I am planning the conversion of a “3-way switch loop” to a configuration with smart switch(es). I’m also documenting the existing configuration so that I (or my successor) can restore it.


  1. Are the wire color assignments in Figure 1 (before) appropriate?

  2. Are the wire color assignments in Figures 2 and 3 appropriate? Would you find swapping red and black less confusing? My goal is to give flexibility between Figures 2 and 3 without changing the ceiling fixture.

  3. Changing from Figure 2/3 back to Figure 1 involves removing neutral from a switch location. Is this technically a code violation? Or will it be clear that the work is restoring the original configuration? I suppose this question would only come up if I am not around to do the work.

Figure 1 - Current Configuration

wiring diagram of Current Configuration

Figure 2 - Smart Switch

wiring diagram of Smart Switch

Figure 3 - Twice as Smart

wiring diagram of an even better Smart Switch


Figure 3 has the disadvantage relative to Figure 2 that a hub is required for the garage switch to operate the light. I accept that there are enough other lights in the area to cover an emergency situation when the hub is down.

I am using a Zooz ZEN32 switch. It will toggle the load when the traveler changes between open and your choice of neutral or hot.

The location is Virginia.

  • What do the instructions say?
    – Gil
    Jun 20, 2021 at 0:19
  • The instructions don't cover the case with the light between the two switches. However, my Figure 2 is equivalent to an example where the far switch either connects the traveler to neutral or disconnects it. Figure 3 is just treating the left switch like a single pole switch. Thinking about it, the red vs black question doesn't really matter. I think the only special thing about black is that it's in every cable, while red is only in a /3.
    – George
    Jun 20, 2021 at 1:07

1 Answer 1


Figure 1 is faulty - can't ever use white as a switched-hot. But it's leaving anyway, so whatevs :)

However the other diagrams look fine.

#3 could work. Look harder for smart switch remotes that can talk to their companion master without a hub. Those are a thing.

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