Virtual 3 way without hub but z-wave ready?

No one has called this out yet, you have no Neutral or Traveler. All GE zwave switches (current Gen) need a Neutral as well as many other manufacturers.

If you can find smart switches that support your setup then you won’t need a hub. Something like Aeon Microswitch and install at the light fixture (assuming its a single light fixture) might work, but I have no experience in this.

1 Like

And I tried to follow this by buying the GE dimmer z-wave with its GE addon switch (which at the time I did NOT realize didn’t have any z-wave at all). I knew ahead of time I had no traveler wires at the 2nd switch (the kitchen). I only had 2 light switches which use the most primitive black wire x2 and nothing else (white and bare ware are coiled up in the back with caps on them). Since I knew I didn’t have a traveler I took the GE out and returned it (although I’ve read a posting or two that say maybe I could have used the common wire to get this connection working with the GE?).

Unfortunately, you can’t use the common (ground) wire in that way. You have to have a separate traveler wire.

There are about eight different ways to wire a three-way set up with regular switches, but not all of them will work with network switches.

In a non-network set up it is possible to create a figure 8 wiring pattern where each switch just completes the circuit and cuts the other switch out of the circuit. These are the kinds of switches where sometimes turning it up turns the light on and sometimes turning it down turns the light on–depending on the position of the other switch on the circuit.

But that method does not work with Networked switches, where one switch has to be assigned as the master and the others just essentially act as remote controls to it.

The reason is that if you cut a networked switch out of the circuit, then it cannot hear the next “on” command. So the wiring for zwave switches is somewhat different than for conventional switches.

Okay gotcha, so I did the right thing in returning the GE (I believe it did NOT have direct association according to when I looked it up) and I think from reading your older posts I need direct association at least with 1 group to do this remote control thing?

I’m leaning towards that, if the mini mote is only 20 bucks, I think I wana do that with 2 z-wave switches. Here are my reasons for now:

1.Dining room light is a pain to turn on to have to walk out of the kitchen, past the dinning room, over to the stairs to turn it on, there should be a switch rightoutside the kitchen.

  1. I’ve cut the drywall and installed a 3 bay box there already so it’s ready for a switch to be installed.

  2. at THIS time using my phone to control this light is of 0 important to me I just want to be able to turn it on when i’m having dinner at night which comes right out of the kitchen.

  3. all z-wave switches act as repeaters, so it would be good to have a z-wave capable switch in kitchen one anyways as its the ‘middle’ area of my town house, so it will help repeat other signals, correct?

  4. One day I hope to get either Google Home, or possibly amazon alexa (I prefer google for now) so I can just say “Hey google, turn on the dinning room light” and he can do that because it will be a z-wave switch. (of course i’m hoping smartthings will work with google home, yet another reason i’m waiting on my hub).

Does this all sound like a good reason for my choices?

That being said, which wall switches would you recommend? are the Linear going to work for this? I only need these 2 switches to control this one light… all other 3-ways in my house have travelers , so this is the only poorly designed switch in the house (why didn’t they just put a switch outside the kitchen! so aggravating!). the GE’s I bought didn’t look like they’d work. very little lag would be great. I don’t use LED bulbs YET in this lamp so the 10% dimming thing isn’t a problem. I don’t even REALLY have to have dimming but as I said if its only a 3-6 dollar difference why not? Although I will admit I kind of hated that GE’s dimming sucked… No double up for Max brightness. kinda laaaaame :slight_smile:

Also just so I understand, if I got something like the linear, and did the direct association, I remember reading they only support 1 group, does that mean if later I wanted to do some kind of ‘virtual 3 way’ upstairs, I cant do it because the one and only group is being used?

Also THANK You so much for you help on this. The other posts I was reading were mostly dated back in '15 so I wanted to also make sure some awesome ready out of the box switch hadn’t come out that I was missing (and to be sure those GE’s I bought were too old to have direct association and wouldn’t work).

1 Like

It all sounds good except for the Google home logic… Google home will only work with zwave switches if there’s a man in the middle (which might be SmartThings). Same for echo. Neither echo nor Google home have direct zwave integration. Echo works with Z wave switches by talking to either smart things or wink. Google home will have to do the same.

As for a specific brands, I’m tired right now so someone else will have to answer. You’re right that the key is association, I just honestly don’t remember what the linear has and I’m too tired to look it up. (IIRC Linear is the one where some of their marketing materials said that they had Association, but when they went to actually certify it it didn’t have Association, but I might be confusing it with a different brand.)

You can look it up for yourself on the Z wave alliance products site.

@codytruscott has run into some association issues in the past, he might be able to say more.

Oh, and as far as association groups, like I said I’m tired and I’m not following things really closely (I use text to speech software) but as far as association groups the groups are basically per device. Not per network. So you can have two switches downstairs which each only support one Association group and they are talking to each other, and two more switches upstairs which each only support one Association group and they are talking to each other, and that’s no problem. I hope that’s clear. If not somebody else can correct it. I’m going to go nap. :zzz: )

1 Like

The newest switches which are pretty cool are the homeseer ones. They have instant status, which most inexpensive switches don’t, and they also have a double tap and triple tap feature which has some practical value. So like you tap once and the dining room light comes on, the tap twice and both the dining room and the kitchen come on. Of course you have to have everything wired right to make that work, but it’s still a nice feature.

Can somebody read the above and see if there’s a neutral issue for the OP’s set up. The back of my brain is telling me that there was, but I can’t go back and find it now. If so, that really limits the switches that can be used.

Oh I meant with google home or alexa, that I WOULD be getting a smartthings… But only amazons has announced some kind of support for it I think? Google has not said anything, which is why i’m waiting, if google home comes out and doesn’t support smart things I might have to re-consider but i’m thinking they will. then at that point i’ll get my hub and the google home.


As for the Linear switches, I went down that path as one of the posts I read here which you also participated on, one of the people said he went with Linear over GE because it did exactly what i’m hoping to do, (that’s what he said, but I cant confirm, so i’m not jumping RIGHT in yet).

I’ll look at the Seers too… Not that I need that many features, I would just like a ‘single tap’ retstores to last set dim level… and ‘double tap’ goes full bright, without having to hold it down.

go get some sleep! You are invaluable to this community and we don’t need you being exhausted! I’ll see if anyone else replies and i’ll look up some Linears and Seers and maybe narrow it down to a model or two with another post here.

Looking at the 3 ways wiring from the site below. Which wiring option do you think is close to your setup. Also look at the wires hidden behind your switches.
You said “dimmer from a lowes, that didn’t work for me. I have no traveler wire at the second location I want the switch to go. I do have a black wire (hot?), white (common?) and bare there though. Just no traveler” it’s not possible to have a 3 ways with just 2 conductors.

I may have explained it badly @Navat604 . Right now there is only one switch which controls the dinning room chandelier it was a regular old pole switch, single throw, it had one black wire coming in at the bottom, and one black wire going back out the top, that is it, it used no other wires. There are white and bare copper wires tucked behind the switch with end caps on them.

The place I want to put a 2nd switch has 2 switches wired the exact same way but only for the kitchen lights (nothing for the chandelier at all). I want to add a switch that controls the chandelier next to these 2 switches.

Do you see 2 white wires twisted together with a connector behind the switch? One from bottom and one from top? If yes then that should be your neutral.

Edit : I see your dilemma with a second location for your light switch without a hub and Z-wave ready.

Yes there is a white wire for every plug that runs in there and a bare one too. When I pulled out the old 2 gang box over near the kitchen, there is basically a big ‘tube’ of wires for each wall socket and one that runs to the fuse box I am guessing. they all have 1 black, 1 white, 1 bare and that’s it. they wired this place on the cheap :frowning: couldn’t give me a red wire to that light, would have made this whole thing easier…

My plan is to get a z-wave switch and steal some of the ‘black’ wires power to power it, then it would communicate with the actual switch that does the job of turning the light on and off, I just wanted to do it without having to have the hub right now, and the mini mote for 20 dollars that can pair them might be the option for me… Just have to find the right switch that allows this to be done and can communicate with a hub later down the road.

If you have white wires in your switch boxes, you have neutrals available. You just need to pull off the wire nut and add a jumper to go to your zwave switch. The GE switches come with a white jumper wire for this exact scenario.

When you are referring to stealing power from the black wires, you will still need a neutral to complete the circuit and power the switch, even if you are not directly switching the light.

Right but the GE wont control the main switch without a traveler wire which isn’t in that box :frowning:

Because your light is on a 2 ways wiring config. It’s nothing to do with cheap. Adding an extra wire to the circuit would be very confusing for the next person working on it and it’s not necessary. Changing a 2 ways to a 3 ways is something else. If you have access from the light switch to your new switch. You can run a 3 ways Romex. Red, black, white, and bare ground. This will be future proof for z-wave and dummy 3 ways.

1 Like

Right, you would need two regular GE (or other brand) switches rather than one regular and one auxiliary switch. Here’s all you would need to do with the wiring, no traveler required, assuming the minimote can make one switch react to the other. Still needs a hot (black) and neutral (white) on both ends.

GEs do not support association so cannot be used in a virtual three-way without a hub involved. They need the physical traveler wire and their own auxiliary.

The OP would need to look at other brands.

1 Like

Also assuming I do get a switch that does association would they be pretty fast? i.e. cutting out any lag that going to a hub first then back to the switch might normally have?

and I will wire it exactly as the diagram is shown actually…

It would be costly to try to run a traveler wire between them I think unless I went under the floor/carpet etc…just figurd a few 30-40 dollar light switches that can do it wirelessly would be far painless…

Linear aux dimmer will control any zwave switch or dimmer of any brand.

I have linear aux controlling GE dimmers and switches.

At the same time you can setup an enerwave motion sensor to also directly control any zwave switch or dimmer.

Zwave association by a linear aux is instant.

When I am turning on and off lights I completely forget which is the real and which is the virtual switch.

The linear supports multiple association groups but the functionality was implemented such that it is NOT really useful.

If the linear aux is set to control more than one association group this is how it works, when you tap or tap and hold it sends out instantly to association group one, then waits a few seconds and sends commands to association group 2, then wait then next association group etc.

Association groups would have been useful if # taps represents association group, but it does not/