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Author Topic: 3way with dead-ends powered from light - Confirming options  (Read 7045 times)

Offline paulcusick3

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3way with dead-ends powered from light - Confirming options
« on: February 05, 2014, 08:31:37 am »
Hi all.  I've done a ton of research, (e.g. http://forum.micasaverde.com/index.php?topic=9160.0.  I've learned a lot, which is always worthwhile.  So many intelligent people in this community.   

I believe that all of the multi switches in my house (3 and 4 ways) have the main feed going direct to the light and then out to the switches, with dead-ends.  I've drawn this conclusion after finding only 2 travelers and 1 common in the three way switches.  I am trying to wire the lowest end, GE 3-way from Lowes.  I think I have one option to make this work, but it has been a few months since I gave up last.  Not all of the boxes have other neutral wires that I can tap to power the aux switch.  Here is my thoughts:

 1. Pull the wires out of the ceiling at the light and identify the two travelers going to the three way and main switch
 2. Convert one of the travelers from each switch into the zwave traveler that goes between the switches, wire nutted at the light.
 3. Convert the other traveler going to the aux switch into neutral. (mark appropriately)
 4. @aux, identify the new traveler and neutral, test, mark, connect and ground.
 5. @main, tap other neutral, wire load, line and ground.

Comments please.


Offline BulldogLowell

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Re: 3way with dead-ends powered from light - Confirming options
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2014, 08:43:34 am »
Look at this thread for the Aeon switch setup, which you may want to consider.

Power going to the light directly is very common and this approach may suit your requirements better.  Lowes has a great return policy!

http://forum.micasaverde.com/index.php/topic,22980.msg155212.html#msg155212.

Offline oTi@

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Re: 3way with dead-ends powered from light - Confirming options
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2014, 09:00:14 am »
5. @main, tap other neutral, wire load, line and ground.
So you have another neutral in the main box? Is the power coming in there (instead of at the light) perhaps?
Dezwaved at the moment...

Offline paulcusick3

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Re: 3way with dead-ends powered from light - Confirming options
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2014, 10:22:36 am »
@Oti - The main switch is a shared box with others that have a neutral.  The 3-way stands alone w/o a neutral.

@bulldog - I like that option.  This also would keep the existing switches.  Which diagram for this 3-way situation?  3-way has only 3 wires, two travelers and common, +ground.

Offline aa6vh

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Re: 3way with dead-ends powered from light - Confirming options
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2014, 10:23:31 am »
I believe that all of the multi switches in my house (3 and 4 ways) have the main feed going direct to the light and then out to the switches, with dead-ends.  I've drawn this conclusion after finding only 2 travelers and 1 common in the three way switches.

I highly recommend that you do not assume anything. Get a voltmeter, and verify which lines go where, at each outlet. Might save you from considerable problems down the road.

Offline BulldogLowell

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Re: 3way with dead-ends powered from light - Confirming options
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2014, 10:29:45 am »
yup, use caution and "Know" which wires are the line, not conclude by looking.  Use the voltage meter.

You should try to wire like "3-Way with Live Wire"  This means you need to 'wrap' your traveller through  the 3ways as diagramed.  The wall switches will cause a signal back to the Aeon (a pulse).  The Aeon detects that pulse and switches state.

Offline oTi@

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Re: 3way with dead-ends powered from light - Confirming options
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2014, 10:32:27 am »
@Oti - The main switch is a shared box with others that have a neutral.
Same neutral / circuit as the light is on? This is essential.

If there is a neutral in the main box, and there is a line, you could possibly power the Z-Wave switches and light from that. But you have then moved the light from one circuit to another.
Dezwaved at the moment...

Offline BulldogLowell

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Re: 3way with dead-ends powered from light - Confirming options
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2014, 10:36:58 am »
@Oti - The main switch is a shared box with others that have a neutral.
Same neutral / circuit as the light is on? This is essential.

If there is a neutral in the main box, and there is a line, you could possibly power the Z-Wave switches and light from that. But you have then moved the light from one circuit to another.

Plus, it is a 3-way switch setup, so that adds more complexity.  I would not recommend changing the switch to a new circuit, you may inadvertently create a crossover and a safety hazard.

Offline paulcusick3

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Re: 3way with dead-ends powered from light - Confirming options
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2014, 10:44:24 am »
I believe that all of the multi switches in my house (3 and 4 ways) have the main feed going direct to the light and then out to the switches, with dead-ends.  I've drawn this conclusion after finding only 2 travelers and 1 common in the three way switches.

I highly recommend that you do not assume anything. Get a voltmeter, and verify which lines go where, at each outlet. Might save you from considerable problems down the road.

yes, that is representing in both "Identify" and "Test" in my steps.

Offline paulcusick3

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Re: 3way with dead-ends powered from light - Confirming options
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2014, 10:46:08 am »
@Oti - The main switch is a shared box with others that have a neutral.
Same neutral / circuit as the light is on? This is essential.

If there is a neutral in the main box, and there is a line, you could possibly power the Z-Wave switches and light from that. But you have then moved the light from one circuit to another.

Everything in the box is on the same breaker.... but does that mean same circuit? No?

Offline paulcusick3

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Re: 3way with dead-ends powered from light - Confirming options
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2014, 10:49:18 am »
Another option.  One of the lights is in the garage.  Given the location of the 3-way, I will never use it..... have not used it once.  Is there a way to cap it off an convert the main switch to a standard switch?  Sounds easy.

Offline BulldogLowell

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Re: 3way with dead-ends powered from light - Confirming options
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2014, 10:56:41 am »
yup, just close the circuit by connecting the wires.  You will then need to replace your three way in the other box with a single pole.

Then you have a phantom box and an unused traveller, which electricians and homeowners usually despise.  Just put a note in the box after you cover it, you should not leave the old switch there.

You should probably keep the integrity of the circuit and wire it as it is with the existing 3-ways.  But if you want to use your new three way kit, and not wait for the AEON, have at it.

Let us know how it works out.

Offline kkl

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Re: 3way with dead-ends powered from light - Confirming options
« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2014, 11:21:53 am »
Same neutral / circuit as the light is on? This is essential.
There have been previous discussions here on this topic.  When I tried it, my circuit breaker kept tripping.  It turned out the problem was my lighting circuit was on on Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI).  Many others have reported success using a neutral from a different circuit.  In the load center, all of the neutrals land on a common bus (unless AFCI or GFCI protected).

Offline kkl

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Re: 3way with dead-ends powered from light - Confirming options
« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2014, 11:29:34 am »
To the OP, is your lighting circuit like this?
http://www.homeimprovementweb.com/information/how-to/three-way-switch-option2.htm (Attachment 1)

If so, and you've got that separate neutral available to your GE master switch (45609), I believe it is possible to use these switches with your circuitry.  I find the GE wiring diagrams to be very confusing.  Attachment 2 presents it in an easier to understand fashion.  As mentioned above, verify all of your wiring.  Don't trust that the wire colors are correct.  Especially in your scenario, they probably are not.  Assuming all of the above, the circuit depicted in Attachment 3 may work for you.

Offline Z-Waver

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Re: 3way with dead-ends powered from light - Confirming options
« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2014, 12:23:38 pm »
If the wiring is as displayed in the above linked image, the GE/Jasco 45609(ZW4001) or it's 3-way derivative cannot be used. Additional wires are required.

If the wiring is the same as the previously linked diagram, an Aeon Labs Micro In-Wall Appliance Switch can be used. As depicted in the attached diagram.