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I'd like to replace my kitchen ceiling light switches with smart switches.

Currently there are 2 switches controlling the lights, one in kitchen and one next to stairs. But I failed to identify the neutral, hot and traveler wires.

The 3-way smart switches I bought comes in pair of two units. Each unit has 1 ground, 1 neutral, 1 load out and 2 travellers, as shown below:

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The switch in the kitchen has 4 wires connected: AAA,BBB,CCC,DDD:

enter image description here

The switch in the stairway has 3 wires connected: HHH,KKK,SSS:

enter image description here

I first replaced only the stairway switch like so:

SSS = neutral, HHH = load, KKK = 1 of the traveler ---> didn't work

Then I tried to keep stairway switch as-is (original), and only replaced the kitchen switch. I tried:

AAA and BBB = traveller, CCC = load, DDD = neutral --> didn't work

AAA and BBB = traveller, DDD = load, CCC = neutral --> didn't work

I'm very confused.. could anyone help me identify AAA, BBB, CCC, DDD, HHH, KKK, SSS wires? Any help is appreciated! Thanks

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    Wrong site, Harry. I've flagged it for migration to DIY. – Transistor Oct 26 '19 at 23:22
  • You may want to mention your region in your post. I'm no electrician but To me it looks like: AAA,BBB,KKK,SSS = HOT... HHH,DDD = Travelers... CCC = Cant see it well enough.... Neutral's are hooked together with blue cap in back of picture 1. – narkeleptk Oct 26 '19 at 23:24
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    Stop trying combinations. There are many combinations that will work and will kill you. Further, with 3-way systems you can't necessarily put every switch in every location. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Oct 27 '19 at 2:03
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The pair is not compatible with your wiring.

There are a variety of 3-way arrangements, with either a) power, switches and lamp in sequence, b) one switch on a spur, c) both switches on a spur, or d) both switches on separate spurs. This set is designed only to work in the first case, and you have the second case.

There are plenty of quality 3-way smart switches that will do the job you want done. They will mount in the first location. They will either leave the normal 3-way in the second location, or put a special matching smart switch "remote".

Send it back

This is cheap Chinese junk that has failed to pass any safety testing. As such it violates NEC 110.2, which requires equipment to be approved. In practice this means approved by a competent, actual testing lab such as UL. I'm sorry if you paid a lot for it, but they've been preying rather hard of late on the naïve, and they find it easier to fool people if they set prices nearer to proper equipment.

The usual mark of junkery is a very prominent marking which is totally wrong. Usually this is the CE mark, sometimes CCC, both almost always faked; but here they don't even bother, and lead with an FCC mark. FCC only pertains to the likelihood of its radio emissions, which certainly is not what your inspector is looking for.

Your actual wiring

I see 5 cables in this box. 1-4 across the top left to right, and 5 on the bottom. Cables are multiple wires inside a sheath.

  • Cable 1 -> 3-way circuit to remote (spur) 3-way switch. Wires are
    • White - Traveler 1 (CCC and SSS) yellow
    • Red - Traveler 2 (DDD and HHH) yellow
    • Black - switched-hot to lamp blue
  • Cable 2 -> Lamp controlled by 3-way switch.
    • Black - switched-hot to lamp (KKK) blue
    • White - actual neutral
  • Cable 3 -> Lamp controlled by other switch
    • Black - switched-hot to lamp red
    • White - actual neutral
  • Cable 4 -> Power (supply or onward, don't care which)
    • Black - always hot (BBB and AAA)
    • White - actual neutral
  • Cable 5 -> Power (supply or onward, don't care which)
    • Black - always hot (BBB and AAA)
    • White - actual neutral

The remote switch has exactly the same "Cable 1" with same wire functions.

The italic word is the color I would mark the wire if it were me. I like making my job easy. Marking thusly would cause the cables herein to be actually color-coded to function.

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The travellers should be two wires, probably white and black, in a common cable. Unfortunately, the white paint on the wires obscures the actual wire colours for me - perhaps you can scrape the paint off to see the true colours.

In the top box, Neutrals are the four (?) white wires going into the wire nut against the back of the box.

In the top photo, are wires AAA and BBB actually two wires on the same terminal of the switch? If so, one is the incomming Hot, and the other continues that Hot to the second switch.

In the bottom photo, the red wire HHH is probably the feed to the light.

In the bottom box, the Neutrals appear to be hidden behind the other switch.

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It's fairly difficult to see where the wires go into the switches. But what I see is:

1st switch: travellers are probably DDD & CCC.

2nd switch: travellers are probably KKK & SSS.

If there aren't any splices in the wires, the same colors should show up at both switches.

Generally (but not always), the two terminals on one side of a 3-way switch are travellers.

The other variant is both terminals at one end of the switch are the traveller terminals.

Easiest way to tell for sure is to mark the wires in some way, then remove the switch and use a meter (or test lamp with battery) to see which switch terminal is the common / armature and which other terminals can connect to that common terminal.

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