3-Way Switch Auxiliary Switch not Triggering Scene

I have a GE 3-Way Switch, which comes with a primary and auxiliary switch. Both the primary and Axu are installed an controlling the wired lights with no problem. I have another light, which is separate from these lights that I would also like controlled with this 3-way switch. So I have created a simple scene that says when the 3-Way switch is turned on, also turn on the other light. And a similar scene to turn it off.

The problem is, the scene is only being triggered if I turn the lights on or off from the primary switch. If i use the Aux switch, the main lights are controlled, but the extra light is not. I can also see in the “Devices” tab that the status of the 3-way switch does not change if i use the Aux Switch. The status will update if i either:

  1. Press the button on the Primary Switch
  2. Click the “Poll Now” button in the “Advanced” page of the 3-Way switch settings. As soon as I click “poll now”, the status updates correctly, and the extra light turns on or off correctly.

I have tried setting the “Poll this device at least once every X seconds” to 5 seconds. However, this did not resolve the problem.

Any suggestions?

VeraLite: FW 1.7.318


This is expected. There are some prior topics on this. The GE’s do not support ‘true’ instant status, but there is a workaround in Vera that will provide some form of instant status. The restriction is that it works from the main switch only, and only when the main switch is in direct radio range of Vera.

Here’s just one recent reference.

BTW, does UI7 actually say: ‘Poll … at least once …’?

Sorry - my mistake. It’s “At Most”…

Poll this node at most once every X seconds (0=never poll, blank=default)

Thanks for the reply. Maybe I will just replace the 3-Way with 2 regular on/off relay switches? Could I have a scene that updates the other switch? Or would that create some kind of loop? Example, When Switch 1 is turned on, a scene fires to turn switch 2 on as well…


Theoretically you could have dozens of “secondary” switches in the scene all being triggered by switch #1. You could also make several of them triggers so that turning on either will trigger the scene.

But, be mindful of oTI@'s post. The GE switches do not have Instant Status. You are just enjoying some trickery that will not work if the switch cannot communicate directly with Vera, as against routing through intermediate nodes.

Well, I don’t know. This is what I was trying to do:

In my kitchen, I have 5 bulbs controlled by a 3-way switch; one switch at each end of the kitchen.

I replaced all 5 bulbs with Philips Hue bulbs. The problem then was, if you turned off the lights using the switch, you of course could not turn them on using the App. Also, Vera didn’t seem to be updating the status of the bulbs correctly if you used the switch. And there was no way I was going to convince my family to only use the app to turn on the kitchen lights and never touch the wall switches.

So, I decided to try the GE Z-Wave 3-Way switch, and I wired it so the lights were “always on” (Basically, connected the load wire to the line wire - I read this isn’t the best idea because you can’t turn the sockets off, but i wanted to give it a try). I then created a scene that would turn the Philips Hue bulbs on/off that was triggered by the GE Switch. This worked ok with the primary switch, but as we know, the Auxiliary switch did nothing. Also - and I found this to be strange - 2 of the 5 Hue bulbs would turn on for no apparent reason after about 5 to 10 minutes of being off.

So i re-wired the GE 3-Way correctly - Load to Load, and Line to Line - and deleted the scenes. Now the primary and the auxiliary switches function like they should.

The thing is, when you kill the power to the Hue bulbs, then turn them back on, the default to a regular white light at 100% brightness. They don’t “remember” what their last setting was. One idea I was hoping for was so that at night, when you switch on the lights, only one or two would turn on at say 25% brightness. This way, when you walk in from sleeping in the middle of the night to get a glass of water, you don’t get a blast of 3150 lumens in your face.

You get the point. This smart switch setup isn’t quite as smart as I was hoping for. Probably the biggest problem is I’m pretty new to this. I don’t know a whole lot about the programming and “PLEG” (Whatever that is), but i’ll keep trying to figure stuff out.

What would you do?


I don’t have any Hue bulbs. Interesting about the ‘after-power-loss’ default. Is it not configurable?

Sounds like it’s best to keep the Hue’s powered, so you can always control them from their native app. As for a physical switch, the key, as said, is instant status. If you’re not actually switching a load, a ‘scene controller’ type device may be a better fit.

You could consider the Enerwave 7-button controller for example. It’s not that expensive and will give you a sense of what is possible. Folks have reported some issues, so take a look at the topics here.

Out of the box, you could start, say, with assigning some lighting presets to some of the buttons and make the big button the ‘off’ scene. They did put (7 blue!) LEDs on the device, but it is my sense they just indicate the last button pushed; so don’t expect these to stay ‘in sync’ if you had multiple of these units doing the same thing.

Yeah, the hues require constant power for them to retain the settings. As soon as you cut power they reset to the default temperature and brightness. I heard somewhere that it might be fixed in a future upgrade but don’t hold your breath.

I’ve been looking at that controller for a few rooms that I have the hues in. Since they are always on, I thought about just connecting the wires to constantly supply power and then use this controller to just enable scenes for that particular room as to not suffer from any ‘sync’ issues.

Well I had been thinking about swapping out the GE “3-Way” (primary and auxiliary) switch with two regular GE On/Off switches. It would go something like this:

Wire the Hue lights to be “always on” (connect “Load” to “Line”). Ditch the traveler wire.

Set up a scene on each switch that:
When you push “On”, it turns the Hue Lights on, Checks the “status” of the other switch, and changes it to “on” if it is “off”.
Do the opposite for “off”

My concern was if this would create some kind of loop. For example:

Push Switch 1 On
The Hue Lights Turn on
Switch 2 Turns on
Switch 1 Turns on again (even though it is already on)
Switch 2 Turns on again (even though it is already on)
Switch 1…

Or would the scene stop once it turns switch 2 on?

You could probably do it with luup and create a condition such as if primary light was clicked, set variable, on secondary update status, and when it goes back to update on the primary it checks the variable first to avoid a race condition.

The aux switch is dumb, I believe. No neutral or no hot just a switch leg. Basically it’s a regular 3 way switch that’ll work with the main but won’t really communicate with Vera. Evolve accessory switches would work. Still no instant status but wouldn’t matter for your situation .

If layer you want to have it control a 2nd set of lights or change a different color if you press multiple times within a given time frame that when instant status becomes the limiting factor.

I have up on GE a while ago… There’s always a catch

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

[quote=“mthumphrey, post:8, topic:182957”][…]
Or would the scene stop once it turns switch 2 on?[/quote]
Untested (however I think there’s plenty of folks out there who do this), but IIRC that would work. You get one unnecessary on for the initiating switch, but the chain stops there, as an on-on event doesn’t cause a trigger.

If you already have another Z-Wave switch somewhere, you could give it a try. In fact, didn’t you say you already have this working, but the issue was the aux switch?

Keep in mind the restriction about direct radio range though; however, it sounds like you’re ok at your intended location.

So i hooked up two regular On/Off switches to act as a pseudo “3-Way” switch, taking the “Auxiliary” switch out of the equation, and wired the lights to be “always on”. I then set up a scene as i described earlier where when you push on/off, it turns the lights on/off and flips the other switch on/off. At first, only one switch worked, but then after a few minutes it started working as intended.

It’s working pretty well, but there are 2 issues i’d like to work out. First is that i’m seeing is that 2 of the 5 Hue bulbs will randomly turn themselves on to White light at 81% brightness. I have no idea why this is happening. It’s the same two bulbs every time.

Second is that while it remembers what color the lights were after turning off then back on again, it always turns them back on to 100% brightness. This makes sense, because that is how the scene is configured. I’m guessing there would be a way to record the brightness level of the light when you turned it off, then have it turn on to that brightness level when you flip the switch on. If anyone has any links to some code examples like this, i’d appreciate it. Has anyone worked with scripting Hue bulbs?