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AssuredElectrical
AssuredElectrical, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 3054
Experience:  Contractor-40 Years in the ElectricalTrade
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I have a GE z-wave 3 way switch to be used with the lowes "Iris"

Resolved Question:

I have a GE z-wave 3 way switch to be used with the lowes "Iris" wireless security system and I'm having a hard time with the wiring of the switch.

In both the upstairs and downstairs boxes are 4 wires, black, red, white and ground.

the main switch (zw-4001) has 5 terminals, line, load, traveler, neutral and ground.

the aux switch (zw-2002) has 3 terminals, traveler, neutral and ground.

I've tried a couple different ways of wiring the switches without success, while the light will come on, I cannot control it from either switch.

Sure could use some assistance on this.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  AssuredElectrical replied 10 months ago.

AssuredElectrical :

Welcome. My name is XXXXX XXXXX would be glad to assist.

AssuredElectrical :

First, need to know how many wires and their colors are in each box? Total wires, not just waht is connected to the switches.

Customer:

Hi Tommy, each box has 4 wires, black, white, red and ground

AssuredElectrical :

Ok, they did some non standard wiring on the 3 ways unfortunately, makes it very difficult without adding cables.

AssuredElectrical :

Do these control 1 light or multiples?

Customer:

just one light

Customer:

and the box says that it will work with existing wiring

AssuredElectrical :

ok, going to have to remove the light, then see if you find those same cables in the light box?

AssuredElectrical :

only if the existing wiring is there, they mis lead a lot on printing

Customer:

that's going to be quite difficult as the light is high on the ceiling.

AssuredElectrical :

if the 3 ways were a standard, then they would have a 3 wire cable and a 2 wire cable in the box

AssuredElectrical :

maybe they set a junction box somewhere? Is there an attic or basement near the switches?

Customer:

hmm, each location has the same wires, black, red, white and ground

AssuredElectrical :

they made the taps somewhere else, and dropped just waht is needed to operate the 3 ways.

AssuredElectrical :

the Z wave requires a hot wire and a neutral at each location

AssuredElectrical :

you do not have that in those switches

AssuredElectrical :

standard 3 ways flip flop power and no neutral

Customer:

that's interesting because the aux switch doesn't have a hot, it simply has neutral, traveler and ground

Customer:

it says it's basically a relay to the main switch

AssuredElectrical :

I have the manual, it states HoT, Neutral and Traveler

AssuredElectrical :

the other one is, Hot, Neutral,Load and Traveler

AssuredElectrical :

Maybe they have changed something, let me look for a newer one

Customer:

we must be talking about two different systems. this one I bought at Lowes for use with the Iris home security system and looking at the switches, the main switch has line, load, traveler and neutral and the aux switch has traveler, neutral and ground

AssuredElectrical :

For some reason, when using the ZW-002 it shows the same everywhere, even the manufacturer

AssuredElectrical :

But the other is short a wire, it needs 4

AssuredElectrical :

That is why we need to find the junction point of those cables, that has to be changed no matter how many wires.

Customer:

looking at the instructions that came with the switches it is showing what I mentioned above the aux switch (zw45610) has only the two connections plus ground

AssuredElectrical :

I think you have a single pole on the 2nd one, not a 3 way

Customer:

hmm, with the previous switches installed, I was able to control the light from two locations, one at the foot of the stairs and one at the top of the stairs. that would make it a 3 way switch, correct?

AssuredElectrical :

CLICK HERE, it is the Lowes manual for the 3 ways. Look at Page 8 and see

AssuredElectrical :

One has 3 wires and green, the other is 4 wires and green

AssuredElectrical :

I think you picked up one master 3 ways and one single pole or somebody put it in the wrong box

AssuredElectrical :

The 45638 is the kit number at lowes, it contains the same GE z-wave switches that have been around for years

Customer:

yes, that's the one that i have

Customer:

it came in a sealed package

Customer:

brb

AssuredElectrical :

ok

Customer:

thanks for hanging in there :)

Customer:

i have installed 2 of the other GE switches that lowes sells for this system and they are the same switch as the main switch in this system however they had the traveler connection taped over and they work fine with the single light that they're hooked up to.

Customer:

these switches just came one to a package

Customer:

but they are the identical switch

AssuredElectrical :

This is the key to the installation no matter how many wires.

You have to supply a constant power to the switch, you must have a nueutral,
you must have the load to the light, and you must have a traveler.
That does not exist in your situation with only 3 wires and a ground.
So, you have to find the junction box in order to chane the wire connections going to that
switch in order to connect it, PLUS you are a wire short.

AssuredElectrical :

You cannot connect 4 wires to 3.

AssuredElectrical :

I do these all the time. Also help customers with their installations. It pops up many times on how the switches were originally wired and changes have to be made.

AssuredElectrical :

You can do one single pole and operate the light

Customer:

ok, guess this is just not meant to be for me then as i'm not sure where the junction box would be.

Customer:

Ok, how would i wire it up for single pole?

AssuredElectrical :

Ok

AssuredElectrical :

Need to look at your 3 way switches. There should be one screw that is an odd color from the other 2, that is the common screw

Customer:

it still seems i'd be one wire short, right? neither location has the second black wire for the load, correct?

AssuredElectrical :

you have no neutral at either location

AssuredElectrical :

you have hot on one, load on the other, and 2 travekers at each

Customer:

i thought the white wires were the neutral?

AssuredElectrical :

no, they are hot when the switches are flipped

AssuredElectrical :

3 ways only

Customer:

oh, my mistake. ok, the old switch does have the odd color

AssuredElectrical :

new ones do for sure

AssuredElectrical :

probably black wires on the odd screws?

Customer:

the screw head is black, yes.

AssuredElectrical :

ok, and which wire is connected to that screw?

AssuredElectrical :

on each one?

Customer:

would've been black as i have it out of the wall right now. both switches are disconnected. i just have the wires coming out of the box now. power is off.

AssuredElectrical :

ok, we have to know in order to make the changes

AssuredElectrical :

there are many ways they wire them, there is no standard

AssuredElectrical :

Do this:

AssuredElectrical :

connect the red and black wires together at both switches. Tape off the white wires. Turn on power and see if the light comes on

Customer:

ok, give me a minute

AssuredElectrical :

ok

Customer:

yes, light is on

AssuredElectrical :

ok

AssuredElectrical :

will you look on that one switch with the 2 wires so I can find its instruction of which wire gets power?

AssuredElectrical :

do you have the instruction sheet?

Customer:

for the zwave switch?

AssuredElectrical :

the one with 2 wires

AssuredElectrical :

and ground

AssuredElectrical :

it needs a neutral too?

AssuredElectrical :

It must only be a slave, since it needs a neutral

AssuredElectrical :

we need a master with only 2 wires, but dont think they make one

Customer:

not sure what you mean as both my old switches have three wire connections plus ground

AssuredElectrical :

z wave

AssuredElectrical :

not the old switches

Customer:

Sorry, misunderstood you

AssuredElectrical :

no problem, we have gone through a lot so far

AssuredElectrical :

the z wave with the 3 wires, it needs a neutral too?

Customer:

the slave/aux switch just has traveler connection and neutral connection plus ground

AssuredElectrical :

Ok, that is what I was afraid of, it is a slave

Customer:

yes, that's how it' s been explained to me

AssuredElectrical :

so it only communicates with the master and cannot work on its own

Customer:

correct

AssuredElectrical :

yea, should have noticed that, sorry

AssuredElectrical :

I do not think the Z-wave line makes a master with 2 wires

AssuredElectrical :

So, our test will not help on the situation for Zwave

AssuredElectrical :

we know the black wires go on the black screws though

Customer:

the black screws are marked line and load

AssuredElectrical :

correct

AssuredElectrical :

one is line and the other is load. It is an or situation

Customer:

is there a way to make one location a single pole location?

Customer:

taking the slave box out of the equation?

AssuredElectrical :

Zwave 45612 is a 2 wire master

Customer:

the main box could still be controlled via my wireless controller

AssuredElectrical :

Only needs the 2 wires in either box

Customer:

wonder if it will work with the iris system?

AssuredElectrical :

CLICK HERE to see it

AssuredElectrical :

dont know on that, seems Z wave technology is the same, but not sure on the Iris system

Customer:

basically, the switch that i have isn't going to work for me, is that correct?

AssuredElectrical :

correct, they need the neutral on both, and without finding the box the cable goes to, we cannot make any tap changes to give it a neutral

Customer:

it's curious because, as i mentioned, lowes sells the main switch that i have now in a single package and the switch simpy has the traveler connector taped off.

AssuredElectrical :

but still need a neutral in any case with those

AssuredElectrical :

you do not have one at either box

Customer:

so, regardless of the switch i get, the zwave system requires the neutral?

AssuredElectrical :

no, I just posted one that doesnt, it is a single pole

AssuredElectrical :

there are no 3 ways without a neutral

AssuredElectrical :

but I do not know if it will work with the Lowes Iris

Customer:

ok, i'll have to check it out. i guess we've taken this as far as we can.

AssuredElectrical :

CLICK HERE to see it, it a 2 wire, no neutral needed, You would put it in either switch box and use the black for power and the red for load

AssuredElectrical :

join the black and red at the other switch box

AssuredElectrical :

just like we have now

Customer:

and use one of my old switches for the other box?

Customer:

or would i need two of these switches

AssuredElectrical :

no, single poles only work in one location

AssuredElectrical :

cannot use 2, only one

Customer:

what do i do with the other location, tie off the red and black?

AssuredElectrical :

correct

Customer:

and cover with blank cover.

AssuredElectrical :

correct, or a dummy switch

Customer:

ok, i think that's the direction i'll have to take.

Customer:

thanks so much for helping me out with this.

AssuredElectrical :

wish it was easier on the other, they should explain more on the products and tell you what is necessary to even start ijstead of in the box

AssuredElectrical :

glad to assist, just wish the outcome would have been better

Customer:

true, I've read on the forums that it's a trick to get installed...live and learn :)

AssuredElectrical :

technology is still going ahead, the future may eliminate the neutral

Customer:

ok...thanks much.

Customer:

true

AssuredElectrical :

your most welcome

Customer:

have a great rest of the day. thanks again

AssuredElectrical :

you too

Customer:

bye now

AssuredElectrical :

bye

Customer:

one last question

AssuredElectrical :

ok

Customer:

what's the white wire?

AssuredElectrical :

in your 3 way?

Customer:

yeah

AssuredElectrical :

ok, give me one sec to write it up

Customer:

ok

AssuredElectrical :

on 3 ways. One switch gets power on the black screw, when the switch is flipped, it send power out one of the other brass screws to the other 3 way switch, when the other 3 way is flipped it connects it black screw which is the light to one of the brass screws coming from the other 3 way. So, what is happening, is the switch flips power from black to red, then black to white.

AssuredElectrical :

So your white is power and not a neutral

Customer:

ok...thanks.

AssuredElectrical :

no problem

Customer:

thanks again...take care. Bye

AssuredElectrical :

you too

AssuredElectrical, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 3054
Experience: Contractor-40 Years in the ElectricalTrade
AssuredElectrical and 3 other Electrical Specialists are ready to help you

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