Installing 3way zWave: How to determine wiring?


Senior Member
I need to replace 2pairs of 3way switches with zWave and there's 5 dang wires they want me to connect. Is there a simple way I can determine which of the wires on one switch goes to the other switch? Also how would I determine which is the neutral wire?

And I hate to show ignorance yet again, but the truth hurts. For the circuit wires (black/blue for ACT switches), can I just measure voltage across the lines while hot, and the pair that shows +120V is neg/pos? I have to admit, I haven't yet learned what neutral and ground really do to the circuit, and hence what their impact would be on measuring voltages on a circuit.

I pulled the outlet off one of the switches, and all the dang wiring is black (or so it seems), so that's no help. In the extreme case, couldn't I just use one of my 22g wires with my multimeter to connect the two switches somehow to determine this stuff?
I picked up a three way also and plan to install it tonight. I will let you know what i find if your question does not get answered before then.
It's a single gang switch. By "how many neutral wires in the box", do you mean currently mounted in my wall?
You can not simply measure the voltage across the hot wires. It needs to be measured to neutral or ground. So yo neet to set your meter to AC voltage and put 1 lead on the neutral (which should always be white) and hot (primary should always be black). For 3 way there is usually a red traveller wire that goes between the switches. 3 ways can be configures in lots of different ways. Most of the time a regular switch works by just switching the hot leg, so you will have the hot (black) wire split with the switch wired in-line. An outlet needs to provide juice, so 1 side is hot and the other side is neutral. If you measure across those wires you should read 120. Normally the hot side is black wire and the neutral white. Sometimes electricians do funky things like use white whire as hot, but they are supposed to mark it with black tape or something to indicate hot. Normal wire color coding is something like:

Black = Hot
White = Neutral
Green = Ground
Bare = Ground
Red = alternate hot / traveller, etc

So for the 3 way, you really need to find which switch has the load wire, where the power comes in, etc. Most of the time you get lucky and 1 switch has the power feed and load and the second switch is mere a slave, but anything is possible.

I do not know about electrical codes in other states, but CA local building codes allow the hot to be red and blue besides black.

Also, traveller wires are generally yellow.

Just a thought.

Good point, I guess it all depends. I knew red, but never saw blue, but then again, I'm not an electrician.
I have never seen or heard of yellow traveler wires, but IANAE. I have seen red, black & blue traveler wires. You can also see other colored wire with tape bands (or whatever) at the end to try and indicate what the wire color "should have been", but I have no idea if/where that is truly up to code.

I believe that the NEC allows tape bands on wires to indicate what the color "should have been" when the specific color required is not available.

I have traveler wires that are yellow and orange in my CA house. Still haven't figured out how to get my UPB switches installed on that!
So I just took a stab at installing an AS101 along with a Leviton/Monster Dimmer switch. The bad news is that I failed. Those who know me should know what the good news is. :(

It seemed like a very straig forward hookup.

The Dimmer switch is wired just like you would wire a single poll switch. Then the traveler(Red in my state among other colors) is connected to the third terminal which is covered with a red sticker. On the AS101 end the switch is connected simply by putting the Yellow wire(from switch) to the traveler(red) and White/Red Striped wire(from switch) to the Hot(black) or Neutral(white). The Hot is recommended in the instructions so this is what I used.

I have an e-mail into Monster asking for additional support. I was told that it may not work and was asked to test it for them. ;)
I just installed a 103 and a 101 Home Pro. The 101 doesn't carry a load so you need to find the hot and install the 103 there. The black hooks up to the hot and the white to the neutral. The blue goes to the light. The yellow goes to the yellow on the 101. The brown is for a four way if you want an additional 101.

In my case I had a 14/2 and 14/3 at the 103 location. The 14/2 was the hot and the 14/3 went to the other switch. From the other switch 14/2 went to the lights.

103 Location:

So I hooked the white from the 14/2 and the white from the 14/3 and the white from 103 together.

Next the black from the 14/2 to the black on the 103.

Then the blue was attached to the black from the 14/3. (brown not used)

Finally the yellow was hooked up to the red.

101 Location:

On the other end the 14/3 black hooked up to the 14/2 black from the lights.

Next the white from the 14/3, the white 14/2 from the light and the white/red stripe of the 101 go together.

Finally the red hooks into the yellow on the 101.

I hope this makes sense.

I was under the impression that the Monster switches are used together. As in you would buy two of their switches and hook them up like a standard 3-way install. That was the advantage to the HomePro switches($56.95+$12.95) as they use the slave and are a lot cheaper than having to buy 2 monsters($129.95+$129.95). I thought I read this in post from rjh.