Smart Switch + 3-Way Switch: Only working one way.

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Old 10-09-19, 12:38 PM
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Smart Switch + 3-Way Switch: Only working one way.

I have 2 sets of ceiling lights, each wired up to a pair of 3-Way Toggle Switches.
I ordered 3-Way Compatible Smart Switches, and installed 1 switch, for each set of lights.
Here is my problem:
  • - When the Toggle Switches are flipped up, the Smart Switches work correctly both physically flipping them, using the app, or voice control.
  • - However, if I flip the Toggle Switches "down" the Smart switches "flip" off and no longer work physically, app, or voice controlling.
  • - If I flip the Toggle Switch, the lights do turn on and off as they should still.
  • - The Smart Switches have a LED Indicator light, white when the lights are off and orange when the lights are on.
  • - The White Indicator (lights off) led is still illuminated when the Toggle switch is flipped down, so the Smart Switch is still receiving constant power. It just will not turn the lights back on. Only if the Toggle is up.

Is there anyway to wire this so that I can use both switches as if they were still regular Toggle Switches where they just alternate "positions" based on which was flipped?

Here is the breakdown of how each pair is currently wired. Forgive me for using any improper terminology. Also a very crude sketch attached below. For some reason it keeps displaying upside down.
Toggle Switch 1
  • Common - Black
  • Traveler 1 - Black
  • Traveler 2 - Red

Toggle Switch 2
  • Common - Black
  • Traveler 1 - Red
  • Traveler 2 - Red
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Last edited by fjpatshea; 10-09-19 at 02:09 PM. Reason: reoriented/resized picture
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  #2  
Old 10-09-19, 12:45 PM
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First of all some basic three way switch info.
What side the screws are on makes absolutely no difference. There should be one dark/brass/black screw and two silver screws. The dark screw is the common one and is THE only important terminal. There is no neutral on a three way switch. The white can be used as a hot traveler.

The two silver or matching screws are the travelers. There is no polarity to these two. If you follow the three switch wires into the box you will see that two wire go into one cable. Those are the travelers. The third wire is the common. Sometimes all three wires from the switch are in one cable. That's called a dead end three way switch.

In your diagram.... one switch has red for a common and one has black.
 
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Old 10-09-19, 01:52 PM
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Right and I am aware of the Common, and no Neutral on the 3-way. Should have included that.
So my two questions then ends up being
1. Why is this one single switch wired differently than the others? (I will have to pull them out to see where it runs if there is just a random oddity)
2. If I connect the Neutral wire to my Toggle Switches as a Traveler will it solve my issue?
 
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Old 10-09-19, 02:11 PM
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In a three way switch circuit..... white is not always neutral.
White is just used as another hot switching wire.

There are many different ways to wire a three way switch.
The colors used don't really mean anything.

From personal experience..... I have not found many smart switches or dimmers that work flawlessly with an original three way switch as a second switch.
 
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Old 10-09-19, 02:25 PM
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Most smart three ways require rewiring the other toggle or a special second auxiliary switch to function properly. If you made no change to the second switch that is your issue. What do the installation directions say for the second switch wiring?
 
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Old 10-09-19, 02:38 PM
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I was under the assumption that the colors are used as a standard but I guess not! Learn something new. However in this situation white is neutral in my apartment.

This particular switch mentions being able to be used in this fashion, although it does also say they recommend replacing both switches. It just does not provide instructions as to how to wire the everything including the original 3-way switch to make it work this way.
 

Last edited by fjpatshea; 10-09-19 at 05:14 PM.
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Old 10-09-19, 03:46 PM
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Post the make and model of the switch.
 
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Old 10-09-19, 05:16 PM
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https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I picked this one because in multiple articles I read for 3-way Smart Switch recommendations it was mentioned that this one did not required both switches to be changed, or a hub, just a neutral wire.

I am assuming that both switches need to be wired in a particular fashion to work from both ends. I just do not know which way.

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Last edited by PJmax; 10-09-19 at 06:29 PM. Reason: added wiring diagram
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Old 10-09-19, 06:27 PM
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Amazing.... every Tom, Dick and Moe is making smart switches.

With that smart switch..... the second/regular three way switch remains untouched. You do need a neutral at the smart switch location. That means in addition to the three wires that were on the switch.... there needs to be a splice of at least two white wires in the box.

Do you have that ?
 
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Old 10-09-19, 06:44 PM
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Yes, both locations have neutral. As I mentioned the switch is already hooked up (and to a neutral) and working properly on one side.
 
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Old 10-09-19, 08:17 PM
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Based on your first post I think you have the wrong wire on the LINE/LOAD. The LINE/LOAD is the wire from the old switch COMMON terminal.
 
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Old 10-09-19, 09:07 PM
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Based on your original post you wrote both switches weren't working properly.

Toggle Switch 2
  • Common - Black
  • Traveler 1 - Red
  • Traveler 2 - Red
This is incorrect. one of the red's here is common. Red and black are travelers.
In post 2.... I described how to determine the common wire from the travelers.
 
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Old 10-10-19, 08:50 AM
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The Smart Switches are working, when the Toggles are in the Up position. But when they are in the down position, the smart switches lose their ability to turn the lights on and off. They are still receiving power, because the indicator light is illuminated, but they wont toggle. So somewhere the continuous loop of power to the lights is being interrupted by the wiring off currently. So partially working properly
 
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Old 10-10-19, 08:55 AM
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OK. Did you correct the wiring at switch 2 ?
 
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Old 10-10-19, 08:57 AM
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Do you think it is wrong on the Smart Switch end or the Toggle switch end?
 
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Old 10-10-19, 09:00 AM
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I have not touched a thing yet. Just been sitting back and reading in here! I want to also add a detail, the smart switch for both lights are located across the room, whereas the Toggle Switches are together in the room. Not sure if it matters which location is which. I did this because the Toggles are in a 3 switch panel, and the others were single switch locations allowing me to use the covers that they came with.
 
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Old 10-10-19, 09:06 AM
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I don't believe you mentioned changing the wiring at the regular switch end.... did you change it?
In that circuit..... red and black are the travelers so black can't be the common.
 
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Old 10-10-19, 09:20 AM
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I have not changed a thing at the regular switch end. How it is sketched/described is how it is/always was.
 
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Old 10-10-19, 10:11 AM
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Can you tell us about all the wires in both switch boxes, omit grounds.
 
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Old 10-10-19, 07:13 PM
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Pictures to help

I figured some photos might help. Hopefully.
The middle switch in Image 1 & Image 2 is non-related to the smart switches.

Light Set 1
  • Smart Switch 1 - Image 3
  • Regular Switch 1 - Left Switch in Image 1 & Image 2
Light Set 2
  • Smart Switch 2 - Image 4
  • Regular Switch 2 - Right Switch in Image 1 & Image 2

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Last edited by PJmax; 10-10-19 at 11:59 PM. Reason: cropped/resized pictures - labeled 4th pic
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Old 10-11-19, 12:00 AM
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I mentioned several times how to check for travelers. Look at the last picture. I labeled the two traveler wires..... red and black. I labeled the line/load black. You'll notice that the two black wires are reversed. You have the black traveler in the line/load connection.
 
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Old 10-11-19, 07:57 PM
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I missed some thing probably because I was at work and then got home to look.
Anyways it is all working now! I switched them, on both smart switches, and all good to go. Thank you everyone for chiming in and helping and being patient with my lack of knowledge in this area. These switches may be by some no name but they work flawlessly, connected right to google home, and all of my routines are setup.
 
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