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ZWave Installation Help
OK, so the majority of my ZWave stuff has arrived but I am having an issue with my switches. Could someone take a quick look at the wiring and see if they can help me decipher this?

Most of my switches are 3-way, overhead in the hall, overhead in the kitchen, overhead in the stairs. So I went to take out the existing switches for replacement, but I can't seem to figure out what is going on ... see the links for pictures of my existing switches.

This is what I am assuming is the primary switch for my kitchen overhead and hallway overhead:

This is what I had assumed was my secondary switch for the hallway overhead:

Now, in the back of the switch box, I can see grey wires connected with a wire nut, so I am going to assume those are the 'neutral' wires. But what the hell is going on with my 3-way switch? Why do both switches have 4 wires instead just 2 like I expected?
Oh, another thing that has me confused is that the right switch in the double-gang box goes with the single-gang switch. So why are the 'red' cables on opposite sides of the switch?
OK, through some Internet investigation and this thread, it seems as though I need to wire the two black lines together.

So the primary switch gets line/load/ground/traveler/neutral, while the aux switch gets traveler/neutral/ground.

I am going to give this a go and hope I don't burn the house down. Smile

3-way switches have a hot, traveler and load only. The 4th wire on both of those switches is a ground wire. The neutrals are generally put connected together in the back of the box or in the ceiling fixture. Many times there's not even a neutral in the box.

The load wire is generally opposite the ground. And the hot and traveler are opposite each other.

All that said, I'm not an electrician. If you have a meter handy, finding the hot wire should be easy.
hmmm ...

I have 3 sets of the 3-way GE ZWave switches. The 'primary' switch has 5 connections on it - load, line, neutral, traveler, ground. The 'aux' switch has 3 connections - traveler, neutral, ground.

This is where I get disconnected because my boxes have 2 black, 1 red, 1 grey, and a bare ground (in the photos above, the grey/neutral is tucked away in the back). So each box has the same 5 wires. What do I do with the 'aux' switch which only has the 3 connections from above?

From the link I posted, one guy says that the 'aux' switch doesn't actually control the light at all, instead sending a signal to the 'primary' switch to actually turn the light on and off. Hence wiring the load/line together?

Also from the Internet, I have read that black wires = line and load, 'colored' (red?) wire = traveler, grey/white = neutral, and green/bare = ground.

All of this is making me frustrated/confused enough that I am considering paying an electrician a couple hundred to come out and install this shit for me.
To clarify, you'll have a hot wire going into ONE switch anf the load wire coming from the other. Again those wires are generally opposite the ground. Figuring out which is the hot and which is the load shouldn't be hard. With the breaker on and the fixture off, the hot will be powered and the load will not. If you turn the light on then both will be powered.

The other wires - black and red - simply connect between the switches.

Sounds like the GE switches require a neutral which should be the white wires in the back of the box. Again a meter wouuld help confirm.

Here's a good schematic of a typical 3-way switch -
Right, right ... that diagram makes perfect sense with what I currently have, just not for the new ZWave switches. See here:

This is the auxiliary switch.

This is the primary switch.

Given what you just said, and what you can see on the switches, it still doesn't make any sense to me. :confused:
The only real difference is that the switch requires a neutral for its own internal circuit board. Other that that it is the standard Line/Load/Traveler. Keep in mind that there are 8 ways to wire a three way switch and it depends on if the light is powered or the switch box is powered.
Dave Bruner
The aux switch *ONLY* has a place to plug in NEUTRAL, TRAVELER, GROUND. what the hell happens with the other wires?

I guess these GE switches just might not be compatible.

DaveB Wrote:The only real difference is that the switch requires a neutral for its own internal circuit board. Other that that it is the standard Line/Load/Traveler. Keep in mind that there are 8 ways to wire a three way switch and it depends on if the light is powered or the switch box is powered.
Ok again - I'm not an electrician!

Here's what you need to do - Make sure the breaker is off after you find the hot wire.
  1. Find the box with the hot wire in it. This will be the location for your "master" switch.
  2. Confirm the white wires are neutrals.
  3. Connect the hot wire to the "line" on the master switch
  4. Connect the neutral wire (cut a 6" piece of white wire and add it to the wire nut connection in the back of the box. Connect the other end of the pig tail to the master switch)
  5. Connect the red wire to the traveler connection on the master switch
  6. Connect the other black wire to the load connection of the master swtich
  7. Then with the slave switch connect the red wire to the traveler connection
  8. Connect the neutral wire to the neutral connection of the slave switch just like you did the master swtich assuming there is a white wire connection in the back of the box.
  9. Finally, connect the two black wires (one is the load and the other now is attached to the "load" connection on the master switch) in the box with a wire nut.
  10. Make sure all ground wires are attached appropriately to each switch.
That should work as long as you havent misidentified anything.

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