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Author Topic: Seriously? ANOTHER 3 way switch question? Yes. :)  (Read 1197 times)

Offline withay

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Seriously? ANOTHER 3 way switch question? Yes. :)
« on: May 27, 2016, 11:24:26 am »
Ok, I am replacing two switches that control my stairway light.  One switch at the bottom of the stairs, and one at the top of the stairs.
ALSO - I am replacing two switches that control my upstairs hallway light.  Once switch at the top of the stairs (with the stairway light!) and one down the hall.
These are completely separate circuits except for the switches at the top of the stairs share a box and power.  At least I think it's power.  At this hair-tearing point, it could control my basement bench grinder for all I know.

I have two shiny new WT00Z's, and two WS15Z-1's.

Please see my attached diagram for current (ha!) wire colors and placement.

I'm not a stranger to electrical work.  I've run new 220 circuits.  I've installed many Z wave switches.  I've installed ceiling fans.  I've hooked up generators.  I was an Avionics Tech in the Navy!

But these Z wave 3 way switch installs...  I just can't even!  Someone, please, just tell me what to hook where and what colors!

Offline echino

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Re: Seriously? ANOTHER 3 way switch question? Yes. :)
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2016, 12:09:29 pm »
I am not an electrician, but I installed three 3-way z-wave switches in my home, and they work. So I'll try.

For the stairway switches, first, you need to identify which of the black wires go to the load and which is hot line. Obviously, the black wire going to the load is only in one of the boxes - either upper or lower one. Then, you need a neutral wire (which is usually white) in the same box as your load wire. This will be the location where you install the master switch. Looks like you have neutral in the bottom box. So if one of the black wires in your bottom box goes to the load, then you are in luck, and can install master switch in the bottom and auxiliary at the top. Then you will need to figure out which wires are travelers, and re-purpose one of them to carry neutral from the bottom to the top.

Offline withay

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Re: Seriously? ANOTHER 3 way switch question? Yes. :)
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2016, 12:21:43 pm »
For the stairway switches, first, you need to identify which of the black wires go to the load and which is hot line.

Ok, easy enough, disconnect ALL the wires (twitch) and read each black wire to ground.
Obviously, the black wire going to the load is only in one of the boxes - either upper or lower one.

So - the black wire from ONE box goes to the load, the black wire in the OTHER box goes to the FIRST box...
Then, you need a neutral wire (which is usually white) in the same box as your load wire. This will be the location where you install the master switch. Looks like you have neutral in the bottom box.

But...  I have neutrals in ALL of the boxes, and none are hooked up.
So if one of the black wires in your bottom box goes to the load, then you are in luck, and can install master switch in the bottom and auxiliary at the top.

I'm with you on that.  The bottom is the one that's a "real" switch, and is wired in like a normal switch.  The auxilliary one at the top is only hooked to a power/neutral/ground and just asks the bottom switch to turn on/off the load.
Then you will need to figure out which wires are travelers, and re-purpose one of them to carry neutral from the bottom to the top.

LOL You sort of lost me on this one, as you talked about neutral wires already above.
AND...  What do I do with the red wires?  And any leftover wires?

Offline echino

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Re: Seriously? ANOTHER 3 way switch question? Yes. :)
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2016, 01:15:28 pm »
So you have a black wire going to the load in the bottom box? If yes, then install the master switch in the bottom box. Connect the black load wire to the load terminal on the switch. Connect hot line to the line terminal on the switch. Connect green / bare wire to the ground terminal on the switch. Take a white neutral wire and connect it to the neutral terminal on the switch. Connect red wire to the traveler terminal on the switch. One black wire which goes to the other switch becomes unused.

Then install the auxiliary switch in the top box. Connect the red wire coming from the bottom box to the traveler terminal on the switch. Take a white neutral wire and connect it to the neutral terminal on the switch. Connect green / bare wire to the ground terminal on the switch. All other wires are unused.

Should work.

But, if you don't have hot line power coming into the bottom box, you can re-purpose the unused black wire running between top and bottom, to bring power from the top box to the bottom box.

P.S. Again, I am not an electrician, and I have no idea what I am talking about here :)
« Last Edit: May 27, 2016, 01:20:05 pm by echino »

Offline withay

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Re: Seriously? ANOTHER 3 way switch question? Yes. :)
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2016, 01:55:01 pm »
I just did a lot of checking and testing:

I've got power and two travelers (red, black) and neutral and ground upstairs.
I've got load and two travelers (red, black) and neutral and ground downstairs.

SO-you're almost fully correct. There is no traveler terminal on the switch, as one switch is the master, and the other doesn't connect to the load.

BUT...  Otherwise, you're correct and I'm going to be ok!  I will be repurposing, as you said, the unused traveler black wire to provide power to the bottom box!

Thanks for the help!

Offline withay

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Re: Seriously? ANOTHER 3 way switch question? Yes. :)
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2016, 03:34:30 pm »
And we're done!  Victory is mine!