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Replacing house with Insteon's wifi light switches. Have gotten help on here thankfully but ran into a different issue with two switches that control a chandelier.

So far every old switch we have been replacing has had a black wire, red wire, and ground coming out of it. We removed those and in all other cases hooked up the new insteons which have ground connected to green, black connected to live(s) and red either connected to load or capped off if it's a traveller and attach the previously unused neutral.

For this chandelier it's slightly different. There are two switches that control the chandelier, but the odd part is one of the old switches we are replacing has an extra red wire. That is it has the black live, green ground, but rather than just one red coming out of the old 1000w lutron switch it has 2.

Does anyone know how we hook up the new insteon which only has one red wire coming out of it or why the old one had 2 reds? Thank you.

Old plug with 2 red wires

  • Can you get us photos of the inside of the box this came out of? – ThreePhaseEel Jul 30 '16 at 18:36
  • It's a 4 gang box so a lot of other wires in there. In regards to the old switch, the black when to another black wire, one of the red wires went to another red, and the other red from the switch when to a black wire. And ground went to ground of course. Does that help? – cchiera Jul 30 '16 at 18:39
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Conventional Switches

It sounds as if most of the switches you have been replacing are single pole switches. That is, they make (on) or break off) a single connection from one location.

Simple switches use a black (hot) and another wire, usually black, red or blue (switched hot) to make and break the circuit. Basic switches do not need a neutral wire (white), so the neutral in a switch box is sometimes capped.

Smart Switches

Smart switches, like the Insteon, often also require a neutral (white) wire. The ground wires should be present and connected on all modern switch connections.

Conventional 3-way Switches

When a light is controlled from two locations, you need a switch called a 3-way. A basic 3-way switch has a black wire or connector, called a common, and two traveler wires, usually black, red or blue. The two travelers may be the same color or different colors, but the switch itself will usually be marked. It also should have a ground.

The common wire on one of the 3-ways is connected to the incoming hot line. The common on the other switch is connected to the fixture or outlet being controlled. The two travelers are connected to the traveler terminals on the opposite switch.

This setup allows either switch to change the state of the fixture by changing which traveler is connected. When both switches are on the same traveler, the light is on. When the switches are on different travelers, the light is off. A flick of either switch can make or break the connection.

When you want a smart switch, the 3-ways often need to add a neutral (white). This is always connected to the neutral line of the circuit (other white wires) and not to a hot or a switched hot wire.

WiFi Switches

If you want to control a fixture from two locations with an Insteon type switch, you need 3-way setup. However, these types of switches do not need two travelers, just a single connecting wire. They communicate the change of state (on or off) wirelessly between the switches, and the hub if it uses one.

The wiring directions for a 3-way connection can be found here, at the Insteon site. The following is a picture of the 3-way setup.

insteon wiring

You can see that at the switch where the hot line comes in, the line hot, switch hot, and one of the traveler line (in this illustration black) are all connected. The other traveler (red in the illustration) is not used so it is capped.

In the second box that holds the cable to the fixture, the active traveler from the first box is connected to the black to the second switch, and the red from the second switch is connected to the fixture. The second, unused traveler is also capped.

If your two travelers are both red, you need to figure out which one is the connected one and which one is the unused one. Sometimes the wires have a marking, such as a stripe to help distinguish. If not a simple trial and error approach will work. If you pick the wrong one for the second switch, it simply will not work. you can then swap the traveler wires in the second box and you should be fine. Be sure to cap the unused wires.

  • Thanks for the detailed response. We've replaced several other switches in the house that are 3 way switches. That is for instance ceiling lights that have 2 switches in different locations that control it. We used the insteon guide to set those up without a problem where one switch the red gets connected to load, and the other the red (traveller) gets capped off since that connection to the other switch is done wirelessly. The problem is this one switch has 2 reds coming out of it and a black and ground. The insteon diagrams and yours above only show examples with switches that have 1 red. – cchiera Jul 30 '16 at 18:44
  • And just to add, yes our house old switches were both some single pole and some three ways, and the new insteps are smart wifi switches so they require neutral and 3 way connections are made wirelessly with the traveller capped on one and the other switch it goes to the load. All of which we installed without any issues. Just this one particular switch on a 3 way has 2 red wires and black (rather than just red and black) coming out of it, so not sure how to replace that with insteon. Does that make sense? – cchiera Jul 30 '16 at 18:51
  • That switch is a conventional 3-way with no neutral. There should be a corresponding 3-way with similar wiring at the other switch point. One of the traveler wires in each box is ignored. – bib Jul 30 '16 at 21:44
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http://www.lutron.com/TechnicalDocumentLibrary/368-4493_Page_4.pdf

found this on the lutron website

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    Hello, and welcome to Stack Exchange. Thanks for the links, but links break, and our policy is to avoid links-only answers, instead including the information from the link in the answer text itself. – Daniel Griscom May 24 '18 at 11:26

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