Possible to NOT use Auxiliary Switch in GE 3-Way Switch?

Hi, I need help with the GE Z-Wave 3-Wave On/Off Switch.

I want to install it on a set of outdoor lights (5 total) that are controlled by 4 indoor switches. Presumably, the two “outside” switches are 3-Ways, and the two in the “middle” of the circuit are 4-Ways.

The online pdf manual for the 3-Way On/Off Kit (45609/45614) at Jasco’s website says you can use two auxiliary switches and a primary on a 4-Way circuit. But I have a total of 4 Switches. Does this mean I need a third auxiliary?

  1. Can I just install the primary on one of the two 3-Ways and NOT install any auxiliaries instead? I’m assuming the primary would function as an regular on/off switch where the other 3 regular switches can still turn the lights on and off, but the smart remote with the LCD won’t know if the lights are on or off. I mean… I can easily tell if the lights are on or off simply by looking out one of the many windows. Meanwhile, I can turn lights on or off with my trusty remote without getting off the sofa…

  2. Or would it work, but only in cases where the original three circuits are in certain up/down (on/off) configurations?

  3. Or, this CAN’T be done at all with my 4-Way?


yes, you would need an extra aux switch.

you can use the 3 way switches without the aux switch as a regular switch, but I’m pretty sure you would have to disconnect the other switches.

you can use multiple AUX switches, since each 3-way package comes with them, and many of us use the switch as a “single” location switch, many of us have extras AUX switches to use in other locations, when needed.

I just did my hallway, it had (2) 4-way switches, and (2) 3-way switches (4 control points). the power came into the box on 1 end, and the switch leg was all the way on the other end.

what I did was, wire the “120V hot” to the black traveller, and use the “red” wire as the “control” lead, so each box has both 120V, Neutral, and the control lead. this way, I was able to put the actual switch in the last box, that has the “load” wire in it, and each box also now has 120V availble, if I decide to put a scene controller in some of 3 AUX locations (see the other thread about the monster scene controller sale)

Also, I want to point out that I have over 120 feet of wiring (14/3) in total between these 4 boxes, so that 20’ distance limit people have been complaining about has not affected me.


Thanks for both replies, particularly to Mitch.

"[i]I just did my hallway, it had (2) 4-way switches, and (2) 3-way switches (4 control points). the power came into the box on 1 end, and the switch leg was all the way on the other end.

what I did was, wire the “120V hot” to the black traveller, and use the “red” wire as the “control” lead, so each box has both 120V, Neutral, and the control lead. this way, I was able to put the actual switch in the last box, that has the “load” wire in it, and each box also now has 120V availble, if I decide to put a scene controller in some of 3 AUX locations (see the other thread about the monster scene controller sale)[/i]"

To be clear here, you installed only the GE Z-Wave primary switch in the last spot right before the load/lights, and did NOT rewire the other three original switches while using no GE Z-Wave auxiliaries? And all 4 switches (including the newly installed primary of course) can turn the lights on/off? If you have a GE Z-Wave Smart Remote, does it correctly register the on/off state of the lights in question? (For me, this last point about the Smart Remote is not important, as long as all 4 switches can control the lights, especially the Z-Wave primary.)

P.S. I have zero experience in electrical wiring. But I want to start learning and become a DIY’er since I want to make few minor changes around the mancave. I won’t be attempting anything until I’m confident I know whats going on.

Not quite. All 4 locations needed to be resided, because they had traditional 3 and 4 way switches.

I removed them and used the GE/Jasco remote switches (the ones that come with the 3 way kit)

The rewiring was also required to get the “hot” (120VAC) line to the box with the load wire in it
There was a 14/3 wire running from box to box, the black is now wired to “hot”, the white is now “neutral”, and the “red” is connected to the GE/Jasco control wire (yellow on the module and remote switches)

Hope this cleared it up for you

BTW, there is another brand of zwave switch that can work with traditional 3 and 4 way switches, but I think that’s even more work to get going. I think the model # is “CA3000”.


Well, I totally got that a**-backwards. I knew I was a genius. ;D

Thanks for clearing things up. At the very least, I know it can be done with 4 controllers.

However, can you or anyone else definitively tell me what I originally wanted (i.e. use only one Z-Wave Primary switch in a 4 controller situation + preserving the functionality of the other three traditional switches) is simply NOT possible?

Otherwise, I’m looking at about $200 alone in the cost of three 3-Way On/Off kits. Given that I completely read you wrong, it may be wiser to let a professional electrician to do it for me. :stuck_out_tongue:

You can use an “intermec CA3000”, it’s a single
switch, and it can work with traditional 3 and 4 way switches for the remotes.

In my case with the GE/Jasco on/off zwave 3 way switch, it’s just using 2 of the spare remote switches I already have, you don’t need 4 Zwave switches.

You need to investigate how your wiring is setup, if you’re not comfortable with that an electrician could certainly assist you. Google “CA3000” from Intermec, you should be able to find a PDF of the manual that shows how to wire it with 3 and 4 way traditional switches

The Intouch and HomeSettings switches are/were the only that are capable of using standard 3 & 4 way switches and don’t need a special companion switch. http://www.smarthome-products.com/productspecs/CA3000-Manual.pdf

@kaldon … does this say that leviton doesnt work???

@grybrd If you read my replys, I am using the GE/Jasco’s for 3 and 4 way switches, using the “control” lead on an on/off module (GE 45609)

I have several extra “remotes” from the Radio Shack 3-way kits, they work fine with the GE/Jasco switches (pretty much the 45609 and 45613/45614 kits which come with 1 remote each)

I have stayed away from Leviton, as I did 2 entire houses for less than 1/2 the cost of equiping 1 house with Levition switches, this was possible because of the Radio Shack massive Zwave liquidation (modules where $10 to $15 at the end)

Dude … read the whole thing … was wondering if kaldoon excluded leviton because it wont play with normal switchs

As far as I have discovered, if you want to use standard 3 and 4 way switches WITH a Zwave switch ONLY the CA3000 can so that

I don’t think this is a big deal, because most likely you are going to have to open up your 3 and 4 way switch boxes to find out how your wiring works anyway.

I find the GE/Jasco to work just fine, even on over 120’ of connected wiring between the 4 locations, using the GE slave switches (45610 I think is the part #)

I didn’t like the CA3000 when I ordered a few, they seemed very cheaply made and looked like they would break within months

I know nothing about the Leviton switches, I won’t spend that kind of money on switches. $35-$50 is plenty already. Who would spend $70-$120 on 1 light switch, thats nuts.


When I posted this: “At the very least, I know it can be done with 4 controllers.”, I meant that now I know that a set of lights controlled from 4 locations/switches can be converted to a GE Z-Wave configuration wherein one GE Z-Wave primary and 3 GE Z-Wave auxiliaries are used. Because that is what you did, correct?

To do what you did, I would need 3 auxiliaries and 1 primary, which means I’d have to get 3 kits and prolly an electrician.

Regardless, can you (or anyone else) tell me definitively that I simply can’t use just one GE Z-Wave primary switch and NO auxiliaries and still have the other three traditional switches still function? I’m (stubbornly) assuming the real reason GE even made the auxiliaries is simply to insure that when you hit the “ON” button on the GE remote, it turns the lights on; and when you push the “OFF” button it does indeed turn the lights off. So, I’m assuming it’s all about being consistent with the remote.

I’ll look into the intermec CA3000 and weigh the options. Thanks for the heads-up on that. If the CA3000 is not compatible with GE remotes, I’ll probably stick with GE. (I have three GE smart remotes thanks to Radio Shack’s sale. Besides, it’s a pain to have two keep two entirely different types/brands of remotes handy.)


So you’re saying I can’t use just one GE primary with no GE auxiliaries and keep the traditional switches, right?

Is the CA3000 compatible with GE remotes? The pdf you linked seems to say so. This is a much more attractive option price-wise: One $95 switch installed by an electrician vs 4 switches from 3 x $65 kits installed by an electrician.

Installing once switch is something I might try myself after a month of studying 3 and 4 way switches—in my spare time. But replacing all four switches? I’d need to study the situation for 2-3 months before I’d attempt anything.

@blue42 I bought all of my switches at the Radio Shack sale, probably at least 30-35 of them.

I only bought 3-ways because I read the master can be used standalone (just insulate the yellow control line and don’t use it)

This left me at least 15 extra slave switches, which I have been using on other GE zwave switches (mainly the "on/off model)

I’m sure i could send you a few :slight_smile:

also the GE only works with the GE slaves, the intermec CA3000 can work w/Standard 3 and 4 ways, you should be able to google and find the installation PDF on the CA3000 which shows how to wire it up with standard switches as slaves


Thanks for the offer, but it doesn’t guarantee that the auxiliaries will work for my switches. I have no idea where exactly the wiring runs. I only know where the switches are.

Kaldoon actually posted the pdf manual for the CA3000 and it includes wiring instructions.

Kaldoon’s smarthome link also says this: “The CA3000 Wall Switch is a Z-wave™ enabled device which is fully compatible with any Z-wave enabled network. Z-wave enabled devices display the Z-wave logo and guarantee connectivity and interoperability between devices. Each line powered node in a Z-wave network is designed to act as a repeater forming a mesh network eliminating radio “dead spots” and providing the highest level of reliability.”

I guess I wrongly assumed this meant compatibility with remote controls from other brands too, namely GE.

I’ve also been contemplating installing two $20 Home Depot flood lights consisting of two lights each which come with the typical three pronged plugs and simply plugging it into one of my GE Z-Wave modules. This option means I don’t need to know about or to touch any wiring, hire an electrician, or buy any modules since I already have a bunch. This was my plan B all along. ;D

P.S. Plan C is the CA3000. I’m still weighing my options, sir. Guess Plan A is a “No Go” :wink:

I just called tech support (800-654-8483) from the Jasco website for GE Z-Wave products.

I spoke to a female tech support chick. Imagine that, a female tech support chick! She was like way smarter than me. Aw Man! Next, they’ll want the right to vote and remove their burkas. >:(

Anywho, lady know-it-all told me that GE Z-Wave products are NOT electrically compatible with traditional switches, so I either have to disable all other traditional switches within a circuit or replace them with 3 GE Z-Wave auxiliaries. So everyone here was right on this regard.

However a grand silver lining: She also told me ANY Z-Wave product can be controlled by ANY Z-Wave remote regardless of brand. :smiley:

Guess I’m going with the Intermatic CA3000, baby! 8)

If you have EXISTING 3-way and 4-way switches, there is a %100 change there is a 14/3 (or a 12/3) cable between the boxes, there is probably a 120V Hot also in 1 box, and the “load” wire out to the fixture on another box.

Part of installing and being your own electrician is for you to figure out the wiring, even replacing a traditional 3-way with a CA3000 switch, you are still going to have to understand how the wiring works.

Also, the GE Remote slaves are plentiful, we all have extras from buying Radio Shack 3-way dimming lamp modules, we could get you these for just a few bucks in shipping costs to you.

Good luck with the Intermatic CA3000, I thought they felt rather cheaply built, I bought 3 of them and returned them and went with GE 45609 on/off switches with 3 way capability, and used several of my extra GE slaves to get multiple switch positions working with it.

The switch below uses the standard GE/Jasco remote slave, I have 3 of them on it, works perfectly. We all have extras on these slaves, they are pretty common, I have at least 10 here unused. This was part of the Radio Shack bonus…



Actually, what I’m going to do is let an electrican install two Intermatic CA3000’s on two different sets of existing lights. These are priority projects for me.

I’m going to put off being my own electrician for a couple of months or longer. Electrical, gas, and even water work requires a lot of certainty for DIY’ers. I simply don’t have the time to read up to the point where I’m absolutely confident in my abilities–right now.

I found a website (automatedoutlet-com) which sells these CA3000 for $34.95 a piece. Not quite Radio Shack liquidation prices but pretty close, given that these often go for $90. I spoke to the tech suppport guy and he told me they bought over 50,000 discontinued Intermatic products, which included these CA3000’s at a tiny fraction of the normal rate for retailers. Thus, they were passing on the savings.

He also told me that these CA3000 were very high quality, contrary to what you’re saying. Frankly, I don’t know what to make of it. He is an electrician and you’ve installed a lot of stuff yourself. Nothing else you’ve posted contradicts the tech support from Jasco or AutomatedOutlet.

The CA3000 has its own auxiliary slave switches, but he warned me they may not work with the GE Smart remotes or remotes of other brands since Intermatic didn’t strictly adhere to Z-Wave protocols when they designed the CA3000’s auxiliary slaves. EDIT: He did confirm, as did the Jasco techie, that the CA3000 itself is fully compatible with other remotes, namely GE.

The added bonus for me is he told me the CA3000 should be compatible with my motion detector manual override switch (a different set of lights), which the techie at Jasco couldn’t tell me, i.e. compatibility with GE.

However, for the CA3000 to work with traditional switches, the traditional switches would have to be in one of the many various “ON” configuration in my 3 & 4-Way switches. For me this is not a problem. As long as the remote can turn the lights on and off.

Since I’m currently doing a number of other (non-electrical) upgrades for my house, cost is an issue. I figure the cost here will be 2 x $34.95 + $80 (electrician). The electrican I’m looking at has high ratings from AngiesList. I’m certain the guy can probably do both in less than an hour; otherwise it’s an additional $25/15min. I can part with $150 for not one, BUT TWO different sets of lights.

On the other hand, the cost of replacing all four switches is to buy 3 kits at $65/each (might as well since I’m going to need another primary for the motion detector override–assuming compatibility) + replacing the manual override switch for the motion detector may exceed $350. And there’s no guarantee the GE slaves will work with my wiring.

Thanks again Mitch. Yours and Kaldoon’s posts were quite important for my online recon.

P.S. Much of my posting here is to help inform others who are considering alternatives.

P.P.S. The techie from Jasco was unable to 100% definitively tell me that a single GE Primary (with no GE auxiliaries) is not compatible with traditional switches. She only told me that they were not intended to work along side traditional switches. So there’s still a little wiggle room here. Of course, she seemed 99.9% certain that it couldn’t be done.


[quote=“mitch672, post:7, topic:168511”]You can use an “intermec CA3000”, it’s a single
switch, and it can work with traditional 3 and 4 way switches for the remotes.[/quote]

Have you used the CA3000? My question was if I use a standard switches for any of the remotes off the CA3000, will the status of the CA3000 for the dashboard will always show the correct value of the load? If so I’ve just saved a ton of money here at the house by buying the old discontinued CA3000’s because I can use all of them in a 2 way switch situation with only a standard single pole as the remote.

I suggest you look at the wiring diagram on the installation PDF, no, I use only GE switches. I ordered several CA3000’s, and didn’t like the “look and feel” of them (they felt cheap and like they would be broken in about a month), and sent them back.