3-Way GE/JASCO Z-Wave "Drop In Replacement" -- A couple "Aha!" gotchas

[Advisory: I am not an electrician and assume you aren’t either. I offer some feedback I wish someone gave me]

Using the GE/JASCO 45613 Three-Way Dimmer Set:

Over the last few months since I originally purchased these 3-way switches ready to install, I wasted lots of time and delayed this project literally MONTHS, fretting about how the instructions didn’t match my wiring, how existing switches didn’t have wires like the diagrams or documentation, and how I started and stopped and installed and un-installed things time and again before just sticking it out for about four hours today to successful completion.

Thus my “Here’s what I wish someone had told me in the first ten minutes” contribution to the forum.

This GE/JASCO Z-Wave is VERY DIFFERENT from a normal 3-way setup. Never mind it claims to be a drop in 3-way set. It does work ingeniously fine and will definitely APPEAR to function relatively as a normal three way. But there are some major differences, and it’s really an optical illusion at all since this really is a completely different animal from any normal 3-way switch set you may have ever installed before. The set has two pieces:

A)  ZW3003 - One RELATIVELY NORMAL MASTER DIMMER switch, and 
B)  ZW2002 - One AUX "SWITCH" (totally useless on its own, btw).  Though a switch of sorts, it's actually only a signaling device to send a little pulse over to its friend across the wire and say: "Hey, MASTER Ol' Buddy Ol' Pal,  How 'Bout You Switch That Circuit For Me, Eh!?" 

(How this AUX wires/works was truly the “Aha!” I was missing when starting this project. Ingenious key point to know!)

One other interesting point: Unlike “normal” 3-ways which flip position every time, these guys are always ON=TOP and OFF=BOTTOM. A minor point, but nice to understand since that’s very different than you might expect of a 3-way.

So, the two key points I wish someone had told me and saved me countless hours:

  1. MASTER side wires/works pretty much exactly as you might expect for a basic 3-way:
  • Line
  • Load
  • Neutral ← thanks sumbarino for pointing out I forgot this one first edit. : )
  • Traveler
  • Ground
  1. AUX side is totally wacky from perspective of a “normal 3-way” switch:
  • Line & Load get twisted together and capped off, unused by the “switch”
  • Traveler attaches as normal
  • Ground attaches as normal
  • Neutral – This may be a “gotcha” if you have to fish around, find, and tap into NEUTRAL to attach to AUX.

Once I understood how this nifty AUX item was really working, it all made total sense, and I had the thing installed in ~ 5 minutes! But it took months of fretting and googling and reading and trying again and again to really “get it”. I had lots of normal electrical work un-learning to do first. : )

So: This is the quick guide for anyone else doing some of that same fretwork, just needing a QUICK START pre-read!
Good luck, and I’d like to hear of your success if this helps.

~ Cheers ~

LOL… I feel your pain. It took me a few searches this past week to figure this out as well.

the huge bundle of white wires first threw me off… then the wirenutting of the line/load for the aux switch.

Thanks for writing this up… This should be in the manuals/wikis

Mike

Thanks- this post saved me some time. Stared at the existing wires for two hours trying to decide how they fit into the instructions provided. Then came here and saw your comment “Line & Load get twisted together and capped off, unused by the ‘switch’”, and it all made sense. Got it working on the first attempt…

One note- you didn’t list that the Master it takes a neutral as well, so you have five different wires to connect to the Master switch.

Now that (with Jerral’s help) I have figured out how to wire the GEs into a 3-way configuration, I next have to take the one 4-way switching setup in my house. Will post the results here in a few days…

@Jerral
I guess it’s nice to know I wasn’t the only one.

My first headaches started with the Intermatic 3-way switches, turns out those are the only (that I know of) Z-wave switches that can use a normal 3-way switches (later I found out that a normal switch was enough). But like you, my setup didn’t work like it was supposed to.

After some few desperate attempts I called my electrician and had a go with him. He had never heard about z-wave but after a few goes and discussion we got the lights working. Turned out (like you already found out) that you wire normally one side and the other switch works by sending a signal to the main device.

When I got my GE 3-way kit I was prepared on living something very similar to what I got with the Intermatic. I actually like the GE kit better because of its quick and silent operation (Intermatic switches have loud relays).

Great to see a post to help newcomers.

-Gio

It’s not just GE/Jasco. Every brand has their own unique method of 3-way/multi-way wiring which sometimes requires circuit rewiring. It’s nuts. I found this diagram for GE/Jasco to be very helpful.

Did the 4-day install. One of the accessory switches wired the same as in the 3-way install, but the other previously had two travellers - I twisted them up together and ran into the traveller post and works as expected…

[quote=“wilme2, post:6, topic:173261”]Did the 4-day install.[/quote] Is that 4-day or 4-way? ;D Sometimes the 4-way takes that long!

Only when you forget to draw out your circuit before hand ;D

Just got mine in the mail the other day and can’t get it working. ???

I have two boxes on either side of the hall. Each box has a RED, WHITE, BLACK, Ground. What am I suppose to do with only these? I think I am missing wires right?

You need one more for a true 3 way connexion. There is a good diagram that shows the ge 3 way connexion on this post.

Is this a new installation?

Enviado desde mi GT-I9100

Need one more. Is there a second wire of one of those colors?
I had an extra white in mine that was the Traveler…

[quote=“wilme2, post:11, topic:173261”]Need one more. Is there a second wire of one of those colors?
I had an extra white in mine that was the Traveler…[/quote]

Good suggestion. I’ll give this a try this weekend and report back. Thanks!

OK, this has been helpful but I’m still struggling a bit.

I figured out, as Jerral said, that on the second switch, I’m going to have to twist the line and load together and cap it off. What I have in each of the two switch boxes: two black wires and one red (and a neutral). On the old manual 3-way switches, one of the black wires goes to something labeled “common”. In box 1, this wire is hot. In box 2, this wire is hot, sometimes not, I assume depending on the status of the switches.

So in switch 2 i bundled the 2 black wires together and connected the red one to traveler (and connected neutral). In switch one, I connected the old “common” wire to line, the other black wire to load, and of course connected neutral. This gave me the blue LED on the 45609, but the switch did not work from either end. Am I missing something?

I fiddled with a couple more configurations, but never got the LED to return. I’m afraid I might have fried the 45609.

So how do I verify my wiring assumptions? And is there an easy way to test if I fried the 45609?

I am having a problem with a circuit with 1 master dimmer and 2 auxiliary dimmers. If the master switch is turned all the way bright then the auxiliary switches cannot turn the light down or off. If, while the master is all the way bright, I turn the light off through Vera, the auxiliary switches cannot turn the light on. But, if the master is not all the way bright, say 90%, then the auxiliary switches work. If the light is off either auxiliary can turn it on and back off. The light ramps up to 90%. If the light is on, at 90%, the auxiliaries can turn it off and back on. But, if the auxiliary is used to turn the light 100% on the auxiliary cannot turn the light back off. Vera or the master can.

Odd enough? Any ideas?

Quick question - Is an auxiliary switch required to work with the GE/Jasco Z-Wave 3-way dimmer, or can you simply have one basic on/off switch used in conjunction with the dimmer?

An auxiliary switch required.

My 3 way switch is wired as in this diagram, and I have the GE ZW4001 and ZW2002 Aux switch

Am I able to use this switch, as it has 4 terminals, while both my 3 ways only have 3 terminals.

See http://www.jascoproducts.com/support/manual-downloads/applications/DocumentLibraryManager/upload/45610WB-manual-English.pdf

Beware there are 2 versions of the GE?Jasco 45613 kit. One has flying leads and the other terminals. The one with flying leads uses a neutral wire the one with terminals does not.

I wish I had seen this thread earlier. I literally spent 4 hours on this a month ago before admitting defeat.

I like to think I’m a smart guy, but this had me whooped. Hopefully this is the missing link for me! :-[