Electrical noob here. I know enough to turn off the breaker. I've read a couple of other answers and want to get a second opinion.

I have three wires coming out of the existing switch socket, 2 blacks and a stripped copper.

The Insteon switch has a black, red, white, and stripped copper.

Obviously stripped copper to stripper copper for ground, but I've gone through a few combinations of the other lines and haven't gotten the thing to work.

If I wire the Insteon-white line to either black, and Insteon-black to the other black, the switch comes online but doesn't turn the light on. If I connect Insteon-red to a black, and Instead-black to the other black, the switch never powers up.

If I understand one of the other posts on smart switches here... (specifically Why would a light switch be wired with the neutral wire?, I believe this is what I need to do - and what I'm looking for a 2nd opinion on.

First, not knowing which of my wall blacks are load and line (remember every project is an opportunity to buy a new tool!)...

  • Connect Insteon-red to let's call it Wall-Black-1
  • Connect Insteon-black & Insteon-white to Wall-Black-2 (3 wires in the twisty thing)

If the switch doesn't power up, then I've connected those to line instead of load and just swap the Wall Blacks around.

Advice? Am I on track?

  • First off, you should NOT just go connecting wires without knowing what they do. You could VERY easily fry a $50 switch. You need to get a tester (which you should have had BEFORE you even took out the old switch) to verify the hot LINE wire and the switched LOAD wire. Having only two blacks is odd though. Is there a pair of white wires folded into the back of the box? Aug 26, 2015 at 0:57
  • 3
    @SpeedyPetey Sounds like a typical no-neutral switch loop, although a switched white is more common than a second black (unless individual wires were run in a conduit). A neutral on a simple switch loop is relatively recent vintage (as my early bad answers on this site reflect).
    – bib
    Aug 26, 2015 at 1:53
  • Of course it sounds like a 2-wire switch loop, but conductors in conduit would be the only way to get two blacks. I have seen many a time where someone says they only have two blacks only to realize later that they actually do have a white splice in the box. So until 41837 comes back with more details we are still guessing. Aug 26, 2015 at 1:57
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    tool acquired, knowledge of hot & not acquired. Turns out there were some white lines tucked into the back. Device is now wired up per diagrams and functioning as intended =D
    – user41837
    Aug 26, 2015 at 3:19
  • 2
    Aaaaaaannnnd...there you go. :) Aug 26, 2015 at 11:17

3 Answers 3


As suggested by Speedy Petey, I poked around further into the back of the wall box and it turns out there was in fact, some white wire. This gave me what I needed to match the diagrams on the Insteon sheet, the unit is now connected as diagrammed and functioning as intended.


On your switch that you bought the Black is the Line (Power coming in), the Red is the Load (Power to the Light), the White (which you do not have) is the Neutral and the bare copper wire is the ground. Insteon used to sale a 2-wire kit but the product is now unavailable. You are going to need to get neutral down to light switch(12/3 Romex) or look at something that will work with what you have.


The white wire from the Insteon is the neutral and needs to be attached to a neutral wire in that wall gang box. Most likely, the old light switch you are replacing doesn't currently use a neutral wire. But if you look in the back of the box you will see a few white wires capped off if your house was built in the 1970s or later. Plug the Insteon white neutral into that white bundle.

The hot wire (which you will determine by using a voltage tester (cheap at Home Depot) will attach to the black wire of the insteon. The wire going from one box to the other (traveller get's capped in both boxes since that is done wirelessly with Insteon's.

Page 11 on insteon's instructions has a diagram on how to connect a three way switch: http://cache.insteon.com/documentation/2477D-en.pdf

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