see… it’s a small switch, not the larger paddle style (that I’ve seen does have an LED).

to clarify, I did pigtail the Neutral to the switch… the 3 neutral wires stayed connected and I just added the pigtail to the bundle, then connected to the switch.

without the LED on this switch, I’m not confident I’ll be able to check it for proper connection without also installing a load wire. maybe i’ll just try one load?


(Ray) #5

Or use your meter and check the load terminal on the switch to see if you have power when switch is in on position


(Dan) #6

What do you mean by “those two spots”? If I understand your circuit correctly, both load wires should be connected to the single (load) terminal on the switch. Is it possible that you had one of the load wires to the three-way terminal?

I recently wired up a couple of the older paddle style GE switches and did exactly what you described with connecting the neutrals and grounds to the existing bundles.


#7

To clarify; these GE/Jasco switches have stab holes for each terminal on the back of the switch. They are clearly marked “Load” and “Line” (and “Neutral”)… these slots/holes are immediately adjacent to the terminal screws, which tighten down to make everything secure. Each of the terminals have TWO slots for wires, with the exception of the Ground, which just has one. (Note: There is also a “Traveler” terminal, which comes out of the box with tape over the terminal screw.

Near as I can tell I wired it correctly… I’ll try it again this weekend and maybe some magic will happen.


(Ray) #8

just something to keep in mind. How do you dim the light? could it be it’s at the lowest dim setting?


(Dan) #9

Sounds right to me too. I had similar kinds of issues with my first three-way switch, but I wasn’t as methodical as you were. You may have a broken switch - it’s not unheard of. Or else try and swap your load / line. That’s all I got :smile: Good luck.


(Chuck Preecs) #10

Question on using a GE 12729 dimmer switch - I have an existing 4-way circuit (3 switches, one being an old rotary dimmer) and would like to replace the dimmer on it with this switch. Do I have to replace the other switches on the circuit with the GE add on switch (12728) or can I just replace the dimmer with the 12729? Thanks for the help.


(Dan) #11

If you want to retain the ability to switch the light from the other switch positions, then yes, you will have to replace those switches with the GE auxiliary switches. If you don’t replace the other switches, you’ll have to ensure that they always remain in a position such that the GE dimmer switch has power.

I have both setups in my house. In one case I didn’t really need the auxiliary position, so I put a switch guard on that switch that physically prevents it from being turned off. I could have removed the switch and tied the switched lines together and replace the plate with a blank plate.

If you do add the auxiliary switches, then you should have the new ability to dim the light from any of the positions.


#12

Question on the GE 12729. Can you manually dim from the switch itself or does the dimming have to be done via phone through the hub? I see what looks to be a tiny piece under the toggle in pictures but haven’t found any confirmation that it is in fact a manual dimmer.


(Steve) #13

I’ve installed a couple of these now and have another one coming tomorrow. Yes you can dim/brighten by pressing up or down on the switch. That little thing at the bottom of the switch was answered in another thread by @Btk . They don’t even say in the manual what that is. It’s the air gap switch, it cuts off power to the switch because otherwise the switch is always powered. I found it very hard to move anyway, so you don’t need to mess with that.


#14

I just picked up a bunch of these and installed them last night. All went well until I attempted the 3 way installation on a dimmer with a GE add on. My problem is that my add on switch does not have a neutral. My light is wired this way. Any ideas on how to get this to work?

https://www.homeimprovementweb.com/information/how-to/three-way-switch-option3.htm


(Ray) #15

The easiest way is to reconfigure your wires at the light fixture box.
Connect all white wires together. That’s now your neutral.
Connect black wire from light bulb to black wire from your master switch black wire. That’s now your load.
Cap both end of the black wire from light fixture to your aux switch. No longer needed.
Red wire is your traveler.


#16

@Navat604 Thanks!

That’s what I figured. I was hoping I could do something without touching the light fixtures, but in any case I’ll give it a shot. Thanks for your help.