Wiring for GE 3-way Dimmer


(Rob Ward) #1

I’ve looked at the FAQ thread and I’m still having trouble figuring out wiring for my 3-way dimmer.

I think it’s the “Light between switches #1” and I’ll post up some photos that may help.

I’d appreciate any pointers?

Switch one:

Rob


(Jimmy) #2

Post inside the box too


(Doug) #3

the switch is a standard 3 way switch, one of the black wires is coming from either the breaker or the previous switch in line, the other black and the red both leave the box in the same cable, one or the other will be connected to the closed circuit at any given time. So…what exactly if the question?


(Michael) #4

Happy to help but need clear pictures of the inside of each box. Also with 3 way switches, the key to the puzzle is the wire hooked up to the black/bronze screw on the switch. One switch will have the line from breaker and the other will have load to fixture. Noting which wire that is in the picture will be helpful.


#5

I’ve always had good luck using this video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fx1luE9llSQ&t=411s

Good Luck!


(Rob Ward) #6

Here’s switch two:


(Rob Ward) #7

And here’s a photo inside the first box – annotated with comments:

The switch I’m replacing is the first on the left and I think I have those wires figured out.

I’ll verify this again tonight but my question is:

When I first verified it seems that the line from the breaker was coming into switch two?

But that doesn’t make any sense because there are only four wires and no obvious neutral in that box (see picture above).

Switch one definitely has a neutral bundle and I see what is the traveller, load, and there is probably a neutral going to the separate 3 wire romex to the fixture.

Switch two definitely has only 3 wire romex coming into it.


(Doug) #8

you’ve got to figure out what is what, the images don’t really help because all of the wiring has paint on it. Heres some info to help, this applies to the fixtures that are controlled by 2+ switches.
a 2 conductor wire + ground (black white bare) is most likely either coming from the breaker, or going to the fixture or series of fixtures.
a 3 conductor (black red white bare) is going to another electrical box
the normal exception to this is that if you have a fan with a light and its controlled by 2 separate switches in the same box its possible to do that with a single 3 conductor wire as the last leg to the fixture.

Also your load wire is technically only the last hot conductor to the fixture, so its not possible to have a load wire in your first box when you have multiple switches that control a device unless something really funky was done. It will be hot when the fixture in on and not when it isnt, no exception.

So lets just clear everything up for the readers as well,
1 you have what? that you want to control?
2 you have 2? switches?
3 you have what ge model switches that you are trying to install?
4 whats up with what you referred to as switch two? it looks like there are 2 wires wound around each other? is it just a funky shadow? And come to think of it is this the neutral???


(Michael) #9

It looks like only one 14-3 Romex is coming into this box. That wire appears to be white with black tape signaling this is not a neutral. This wire is likely going back to switch 1.

@Rob_Ward the key to 3way switches is the black/bronze screw on the switch. One of switch will have line from breaker and the other will have load to fixture. This said box 2 only has 1 Romex coming in so your line and load are in Box 1 and you need to find out what that white wire is hooked up to.

  • In box 1 follow the red wire hooked up to your switch to figure where it is coming into the box. That should be the 14-3 Romex going to switch 2.
  • I assume the black wire in that Romex is also hooked up to the same switch.
  • The white wire is likely hooked up to a black wire bundle, thus sending the line to switch 2. If so, you will need to disconnect that white wire so you can “send” neutral to switch 2.
  • The second black wire hooked up on switch 1 black screw appears to be going to a 14-2 Romex in the top left corner of your box. That is likely your load to your fixture, not line as you labeled it. Remember 3 ways split line and load to different boxes.

Assuming all this is correct:

Box 1

  • put a black wire pigtail in your line bundle that the white wire was hooked up to and connect it to the line terminal in your new switch
  • hook up the black wire from the top left Romex to load on your new switch
  • put a white wire pig tail in your neutral bundle and hook up to your new switch. Also hook up the white wire from your 14-3 Romex so the Aux switch gets neutral
  • hook up the red wire to the traveler port
  • Put a wire nut on the remaining black wire from the 14-3 wire since it’s no longer needed

Box 2

  • remove the black tape from the white wire and hook up to the neutral on the aux switch
  • hook up red to the traveler
  • Put a wire nut on the remaining black wire since it’s no longer needed

(Rob Ward) #10

Hi Michael,

Thanks for the help.

I’ve been able to put some time towards this today.

I’ve wired up as you’d suggested as it looked as you’d described.

Using box 1, I’m able to control the load.

I also was able to add it to the hub and see the latest status but not able to control the light with SmartThings.

Using box 2 – the remote doesn’t control the light.

I’'ll attach some better pictures.

I’m sure the load and line are correct on box 1 now (otherwise the light wouldn’t work, right).

Also the neutral bundle is also correct.

I would’ve though box 2 would’ve been simple but I’m missing something here.


(Rob Ward) #11

Box 1:

Box 2:


(Rob Ward) #12

Ok a quick update.

I can now control the dimmer from the SmartThings hub. I didn’t change anything but for whatever reason it now works.

Also looking more closely at the wiring I should be able to figure this out.

This is definitely the “Line between switches #2” scenario from the FAQ page because I see the three sets of wire involved in switch inside of box 1. The two wire romex I definitely have hooked up to line and neutral. There’s another two wire romex going to the light I have hooked up to load and the load from that romex is tied into the neutral bundle.

That means I just need to verify the 3 wire romex going to the add-on switch and ensure the red traveller is correct and the neutral is tied into the bundle also – and that the black wire is not used.


(Michael) #13

In Box 2, The red traveler wire should have 120v if you measure it with the neutral using a multimeter. Yes I know the sticker on the master says no 120v but it does send 120v to the Aux. if it doesn’t have power in those wires something isn’t hooked up right in box 1.


(Rob Ward) #14

Hi Michael,

I was able to get it working.

The problem was the neutral.

It wasn’t wired into neutral bundle for the in the 3-wire romex going to the remote switch.