Author Topic: GE Z-Wave® Dimmer Switch (3-Way Kit)  (Read 57014 times)

tosvus

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Re: GE Z-Wave® Dimmer Switch (3-Way Kit)
« Reply #30 on: January 21, 2011, 06:02:46 pm »
Hi Vito,

The Top box has three holes:

hole1:
-white, that passes through to hole2 (not touching any switches)
-orange (goes to switch for downstairs light)
-yellow (goes to switch for downstairs light)
-blue (twisted together with blue coming out of hole #3)

hole2:
-white (as mentioned from hole1)
-orange from switch for upstairs light

hole3:
-4 brown wires (2 to each switch)
-1 blue (as mentioned twisted together with blue from hole1)

with some help from saf101, I got the master switch for the upstairs to work by doing the following:
GE master blue -> orange going into hole2
GE master black -> twisted together with both blue wires
GE master white -> cut white wire that passed through, and wired all three whites together.
GE master yellow -> one of the brown wires

However, I am not able to get the Aux switch for upstairs to work, regardless of color combinations there. (unless I missed some).

Also, I think you have a point, I'm going to have a problem with the downstairs light, as there is no white wire to tap into for that one (neutral?). I may get stuck on that one anyways.

Vito

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Re: GE Z-Wave® Dimmer Switch (3-Way Kit)
« Reply #31 on: January 21, 2011, 06:35:10 pm »
Ok, I think I have this...  I feel like my brain is about to explode when I deal with 3-way and 4-ways, lol.

My assessment is that Hole #1 contains both your hot (blue) and neutral (white) [you're lucky if you have a neutral, I'm jealous].  Your neutral wire (white) is passing straight through to your light fixture, which you may need to tap if you end up getting all of this to work.  Your hot wire (blue) was jumped to the blue wire in hole 3 in order to pass the hot straight downstairs to your lower 3-way switch.

Downstairs, your switch was pulling the hot from your blue wire, and switching it between the two brown wires (one of which will be be passing the hot back up to your top dimmer, depending on the switch position).

So, if you keep the blue wire going straight to the blue wire that leads downstairs (and don't tap it upstairs), one of the brown wires coming back will be hot.  You can test all of this if you had a multimeter, since you could leave the downstairs switch in one position and identify which brown wire is active.  If all of this is true, connecting the active brown wire to the orange wire in hole #2 will power your light. 

If this is the case, then you'll want to first test a normal 3-way switch upstairs.  You can do this by looking at your 3-way (non z-wave).  One of the three connections will always be active and the other two will be switched.  Connect the two brown wires to the switched lines and connect the orange (to hole #2) to your always-active line.  If everything here is true, which will be a miracle, then your 3-way upstairs will work.

If we've identified the correct wires, you would want the following connections made to use your z-wave dimmer:
  Blue: Goes to the orange wire in #2, to provide hot to your light.
  Black: Will need a hot source, which would be blue from #1.
  WHite: This is your neutral, so you would tap into your white to get it.
  Yellow: This is your traveler, so you could use one of the two brown wires.
  Green: Ground, so you can connect this to your metal gang box.

For the auxillary downstairs, you would connect the following:
  White w/ Red stripes: This must connect to the same hot that your primary is connected to, so you'll have to keep that #1 blue feeding the #3 blue upstairs and use the downstairs blue wire for this.
  Yellow: The traveller would connect to the same brown wire that you're using upstairs.
  Green: Ground, so connect it to the box.

I really hope this helps, as I know the hell I went through figuring most of this out over the past couple of weeks.

Sincerely,

Vito

tosvus

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Re: GE Z-Wave® Dimmer Switch (3-Way Kit)
« Reply #32 on: January 21, 2011, 07:52:15 pm »
Hi Vito,

My apologies, I have probably spent too much time looking at the wires today - I'm having trouble following logic at this point :)

I'm not entirely following what you are first saying about letting the blue wire go through like before, and then feed into it when it comes back in a brown wire.  I put the master switch upstairs, and it actually sounds like the wires are connected exactly like what you describe below. The same goes for aux downstairs. It actually does seem to work now that I figured which wires to use down there, but it doesn't dim (a regular bulb) well, and is finicky to turn on and off. (doubletaps to turn off, single tap to turn on, and sometimes it doesn't respond). The master switch and my remote controller dims just fine.

I think I'll keep it as is for now (I rarely use the aux switch anyway). Now I need to wire the second 3-way, and maybe you can help me figure that one out. saf101 said I should probably put the master switch for that one downstairs (and that is what I want too since I turn off the light/dim downstairs from there 90% of the time). After wiring the first switch I have the following wires available to me to work with in the downstairs box:
3 brown wires (1 was left over from 1st 3-way)
1 blue wire I can tap into for power
Can I with these wires a) put the master downstairs, and b) is it ok to somehow tap into the neutral (white) going to the light upstairs in order to get the downstairs 3-way dimmer to work?




Vito

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Re: GE Z-Wave® Dimmer Switch (3-Way Kit)
« Reply #33 on: January 21, 2011, 08:21:03 pm »
I know it's hard to keep focus on the craziness of 3-way setups, but there's one thing about the GE Z-Wave dimmers you need to understand.  You don't have a choice as to where you can put the primary.  It has to be installed at the switch that directly connects to the light.  Since the primary is the only device that will turn your light on and off, it has to be the device in control.  The aux switch just sends a signal to the primary to do the work, so if it's not setup correctly, it won't work right.

Just to clarify on my earlier post, most of it was leading up to getting two normal 3-way switches to work.  It wasn't meant for setting up the z-wave device.  I was hoping that by getting two normal 3-way switches to work, we would be properly identifying how your wires are setup.

tosvus

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Re: GE Z-Wave® Dimmer Switch (3-Way Kit)
« Reply #34 on: January 21, 2011, 09:06:18 pm »
Thanks for your patience, Vito :)

Well, I got it to work, sort of... I think the upstairs light is wired exactly as you say, and it worked pretty well (as mentioned finicky), until I set up my 2nd 3-way switch, more on this later :)

So, the 2nd 3-way switch I did the following (maybe too clever for my own good here....haha):
1. put masterswitch downstairs
a) hooked GE black into the blue wiring in the box
b) hooked GE blue into brown(1)
c) hooked GE white into brown(2)
d) hooked GE yellow into brown(3)
2. put aux switch upstairs
a) hooked GE red/white into blue wiring in that box
b) hooked GE yellow into brown(3) (from downstairs - positive about this one)
3. finished masterswitch connections in upstairs box
a) hooked brown(1) into orange+yellow for downstairs lights (turns out orange is one row of lights, yellow is another)
b) hooked brown(2) into white really going to upstairs light(in order to get neutral - my only place to find neutral)

The 2 most obvious questions/issues;
a) unable to verify if I hooked brown1 into brown2 and vice versa, as the previous switch had the cables bundled. What happens if I mixed them up?
b) can I use any white/neutral? seems like it should work?

Result - Masterswitch for upstairs lights work perfectly. Masterswitch for downstair lights work perfectly. NONE of the aux switches work at all....

Any ideas?

EDIT:

I have verified that brown1 goes to brown1 etc. When I switched them, the main electric panel started humming, so I promptly switched them back ;)

Also, I have found that the upstairs light occasionally will respond to a command from aux to turn off or on, but it is incredibly random, and I may need to use master or remote controller to turn on/off before it works once or twice. The other aux is completely dead..
« Last Edit: January 21, 2011, 09:23:42 pm by tosvus »

Vito

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Re: GE Z-Wave® Dimmer Switch (3-Way Kit)
« Reply #35 on: January 21, 2011, 09:22:14 pm »
My original post to you was focused on the workings of the upstairs light, completely ignoring any wires that you mentioned a relation to the downstairs light.  So, if you follow those instructions, they should guide you to a working set of switches for the upstairs light only (one 3-way switch upstairs and one downstairs, both controlling the upstairs light).

If I were you, I would focus on getting the one light to work with two normal 3-way switches and then the GE z-wave switches.  That being said, I didn't draw out the diagram to represent your downstairs light.  You had mentioned that you had a white and an orange wire going to your upstairs light.  Where are the wires that are going to your downstairs light? (The direct-to-light wires)

tosvus

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Re: GE Z-Wave® Dimmer Switch (3-Way Kit)
« Reply #36 on: January 21, 2011, 09:33:15 pm »
I understand, I'm impatient I guess :)

to be clear, the whole project started out with two fully working 3-way switches (the ones I took pictures of) (of course 2 sets of 3-way switches = 4 physical switches, math I'm still capable of at least haha). these worked perfect, but seeing I want z-wave that wasn't good enough ;)

The upstairs light was relatively simple, as it has the orange and white as you mention, both accessible from upstairs box. (At that point, I had the Aux switch working for that 3-way switchkit, *mostly* doing what it was supposed to do. (following your wiring))

The downstairs light seems to use yellow AND orange in order to run 2 clusters of lights. these are also located in the upstairs box. In addition I expect there must be one(or two?) neutral/white going directly to the lights themselves, but not accessible from any box. I got around this limitations (well, you see the result..) by using the neutral/white for the upstairs light to also connect with the downstairs master switch (since it apparently needs neutral). So now I have two master switches that work beautifully, and two aux switches that either don't work at all, or intermittently.

 Below is my crude attempt at showing the wirescheme (which wires are available where, and how I *think* it goes around the house.



« Last Edit: January 21, 2011, 10:11:38 pm by tosvus »

Vito

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Re: GE Z-Wave® Dimmer Switch (3-Way Kit)
« Reply #37 on: January 21, 2011, 10:04:46 pm »
tosvos,

Believe me, I completely understand what you're going through.  I can't stress that enough.  It took me about three days to fully understand my wiring.  It would have been sooner, but I refused to believe that I couldn't get my new GE dimmers to work with my wiring, but without a neutral, it just wouldn't work.

There's a couple things you need to understand to get this to work.  The first is your wiring and how it works with normal 3-ways.  The second is the difference between normal 3-ways and the GE 3-ways.  Let's tackle the first...  At your downstairs box, you have a blue wire and four brown wires.  The hot is bringing power to both of your 3-way switches down there.  Think of these switches as "Y" switches, where the blue is coming in on the bottom of the "Y" and each of the two "Y" switches have two browns connecting the top two lines.  Depending on the position of the switch, the hot will either pass through the left side or the right side.  But both of these brown wires (per switch) will travel upstairs to the 2nd switch.  Now, in the 2nd upstairs switch, the power flows in the reverse direction, from the top (two lines) to the bottom (single line).  The two browns upstairs are connected to the top part of the "Y", and the orange wire that powers your light is connected to the bottom of the "Y".  If the brown wire that's hot is coming in on the top-left part of the "Y", and you flip the switch upstairs so that the switch is connecting the top-left to the bottom, you're going to get light.  Now, if you switch either the downstairs or the upstairs switch, one of the lines are going to flip to the other side, breaking the connection.  Understanding this will help you, especially if you need to put your old 3-ways back in (I don't think you'll need to do this now).

Ok, for the second part...  With the GE Z-Wave switches, power is no longer running through each switch in order to complete a path to your light.  It's completely different.  The primary z-wave switch needs to be right at the light source.  You should be able to get this single switch working before you worry about getting the Aux switch working, since the primary does NOT need the aux to work.  Once you get the primary working, you only need to have the aux switch tap into the same hot line, as well as have another line (traveller) connect the two via the yellow wires.  This is because, as others have stated, the aux simply sends "messages" over the hot and traveller wires, up to the primary.  The primary receives these "messages" and then controls the power to the light.

I'm sorry if I'm rambling, it's tough to get a clear picture for what you're doing and what you know and understand.  I think that you should either focus on getting two ordinary 3-ways to work with a single light, or get a single primary z-wave switch to work with one light.  Either one of them will be a good step forward.  If you get the single primary z-wave switch to run a light (from the box with the wires to the light), then you simply need to jump two of the wires down to the Aux (one must be hot, the other just a wire that connects the two switches).

Wishing you the best...

tosvus

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Re: GE Z-Wave® Dimmer Switch (3-Way Kit)
« Reply #38 on: January 21, 2011, 10:16:24 pm »
Hi again Vito,

I do appreciate you trying to get me on the right path. I sort of think I am part of the way there - having both master z-wave switches controlling the lights they are supposed to. It's down to the aux ones that have got me stumped (and it may be that I need to rewire everything to get this working if at all possible).

I attached a couple of diagrams to show it as clearly as I can. It is truly a masterpiece to look at ;) haha

At this point, I can't see what I'm doing wrong - maybe a good nights sleep will give me a fresh set of eyes and the capability to digest all the hints I have been given! :)

Thanks again everyone :)

Chimpware

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Re: GE Z-Wave® Dimmer Switch (3-Way Kit)
« Reply #39 on: January 22, 2011, 04:27:35 am »
Vito has it right, let's just make it as simple as possible, if you have the Master Switch working, that is probably wired correctly as it would not work at all if it were not.  The Master switch only requires 3 connections to work properly wit the light (White, Black and Blue), which are neutral, power and load respectively (Again this depends on your original 3-way wiring).  Disconnect the yellow wire to make sure you have this right for the Master switch.  So to make it simple if your Master switch works you are halfway there.

To get the Aux working, you should have 2 wires running between the boxes at the bottom and top of your stairs and you need to know which is which (i.e. you need to determine Brown 1 and Brown 2) .  Easiest way is to connect power to each one, one at a time and check at opposite side which wire is now hot and add labels to them.  Once you have them set use one to run power from the bottom to the top of the stairs and connect to Red/White wire on the Slave switch and use the other as the signal wire connecting to the Yellow wire on the Slave switch.  If you disconnected Yellow on the Master Connect that to the same brown (Brown 1 or Brown 2) that you have connected to the Yellow wire on the Slave switch.

That should be it, but recognize that even when wired properly these switches might not work (the Slave I mean), and you may only get about 50% brightness from both switches as the Slave seems to cause issues if the wiring run for the signal carrier gets interference from the power lines.  You may not have this issue as it appears that your wiring is all single wiring and not a cable Romex type wiring.

BTW, that is some confusing wire coloring...

Vito

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Re: GE Z-Wave® Dimmer Switch (3-Way Kit)
« Reply #40 on: January 22, 2011, 06:32:22 am »
Chimpwire brings up an excellent point that I had forgotten about - interference.  I remember having some trouble with that as well.  Since you mentioned that you had two primary controllers working, you may want to disconnect one of them and see if that allows your aux switch to work.  Labeling the brown wires is also a good idea.

tosvus

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Re: GE Z-Wave® Dimmer Switch (3-Way Kit)
« Reply #41 on: January 22, 2011, 07:08:15 am »
Thanks Vito and Chimpware. I will simplify the wiring, and move the 2nd 3-way master to the upstairs box as well, and try to get both of them running without aux first. I think I have managed to successfully label each wire, but until I get a multimeter or something I'm not 100% sure.

I'll keep you posted.

santakrooz

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Re: GE Z-Wave® Dimmer Switch (3-Way Kit)
« Reply #42 on: January 22, 2011, 10:58:51 am »
I had interference on one of the traveller legs (red wire) and had to abandon the aux. You'll know if there is interference on the traveller if you get about 50% brightness with the switch at 100%, it will also operate like it's glitchy. If you measure the traveller with it disconnected at both ends, you'll probably find some load on it - it needs to be zero or close to zero. Unfortunately regular analogue dimmers are more tolerant of interference so it may have worked previously with traditional dimmers.

But all my others were clean and worked fine.

Also, like you Vito, took me a while to figure out how my existing 3-ways were wired. The key "ah ha" moment was realizing that really all I needed was to determine was which load wires (black/blue) were going to and from the light itself. A decent multi-meter helped me figure that out. Then locating the neutral/common (white bundle of wires). And then figuring out which was the traveler (red)... once I realized what I was looking for, it was pretty easy.

Also you mentioned something that is important - which is that the primary MUST be in the location that carries the load to the light. You'll waste time trying to get it to the primary working in the remote location.  They are not interchangeable.
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tosvus

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Re: GE Z-Wave® Dimmer Switch (3-Way Kit)
« Reply #43 on: January 22, 2011, 04:29:45 pm »
Santakrooz, thanks for the tip. I picked up a multimeter today. Will be trying again tonight. Last resort if I can't get acceptable performance on Aux is to pick up the GE wireless wall-plate controller thingy. Gets expensive if I have to do it for all places I have 3-ways though...

kaldoon

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Re: GE Z-Wave® Dimmer Switch (3-Way Kit)
« Reply #44 on: January 22, 2011, 04:49:49 pm »
The other alternative is the ZTW103 Controller: http://smarthome-products.com/p-970-homepro-ztw103w-z-wave-wall-mounted-transmitter-white.aspx  used with the GE Dimmer this is called a virtual 3-way switch   :)