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How to figure out the details of my existing multiway wiring?

How to figure out the details of my existing multiway wiring?

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  #1  
Old 07-27-14, 04:03 PM
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How to figure out the details of my existing multiway wiring?

I have a light controlled by 3 separate switches.

I want to convert the switches to Z-wave controllable switches. The wiring diagram for those switches (http://www.smarthomeusa.com/Products...Manual-Eng.pdf) shows that the primary has to be connected directly to the source and to the load (i.e. load and source before the switches). I am not sure if my existing multiway wiring is configured that way or another way. For instance it could be wired: source->switch->switch->switch->load, or with load and source between the switches (see pics).

How can I figure out what my existing wiring configuration is? And if it is not equivalent to source and load before the switch as recommended by the switch manufacturer, can it be used in some other configuration?

Thanks,
Jim
 
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  #2  
Old 07-27-14, 05:36 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

You are going to need to pull out each switch and identify the wiring at that point.
Don't remove any wires from any devices yet.

You should have 2) three way switches and 1) four way switch.
Let us know with the three way switches.... what wire color is on the dark colored screw.

Is each switch in it's own switch box or are there multiple switches in several locations ?
This job may require a voltmeter.
 
  #3  
Old 07-27-14, 10:52 PM
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Actually, there are 4 switches, not 3:

One of these (I will call SW1) is a 3-way switch in a 3-gang box with 2 other switches. The 2 other switches in this 3-gang box control two other single-switch lights. All of these switches in this 3-gang box are controlled/powered by the same circuit breaker. This is what it looks like from the back (sorry for the "…'s", but spaces were dropped by the editor, and this was the only way I could get the format to display a "diagram"…)

…………………..copper wire/ground……………
……………………………...….|………………………..
………………………………....|………………………..
……………………...______|_……………………..
…….red wire---|……………|--- black wire…..
………………………|..SW1....|…………………….
..black wire*--|………..….|…………………….
………………………|_______|…………………...

black wire*: this is attached with the darkest screw of the three. Moreover, "black wire*" is actually 3 black wires: one goes to a cable, and each of the other two black wires go to the other 2 switches in the same 3gang box.

The other 3way switch I will call SW2 and is in a 3-gang box with 2 other switches. The other switches in this 3-gang box control two other 3-way lights. SW2 is on its own
circuit breaker, which is different than the circuit breaker controlling the other switches in this 3-gang box:

……...(painted) white thin wire(presumably ground)..
……………………………...….|………………………..
………………………………....|………………………..
……………………...______|_……………………..
..black wire---|.…………..|--- red wire…....
………………………|..SW2...|…………………….
..black wire2--|.………….|…………………….
………………………|_______|…………………...

black wire2: this is attached with the darkest screw of the three.

The other 2 switches are 4-ways: one is in a 3-gang box and the other 2 switches in that box are controlled/powered by a different circuit breaker. The other 4-way is in a 2-gang box where the other switch is powered by a different circuit breaker.

Initially I didn't think this would be relevant so I didn't mention it, but these multiway switches which we are working on are connected to several lights in a long hallway and not a single light. Don't know if it is important, but now you know.

I have a voltmeter.

Thanks for your help!
 

Last edited by gymshoe; 07-27-14 at 11:14 PM.
  #4  
Old 07-28-14, 01:49 AM
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I'm digesting what you posted. The switch diagram is ok but not necessary. Only the wire on the odd/dark color screw is critical. The location of the other wires doesn't matter..... just their colors.

Multiple lamps are fine as long as it's under 600 watts total load.

Your feed is at switch one. You also have a neutral there. Your load out is at switch two.
Your travelers are red and black.

You will need 3) 45610 control/slave switches and 1) 45609

Wiring is fairly easy and I can walk you thru it.
 
  #5  
Old 07-29-14, 12:38 PM
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Great. The wiring diagram that comes with the 45609 only shows connecting such that the source and load are before the switches (which is not my case), so I am glad that there is more flexibility than that.

Or does the solution involve running more wires through the house? (If that is the case, it might be beyond me at this time…)

Once you verify that I won't have to run new wiring, I will order up the parts.

Thanks again!
Jim
 
  #6  
Old 07-30-14, 12:50 AM
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Assuming the master at switch 2 location.

You've got a three wire cable from box 1 to a four way switch to another four way switch and finally to switch 2. That cable carries the neutral to each box. At the first box you will connect the two black wires from the switch together. Same at the next box and the next. At switch 2 the black on the common screw is the load out of the controller. The black traveler is the line in/hot.

At switch 1 you will connect the white of the switch to the white splice. The traveler wire connects to red. At the second location... the two reds get connected together and the to the traveler wire on the switch. White goes to the white connection. Same thing at the third location.

All grounds need to be connected too.
 
  #7  
Old 07-30-14, 09:34 PM
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How clever! I think get it.

At switch one, I add a new white wire which goes from the "white" location on the 45610 and splice it into the white from the source and the white from the cable going down the chain.

And at the second box, I also add a white wire which goes from the "white" location on the 45610 and splice it into the white wires from the cables which come into and leave the second box. At the second box, I also add a red wire which goes from the "traveler" location on the 45610 and splice it into the red wires from the cables which are coming into and leaving the second box. Same thing at the third box.

So basically all reds interconnect with each other and all whites interconnect with each other. (plus the other changes to the black wires that you mentioned.)

Thank you so much for your help.
Jim
 
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