Now…if you don’t have a traveler wire connecting and want to control another switch(on the same circuit), you just need to run a hot power wire to the aux right? Does it then show up as a device in ST? I would imagine it would have to so you can configure it with the master, right? Reason I ask is my electrician has to run a traveler wire on Wednesday, but I am debating if it’s worth it to pay extra where he has to damage walls, etc. I might just elect to use the aux without the traveler and save some money.
The aux switches need a traveler and a neutral. The load and line wires behind the aux switch are spliced in to complete the circuit.
I don’t think what you want will work. I believe the traveler just relays the command to the main switch and it turns off/on the lights.
If you have an electrician out there see if he can hook it up without running a traveler. He is a professional and I am just some dude with a screwdriver.
Another option is to just have one switch and using a zwave remote in the other location to trigger. Like this: https://amzn.com/B003OUWABU
I have never used one so you need to do some research first.
A little more information about the same circuit you mentioned is needed but I’ll take a shot at giving you some background to help -
For regular n-way switches, the power essentially flows in a single direction from line through n switches until it reaches load. Typically, neutral is capped off and run through the length of the circuit with the switches toggling hot between the hot and traveler.
For GE n-way switching, both line and load are connected to the master switch. Suppose the master is where the first line switch was originally, load and neutral will be capped off and run all the way to the light. Then, separate from that, the slave switches connect to the master using a traveler and neutral. Think of this as a communication circuit that tells the master what to do. Note that you can NOT combine GE zwave and traditional switched in the same n-way circuit (as this will BBQ your GE switches).
So, in many cases, an existing 4 way switch will have enough wire in the wall to reconfigure it to work with the GE topography.
However, if the term circuit that you’re using means the same circuit in the house but not connected (like a bathroom light switch next to a bathroom fan switch that you want to link), this would require two master type switches that you would link together in smart things with smart lighting or core. In this scenario, the linkage will not work if st is down, but they will at least function independently.
There are many different ways to wire three ways, but there are also different kinds of networked master switches. So it depends very much on the brand and model.
There are some models, such as some of the Leviton’s, where both the master and the auxiliary are zwave devices. They do not use traveler wires to communicate, but instead communicate wirelessly. If the auxiliary is also a zwave device, it also gets paired to the network and will show up. In essence it’s a virtual three-way rather than a wired 3 way set up. We have often discussed this option in the forums for people who want to add an additional auxiliary in a place where it’s not on the same circuit as the master.
However, the GE switches do not work this way. As designed, the master is the only Z wave device. So it’s the only one that shows up to smart things. The auxiliaries use physical traveler wires to communicate with the master, but they themselves are not z wave devices. And they cannot communicate wirelessly with their own master. They can only communicate via the physical traveler wire. And then only to a matching master.
It’s certainly possible to use a GE master switch (but not a GE auxiliary switch) in a virtual three way Set up with another Z wave switch. In those cases each switch talks to the hub and the hub passes on any messages from a switch.
It’s very important to consider what you want to have happen if your home automation system is not available.
If the auxiliary is connected to the master with the physical traveler wire, as the GE three-way kit works, then that will still work even if your home automation system is not working. As long as the switches have power, they can still communicate to each other.
There are some brands where the master and the auxiliary can continue to communicate wirelessly even if your smartthings hub is not working. The Leviton Vizia RF+ series can do this. It only works for switches that are within one hop of each other, but it can be made to work. It gets a little complicated as far as keeping the hub status correct for the auxiliaries, but it’s an option for some households.
A virtual three-way set up using a smart app like the official smart lighting feature where one switch follows another, or a smart app like trendsetter or "dim with me, " Will only work when your home automation system is active and you are connected to the SmartThings cloud. If your connection to the cloud goes out, the master switch will still work, but the auxiliaries just won’t work at all.
So it just comes down to your own particular needs. In some set ups such as basement stairs, knowing that the auxiliary will always work as long as there is power in the house may be considered a safety issue. In other cases, like switches on two sides of a large living room, the auxiliary may be basically just a convenience factor and you may be OK if it doesn’t work if your connection to the smart things cloud is down.
But whenever you are talking about three-way set ups, you have to be very specific about exactly how you have wired things and whether you are using any wireless communication, and if so, what.
The GE switches using physical traveler wires are often the simplest choice because the switch behavior will always be the same whether the home automation system is working or not.
Thanks all. I will have my electrician run a traveler wire as my requirement is to have a traditional 3 way setup that doesn’t require Smartthings.
Always have a resonable fallback. Main reason I dont have many smart bulbs.
Be aware that the ge aux has no delay on ohysical press. Some of the other options such as leviton that doesnt use travler wire i have seen a second or two delay in. I ended up replacing them with ge. But ymmv it seems many community members are happy with them, i wasnt.
The GE aux switch works immediately for me, so far so good. I plan on installing more of them on the rest of the 3 way switches in my home. Waiting on my Lowe’s order, 5 for $18
Just an fyi…
When you are using automations, such as, when dining room lights turn on, turn on fan.
When you press the master switch, it updates almost immediately in the ST app. This means your automations starts almost instantly.
If you press the aux switch, this will not occur. Well, it will but there will be a huge delay.
I’ve seen it take up to a minute, and sometimes up to never, to update in the app. That means your automation will be extremely delayed.
This has nothing to do with ST, but with the switch itself. Switch support has been notified before, but they are morons.
So, just a heads up to anyone using the GE/Jasco switches.
I’m not talking about when you press the aux switch it delaying the lights turning on.
Thanks for clarifying. In my case I am just using these 3 ways with motion or contact sensors and not programming any automations with the physical switches.