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Author Topic: Do I have a bad auxiliary switch?  (Read 10091 times)

Offline Z-Waver

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Re: Do I have a bad auxiliary switch?
« Reply #15 on: January 09, 2014, 11:28:18 pm »
Well come back and let us know the end result. There's a story here and I want to read it.

Offline niharmehta

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Re: Do I have a bad auxiliary switch?
« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2014, 12:54:19 am »
I I highly doubt that the the signaling is just using  a 5V to 10V difference off of the main voltage.  Every time your voltage drops in your neighborhood, the lights would trigger. The traveler voltage is likely much lower and uses a specific signal.   If you connected a 120V traveler to your aux, you may have blown your aux switch. You may want to test again.  ( I blew one of mine when I started installing my first one) . Also you may want to switch out the master switch, that one may be the one damaged, not the aux.


1) The actual line. Usually it will be a black thats tied to other blacks. 
2) The box closest to the light will be the main switch
3) Disconnect EVERY wire in the aux and main for the circuit.
4) Map every wire using a continuity tester.
5) In both boxes, make sure that the neutrals are all connected to each other.

Have you verified how your 3 way wiring is ? There are several different ways.  The main rule is tracing the line, load, and neutrals for the entire circuit.  I have had 3 ways that I needed to connect through two blacks in the aux box. ( I forget exactly the set up that required this).

Anyways.. good luck!


 
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Offline PhillipP

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Re: Do I have a bad auxiliary switch?
« Reply #17 on: January 12, 2014, 12:53:15 pm »
Sounds like your auxiliary switch location used to be a dead-end 3-way. How many individual wires are present at the auxiliary location and what are their colors?

Offline Edieguez

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Re: Do I have a bad auxiliary switch?
« Reply #18 on: January 12, 2014, 06:31:04 pm »
There were three wires at the aux position: black, red and white.  All three were used with a standard 3-way switch.  When I swapped in the z-wave buttons, I capped off the black wire on both ends (not needed) and used the red (traveler) and white (neutral).  I didn't get a chance to work on it this weekend... I hope to next weekend as my wife is on my case for "breaking" the three-way switch :-).

If you read my notes above, I am pretty sure its wired correctly as I can see the voltage drop at the primary switch when I press the aux switch. 

Offline PhillipP

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Re: Do I have a bad auxiliary switch?
« Reply #19 on: January 12, 2014, 07:18:37 pm »
If that is all that is in the box, 1 white, 1 black, and 1 red with no splices or other conductors you do not have a neutral in that box.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2014, 07:22:25 pm by PhillipP »

Offline TC1

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Re: Do I have a bad auxiliary switch?
« Reply #20 on: January 12, 2014, 07:22:50 pm »
Phillip, not necessarily true, one method for 3-way circuit wiring is to supply the neutral and power from the lighting fixture box (which has the power feed coming in) to the switch boxes involved in the circuit.

Offline PhillipP

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Re: Do I have a bad auxiliary switch?
« Reply #21 on: January 12, 2014, 07:34:12 pm »
Sir, 18 years as an electrician tells me that if you have a 3-way location with ONLY three conductors you do not have a neutral at that location unless you go to the other location and make wiring changes. Basic wiring. A white wire does not always mean neutral.

If the above is true, only three conductors, I would be happy to walk him thru the steps involved to give him the required neutral.

Offline TC1

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Re: Do I have a bad auxiliary switch?
« Reply #22 on: January 12, 2014, 07:45:32 pm »
I stand corrected, I read the original description too fast. I agree, there's no need for a neutral in the current configuration, one is simply switching the hot wire between the poles of the SPDT switch. My apologies.

Offline RichardTSchaefer

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Re: Do I have a bad auxiliary switch?
« Reply #23 on: January 12, 2014, 08:25:33 pm »
Do not confuse the strategy for  multi-way signalling in today's electronic switches with the techniques used in old fashion single pole/double trow switches.

They are NOT the same ... and in fact each manufacturer has a different strategy. You must follow the circuit diagrams that came with the switch ... and you must be able o support the required wiring interconnections.  Depending on your wiring situation you may or may not be able to use the switches from a particular manufacturer.

Electricians have been very clever in saving a few cents on wires in the past ... causing problems now that the technology has changed.


Offline PhillipP

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Re: Do I have a bad auxiliary switch?
« Reply #24 on: January 12, 2014, 08:54:18 pm »
There is only one wiring situation I can think of where he wouldn't be able to use these switches and that doesn't exist in his case because the main switch works.

The voltage he is seeing should probably not be there. The remote switch is using the neutral and a conductor from the main switch so I would assume it is using the neutral as a zero reference and the other conductor is some sort of 0-10v control or similar setup. It definitely isn't looking for variations of 120v or it would go crazy every time a motor starts or any other power fluctuation.

Edieguez, pm me tomorrow with pictures of the wiring in each box and I'm almost positive I can get you up and running. You may have already fried the remote switch though.

Offline Edieguez

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Re: Do I have a bad auxiliary switch?
« Reply #25 on: January 12, 2014, 09:13:01 pm »
Hi Phillip,

I will send you pictures on Tuesday.  I am pretty sure the aux switch is still OK because of some testing I did with it wired directly to the primary.

1. At the primary switch there is a line (black), a load (red), a traveler (red), a neutral (white), a second black (going to the aux along with the traveler, and a second white (going to the aux along with the traveler).
2. At the aux there are three wires: a black, a red and a white.
3. At the light there is a line (black) wing nutted to the black going into the primary switch, a load (red) going into the lamp from the primary, a neutral (with the line) and a white coming from the primary switch.  From memory, the white from the primary switch, the neutral and the lamp's white wire are all wing nutted together.

I capped off the 2nd black in both the primary and aux switch.

Offline Z-Waver

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Re: Do I have a bad auxiliary switch?
« Reply #26 on: January 13, 2014, 09:50:01 am »
@PhillipP - It appears that you are indeed an experienced electrician because you don't seem to have read this thread or the switch's manual.
The voltage he is seeing should probably not be there.
And... you're wrong. The traveler between the 45609 and 45610 switches does indeed carry 120Volts.
Quote
I would assume
You really should know better.
Quote
other conductor is some sort of 0-10v control or similar setup.
As previously stated, your assumptions are wrong.
Quote
It definitely isn't looking for variations of 120v or it would go crazy every time a motor starts or any other power fluctuation.
Definitely, huh? What if that variation was a particular digital sequence at a particular frequency like say 802.3/3u powerline networking(HomePlug) rather than any random variation(noise)? I'm not saying that's the case here, I don't know how these remotes signal as it's not documented and I haven't put one on a scope. But, I'm going to go out on a limb and say, you're wrong.
Quote
You may have already fried the remote switch though.
Again, you're wrong.
Quote
I'm almost positive I can get you up and running.
I'm sure you will eventually.

Carry on.

Edit: Added diagram. HTH
« Last Edit: January 13, 2014, 11:57:19 am by Z-Waver »

Offline PhillipP

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Re: Do I have a bad auxiliary switch?
« Reply #27 on: January 13, 2014, 01:03:23 pm »
@PhillipP - It appears that you are indeed an experienced electrician because you don't seem to have read this thread or the switch's manual.
The voltage he is seeing should probably not be there.
And... you're wrong. The traveler between the 45609 and 45610 switches does indeed carry 120Volts.
Quote
I would assume
You really should know better.
Quote
other conductor is some sort of 0-10v control or similar setup.
As previously stated, your assumptions are wrong.
Quote
It definitely isn't looking for variations of 120v or it would go crazy every time a motor starts or any other power fluctuation.
Definitely, huh? What if that variation was a particular digital sequence at a particular frequency like say 802.3/3u powerline networking(HomePlug) rather than any random variation(noise)? I'm not saying that's the case here, I don't know how these remotes signal as it's not documented and I haven't put one on a scope. But, I'm going to go out on a limb and say, you're wrong.
Quote
You may have already fried the remote switch though.
Again, you're wrong.
Quote
I'm almost positive I can get you up and running.
I'm sure you will eventually.

Carry on.

Edit: Added diagram. HTH

Whatever dude. I'm not going to get into an internet fight with you. Troll on. But to satisfy you this one time... I read both. I am correct it isn't looking for voltage variations it's either PLC or 0-10v. Voltage and frequency are two different things. It would be safe to say that anytime a device is connected incorrectly you could let the smoke out. Their documentation says as much. And I can have the device up and running in a few minutes for him. Done many variations of the same thing over the years.

Thanks for the unprovoked attack.

Carry on.

BTW. Your diagram doesn't match his wiring situation.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2014, 02:39:06 pm by PhillipP »

Offline PhillipP

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Re: Do I have a bad auxiliary switch?
« Reply #28 on: January 13, 2014, 07:40:55 pm »
2. I wired the original aux switch directly to the primary (i.e., I used two small 14 AWG wires to connect the aux directly to the primary without using the wiring in the wall).  In this case, the original aux switch correctly turned on/off the light when pressed.  From this, I assume the primary switch is OK and when wired correctly a signal is received at the primary switch when the aux switch is pressed.

3. I connected the primary switch to the new aux switch using the in-wall wiring. Again, pressing the button on the new aux switch did nothing.
If you proved the Old Aux switch was good, why did you switch out to the new "unproven" Aux switch? It doesn't matter, I'm confident the new aux switch is good too.

Your switches are improperly wired. Simply measuring the presence of voltage on the wires isn't telling you anything useful. My suspicion is that your meter might read voltage at the Aux switch with the traveler disconnected from the primary(that would be useful in telling you that the wiring is not what you think.).

Your wiring is not what you think it is. You need to positively identify every wire. If you can't then hire the electrician.

But don't let an electrician offer to directly help you free of charge. Zwaver will chastise said electrician to try and show how he is far superior to said electrician. I've heard the electrician thinks zwaver is an overpaid engineer who can make anything work on a sheet of paper.

Offline niharmehta

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Re: Do I have a bad auxiliary switch?
« Reply #29 on: January 13, 2014, 08:20:08 pm »
Well.. That  escalated quickly  ::)
Let's all check our ego's a bit and have our monday AM coffee  first before we start flame wars .

I have installed about 8 GE 45613's kits.   I should have, but have not yet metered the traveler.  However, I can say for a fact, that I have blown two Aux switches with a noticeable flash under white plastic when I have connected them wrong.   
 Not 100% sure how I did it since it was a few months ago, but it was before I was careful about disconnecting everything on both sides before wiring everything up and hit the traveler with 120V.   Maybe I crossed to ground, but either way, they blew easily.  I also assumed that the traveler was not using 120V and stated this as well. I could very well be wrong.  However, I have not seen anywhere where the traveler voltage is specified.  There is no technical manual online to verify exact specifications that I could find.


I would be surprised they would add the cost and complexity of PLC over 120V vs a simple low voltage signal.  No reason at all to carry 120V over the traveler as it increases the cost of the circuitry of the Aux and probably decreases reliability.  I would have assumed something simple like a 24v with a digital signal over it. 

I am curious enough now to open one of my walls tonight to check.  Whether I am right or wrong.. it will be something learned.   

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