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Author Topic: Do I have a bad auxiliary switch?  (Read 9903 times)

Offline PhillipP

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Re: Do I have a bad auxiliary switch?
« Reply #30 on: January 13, 2014, 08:52:06 pm »
I actually have one on the way to see what voltage it is sending traveler to neutral. I have seen nothing in the documentation either that states what the conductors carry. Whether or not it should have 120v on it, it will definitely read 120v thru the circuitry when 120v is applied to the neutral connection.

As for a flame war. All I did was offer my assistance and educated assumptions based on the facts stated. There was no need for an attack on the offer of assistance. I see he has suggested people hire an electrician quite a few times. I was offering technical assistance free of charge instead of him having to pay $100+ for a few minute service call. I can see that is not welcome by some here and will be more careful with my generosity in the future. Why put a fellow electrician out of work.

I've seen quite a few devices using PLC schemes over the years even when a simple low voltage control would have been more cost effective and stable. I believe product engineers like to reinvent the wheel sometimes.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2014, 09:00:19 pm by PhillipP »

Offline Aegis

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Re: Do I have a bad auxiliary switch?
« Reply #31 on: January 13, 2014, 09:04:00 pm »
I actually have one on the way to see what voltage it is sending traveler to neutral. I have seen nothing in the documentation either that states what the conductors carry.

As for a flame war. All I did was offer my assistance and educated assumptions based on the facts stated. There was no need for an attack on the offer of assistance. I see he has suggested people hire an electrician quite a few times. I was offering technical assistance free of charge instead of him having to pay $100+ for a few minute service call. I can see that is not welcome by some here and will be more careful with my generosity in the future. Why put a fellow electrician out of work.

I've seen quite a few devices using PLC schemes over the years even when a simple low voltage control would have been more cost effective and stable. I believe product engineers like to reinvent the wheel sometimes.


Your comments are appreciated.  So many abbreviated diagrams don't even show the whole picture.  They never show the common connection of the remote switch after Zwave install. If it's the switch-leg for the feed to a light fixture, it can't be cut out of the circuit.  From what I can tell it has to be tied to the black traveler (assuming using red into the switch) to complete the circuit.

I had a GE/Jasco 3-way that was showing 120V on the traveler regardless of switch position (with downstream traveler disconnected) and the Jasco rep I spoke with said it should not carry 120V and was defective, but she wouldn't give me any specs whatsoever for me to confirm with my meter.  She said it was low voltage only though.  She said it was all top secret and wouldn't discuss further.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2014, 05:19:06 pm by Aegis »

Offline niharmehta

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Re: Do I have a bad auxiliary switch?
« Reply #32 on: January 13, 2014, 09:06:09 pm »
Thanks PhillipP.  Good intentions and all and it was obviously not your intention to trigger a flame war.     Looks like this one spun out of control.   Hopefully we all move on and continue to contribute to helping others.

2x VeraLite; 2xTrane Tstats; 45 x Switches/Dimmers/Appliance Modules; 4x Everspring Water Sensors; DSC Integration; 2 x Zwave Door Locks; 1x Ted5K; 1x Rainforest Eagle; Onkyo AVR; 6x Squeezebox;

Offline Edieguez

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Re: Do I have a bad auxiliary switch?
« Reply #33 on: January 14, 2014, 01:03:07 am »
Hey Phillip I appreciate the offer of help and I hope you don't mind if I take advantage of it.  I am a bit surprise to see a simple technical question devolve into an argument!  Its just a light switch... not need for people to get so upset and argumentative about it.

Offline niharmehta

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Re: Do I have a bad auxiliary switch?
« Reply #34 on: January 14, 2014, 01:03:41 am »
Well, I was curious and had an extra 15 minutes tonight. Measured the Traveler voltage. Surprisingly to me that the traveler is indeed 120V when compared to ground or neutral.  Same voltage in either setting. So there is some PLC probably.     Unless my working 3-way switch is defective, it is indeed 120V as per Z-Waver. 

I wish I kept my blown aux for proper dissection/inspection. 


Now, lets get on with our lives and try to be civil.
2x VeraLite; 2xTrane Tstats; 45 x Switches/Dimmers/Appliance Modules; 4x Everspring Water Sensors; DSC Integration; 2 x Zwave Door Locks; 1x Ted5K; 1x Rainforest Eagle; Onkyo AVR; 6x Squeezebox;

Offline Edieguez

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Re: Do I have a bad auxiliary switch?
« Reply #35 on: January 14, 2014, 07:32:07 am »
Well, I was curious and had an extra 15 minutes tonight. Measured the Traveler voltage. Surprisingly to me that the traveler is indeed 120V when compared to ground or neutral.  Same voltage in either setting. So there is some PLC probably.     Unless my working 3-way switch is defective, it is indeed 120V as per Z-Waver. 

I wish I kept my blown aux for proper dissection/inspection. 


Now, lets get on with our lives and try to be civil.

Did you try pressing the button and seeing if the voltage changed?

Offline oTi@

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Re: Do I have a bad auxiliary switch?
« Reply #36 on: January 14, 2014, 08:25:28 am »
The original GE kits are known to be prone to signalling issues between aux and primary. They have reportedly changed the design since then.

In the old kit, you'd find 1/2 of line voltage (~60V) on the signal wire (i.e. one of the 'travelers' in a mechanical 3-way) when the paddle was pressed. Up or down caused a different current to be carried through the wire. Per the reverse engineering of @FlyBoyBob, 3 years ago.

The new design may have abandoned this mechanism completely; I don't have any of the newer GE's.

@Edieguez,

As you validated the aux switch by directly connecting it to the primary, it must be a wiring issue. Did you connect the white in the aux box to neutral on the primary box side (it wouldn't have been wired like that originally)?

Does the light / primary work without the aux connected?
« Last Edit: January 14, 2014, 08:34:49 am by oTi@ »
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Offline PhillipP

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Re: Do I have a bad auxiliary switch?
« Reply #37 on: January 14, 2014, 09:49:41 am »
Hey Phillip I appreciate the offer of help and I hope you don't mind if I take advantage of it.  I am a bit surprise to see a simple technical question devolve into an argument!  Its just a light switch... not need for people to get so upset and argumentative about it.

Absolutely. Send pictures of the both switch boxes wiring and I will tell you exactly what wire needs to go where.

Offline Aegis

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Re: Do I have a bad auxiliary switch?
« Reply #38 on: January 19, 2014, 05:23:15 pm »
Successfully completed my 4-way install with a GE 45614 kit and a spare Jasco 45610.  The GE main switch does pass/show 120V at the traveler node regardless of switch position.  So it does send 120V to the traveler of the aux.  My previous kit that I sent back must have had a bad aux, not a bad main switch.

Offline Edieguez

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Re: Do I have a bad auxiliary switch?
« Reply #39 on: January 22, 2014, 03:11:51 pm »
Phillip,

Here are images of the wiring where the primary switch is.  There are two switches.  One controls an attic fan and the second controls the hall light.  In the image you see three bundles of wire. 

The one on the left (i.e., one black and one white wire) are the load and neutral for the attic fan. 

The one in the middle (i.e., one black, one red, one white) is for the aux switch for the hall light.  I have the black wire capped off on both ends and the red connected to the traveler screw on the primary and aux switch.

The one on the right (i.e., one black, one red and one white) are the load (red), line (black) and neutral (white) coming into the box.

In the ceiling lamp there is a line (i.e., black wire) nutted to the black wire that enters the primary switch box.  The red wire is nutted to the load wire for the ceiling lamp.

In the second picture you can see how I nutted the white wires.  The neutral coming from the aux switch is connected to the neutral screw on the primary switch. I have one short white wire connected to the same neutral screw nutted to the neutral from the ceiling light and a third short wire connected to the neutral screw on the other primary switch (e.g., the attic fan).

In this configuration the primary switch for the attic fan and the primary switch for the ceiling light both function. But pressing the aux switch does nothing. 

Any help is appreciated.

Offline oTi@

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Re: Do I have a bad auxiliary switch?
« Reply #40 on: January 22, 2014, 04:49:50 pm »
[...]  the red connected to the traveler screw on the primary and aux switch.
Wouldn't there be 4 terminals on the primary: line, load, neutral and traveler (and ground). So isn't the open terminal the traveler terminal and should have the red wire from the middle bundle / the traveler from the aux?
« Last Edit: January 22, 2014, 04:51:25 pm by oTi@ »
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Offline Edieguez

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Re: Do I have a bad auxiliary switch?
« Reply #41 on: January 22, 2014, 10:42:27 pm »
[...]  the red connected to the traveler screw on the primary and aux switch.
Wouldn't there be 4 terminals on the primary: line, load, neutral and traveler (and ground). So isn't the open terminal the traveler terminal and should have the red wire from the middle bundle / the traveler from the aux?

You are correct.  The wiring took me a while to trace but there are 4 terminals wired... its just that the load is also a red wire.  One red wire is the traveler that I believe connects straight to where the aux switch is and a second red wire is the load to the lamp.  This is because the way they wired this circuit is the hot wire goes into the ceiling light box (one black, one white), and is nutted to a 3-wire bundle. The hot wire to the black wire in the bundle, the red wire to the load (i.e., the ceiling light's black wire), and the white wire to the neutral from the incoming power and the load's white wire. Makes sense?