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Author Topic: Possible to NOT use Auxiliary Switch in GE 3-Way Switch?  (Read 13914 times)

Offline Blue42

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Possible to NOT use Auxiliary Switch in GE 3-Way Switch?
« on: June 14, 2011, 01:33:37 am »
Hi, I need help with the GE Z-Wave 3-Wave On/Off Switch.

I want to install it on a set of outdoor lights (5 total) that are controlled by 4 indoor switches.  Presumably, the two "outside" switches are 3-Ways, and the two in the "middle" of the circuit are 4-Ways.

The online pdf manual for the 3-Way On/Off Kit (45609/45614) at Jasco's website says you can use two auxiliary switches and a primary on a 4-Way circuit.  But I have a total of 4 Switches.  Does this mean I need a third auxiliary?

1.  Can I just install the primary on one of the two 3-Ways and NOT install any auxiliaries instead?  I'm assuming the primary would function as an regular on/off switch where the other 3 regular switches can still turn the lights on and off, but the smart remote with the LCD won't know if the lights are on or off.  I mean... I can easily tell if the lights are on or off simply by looking out one of the many windows.  Meanwhile, I can turn lights on or off with my trusty remote without getting off the sofa...

2.  Or would it work, but only in cases where the original three circuits are in certain up/down (on/off) configurations?

3.  Or, this CAN'T be done at all with my 4-Way?

TIA

Offline dkeefe

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Re: Possible to NOT use Auxiliary Switch in GE 3-Way Switch?
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2011, 08:56:32 am »
yes, you would need an extra aux switch.

you can use the 3 way switches without the aux switch as a regular switch, but I'm pretty sure you would have to disconnect the other switches.


Offline mitch672

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Re: Possible to NOT use Auxiliary Switch in GE 3-Way Switch?
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2011, 09:02:33 am »
you can use multiple AUX switches, since each 3-way package comes with them, and many of us use the switch as a "single" location switch, many of us have extras AUX switches to use in other locations, when needed.

I just did my hallway, it had (2) 4-way switches, and (2) 3-way switches (4 control points).  the power came into the box on 1 end, and the switch leg was all the way on the other end.

what I did was, wire the "120V hot" to the black traveller, and use the "red" wire as the "control" lead, so each box has both 120V, Neutral, and the control lead.  this way, I was able to put the actual switch in the last box, that has the "load" wire in it, and each box also now has 120V availble, if I decide to put a scene controller in some of 3 AUX locations (see the other thread about the monster scene controller sale)

Also, I want to point out that I have over 120 feet of wiring (14/3) in total between these 4 boxes, so that 20' distance limit people have been complaining about has not affected me.

Mitch

Offline Blue42

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Re: Possible to NOT use Auxiliary Switch in GE 3-Way Switch?
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2011, 02:19:51 pm »
Thanks for both replies, particularly to Mitch.

"I just did my hallway, it had (2) 4-way switches, and (2) 3-way switches (4 control points).  the power came into the box on 1 end, and the switch leg was all the way on the other end.

what I did was, wire the "120V hot" to the black traveller, and use the "red" wire as the "control" lead, so each box has both 120V, Neutral, and the control lead.  this way, I was able to put the actual switch in the last box, that has the "load" wire in it, and each box also now has 120V availble, if I decide to put a scene controller in some of 3 AUX locations (see the other thread about the monster scene controller sale)
"

To be clear here, you installed only the GE Z-Wave primary switch in the last spot right before the load/lights, and did NOT rewire the other three original switches while using no GE Z-Wave auxiliaries?  And all 4 switches (including the newly installed primary of course) can turn the lights on/off?  If you have a GE Z-Wave Smart Remote, does it correctly register the on/off state of the lights in question? (For me, this last point about the Smart Remote is not important, as long as all 4 switches can control the lights, especially the Z-Wave primary.)

P.S.  I have zero experience in electrical wiring.  But I want to start learning and become a DIY'er since I want to make few minor changes around the mancave.  I won't be attempting anything until I'm confident I know whats going on.

Offline mitch672

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Re: Possible to NOT use Auxiliary Switch in GE 3-Way Switch?
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2011, 03:46:57 pm »
Not quite.  All 4 locations needed to be resided, because they had traditional 3 and 4 way switches.

I removed them and used the GE/Jasco remote switches (the ones that come with the 3 way kit)

The rewiring was also required to get the "hot" (120VAC) line to the box with the load wire in it
There was a 14/3 wire running from box to box, the black is now wired to "hot", the white is now "neutral", and the "red" is connected to the GE/Jasco control wire (yellow on the module and remote switches)

Hope this cleared it up for you


BTW, there is another brand of zwave switch that can work with traditional 3 and 4 way switches, but I think that's even more work to get going.  I think the model # is "CA3000".
« Last Edit: June 14, 2011, 03:51:00 pm by mitch672 »

Offline Blue42

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Re: Possible to NOT use Auxiliary Switch in GE 3-Way Switch?
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2011, 07:46:51 pm »
Mitch,

Well, I totally got that a**-backwards.  I knew I was a genius.  ;D

Thanks for clearing things up.  At the very least, I know it can be done with 4 controllers.

However, can you or anyone else definitively tell me what I originally wanted (i.e. use only one Z-Wave Primary switch in a 4 controller situation + preserving the functionality of the other three traditional switches) is simply NOT possible?

Otherwise, I'm looking at about $200 alone in the cost of three 3-Way On/Off kits.  Given that I completely read you wrong, it may be wiser to let a professional electrician to do it for me.  :P

Offline mitch672

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Re: Possible to NOT use Auxiliary Switch in GE 3-Way Switch?
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2011, 08:18:52 pm »
You can use an "intermec CA3000", it's a single
switch, and it can work with traditional 3 and 4 way switches for the remotes.

In my case with the GE/Jasco on/off zwave 3 way switch, it's just using 2 of the spare remote switches I already have, you don't need 4 Zwave switches.

You need to investigate how your wiring is setup, if you're not comfortable with that an electrician could certainly assist you.   Google "CA3000" from Intermec, you should be able to find a PDF of the manual that shows how to wire it with 3 and 4 way traditional switches

Offline kaldoon

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Re: Possible to NOT use Auxiliary Switch in GE 3-Way Switch?
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2011, 08:14:22 am »
The Intouch and HomeSettings switches are/were  the only that are capable of using standard 3 & 4 way switches and don't need a special companion switch. http://www.smarthome-products.com/productspecs/CA3000-Manual.pdf

Offline grybrd

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Re: Possible to NOT use Auxiliary Switch in GE 3-Way Switch?
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2011, 10:44:15 am »
@kaldon .. does this say that leviton doesnt work???

Offline mitch672

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Re: Possible to NOT use Auxiliary Switch in GE 3-Way Switch?
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2011, 11:44:48 am »
@grybrd If you read my replys, I am using the GE/Jasco's for 3 and 4 way switches, using the "control" lead on an on/off module (GE 45609)
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0035YRCR2/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?ie=UTF8&m=ATVPDKIKX0DER

I have several extra "remotes" from the Radio Shack 3-way kits, they work fine with the GE/Jasco switches (pretty much the 45609 and 45613/45614 kits which come with 1 remote each)

I have stayed away from Leviton, as I did 2 entire houses for less than 1/2 the cost of equiping 1 house with Levition switches, this was possible because of the Radio Shack massive Zwave liquidation (modules where $10 to $15 at the end)


Offline grybrd

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Re: Possible to NOT use Auxiliary Switch in GE 3-Way Switch?
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2011, 01:27:53 pm »
Dude .. read the whole thing  ... was wondering if kaldoon excluded leviton because it wont play with normal switchs

Offline mitch672

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Re: Possible to NOT use Auxiliary Switch in GE 3-Way Switch?
« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2011, 01:57:43 pm »
As far as I have discovered, if you want to use standard 3 and 4 way switches WITH a Zwave switch ONLY the CA3000 can so that

I don't think this is a big deal, because most likely you are going to have to open up your 3 and 4 way switch boxes to find out how your wiring works anyway.

I find the GE/Jasco to work just fine, even on over 120' of connected wiring between the 4 locations, using the GE slave switches (45610 I think is the part #)

I didn't like the CA3000 when I ordered a few, they seemed very cheaply made and looked like they would break within months

I know nothing about the Leviton switches, I won't spend that kind of money on switches.  $35-$50 is plenty already.  Who would spend $70-$120 on 1 light switch, thats nuts.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2011, 02:01:45 pm by mitch672 »

Offline Blue42

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Re: Possible to NOT use Auxiliary Switch in GE 3-Way Switch?
« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2011, 12:29:05 am »
@Mitch,

When I posted this: "At the very least, I know it can be done with 4 controllers.", I meant that now I know that a set of lights controlled from 4 locations/switches can be converted to a GE Z-Wave configuration wherein one GE Z-Wave primary and 3 GE Z-Wave auxiliaries are used.  Because that is what you did, correct?

To do what you did, I would need 3 auxiliaries and 1 primary, which means I'd have to get 3 kits and prolly an electrician.

Regardless, can you (or anyone else) tell me definitively that I simply can't use just one GE Z-Wave primary switch and NO auxiliaries and still have the other three traditional switches still function?  I'm (stubbornly) assuming the real reason GE even made the auxiliaries is simply to insure that when you hit the "ON" button on the GE remote, it turns the lights on; and when you push the "OFF" button it does indeed turn the lights off.  So, I'm assuming it's all about being consistent with the remote.

I'll look into the intermec CA3000 and weigh the options.  Thanks for the heads-up on that.  If the CA3000 is not compatible with GE remotes, I'll probably stick with GE. (I have three GE smart remotes thanks to Radio Shack's sale.  Besides, it's a pain to have two keep two entirely different types/brands of remotes handy.)


---------------------------------

@Kaldoon,

So you're saying I can't use just one GE primary with no GE auxiliaries and keep the traditional switches, right?

Is the  CA3000 compatible with GE remotes?  The pdf you linked seems to say so.  This is a much more attractive option price-wise:  One $95 switch installed by an electrician vs 4 switches from 3 x $65 kits installed by an electrician. 

Installing once switch is something I might try myself after a month of studying 3 and 4 way switches---in my spare time.  But replacing all four switches? I'd need to study the situation for 2-3 months before I'd attempt anything.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2011, 01:04:59 am by Blue42 »

Offline mitch672

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Re: Possible to NOT use Auxiliary Switch in GE 3-Way Switch?
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2011, 01:11:40 am »
@blue42 I bought all of my switches at the Radio Shack sale, probably at least 30-35 of them.

I only bought 3-ways because I read the master can be used standalone (just insulate the yellow control line and don't use it)

This left me at least 15 extra slave switches, which I have been using on other GE zwave switches (mainly the "on/off model)

I'm sure i could send you a few :)

also the GE only works with the GE slaves, the intermec CA3000 can work w/Standard 3 and 4 ways, you should be able to google and find the installation PDF on the CA3000 which shows how to wire it up with standard switches as slaves


Offline Blue42

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Re: Possible to NOT use Auxiliary Switch in GE 3-Way Switch?
« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2011, 01:47:11 am »
Mitch,

Thanks for the offer, but it doesn't guarantee that the auxiliaries will work for my switches.  I have no idea where exactly the wiring runs.  I only know where the switches are.

Kaldoon actually posted the pdf manual for the CA3000 and it includes wiring instructions.

Kaldoon's smarthome link also says this:  "The CA3000 Wall Switch is a Z-wave™ enabled device which is fully compatible with any Z-wave enabled network. Z-wave enabled devices display the Z-wave logo and guarantee connectivity and interoperability between devices. Each line powered node in a Z-wave network is designed to act as a repeater forming a mesh network eliminating radio “dead spots” and providing the highest level of reliability."

I guess I wrongly assumed this meant compatibility with remote controls from other brands too, namely GE.

I've also been contemplating installing two $20 Home Depot flood lights consisting of two lights each which come with the typical three pronged  plugs and simply plugging it into one of my GE Z-Wave modules.  This option means I don't need to know about or to touch any wiring, hire an electrician, or buy any modules since I already have a bunch.  This was my plan B all along.   ;D

P.S.  Plan C is the CA3000.  I'm still weighing my options, sir.   Guess Plan A is a "No Go" ;)