Wiring three and four way switches - any diagrams out there?


(Brian Smith) #1

I just received several Linear dimmers and “3 way” accessory switches. We have two three way and a four way setup that we are replacing. The directions are not the greatest because they assume this is single pole. Can anyone point me to diagrams, etc online that show how to take a three and four way setup and convert it to a zwave setup with accessory switches?

I’m nervous about blowing one of the switches doing this! :smile:


(Brian Smith) #2

Ok, maybe I need to ask this question. Since the Linear switches don’t use the traveler, I assume what I need to do is pull the existing switches, flip the breaker back on and identify the hot lines in each box. Not sure how to figure out the load vs the traveler if not identified well. I remember the colors not being correct in our house (probably a stoned electrician). Perhaps the switches themselves will say?


(Corey McLaughlin) #3

While this don’t directly answer your question, consider the following. This week I installed the GE 3-Way switches and had a hell of a time getting them to work. The problem ended up being that I did not have a neutral wire on the side where the aux. unit installs. Speaking for myself I was thinking too much about completing the circuit and looking at the color of the wires verses what they did.

Hope that helps


(Engelwood) #4

Did you get the wt00z-1 accessory switch? If so they don’t operate like normal 3-way switches with travelers.

This post helped me a lot:

The evolve switches are just rebranded linears. I ended up getting a minimote and pairing it using the instructions from mrmatt57 on feb 5th.


(Acastal) #5

I just did the same yesterday (LRM-AS and LTM-5). I also used the same minimote directions and it worked great. If you are like me the main switch will be turning off the aux side hot which will be wire-nutted to the load (at the aux side). Since you need a neutral and a hot on the aux side I used the traveler for this (attached the traveler directly to the hot on the main side and then connected it to the hot on the aux switch).


Physical switch for hue bulbs, not hue tap
(Brian Smith) #6

Ok, I got this working. As a lesson to anyone else, here is how since the Linear site did not have any suggestions and the evolve site had some, but they were not clear,

Note - I’m not an electrician, I do not have a license for it, nor do I play one on TV. Check your local codes and/or consult an electrician as necessary.

  • first, I flipped the breaker and unwired all the switches in the three or four way, leaving the wires exposed but well apart from one another.
  • I flipped the breaker back on and determined which line was hot with a non-contact meter. (Love these things)
  • flipped the breaker back off. I then placed the load bearing switch in the outlet controlling the light.
  • from the “hot” switch, I connected the black “line” wire to the virtual three way switch and the black line of the traveler wire set heading to the other box. That way, both outlets had a “line” wire. Need to check code to verify. The evolve website (since Linear’s are rebranded) had some hints on this, but they said to connect to the neutral, which did not make sense node did it work (I tested it)

That’s it. You are “passing line” through from the box with the virtual switch to the load box. I also capped the red traveler line for good measure so there spews no exposed copper in the boxes p, other than ground of course.


GE 3 way dimming kit issues
Zwave switch that always supplies power for devices like Hue lights?
(Bill Frischling) #7

I thought I’d add to this thread given the different 3-way wiring setups. I had this type of setup: Switch -> Light -> Switch: 3-Way Wiring #5

A very nice electrician told me how to retrofit and it worked like a charm on the Jasco switches, but should work with other 3-way switch/aux combos:

From master switch (where line comes in - on left in diagram)

  • Hook up Black line -> line
  • Splice in Neutral white -> white (in my setup without Z-wave, the neutral bypassed the switch, as in the diagram)
  • Red -> Traveler
  • Black load (wire to light) -> Load
  • Ground as normal

The changes from the diagram: Neutral goes to the switch in a 3-way connection between load and line cables and the switch vs. skipping the switch. Otherwise, it’s all normal.

At the light

  • Traveler -> Traveler (bypass the light)
  • Take black from the master switch (at left) to the light
  • Take neutral (white) to the light and splice between master and auxiliary switch (3 way with wire nut). In my setup before Z-wave, the neutral went to the black on the aux, which will not work with z wave
  • Take the black wire from the light to the auxiliary and cap it with a wire nut. It will not be used

The changes from the diagram: In this setup, the load from the master went to the neutral on the aux, and the load went from the aux to the light. Instead, the neutral gets patched at the light between master, aux and light, and the black from the aux is bypassed/capped/not used

Auxiliary Switch (Right on Diagram)

  • Cap the black wire
  • Red -> Traveler
  • White -> Neutral
  • Ground as normal

The changes from the diagram: black is completely bypassed/capped. Neutral and Traveler still used.

This worked perfectly on four lights in my house with this setup and makes total sense. The key fact that took me a while to get is the auxiliary switch isn’t acting like a normal 3-way switch. It’s just a remote control, basically, for the master with z wave switches.

Can’t take credit for this. This was spoonfed to me and I only understood it after spending an hour with what was sent to me and Wikipedia.

Good karma… there are four other ways to do 3-way switches. Would love to have that all documented here…


#8

There are, no kidding, at least 8 different ways to wire a 3 way switch set up (2 switches, 1 light), at least another 3 once the switches are networked, and another gazillion for 4 way switches, depending on how many lights are involved.

It’s not just about completing the circuit, it’s about making sure the switches all work as expected in all configurations and all sequences for getting to those configurations (both up, both down, master up and aux down, master down and aux up).

So while diagrams are easy to find, they may not match your particular project.

This is one of those “ounce of prevention” things. Trial and error can burn down the house. :cold_sweat:


(Bill Frischling) #9

True @JDRoberts… would love to get a guest electrician in here. I’ve been told by two different ones there are “5” official wiring setups for 3-way, though Wiki says 7.

Putting the liability issue aside, would be nice to hear from someone officially about the different setups, and what, if any, changes can be made safely to make the Z wave switches work. The one I posted above came straight from an electrician, makes sense, and works in all configurations for the switches. But it only took me two weeks of researching, then giving up, then bringing in an electrician to help with a couple of bad wirings (not from me, from a contractor 10 years ago) to get those figured out…


#10

It depends whether you count two lights with two switches and power through the first light, and whether you count end of run set ups.

But when you’re replacing existing switches, you can run into these.