OK, here is an oldy but a goody – as they say – How do I wire a 4-way circuit using Ge or Jasco Z-Wave switches? I get this one alot so thought I would get a post about it up on the blog to see if this will help some of you stuck on how to wire these in properly. Here we go…
You need one master (45609 or 45612) and two slaves (45610) to control a circuit with one light at three switches. This is called a 4-way circuit.
You start by determining which switch box has the load in it – that will be where you wire in your Primary or Master switch (either a 45609 or a 45612), and will also need to have a neutral present if you are using a 45609, but not for a 45612 as it doesn’t need one. You also need a Line wire, a Load and a Traveler as well.
At each slave box, where the 45610 goes, you only need a traveler wire going back to the 45609/45612 and a neutral. The line wire is not required at the slave box locations so you can usually cap it off unless it is in the middle of a circuit and is needed for continuity.
That’s it for the wiring. Now just make sure everything works locally, and then you can continue with adding the master or primary to your z-wave network (aka “including” them or completing the “inclusion” process). Only the master switch needs to be included as the 45610’s do not have a z-wave radio in them, all commands are received by the master and sent over the travelers.
Multi-ways are tricky so the biggest piece of advice I can give you is to use a tester and identify every wire’s purpose in every box BEFORE you even begin. You only need specific wires at each box as above, NOT as we used to wire 3-ways with standard switches in the past. To reiterate…
- The Master Switch
- For a dimming 4-way circuit using a 45612 as your Master –
- You need a Line, Load & Traveler at the primary box where the master 45612 is installed.
- For a non-dimming, on/off (relay) switch using a 45609 as your Master –
- You need a Line, Load, Neutral & Traveler at the primary box where the master 45609 is installed.
- The Slave Switches
- The 2 other switch boxes are the slave switches where you install the 45610’s, you ONLY need a traveler and a Neutral. NO LINE, NO LOAD.
Wire colors are not dependable – they are quite often at the sole discretion of the previous electrician or “handyman” who last worked on your wiring. For this reason, I do not refer to the colors, and neither should you, except as a starting point. I am not saying that you should ignore the colors altogether because if you’re looking for a neutral wire and there is a white wire bundled with one or two others and shoved into the back of the box, chances are pretty good that those are neutrals, and I am sure you will be fine to pigtail another chunk of white wire into that bundle and off you go.
But, if you test first and find that one of the black wires (or pink ones! Oh No, now what! to make my point about colors) does not seem to have 120 Volts running through it, you can still adjust what the “actual” purpose of that wire is (its probably a load wire in this scenario) and save yourself some time and aggravation by not frying the switch, or even worse, electrocuting yourself.
Multi-way circuits can be difficult to get your head around, although HA multi-way circuits are easier to do, imo, then the old ones, but if you follow my advice as above, I hope it will help you make this important jump in changing your mindset when wiring 3-ways, 4-ways, or 20-ways! And, remember…
IF ANY OF THIS SCARES YOU, OR YOU THINK IT MAY BE A BIT OVERWHELMING, THEN PLEASE CALL AN ELECTRICIAN!
Thank you for letting us, “automate YOUR world”!
Kelly R. Foster – HA World