Where do wires go for 3 way switches go?

I have a light that is controlled by an existing 3 way switch. I want to take the 3 way switch out and replace it with a GE 3 way switch. Before I go and blow out one of the zwave switches :), can someone tell me, by looking at the attached drawing, where each of the wires go from the GE zwave switches?

If I have not included enough information, let me know and I will be sure to supply it!


I am no electrician, and this is my best guess. Double check before proceeding!

I will call the 2 switches SwitchL for left, and SwitchR for right.

You mention switch L only has 1 set of wires…can you confirm that? That seems odd. Usually wiring comes into one switch with hot/neutral, out to the other switch with neutral and travelers. Then into the other switch with the neutral/travelers, and out the the light with neutral/load.

Assuming the above is true…
Switch L has LINE in on one of the black cables, and the switch position determines whether the other black of the red is connected to it. You can flip the switch and see what happens to the “hot” side.

Switch R probably has the LOAD connected to the upper left black cable. The RED cables connect to each other.

Flipping SwitchL to ON (leaving SwitchR OFF) will cause the RED cables to become HOT, one black on SwitchL to go not hot, the upper-left BLACK on SwitchR to become HOT, the upper-right black on SwitchR to be not hot, and the light to turn ON.

Flipping SwitchR to ON (leaving SwitchL OFF) will cause the upper-left BLACK on SwitchR to become HOT, the upper-right black on SwitchR to be stay HOT, and the light to turn ON. Reds will have no voltage present.

If you have a tester, it would really help to kill the power, and test for continuity between the points.

Well, I did go back and look at the boxes and yes, there are 2 bundles of cables going in to each box. (I have edited the drawing to reflect that).

At this time, I can’t cut the power to check for continuity (my wife works from home and won’t let me cut the power :() so I will need to look at that either tonight or tomorrow night.

Is there anything else that I would need to provide so that if I do need to cut the power, I can take care of it at that time?


What kind of 3 way switches are you installing? The setups can be a little different.

It is a GE 3-way Dimmer Switch Kit #45613 where the master has 5 wires (ground, line, Neutral, Load and Aux) and the Auxiliary Switch has 3 wires ( ground, line or neutral and a yellow wire to the dimmer switch).

I have already installed 4 GE dimmer switches, a zwave thermostat and 2 Kwikset door locks with no problem, but I can’t seem to figure out these 3 way switches!

All help is appreciated!


Here is what I did, which worked for my lights, although I have since removed them, and converted to Levitons.

I assume you have neutral at each box? AS ALWAYS, CHECK THE DOCUMENTATION THAT CAME WITH THE DIMMER. They have made revisions to the switches, and you might have an old version. Hopefully you can sort it out. I can’t accept any responsibility. When in doubt, get an electrician!

  1. Turn off the power!
  2. At SwitchL, tie the the blacks together. This makes the black “LINE” all the way to SwitchR.
  3. Replace SwitchR with the main switch, connecting LINE (which had voltage in your picture), LOAD (the black in your picture that does not have voltage), Neutral and Traveler

TEST IT HERE…the main switch should work

  1. Replace SwitchL with the companion switch, connecting LINE/HOT and Red/Traveler
    This is per the manual: http://www.jascoproducts.com/support/manual-downloads/applications/DocumentLibraryManager/upload/45613-Manual-Eng.pdf

You can test after step 3 since you essentially brought LINE all the way to the main switch in step 2.

NOTE: This is for DIMMERS only. The manual for relay ON/OFF states the companion switch connects to NEUTRAL and TRAVELER. See here: http://www.jascoproducts.com/support/manual-downloads/applications/DocumentLibraryManager/upload/45614-Manual-Eng.pdf (page 6)


Thanks. Your directions were right on the money. It worked the first time that I flipped the switch! (You didn’t have any doubts, right?)

I want to thank you again - once you laid it all out, it all made sense and was a real timesaver for me…


Glad you got it! I’m no lawyer or electrician, so always have to CYA. ;D

I went through the exact same thing here with my wiring for a few switches, so I know how it is. You’re afraid to kill a $40-$80 switch with one misstep!