GE zwave 3-way wiring questions/issues

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  #1  
Old 09-06-15, 01:58 PM
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GE zwave 3-way wiring questions/issues

I just ordered a GE Zwave (12722) switch off of amazon since they are having a deal through the 14. I am also anxiously waiting for my new ST Hub vs. 2. I have read enough of the comments on this switch that the wiring is not as simple as some might think. I will use these switches in some 3-way situations and some stand alone (one light only) setups. For the 3 way, I am having a hard time understanding which wire in my one switch is the load, common and traveler. For example, i dont see a red that is generally the "traveler". I am posting a picture and hoping some of you can help me. Please let me know if there is anything else I can supply to help. The current switch is in a box with 3 other non-related light switches.


http://imgur.com/sL2EHps
 
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  #2  
Old 09-06-15, 03:47 PM
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Welcome to the forums from a fellow Minnesotan!

The odd colored screw is your common, the other two are your travelers. I can't tell which back stab is marked "common" but I suspect it is the one closest to the odd screw. A meter will tell you for sure. It doesn't matter where each traveler goes, they are interchangeable.
 
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Old 09-06-15, 03:51 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

In your picture there is no red traveler. It looks like they ran a two wire cable for the travelers. One traveler is white and one is black. Those two travelers should be in one cable.... please confirm that.

The black wire going to the odd/dark screw is the common. You will need to remove the black wire from the switch and see if it is always live. That will tell you if that switch is the hot end or the light end.

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  #4  
Old 09-06-15, 04:42 PM
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Here is a picture of what the downstairs switch has. It has a "blue" wire as well. Now I am really confused!

GE 12722 Zwave switch 2 - Imgur
 
  #5  
Old 09-06-15, 04:46 PM
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I just submitted a picture of the basement switch that controls the same light and now there is a blue involved. So does that mean I am missing a neutral wire? It seems the GE 12722 Zwave switch requires one. PS thank you BOTH for your great help..
 
  #6  
Old 09-06-15, 05:44 PM
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The travelers of a three way circuit must connect. At one end you have black and white and at the other end you have black and blue. That means there is a splice in between. Possibly at the light. That will need to be confirmed.
 
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Old 09-06-15, 06:01 PM
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Crap, that is going to be difficult. The light that connects between the two is a chandelier very high up and I am not sure I have a ladder that can reach it. Even if it is spliced, is this normal or concerning? Also, does that mean I will not be able to configure a GE zwave switch? Everything I am reading about these things is they are a little more difficult.
 
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Old 09-06-15, 06:43 PM
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We can probably work around removing the light. We need to determine which end the circuit is fed from like I mentioned previously.
 
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Old 09-06-15, 06:55 PM
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Okay, how do I go about doing that? Do I buy a voltage meter and see which common wire is hot while the light is off? Is that the way to do it?

Also, do i need to have a neutral wire and can i just tap into any of them in the junction box or do I some how need to figure out which one goes to this specific light?

Thanks for helping hand hold me through this.

Finally, for the one that is "hot" I am assuming that is the primary and the other will be the auxiliary. For the auxiliary, do i need to cap off the two of the wires? If so, which ones?
 
  #10  
Old 09-06-15, 07:12 PM
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At switch two......
Are the red, black and blue wires contained in the same cable ?
If yes... there is also a white wire. Can you tell what it is connected to it ?

At switch one... disconnect the black that I identified as common and see if it's always live. This will tell us where the feed starts and where we can pick up the neutral.

You can check from that wire to the ground in the box.
 
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Old 09-06-15, 07:35 PM
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okay, some of this I can do tonight and some I will have to do tomorrow since I don't currently have a voltage meter. Here is what I have found and a question or two I have:

Switch two: Yes, they are in the same cable. (red, black, blue). There are four switches in the basement connected to this junction box and the breaker for the foyer only controls two so I only pulled of the two switches. Since It is night time, i needed the basement light from the other two so I could see what I was doing. From what I can tell behind the switches there looks to be three white wires capped off. Also, I see two red wires and a green one capped off together. It looks like there might also be one more capped off wire behind a live switch but wasn't able to get a good look tonight. Does this help you?

Switch one: I will have to check this tomorrow. But I am assuming that the way I check this is if I turn the power back on, this will be the live wire and the other wires on this 3-way setup will not have power?

You are the best! I hope you are around tomorrow too when I can confirm a few more things. Let me know if PM'ing would be easier. Also, if there is anything else I can do tonight without a voltage meter, let me know.
 
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Old 09-06-15, 07:59 PM
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Probably not two reds to a green. Green is only used for ground. It could be a blue and hard to see. No problem.

Since you confirmed that red, black and blue are in the same cable.... the feed is not picked up at that box. It would be good to hear that the white wire is just capped off.

Although.... I think I know where we're headed. It looks like they may have picked up the neutral at switch 2 and the hot at switch 1. Not an ideal wiring method but ok if the hall light (three way circuit) is on the same breaker as the neutral.

I will be around Labor Day. Responding here is just as fast as a PM.... (actually faster)
 
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Old 09-06-15, 08:15 PM
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How do I find out if the neutrals are the right ones? Do I have to buy a smaller white wire at the store to cap off with the existing three and then put the other end into the neutral on the switch?

Also, I think the same thing might be going on at switch 1 where there are capped off white wires back there too. I will have to check that one tomorrow as well but that might be the case.

I will double check the two reds/green, I could have sworn I saw that and will look/take a pic tomorrow.

You are the best! I could have not asked for better help. So it sounds like switch 1 is going to be the primary which is good and what I wanted.

Also, do i need to cap off the load wire at the auxiliary switch and only have the ground/traveler/neutral going to it?
 
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Old 09-06-15, 08:26 PM
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The neutrals aren't really a cause for concern as the zwave only requires a very small bit of power.

Let me know about the power tomorrow and we'll go from there.
 
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Old 09-06-15, 08:59 PM
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Here's what you are going to need to do tomorrow.

After you check for power at switch one you will need to kill that circuit. You will need to remove the traveler wires from both switches. Using an ohmmeter you will need to confirm that none of those four wires have any connection/continuity to neutral. Check from each of the four wires to ground.

After you have confirmed that none of the wires show any continuity to ground/neutral..... short the white traveler wire at switch one to ground. Go to switch two and find out which color is now shorted to ground. Do the same thing for the second traveler.

The diagram below is how I think the circuit is currently wire....

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  #16  
Old 09-07-15, 06:49 AM
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Pete- alright, we are on day-2 haha. I have a couple questions regarding your last post and apologize in advance for my noob status.

You mentioned...."confirm that none of those four wires have any connection/continuity to neutral. Check from each of the four wires to ground." - Do you mean just make sure that the neutral wire is not coming from the same cable?

Next you said...."short the white traveler wire at switch one to ground. Go to switch two and find out which color is now shorted to ground. Do the same thing for the second traveler." - Can you please help me better understand this? What do you mean by short to ground? Tie them off together?

One other question, is it true that on switch 2 i should only have it connected to traveler, neutral and ground?
 
  #17  
Old 09-07-15, 08:47 AM
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I show the white connected to the blue and the black connected to the black. That is just a guess.... it needs to be confirmed.

One other question, is it true that on switch 2 i should only have it connected to traveler, neutral and ground?
Yes.
 
  #18  
Old 09-07-15, 08:56 AM
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Is the only way to confirm that is to look in the light? Since it is so high up, is it okay just to trial and error assuming you are correct, which I think you are?

Three other questions:

1. On switch 2 - do i cap the blue traveler wire with the red load wire?
2. Do I need to buy a separate piece of white wire to connect to the neutrals that are capped and then connect it to the auxiliary switch? Does it matter what neutrals they are connected with? I dont yet know if there are two sets of capped neutrals in that box or just one
3. Do i need to do the same neutral system at switch 1?
 
  #19  
Old 09-07-15, 09:28 AM
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I gave you the method for checking the travelers. You need an ohmmeter.
Did we confirm power at switch 1 yet ?
 
  #20  
Old 09-07-15, 11:59 AM
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Yes, I confirmed there is power at switch 1
 
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