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    3-Way switch problem

    I installed one GE 3 way switch and 2 add-on switches 5 years ago. One of the add-ons stopped working, so i figured it just died. The replacement didn't work either, so i started investigating. I couldn't find anything in the wiring of the other two switches that was a problem. Put it all back together and then the 2nd add-on stopped working. Took it all apart again and couldn't find anything. Neither add-on is currently working; however, the 2nd one to stop does connect to HS and acts like it responds to commands but nothing happens. Has anyone ever run into this?

    #2
    The auxiliary switches do not connect to your z-wave network at all. They are basically dumb switches that communicate over the traveler wire.

    Based on the limited information you provided it seems like the main switch is malfunctioning.

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      #3
      Sorry i really didn't explain that well at all. The 2nd add-on switch stopped working, while the main switch and first one were fine. I have replaced the 2nd one with a verified working aux. switch and it will neither turn the switch on nor connect to the zwave network. I use them as repeaters. It is nearly impossible for me to get to the wiring in the ceiling so I'm a bit lost. This is also my only switch with 2 add-ons and my knowledge of 3 way circuitry is limited.

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        #4
        The fact that the main switch is working other than responding to the companion switches certainly does not establish that it is "fine." It is certainly possible that the circuit in it that reads the signals from the companion switches is failing. At this point, either that part of the main switch is failing, or you have an intermittent or failing connection in the wiring between the switches.
        You could wire a companion switch directly at the main switch as a test to determine which it is.

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          #5
          Originally posted by Alconnell View Post
          Sorry i really didn't explain that well at all. The 2nd add-on switch stopped working, while the main switch and first one were fine. I have replaced the 2nd one with a verified working aux. switch and it will neither turn the switch on nor connect to the zwave network. I use them as repeaters. It is nearly impossible for me to get to the wiring in the ceiling so I'm a bit lost. This is also my only switch with 2 add-ons and my knowledge of 3 way circuitry is limited.
          The aux switch does not join the z-wave network nor does it work as a repeater. It is a dumb device that connects back to the main switch via the traveler wire.

          Can you provide us the exact brand and model of each device and a diagram of how they are wired. We will then be in a better position to assist in troubleshooting.

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            #6
            I beg to disagree. The WT00Z1 most certainly does connect to the network and can control other devices too. I have two of them installed and one of them is not working suddenly.
            https://www.gocontrol.com/detail.php?productId=25

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              #7
              Different switch systems have different ways of signaling the controlling switch. The GE/JASCO switches are dumb devices that can only signal, as drhtmal said. The way the GE/JASCO switch works is to short the hot signal (which comes down the red "Companion" wire) to neutral, and that short is what indicates to the controlling switch that the paddle was pressed (different short values for on or off).

              GE/JASCO has various generations of companion switches. The newer ones have a model number with a "4" in it, whereas my older companion switches have a "2". The companion switches are compatible with the Homeseer HS200 switch, with an oddity. When I put two of the "2" level companions connected to the HS200, they did not work. Replaced one of the "2" level switches with a "4", and suddenly both companions started working. (I installed the replaced "2" switch into another 3 way circuit, and it works fine.)

              Bottom line for the OP: Please report what the model number of your companion switches are. If you have the older generation companions, it may simply be a compatibility issue. Also, how is your circuit wired? It is considerably different than the wiring is for a mechanical 3 or 4 way circuit.

              Comment


                #8
                Folks, he's using a WT00Z1 which is simply a Z-wave remote switch which doesn't control any load directly nor uses any hard-wire to primary switch. It uses Z-wave and associations to control primary load switches.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by TC1 View Post
                  Folks, he's using a WT00Z1 which is simply a Z-wave remote switch which doesn't control any load directly nor uses any hard-wire to primary switch. It uses Z-wave and associations to control primary load switches.
                  Yep just goes to show you need to include relevant information. Mostly, addon switches are dumb devices hard wired to the main switch. It's certainly reasonable to expect that if someone just says they have a companion or addon device. A few run on main power and then are associated with the load controlling switch. the HS line of switches/dimmers support this as well as the dumb variety.

                  So in the OP's case; it sounds like he has a zwave/software issue. For that sort of problem, I suggest moving your zwave controller closer if possible. Or installing the switch closer to the zwave controller. Exclude and re include the addon switches. I would do this with all 3 of them. Make sure that HS can see the addon switches before proceeding. Next you'll want to play with the associations; I have no experience with this line, but I did have a similar issue with a couple of my cooper 5 button devices; they stopped working as expected, HS could see them but not control them. Local control worked just fine. I merely had to go in and manually add their associations to HS back in to fix them. The problem sounds like it's in the addons since 2 of them at least aren't including properly. You'll need to check the associations on the load controlling switch also.
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                    #10
                    Thanks to all for the responses. I didn't really think much about the different types of 3 and 4 way switches and I actually have several of both types in my home. And, I was trying to replace an "association" type switch with a dumb one, which won't work. Now I have to figure out how the electrician wired these in the first place.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Alconnell View Post
                      Thanks to all for the responses. I didn't really think much about the different types of 3 and 4 way switches and I actually have several of both types in my home. And, I was trying to replace an "association" type switch with a dumb one, which won't work. Now I have to figure out how the electrician wired these in the first place.
                      There are five ways to wire a 3-way switch and eight ways to wire a 4-way switch. The two variables are where the load resides in the circuit and where the line voltage enters the circuit. The easiest way to map a circuit is to start at the load.

                      If line voltage enters the circuit at the load, there will be no neutral at the switches. Both white and red will be travelers (white should be marked with black tape or marker to indicate that it is not neutral). This is true no matter where the load resides in the circuit (between the switches or at the end).

                      If line voltage enters the circuit at a switch at one end of the circuit and the load is at the other end there will be neutral at all of the switches. The black and red wires between the switches should be travelers and white should be neutral.

                      If line voltage enters the circuit at any switch other than a switch at the end of the circuit or if the load resides between switches in a 4-way circuit, only the switch where voltage enters the circuit and any switches located between that switch and the load will have neutral. In this case the white wire may be a traveler or it may be a neutral depending on where each switch resides in the circuit.

                      Since most "dumb" companion switches require only line plus one traveler (because no physical switching of the load is taking place) they tend to be pretty simple to install. You can put the master switch at any point in the circuit that has a neutral wire. If line voltage enters the circuit at the load, you will need to rewire the circuit to provide neutral to at least one switch location and install the master switch at that location.

                      Current NEC requires a neutral at all switch locations, so if you have a newer home you should be good to go without rewiring at the load to provide a neutral. I typically locate the master switch at the location adjacent to the load but it can work either way.

                      Never work on a live circuit, always cut power at the breaker. Also keep in mind that some older homes may have a "borrowed" neutral and these can pack quite a wallop. If you're not 100% sure about what you are doing, or if you are not qualified to do electrical work, hire an electrician.

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