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Converting "Dumb" Three-way Switches to Smart GE Z-way with non-standard wiring

Converting "Dumb" Three-way Switches to Smart GE Z-way with non-standard wiring


Old 01-31-18, 09:56 AM
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Exclamation Converting "Dumb" Three-way Switches to Smart GE Z-way with non-standard wiring


I am upgrading our kitchen switches from dumb three-way to smart three-way. These two switches control our kitchen island light. I am having trouble connecting the "smart three-way switches properly (the kit includes two GE z-way switches - one primary switch, the other an add-on). For now, the "dumb" three-way switches are still in place.

The current setup is as follows:

14-2 Romex for all wires,
2 junction boxes each with a three-way switch,
light fixture,
Cable #1 - power source
Cable #2 - goes from box #1, feeds into light fixture, and down to switch #2 in box #2
Cable #3 - goes from switch #1 at box #1, feeds into light fixture, and down to switch #2

Cable #1 with power source feeds into box #1. White wire from cable #1 and all grounds are tied together with a wire nut and set aside. Black wire from cable #1 is tied together with black wire from cable #2 and leads up to the light fixture. White wires from cable #2 and #3 are wired to the three -way switch at box #1 (bottom white wire is now marked as hot with a piece of black tape, and I believe the other white wire is the traveler). The black wire from cable #3 is wired to the neutral on the three-way at box #1.

Quick Note: From a prior lighting project in my kitchen, I found that the power source feeds into box #1, but bypasses switch #1, and feeds into the light fixture, down to switch #2, back up to the light fixture, and finally back down to switch #1.

At the light fixture, cable #2 black wire is connected to the black wire leading into box #2 with the other three-way. Two white wires (marked as hot, one heading to switch #1 and the other to switch #2) are both connected to the light fixture and the remaining wires have been paired off and tied together.

After the light fixture, the black wire (line wire) feeds into switch #2, where it has been tied together with the black wire for another switch in my utility room, as well as another black wire that is pig-tailed into switch #2. The other black wire coming down from the light fixture from either cable #2 or #3 (load) also feeds into switch #2. One white wire (traveler) is connected to switch #2, and the remaining white (neutral) wire is paired with the white wire from the switch in my utility room.

That is the current setup and I apologize for any confusion. Previously, it took about 2-3 hrs to figure out the path the electricity was flowing to/from and that was no fun. At the moment, I have two smart three-way switches from GE with z-wave that I would like to hook up. The main smart switch has four screws (line, load, traveler, neutral) and the add-on smart switch has two screws (traveler and neutral).

Link to the smart switches I'll be using:

I'm at a loss so any help would be appreciated!
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Old 01-31-18, 05:55 PM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
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According on what I am finding you need to use one of the smart switches and one add on switch (different part number)

This video might help you:

Old 01-31-18, 06:15 PM
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It must be a full moon. This is the second time this week with this type of extremely convoluted three way switching. Using two wire cables in a three way circuit relies on picking up neutral in one location and hot in another.

White wire from cable #1 and all grounds are tied together with a wire nut and set aside
If what you posted is correct.... that is 100% incorrect. Whites and grounds never get joined.

From what you are describing.... you don't have enough conductors between the switches. You need two completely independent travelers plus a common.

Your wiring route is ok but there should have been three wire cables from each switch to the light. I'm not sure if there is a way of salvaging this for the smart switches.
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