Yet another 3-way question (Pics)

Hello all,

I have spent a lot of time reading up on the wiring for these GE switches and I’m not sure if I have received two bad units, or if I am mis-wiring and destroying them. I am trying to replace 2 standard 3-ways with the newer screw terminal GE 3-ways. These switches control 3 overhead fixtures in the kitchen.

First I disconnected all the wires and determined which box has the main line from the breaker. This is Box 1 (Red, 2 black, and added a White) and the line seems to be a RED wire and not a black wire. The meter reads nothing on the other lines but 120v on the red to neutral. It was attached to the old common. So I guess red is the Line. Anyway I wired up Red to Line, one of the blacks to Load and one to traveler. Neutral to Neutral.

This box had an ORANGE and 2 black. I pulled a Neutral wire from the lights down to the box. The Orange wire seems to be the LOAD wire and was connected to the old Common, it goes directly up to the light.

I am able to get the main switch to work at either location, however the AUX never works. Also included is a picture of the Main switch working on Box 1. Aux does NOT work on box 2 with one traveler and the load wired together in a nut, a traveler in traveler (tried both blacks) and Neutral connected.

Here are the 2 pictures of each box and one of the main switch when connected and working on box 1.

I could have sworn i heard a pop when I applied the breaker, but I’m 100% sure the correct Line (red) was in the switch. I did have a standard switch on box 2, but I dont think this should have damaged the GE main controller.

Does this sound right?

I can’t make sense of your wiring from your description. Even with the pictures, I can’t know what the wires I’m looking at are truly connected to. For instance, while it is possible that the red is your line, this would be highly unusual. The picture shows tape on a black wire. Tape is usually used to indicate line voltage, not a load as you state. This causes me to suspect that you have not yet determined how your wiring is configured.

When using the GE/Jasco 45609(ZW4001) master switch, it cannot share the circuit with a standard switch. Whether or not you caused damage is unknowable. Popping noises when energizing a circuit are usually very bad. The only way to make sure is to wire the switch correctly and see if it works.

I would recommend that you wire the 45509 by itself by itself, without any travelers or 3-way configuration. Once you get it working by itself, it should be relatively simple to add the GE/Jasco 45610 remote auxiliary switch for 3-way use.

Attached are wiring diagrams for these switches. Which of the different diagrams is appropriate for your installation is dependent on how your existing wiring is configured.

Hi Zwaver, thanks for the reply. I put those pieces of electrical tape on the wire before I took apart the original 3way. The only reason I did that was to remember which black wire was wired under the common wire. With all the wires disconnected, the only 120v reading I got was from the red wire.

If you look at the picture of the 45609, that configuration was working. However the Aux did not work. I tried both black wires to the Aux. Each time moving one black wire into the aux, and the other attached back to the orange load wire. Neutral was always connected.

So basically I can get the 45609 to work without a problem, it is the aux that does not work. This is my 2nd set of these where that was the case.

When you checked the wires at in box 1 was the aux switch in box 2 disconnected? If not, the red wire could be a traveler feeding power back from the aux. It’s possible that both line and load are actually in box 2, and the red traveler was hot because of the position of the aux switch. That’s basically how 3-way switches work. The two travelers pass the line current between the two switches, so either can make or break the circuit to the load. In the Z-wave switches this is not the case.

Normally the red is either the switched hot or one of the travelers, not the line. Also, you stated that you connected one of the black wires in box 1 to the load terminal of the switch. What does that black wire connect to? Did you connect it directly to the load wire in box 2, or to the aux switch?

It sounds to me like you either have the wrong wire on the line terminal, or you have the load terminal connected to a traveler, but I’m just guessing based on your description.

I’m certain I had all switches disconnected when I was searching for the line.

It would make a lot more sense if any of the black wires would have read hot.

I assumed these black wires in box 1 are the travelers. But The load is definitely that orange wire in Box 2.

At the Aux end in box 2, I tried using each of the black wires as the traveler. To complete the circuit I wire nutted the load (orange) to the black wire not in the aux switch. So my aux looked like one black wire, one white. The aux never worked, but the main switch continued working.

Thanks for your help. I have added can-lights, outlets, and replaced switches but have never had so much trouble.

Since the switch is working and controlling the light, the rest is easy.

Please, verify that you have a neutral wire in both boxes (Box 1 and Box 2) and that they are attached to the Neutral for the mains power.

That is, you don’t want a neutral to neutral connection on the two switches, you want them BOTH connected to your household neutral (mains power). If a mains neutral enters at Box one, you need to wire that to the neutral (white wire) that goes to Box2. Add to that a short jumper that takes those two wires and connects them to the neutral terminal on the switch in Box 1.

Then, all you need to do is make sure that the traveller (check the continuity between the two switches) is connected to the two switches.

This isn’t a three way switch, and the wiring is nothing like a three way switch.

There was no neutral wire in Box 2, however I was able to add one. I ran it down from the ceiling through the conduit from the neutral bundle in the light fixture that is on the same circuit and controlled by the original switches. It’s almost like I am 2 for 2 on dead AUX switches, but that is a high defect rate if true.

and the terminal Box 1 neutral is connected to mains?

if the main switch works, and the aux doesn’t, then the only thing that could be wrong is that the traveller isn’t connected to both switches, or possibly you picked up the neutral for Box 2 on another circuit.

Sorry, I cannot be more helpful.

you could try one more thing.

remove the aux from box 2, and hang it off of Box 1.

Jump the neutral to neutral and Traveller to traveller. This will tell you exactly if your switches are working OK or the problem is in the wall (wires).

be careful.

[quote=“Bulldoglowell, post:8, topic:179766”]and the terminal Box 1 neutral is connected to mains?

if the main switch works, and the aux doesn’t, then the only thing that could be wrong is that the traveller isn’t connected to both switches, or possibly you picked up the neutral for Box 2 on another circuit.

Sorry, I cannot be more helpful.[/quote]

Is it even possible the traveler wires aren’t connected? It does function correctly and independently with conventional 3ways.

The neutral in box 2 came off the neutral that the lights are tied to, so I’d assume they are on the same circuit. The Neutral in Box 1 could MAYBE, be on another circuit. I simply pigtailed a neutral onto the exiting neutral in the box. But as far as I know, there was only 1 set of neutrals in box 1 so it’s not likely they are on another circuit or phase.

I appreciate all the help. I guess I will buy a 3rd set of switches. Or maybe try this set on another 3-way in the house…ugh…

you can test them by direct connect i posted earlier.