Z Wave in wall light swith


Dear all: I am new to home automation and recently had an ADT pulse system installed. We would like to add an in wall light switch, but our current switch has only 2 black wires. There is a white and a ground wire tucked in the back of the box and not connected to anything. I tried to install the switch yesterday, but every wiring configuration I tried resulted in the light being on and not responding to the switch and the ADT Pulse system not recognizing it.

Any help will be greatly appreciated.

(Brice; SmartRulesApp.com) #2

What kind of switch is it? All the ones I have installed needed the white (neutral) wire. If it’s already in the box, then its easy, just cut a short piece and tie it in. You should also be sure to connect the ground wire.

(Gary D) #3

Typically, the two black wires are hot and load (the one coming from the circuit breaker being “hot” or “line”, and the one coming from the light/outlet being “load”) The white wire tucked inside is likely the neutral, and the bare or green wire is ground. (The fact that ground is present but not actually attached to the switch is odd.)

If you don’t have one already, I’d run out and get a non-contact voltage tester. Here’s an example: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Klein-Tools-Non-Contact-Voltage-Tester-NCVT-1SEN/100661787

(If you don’t have a tool like this, they are absolutely wonderful for testing if a wire has power or not, and can save you a shock when you just aren’t sure if something has power or not.)

Using that, turn the light off and test the two black wires. One should chirp (show voltage) and the other should be dead. The one showing voltage is the line/hot wire. The other is load.

In visual terms, the path of electricity in a typical circuit is from the circuit breaker, along the “hot/line” wire to the switch. From the switch to the load wire to the light fixture, and then BACK to the switch socket along the white/neutral wire, and then back to the circuit breaker.

OF course, knowing what kind of switch your trying to install would be useful. Some don’t use neutral, some do. Also knowing what you tried (specifically) would be useful for anyone to help.

Take care


It’s a GE (Jasco) on/off model zw4001. I purchased it at Lowes

(Rey Rios) #5

Not an expert, but I had the same problem. Your old switch probably had two cables and ground (either 2 black cables or 1 black one white and the green ground). You need to find in your box the white cable (called neutral) that is not being used in your switch (it should be there with a wire nut). Some houses do not have the neutral cable. Mine is a new construction so it does have it. I believe older home might not. I believe there are some z-wave switches that do not require a neutral cable.

(Gary D) #6

Okay, then the proper way to wire it would be to connect the wires as they are labeled on the back of the switch. Use the instructions I provided above to determine which of the black wires is hot/line and which is load. The white wire in the back of your box should be neutral - is that a single wire or two wires tied together? (You really aren’t giving us enough info to help you out.) Leave the traveler empty (and taped over) unless you are wiring a 3-way circuit. Be sure to wire the ground wire as well (the green screw at the top of the switch.)


One of the 2 black wires is powered (tested with a no contact tester). I connected that one to the load, the 2nd black to the line, the white to neutral and the bare copper to ground. No results. The light is on when I turn the power back and the switch doesn’t turn it off, nor it gets recognized by the Pulse system. Any other suggestions?

(Brice; SmartRulesApp.com) #8

No you’ve got that backwards. The one that is powered connects to the line, and the other connects to the load.


I tried that also, at my wife’s suggestion and still nothing.

(Brice; SmartRulesApp.com) #10

Strange. Is the little blue light on?

(Eric) #11

I believe the zw4001 requires 4 wires, including neutral and ground like this: http://www.lowes.com/campaign/iris/pdf/45637_45638.pdf. So I’m thinking either your box doesn’t have neutral or it’s there but possibly behind the eletrical box.

Since my house doesn’t have neutral’s I’m mostly using 45612 GE switches (although they buzz when dimming) like these: http://www.amazon.com/GE-Z-Wave-Wireless-Lighting-Control/dp/B006LQFHN2/ref=sr_1_2?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1421707987&sr=1-2&keywords=ge+zwave&pebp=1421707990093&peasin=B006LQFHN2. They don’t require a neutral, just the 3 wires…

(Gary D) #12

The only thing I can think of would be that the white wire isn’t the proper neutral. The switch REQUIRES a neutral to power the switch’s own relay (and z-wave radio.) I suppose it’s also possible that the switch was wired incorrectly to begin with, in which case you’re in for a lot of testing to figure out exactly what is where…

Hot to neutral should give you 110-120 volts AC on a meter.

Hot to load should give you 110-120 volts.

load to neutral should give you 0.

load to ground should give you 0.

If you kill the circuit at the breaker, you should have some continuity between load and neutral.


No, the switch doesn’t show the little blue light, doesn’t control the light, nor it gets recognized by the Pulse system. Sounds like I will have to hunt for the proper white wire. This wall has 3 light switches, one being a 3 way (we do not plan to change that one to Z Wave). Can I tap into the white wire on that one for the other 2?

(Gary D) #14

The “proper” neutral is the wire coming from the light fixture back through the gang box. (The full circuit is from the breaker box to the switch (hot/line) from the switch to the fixture (load) and then back to the circuit breaker (neutral.) Ground isn’t technically part of the circuit, but exists for safety.

(In old homes, the above statement about ground isn’t always true… in many older homes, ground was used as neutral is today.)

(Gary D) #15

This might help to visualize what’s going on.

(Dan T) #16

Since my house doesn’t have neutral’s I’m mostly using 45612 GE switches (although they buzz when dimming) like these: http://www.amazon.com/GE-Z-Wave-Wireless-Lighting-Control/dp/B006LQFHN2/ref=sr_1_2?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1421707987&sr=1-2&keywords=ge+zwave&pebp=1421707990093&peasin=B006LQFHN23. They don’t require a neutral, just the 3 wires…

Part Number 12724

I just installed this item yesterday (twice) it does require a Neutral (White) Line (Hot / Black) and obviously - Load
a 4th terminal is for additional switches to be added as a 3 way switch known as a traveler

one way to test and pair a new switch or outlet @ your kitchen table is to temporarily use a cut off (male end) piece of extension cord as a jig
be careful not to touch the terminals and becoming part of the circuit :blush:
wire the black / hot to line , the white to neutral , ground to ground and plug it in , the blue light should light up
on or off will determine if there is voltage @ the LOAD terminal
then you go through the pairing exercise

good luck

also note it is common practice to run as little wire as possible during construction so the neutral will be run to the load but may NOT pass through the same box the switch is installed in requiring a neutral wire to be installed / pulled from the nearest available location - by the way in MOST residential (US) house wiring all of the neutrals are connected one way or another through out the home and again @ the breaker panel - like tree roots


Dear all: Thank you for all the input. I tested the wires with a multimeter and when I touch the white wire along with the black I get ~120 v. I think there is something wrong with the way this section is wired…so I decided to leave it alone for now.

On another subject I got a dimmable lamp module and although the network recognizes it…it seems to be permanently dimmer. I measured the v on the non-zwave side and gat ~120v; the zwave side is ~30 v. I have reset it several times to no avail. Any words of advise?

(Dan T) #18

typical black to white should be 120v
white to green ( or bare) should be less than 0.5v
black to green (or Bare) will be 120v

black to conduit - if so provided will be 120v
white to conduit should be less than 0.5v
greater than 0.5v indicates a noisy ground or bigger issue
depending on the voltage shown

Dan T



I me getting the ADT pulse system. Does it fully integrate with Smartthings?
Can you control the panel from the Smartthings app?