0

I am swapping the light switches in my house and have come across some issues with some of the 3-way switches. The switches have a ground, two red cables, and two black cables and the new switch I'm putting in has ground, one traveler cable, and a neutral that I need to twist into the box myself.

Here is an image of the back of the old switch: Old Switch: 2 red, 2 black, 1 ground

In order to make this compatible, I believe I would need to twist together the two black cables (as I have been doing for the other add-on boxes) but that still leaves me with two red traveler cables for one hole on the back of the dimmer as pictured below.

I have been using their normal steps listed in their documentation (https://byjasco.com/media/manuals/46199-QSG-v1.pdf) but want to make sure I get it correct.

Enbrighten Add-On back

Is the best method to combine the traveler wires in a cap and lead a third one out? Is it safe to connect both red travelers in the two openings at one connector (Pretty sure I've read that this is not the way to go)? Is the solution something completely different?

5
  • 6
    How many switches control the fixture on that set of switches? If more than 2, I think you have a 4-way switch in your original pic. – George Anderson Dec 29 '20 at 15:18
  • 1
    Your lower photo appears to be a 2-way, not a three-way. Meantime, you really need to find out what the red wires are connecting to (at the other switches, most likely) – Carl Witthoft Dec 29 '20 at 18:11
  • 1
    Both @George Anderson and Carl are correct. 3 way switches have 3 electrical connections plus ground , 4 way have 4 plus ground. Some new electronic have less but then the master and slave from the same MFG are required. – Ed Beal Dec 29 '20 at 18:18
  • @GeorgeAnderson there are two switches that are in the set, one was a three way (with three connections and a ground) and one has four connections and a ground I was able to easily get the Smart Dimmer set up as I had elsewhere in the house on the three way, it's just the smartest/safest way to pair down the two traveler wires into one. With the Enbrighten smart lights the add-on's don't use the lead/black wires at all, those just get capped and pushed back into the box. – Andrew S Dec 29 '20 at 21:10
  • Can you post photos looking into the backs of all boxes involved in this circuit please? – ThreePhaseEel Dec 29 '20 at 22:51
2

YOU decided which one was "traveler".

What you are looking at is a 4-way switch. It goes in the middle of a 3-way switch string to allow 3 or more control points. Like this.

enter image description here

Note that this is but one example. There are many different ways to physically route cables in a 3/4 way switch complex.

Now, when you install smart switches in any 3/4 way system, the whole system must be engineered to work together with matching switches. Generally, the systems for sale in the US make best use of the existing wires, but they use them in quite a different way.

Since every 3-way switch layout is different, you really need to study how the existing 3-way complex is wired, and then adapt wires as best you can. As such, there is no stock answer for "which colors where". We would need to see, at least, pictures of each switch box, and possibly the lamp box as well.

Even more than that, you are re-tasking the 2 old traveler wires to new purposes. Since you are the one doing that, only you know which color you have chosen to assign to which purpose.

In other words, we can't tell you unless we know what else you did. Honestly, it sounds like you installed the "master" at one of the 3-way points, and happened to stumble upon a wire combination that worked based on how the other 3-way switches were set at the time. You can't do that with electrical wiring. You can't "try stuff and stop when you find one that works", because there are lots of combinations that will work and will kill you.

We see many smart switch products where correct installation is simply impossible in many 3-way routings. However GE is a shrewd company; this looks like a "remote" switch that takes only 2 wires: a comm wire and neutral, so it should be possible to adapt to any 3/4 way complex.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.