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Mike G.
Mike G., Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 7485
Experience:  Proven Professional 48 years Experience
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I'm having difficulty installing a zWave 3 way switch. I

Customer Question

I'm having difficulty installing a zWave 3 way switch. I turned off the electric and tested both boxes to determine what lines are hot after disconnecting the existing switches. One box has Red, Black (Hot), White (Hot) and the other box has Black (Hot), Red, Black. Each box has an additional single pole switch connected to separate single lights. It appears that the Existing switch layout was (same order as I stated above) Red (Traveller), Black (Traveller-Hot), White (common-hot) and the other box switch was connected as Red (Traveller), Black (Traveller), Black (Common-hot). Please help! This is connected to 6 Can LIghts in the Kitchen.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Mike G. replied 8 months ago.

Hi, I'm Mike and I'll be assisting you. Please stand by while I review your question.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Thank you so much Mike. I appreciate the assistance.
Expert:  Mike G. replied 8 months ago.

What are you using for a tester?

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
A very simple milwaukee voltage detector sensitivity range 50-1000
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
i attached diagrams of the boxes because there is another switch in the same box which common neutrals are tied together.
In one box, a white wire was connected to the blacks. diagram shows connections.
Expert:  Mike G. replied 8 months ago.

That what I thought. 3 way Z-wave switching required the Z-wave to be installed where you have the switched hot to the fixture, a hot wire and a traveler wire. If the one switch shown in your diagram has all3 wires in one cable, you'll be short one wire for the installation. That indicates the feed is at the fixture and not at a switch box. What you should have is 2 blacks and 1 red on the old switches.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
This is consistent what what I read online. I assumed the installation was hot at the fixture since there was a white wire tied into the blacks on one side. Hence my trouble. The Z wave dimmer Should be on the hot side direct from the panel and the relay is just a normal 3 way leviton switch. I got confused when determining what side to put it on since the one side has 2 hot leads.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
one side has 2 blacks and one red. One of the blacks is hot. The other side has a white, red, and black all in one jacket, black and white both hot.
Expert:  Mike G. replied 8 months ago.

You need a 2 wire voltage tester to positively identify what is hot. Noncontact testers only alert you there is a hot in the box, one hot will faultsly show other wires as hot when they aren't.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
ok, interesting... that's what I went to home depot to get and I gave up at that point. the Zwave has a black wire (hot), red, white, green (ground) and then a red/yellow (traveller). I assume the red is the first traveller and the red/yellow is the second traveller?
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
which side do i put the zwave dimmer controller on and which side do i put the normal slave 3 way on? if i determine which is truly hot, does the hot for each go on common?
Expert:  Mike G. replied 8 months ago.

The red is to the light and the red/yellow is the only traveler. It uses the single traveler and a neutral at the other switch. So at the Z-wave you need a hot, neutral, traveler and load wires.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
does the z wave go to box one or two?
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
ok, so hot is black, neutral is obviously white (which i need to tie into the neutral bundle in the box), load is red (on the zwave) and the traveler on the Zwave (yellow) is most likely the red between both boxes.
Expert:  Mike G. replied 8 months ago.

At the second switch, the white neutral wires to the black screw. The traveler wires to either gold screw. One gold screw is vacant.

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
figured it out! Thank you it works!
Expert:  Mike G. replied 8 months ago.

Very good, you're welcome.

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