Did I over-volt the switch converting my 3-way to always on?

Old 07-09-21, 07:14 PM
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Did I over-volt the switch converting my 3-way to always on?

Hey all!

I was looking for a little guidance and knowledge on my adventure the other night. Im BIG into smart home and dedicated some time to replace older ZWave switches with a combination of more Hue bulbs and Lutron Caseta Switches. Long story short, I wound up frying 2 Lutron switches due to what I believe was over volting? The scenario is below and Im simply looking for some guidance to if im correct in my thinking or not.

I have a typical raised ranch. By my front door there is a 3-gang with a switch for my lower foyer, entry light over stairs and my outside porch light. At the top of the stair, there is a 2-gang with a switch for my upstairs hall and my entry light over the stairs.

Lower foyer - 3 way

Entry - 3 way (problem child)

Porch light - Single switch

My entry light was being converted to use hue bulbs but I also wanted a switch. Since Lutron caseta switches are Decora style, I went with the Lutron Aurora and mounting plate. This requires that I wire the entry light fixture to be always on, since hue bulbs are smart bulbs and the switch is battery powered. Starting at the front door 3-gang, I wired the porch light to be always on (Hue) and the Entry light to be always on (Hue). My lower foyer was just a traveler here, so I wired the bundle together, with no hot-link.

At the 2-gang, I had the LINE but found out the hard way, I also have the LOAD for the entry in the same box. I wired up the entry light to be always on by connecting but the black and white wires to the LINE bundle. I tested the power before connecting the Luton switch and it worked! I killed the power, feeling like a rockstar, and wired up the Luton switch. I turned the breaker on and POP, the circuit trips.I go look at the box, and there is a clear spot along the Lutron wire connected to LINE that is clearly burned. I confirmed that I fried the switch. In troubleshooting and looking at previous picfures, I realized that since this is a 3-way, I already had the light wired to be always-on. Therefore those additional LOAD wires at the 2-gang were both HOT (also confirmed with a non-contact). Am

I correct here in saying that since the 2-Gang had a LINE already, by adding the now 2x hot LOAD wires, fed by the 3-gang, I over-volted the LINE bundle, frying the Lutron switch?

In the end, I capped the black and white LOAD wires from my entry light at the 2 gang, independently, and all is fine. The light still works and my replacement Lutron switch wasnt fried. Im just trying to make sure I understand what happened and expand my knowledge!

Thank you in advance!

Old 07-09-21, 07:37 PM
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Sorry.... I can't follow what you did.

I capped the black and white LOAD wires from my entry light
Capping off the white and black to the load won't work as the load will be dead.

I function much better with actual pictures of wiring.
Connecting two hots to a switch won't hurt it.
Old 07-10-21, 04:09 AM
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Thanks for the reply. I can open up both boxes later for pictures if it would help. However Ill try to explain, a bit better:

my hallway light was replaced with a Lutron PD-6WCL and a Pico remote. Install diagrams can be found here (Pg 3-6):


These are smart switches with no neutral. My understanding is they do power stealing to have some voltage to power the wireless chip, allowing you to have wireless/remote/smartphone control even when the switch is off

The same 2-way gang box has my Entry light. I had wired the Entry light fixture to always be on from the lower 3-gang at my front door. I then initially wired the 14-2 wire going from my 2-gang to the Entry fixture, which was already wired to be HOT, into the LINE bundle at the 2-gang. When I turned the power on, the Lutron switch friend and the breaker tripped.

I then removed the two load wires from Entry light at the 2-gang, capped them individually, replaced the Lutron switch and turned the power back on. This time the Lutron switch is fine and I confirmed that BOTH the white and black leads are powered (this is when they are disconnected and simply capped.

Again, I can certainly get pictures and post them but figured the Lutron wiring diagram would be helpful too. NOTE, I tested the power after re-wiring each bundle. Everything was fine up until I added the Lutron. When the 2-gang 14-2 load was re-wired to be always on, the breaker did not trip and all was fine. The minute I added the Lutron for my hall light (which is a different fixture but in the same 2-gang) is where I had the problem.

thank you!
Old 07-10-21, 07:20 AM
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A picture is worth 1,000 words. Or in your case, 293.

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