Top positive review
732 people found this helpful
I'm kind of addicted to these now
on April 30, 2015
Installed this with an add-on switch yesterday. It works so well, I'm trying to pace myself from replacing every switch in the house with z-wave.
Installation is a little tricky if you've never messed with swapping out a switch before. The instructions aren't super clear, but if you study them long enough, it eventually makes enough sense. Here's what I had to do:
1.) Turn the light off. Kill the breaker to the switch.
2.) Unscrew the plate and existing switch. Popping the existing wires out of the back of the old switch was the hardest part here.
3.) Pull out the white wires (neutrals) from the back of the box
4.) Unscrew the wire nut off the neutrals. Add in the short neutral wire included in the GE switch box and screw the wire nut back on.
5.) Connect the 4 or 5 wires that are now open to the new switch: line, load, neutral, traveler (only if 3-way config), ground.
6.) Turn breaker on. Check to see you've got a blue LED.
7.) Put your hub in discovery mode. Push the switch once to make it pair.
8.) Turn breaker back off. Screw everything back in and put on a fitting plate. Done!
A couple other notes for people who are totally new to this:
Line = wire coming from the breaker
Load = wire going to the light fixture
Traveler = wire that runs between two (or more) switches that allows you to flip the same light on/off from multiple places. Normally red.
It can be hard to tell which is which between line/load as both of these are usually black. From my experience, the line wire was almost always connected via wire nut in the back of the box while the load wire was just free by itself. The load wire was also generally closer to the traveler wire.
**UPDATE: So I just finished an install of 4 of these in the same gangbox. It was a LOT harder than I expected. Things get immediately more complicated when you're putting in more than 1 of these in the same box. Here's what I ran into:
1.) Each of these switches takes a dedicated ground wire. However, all multi-switch boxes in my house have the ground wire daisy-chained and shared between them. This meant I had to cut the existing ground wire and run separate short ones from a wire nut to each switch. Very annoying. Really wish these things had some way to pass through the ground wire. Almost enough to drop this to 4 stars.
2.) The neutral wire bundle in the back of the box already has 4 in there. That means you can't just cram 4 more neutral wires from these switches into that same wire nut. I had to combine the 4 new neutrals into their own new bundle and then use a short wire that would connect the two wire nut bundles. Also annoying.
3.) Those metal tabs on the sides. The instructions say you "may" need to snap them off when installing multiple switches next to each other. There was no "may" about it for me as there's no way more than one of these things will fit into a box and plate with those tabs. The tabs themselves are not hard to remove as long as you use some large pliers (locking pliers make it easier). I did leave the outside tabs on the outer-most switches, though.
4.) Box space. Oh man. Because of #1 and #2, you end up adding a lot of extra wire into the back of the box. Things get really tight really fast. The majority of my time on this task was getting everything crammed back in. It was so tight that when I would push everything in, the box itself was sliding back deeper into the wall. The short screws I had would never reach to attach the switches to the box. So I went out and bought longer screws, which made it tons easier. I also ran into problems where every time I'd smash stuff in, some random wire in one of those bundles would pop out, and I've have to pull everything out and start over. Endless trips to the breaker and back. At least I hit my fitness tracker step goal.
5.) INSPECT USED UNITS. Closely. Most of the time they're fine, but two of mine were missing the neutral wire in the box (luckily I had extra wire to make my own). One of them had the screw totally broken off on the neutral wire port, so I had to try and rig the wire to stay put. Finally, one of them was actually the older version of the switch that doesn't even take a neutral wire, even though the box it came in had the newer model model # printed on it - that one's obviously getting returned.
But in the end, all 4 switches work, and having them dimmable, networked, automated is glorious. I'm just glad I don't have any more 4-switch boxes.