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I tried installing a 3-way TP-Link HS210 switch in my staircase, and I have a few questions:

Both switches have: Black wire connected to a black screw (common wire?) White wire connected to a gold screw (neutral?) Red white connected on the opposite side (traveler?)

The switch is inside a metal box with the ground copper wire tied around a screw

Old switch

  • Both switches have the exact same configuration, the only difference is the one at the bottom is in a 2 gang box, but with independent sources feeding into it so I don't think it makes a difference (?)
  1. The ground copper wire is too short to pull out to connect to the switch - should I get an extension and crimp them together, or can I just cap the ground green wire from the TP-Link switch and call it a day?

  2. I made the connections to the new switches:

  • Black wire to the black screw on the HS-210
  • Tied the 2 white wires together and capped them
  • Red wire to the traveler screw on the HS-210

I did this for both switches, flipped the power back on and instead of flashing green/orange, the switch flashes orange with a blue circle (power)

Error image

So this leads me to believe that it's a wiring issue and not an internet/connection issue.

Next I tried connecting the old switch at the bottom of the stairs and the HS-210 at the top of the stairs. I was then able to connect to the switch, but when I flipped the old switch on, the lights just turned on/off repeatedly.

I just put the old switches back for now until I can figure this out, but any help would be greatly appreciated.

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  • You don't have a neutral wire in that box. Red & White are both travelers. – brhans Aug 31 '20 at 14:23
  • Can you post photos looking into the back of the box in question please? – ThreePhaseEel Sep 1 '20 at 3:36
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There are two travelers on each of the existing switches, no neutrals. If there's nothing else in the single box, that common wire goes to the fixture. The second box is where your feed comes in. Don't mix up your white traveler and connect it to a white neutral. You will probably end up with two white wires going to the switch in the second box, one traveler and probably one neutral... don't mix them up or connect them together... tape the travelers at both locations with some yellow tape to prevent confusion in the future. Don't all it a day with an unconnected ground, You need to extend it to the switch.

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  • Ahh well that makes sense, so there is no neutral wire in that box which would explain why the switch was not working. The other box does not have another white cable either, so it looks like I'm out of luck. Thanks for your help! – PT15 Aug 31 '20 at 15:50
  • @PT15 Try exchanging the switches for some that don't require a neutral. – JACK Aug 31 '20 at 16:20
  • Looking at Lutron Caseta now – PT15 Aug 31 '20 at 20:28
  • @PT15 there surely must be neutral in the 2-gang, but it would be in the wires in the back, not attached to a switch. Are there just 3 cables coming into that box? – Harper - Reinstate Monica Aug 31 '20 at 21:38

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