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on September 28, 2011
Quick Review:

If you're converting your 3-way light switches to z-wave controlled ones but want to use fluorescent bulbs, this is the answer. Installation is easy enough once you understand how the switches and light fixtures are wired together. Get them for around $50 here on Amazon.

Full Review:

I decided to start switching over my home to use z-wave for home automation and needed to find light switches to use around my house. After reading some of the reviews for the 3-way dimmer version of this switch, I opted to go for these to convert my home. I already have fluorescent light bulbs for almost every light fixture and being able to dim most of the lights was not a priority for me.

This product is just a GE 45609 Z-Wave Wireless Lighting Control On/Off Switch packaged with an auxiliary switch (GE 45610) so that you can have it control a 3-way (or 4-way, you'll need another aux switch) circuit. It's meant to replace and EXISTING 3-way circuit without any new wiring required. I used these instead of the GE 45613 Z-Wave Technology 3-Way Dimmer Switch Kit due to the fact almost every single light in my house is florescent.

To wire the primary switch, you need to have ground, neutral, line (hot), load (to the light), and a travel wire leading to the other switchbox where the aux switch will be located. The aux switch only needs a ground, neutral, and the travel wire that leads back to the primary switch. Now you should be able to check your wiring and verify you have all the needed wires before tearing everything apart. For me, all the neutral wires were bound together, capped off, and shoved to the back of the box.

I have installed a total of 3 of these sets now. The first one I installed was one I had ordered from Amazon's warehouse which had been opened and returned (I'm cheap, I'll save $5-10 every chance I get). I spent the better part of 2 days trying to figure out why I couldn't get it working. Finally the idea dawned on me to see if the primary switch worked properly on it's own. Nope, it was DOA, so back to Amazon it went (No that's not the reason I took away a star). Next up, a brand new one. So the brand new one went in as did the aux switch and worked perfectly. Total installation time for the first switch? About 9 hours of me wanting to break things because the first (used) switch was broken and about 30min to install the second (new) switch along with the aux switch. The next 2 sets of 3-way's I installed only took about 15-20min each now that I had the wiring down. I'm not a professional electrician but I'm sure if I kept at this, I could have them installed in about 10min.

I think the directions could be expanded to include a few other ways a 3-way circuit can be wired as they only have a diagram showing one of the ways it could be wired. Lack of proper documentation for products is a major annoyance to me and the reason I docked a star. Seriously, pay someone for the extra 2 hours it would take to be thorough for your documentation.

Another thing I feel need to mention because I've seen it in other reviews on here is the distance limitation between the switches. One of my switches is about 18 feet apart straight-line distance across the room. This doesn't account for the extra 4' on either end to get up the wall to the ceiling or the fact I have a vaulted ceiling it has to cross. The shortest my wiring can possibly be is ~30'and my aux switch has no issue turning the light on and off.

Quick hints:
-Wire in the primary after removing both switches from the old 3-ways and make sure it will turn on and off the light. Then you can move on and install the aux switch.
-Mark the wires as you take them off the switch!
-Check and double-check you're hooking up the correct wire to the correct spot on the switch. You'll feel stupid having to undo it all when you mix up the line and load wires.
-If you have 2 or more of these installed next to one another, you'll need to break off the tabs on the side so they can fit close enough together to put the decorative plate over them. Only break off the ones you need to get them to fit.
-For double- and triple-gang installations, I just daisy-chained the neutral (same with the hot/line) because it was just easier than pulling out the whole bundle for me. (No idea if this follows local wiring code but it's working just fine.)

Other Thoughts;

The blue LED isn't extremely bright and doesn't bother me. By default, it is ON when the switch if OFF and OFF when the switch is ON. It can help someone unfamiliar with the light switch location to find it in the dark. If you have an advanced remote, you can switch it so the LED is ON when the switch is ON. You can also install the switch upside-down and flip it to the correct way using an advanced remote. I haven't tested either of these because the default is what I needed.

I have paired these switches to a couple different types of remotes and it has worked fine with all of them, A Go Control panel, one of the basic GE remotes, and a Intermatic HA-07 remote. Hurray for interoperability!

You can hear the relay in the switch click when your turn it on and off. Not really a big deal because my old switches clicked when I flipped them on and off. I think you might notice it a lot more if you use the remote to turn the lights on and off. I've gotten used to it and barely even notice it anymore.

These take up a lot more space in the electrical boxes but I didn't have any issues with not being able to get them to fit properly.
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1010 comments|91 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 3, 2012
I recently installed two sets of these switches to control my outside flood lights. For the most part, installation was fairly easy, and they've worked perfectly so far. The key to having a successful installation is understanding how a traditional 3-way switch system is wired, and how these Z-Wave switches differ from those of a traditional installation. Once you understand the difference (which took me a while), installation becomes pretty straightforward.

My only complaint is that these switches are much deeper than traditional switches, and thus they leave very little room behind them for wires. The most frustrating part of installation for me was trying to cram wires in the back of the electrical box so that the switches would fit. I'm sure the size of these switches is necessary for the Z-Wave functionality, but it made for a very unpleasant portion of the installation. I'm fairly new to electrical work, so I wasn't about to swap out the electrical box for a roomier one.

I'd like to share what I've learned about 3-way switches in general and these switches in particular in order to help others who may be fairly new to doing their own electrical work:

A traditional 3-way switch has three terminals: one common, and two travelers. In a typical configuration, depending on where the switch is situated in the circuit, the common wire is either bringing power from your service panel ("line") or continuing on to the light fixture ("load"). The two 3-way switches are connected together by the two traveler wires. When both switches are connecting their respective common wires to the same traveler wire, the circuit is completed, and the light goes on. If each switch is connecting its common wire to a different traveler wire, then the circuit is interrupted and the light is off.

In a traditional 3-way switch system, both switches are identical, interchangeable, and equal partners in the work that they do. This is not the case with these Z-Wave switches. This set consists of a GE 45609 Z-Wave Wireless Lighting Control On/Off Switch (which can be used by itself in a single-switch installation) and a GE 45610 Z-Wave Auxiliary Switch. The primary switch does all the work of completing or interrupting the circuit, and it contains the Z-Wave functionality. The auxiliary switch basically acts as a wired remote control that sends a signal to the primary switch.

In this setup, both the line and load are wired directly to the primary switch, and only one traveler connects it to the auxiliary switch. This is actually pretty easy to accomplish with existing 3-way wiring. At the primary switch, the old common wire becomes the line, use one of the old travelers as the load, and use the other as the only traveler. Then, at the auxiliary switch, connect the traveler to the switch, and connect the other traveler (now the line) directly to what was the common wire (load) on the traditional 3-way switch.

There are multiple ways to wire a 3-way switch configuration, so your own installation may differ slightly. However, the same overall concepts will apply: one of the old travelers remains a traveler, and the other one connects directly to the line/load (common), bypassing the auxiliary switch entirely.

One final note: All of these Z-Wave switches also require a neutral connection in order to power the switch itself. This usually isn't an issue, but occasionally you'll encounter an end-of-line switch configuration where the neutral/white wire is used as hot, in which case you won't be able to replace it with a Z-Wave switch.
2323 comments|67 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 23, 2013
Read a few reviews before I purchased this pair of switches. Installation wasn't too bad. To make things easier for me, I created a simplified wiring diagram to go from the standard 3-way switches to the Z-Wave switches. I didn't know which box had the hot wire so I created both situations because I wanted the primary (45609) switch to be in the kitchen and the auxiliary (45610) to be in the garage. The primary has an option to change the LED default from on when the load (in my case the garage lights) is off to the opposite mode. I wanted to have the blue LED on when the garage lights were on so I didn't have to open the door to see if they were on or off.

I turned off the breakers to the two junction boxes I needed to work on first. Both had other light switches in them and I needed to turn off a total of 3 circuit breakers. Once the switch covers were off and the old switches removed with the loose wires not touching anything, I turn the breaker I needed back on to see which box had the hot wire using a voltmeter; the other box would have to have the load wire from the lights. After I did that, I turned the breaker back off. Since these switches require a neutral wire, I removed the existing white (neutral) wire nut in each box and attached a short length of white wire then put each wire nut back on and tightened it. In the auxiliary switch box where the hot wire was, I tied the known hot wire to the black wire of the 4-conductor cable that ran to the other switch with an additional wire nut. All I needed to do now was connect the wires to each switch and make sure the primary switch had the two black wires in the right place. I double checked both switches and turned the breakers back on. What a pleasant surprise; all the lights worked like they were suppose to. I turned the breakers off once more to screw the switches and switch covers back in place before I turned the breakers on one last time. Voila, everything still worked!

In addition to the switches, I also needed two short lengths of white wire and one wire nut.

I programmed the primary Z-Wave switch and the installation was complete.

I'm very happy with these switches and hope they work for many years. I added a copy of my diagram to the set of customer pictures.
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on January 24, 2013
I got these switches setup in my home now on a lighted staircase and they are working just great. It certainly took some practice to get everything up and working (more on that below) but overall, I'm extremely happy with my purchase.
One thing to note, the first package I received had a broken aux switch. I spent a lot of time trying to get it working, eventually giving up and exchanging the set for the same model. The new one works great. If I had known the switch was broken sooner, I wouldn't have had to spend so much time thinking I was just hooking it up wrong.

A couple notes on installation. Hopefully this helps someone else out in the future so my time spent can reduce yours.
1. If you have the newest version of these switches (without the colored wires hanging off of them), then your house wires do NOT need to be wrapped around the screws for installation. I spent a lot of effort making sure the wires were bent perfectly around the screws to tighten them...a frustrating and time-consuming process. The MUCH better way is to straighten out the exposed wire end and stick it in the holes on the back of the unit, then tighten the screw. Give a quick tug on the wire to make sure it is secure. Basically, the metal plate on the inside of the switch will clamp down on the wire, instead of using the outside where the screw itself is doing the clamping. Using the holes on the back will save you hours of time. After I learned this, installing my second set was a breeze.

2. There are several conflicting reports about neutral wires for the installation of these switches. Yes neutrals are required, but in most cases, you do not need to pull a neutral out of the bundle in the back of the box in order to hook these up. Just daisy chain a new wire into the neutral bundle and hook that daisy chain wire up to the switch.

3. It should not matter at all which side you put the main switch on and which side the aux is on. Just make sure that whatever side that the aux switch is on, you wire nut the two black wires together to complete the circuit on that side. This is because the aux switch doesn't control current; it just sends a signal to the main switch.

Best of luck on getting your z-wave switches up and running! I love my z-wave system!
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on December 15, 2014
Worked well with some issues. I've ordered two of these now connected to my Wink hub. They connect as a generic z-wave compatible switch with no problems but a couple of issues cropped up during installation.

Note: Just in case you did not know this, every switch must be replaced in a 3 or 4 way circuit. The 45609 is the master and 45610 for all the slaves. It is not a direct wire-for-wire replacement for your current switches, but since you only need a ground, neutral and traveler wire you can retrofit 3 and 4 way circuits easily. However you may need a wire tracer to make sure you have the correct wires if your not familiar with how it was wired. I had a 4 way circuit and I was not exactly sure which switch was wired in what order so I had to do some troubleshooting to figure it out. Also the master switch must be put in the box that has the load wire for the circuit you are trying to power along with power for that load.

1) The first one I ordered I could not get the slave switch to work the lights. Amazon quickly replaced the switches (good job there Amazon!) and with the new switches in hand the problem turned out to be the master switch. In doing some research on line there seemed to be several people with this problem. Possibly a quality control issue, lose one star.

2) The switch is big and takes up a lot of room in the box, so if you have lots of wires in a box or a box that is a slimline, watch out.

3) The switch is thicker and sticks out something like 1/8th inch more than a standard switch. So if you are installing in a multi-ganged box you may need to shim the other switches to match.

It took some time to figure out the wiring for my 4 way circuit and getting the master switch in a somewhat full multi-ganged box took some effort (and the bad switch did not help matters), but once the bad switch was replace it all works well.

2/25/15 Update: Note that the Wink app will not detect the status of this device. They always show up as "on" even if the circuit is "off".
-So much for checking if you left the lights on remotely. However you can issue an off commend and IF they were on they will turn off. And if you want to turn them ON, then you must first turn them off (because it thinks they're already on) and then turn on.
-The App can turn on and off the switch just fine. You can set up a schedule and it works fine. But for a robot to work it needs to detect the device status. Something like, if this circuit is turned on then do something. No big deal for a light switch, unless you have greater ambitions, but worth noting.

3/16/15 The latest firmware update (0.77.0) upgraded the wink hub and now status polling of z-wave devices now works. This means you get the proper status of the device when checking via smart phone.
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on September 8, 2011
I've wired 2 of these in my house as a 3 way and 1 as a 4 way switch. Wiring took a bit to figure out, so if you're even a little unsure, hire an electrician. It's cheaper than a trip to the hospital or a burned down house. In short these guys are perfect. I hooked them up to my ADT Pulse system and can control them from anywhere in the world. Kind of awesome. Easy add to my ADT Pulse system. I originally did get a bad one, but Amazon quite handily replaced it for me for free. Totally recommend these for someone trying to turn his or her house into a smart home.
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on November 4, 2013
I currently have a FrontPointSecurity system which uses a Simon XT controller. It was hard to find any information on the Internet to see if these Z-Wave light switches would work, but they do with no issue. I need a 4-way installation using this GE kit and an additional auxiliary switch. There was an issue with the primary switch and upon discussion with tech support at Jasco, determined the controller was bad. I have read other reviews that this is common with these controllers. I had purchased this originally at Amazon. I went over to Lowes and picked up the Iris version which actually is the identical kit made by GE (Jasco). They worked with no issue.

It was easy to connect to the Simon XT controller and I use the garage door sensors to trigger an event which turns on the lights that these switches control after hours. Pretty slick actually.

The installation of these switches is different than a normal 3-way/4-way. Typically you have 2 travelers between the switches. That is not the case with this installation. You only use 1 traveler between the primary switch and the auxiliary switch in a 3-way. Also the load wire does not connect to the auxiliary switches. There is a wiring diagram which helps.

I took away 2 stars because of the high failure rate of these purchased on-line. Not sure why that is the case, but I saw several others that purchased multiple sets of these and had an almost 50% failure rate. When the work, they work great. I would still recommend this product, just be careful when you get it.
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on September 7, 2012
First of all, I love these switches. I have a security system with a GE Simon XT front end. They integrate flawlessly and I can control and schedule my lights from virtually anywhere on the planet.

Why 4 stars? Two reasons; occasionally they ship defective ones, and it should be made clearer that these are not for the average DIY person without more than a passing familiarity with 120V circuits. I have a lot of familiarity - I'm not a professional electrician but I have completely wired an addition (with a homeowner's permit, available in my county by taking an NEC test), added new circuits and replaced most of the devices in my existing home.

The manufacturer should be much stronger in their warnings that these (at least the 3-way variety) are not simple to install and take quite a bit of planning and knowledge to get them right the first time. It's not always obvious how a 3-way circuit is wired (goes double for 4- or 5-ways) and electricians do not always properly apply tape to the wires (for example, black on a white wire indicating it's a hot, not a neutral). Also, the Amazon product description (not the manufacturer's description) states that this includes a dimmer; it does not. These are for on-off control only.

Another caution for the uninitiated: the terminals on the backs of these are NOT spring loaded push terminals as you find on a lot of wiring devices now. The wire is inserted (with the screw loosened) and then tightening the screw clamps down on the wire. At least one reviewer complained about the terminals because the wires fell out; that's why.

I've used this successfully on a 5-way circuit with two lights and 4 switches. It took several hours, a homemade 9V circuit tracer and a VOM to figure out how these were originally wired but once I did these switches worked right out of the box. One of the switches is quite remote (50') from the rest of them; I don't know why people have had issues with the distance of the aux switches but I have not.

I really like that the main switch has an LED indicator when the switch is off; helps find them in the dark. It would be nice to have them on the aux switches as well, but that would likely require a hot connection to the aux switch and many existing installations won't have enough wires for that.

In summary, this is a great switch but if you have doubts about your ability to map out your wiring and install it correctly, get someone qualified to do it for you. Saving a few bucks is not worth electrocuting yourself or burning down your home.
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on October 9, 2015
The switches connected to my Vera Edge easily. These aren't toggle switches. You push once to turn on and push again to turn off. This isn't a problem but they feel different than most switches of this style.

The instructions that came with this pair of switches were ok if you've done quite a few 3-way switches before. I would strongly warn against learning about 3-way switches on these. THEY DON'T WIRE LIKE 3-WAYS. The instructions are ok but I couldn't get them to work until I watched the YouTube video.

I took off a second star because in the second installation I couldn't get them wired up right. I'm to hire a professional electrician. I've changed ~50 3-way switches and even trouble shot a few but I couldn't get these to work in the second installation.

I can't wait to get these working because my wife and daughter can turn on the outside lights while they're waiting at the red light near the house.

I have a Kwikset Z-wave door lock and a Honeywell Z-wave thermostat that both installed easily, about 30 min each, and were easy to set up on my Vera Edge
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on June 23, 2012
This is a real crap-shoot. I ordered five of these at the same time. Two of the five were completely different than the others. Those two operate correctly as a two-way switch, the others did not. Both are labeled as part number 45613 but the switches inside are very different. The ones that worked correctly have part number and had master switches labeled as ZW3003 and had screw terminals. The ones that did not work correctly were labeled as ZW3003-WCS and had a bundle of wires sticking out of the back.

Also note that if you are remodding an older house with metal dual-gang boxes, you will not be able to install two in a box without removing the old box and installing a remod-box.

When you can get the correct parts, these work well, but there is so much pain involved that I can't recommend them unless you enjoy a painful project.
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