3-Way Dimmer with Dummy Wiring Help

I purchased a black series

3 way dimmer switch, and am having a hard time figuring out the wiring for my switch. I have a dummy 3 way switch at the top of the stairs (black, white, red, and ground), and a switch at the bottom of the stairs with 3 bunches of wires (1. black, white, ground 2. black, white, ground 3. black, white, red, ground). There is a light in the stairway, as well as a newly finished basement with several lights. All of these lights are controlled by both switches. I am trying to add the dimmer switch to the switch at the bottom of the stairs (basement). Please see my drawing attached for a better visual of my current switch wiring (white wires are orange in the drawing).

@acorbin13 - Easy! See the below for details:

@acorbin13 - Also see:

I beleve this is what you current have.


Note diagram modified from original post.

And you wish to put the New Inovelli at location B.

The dimmer really wants to be at location A because the line and neutral are there.

I believe the dimmer can be made to go at location B. Please verify that is your goal and we can suggest wiring.


I’m going to go with a “maybe” for @harjms and @JohnRob.

The basement box has two 2-wires and a 3-wire. Both of my esteemed colleagues have suggested a line and load in the basement box, which may be the case. In that configuration, the line would come in on one 2-wire and the load would go out to the lights on the other 2-wire. A pretty common configuration.

@JohnRob, I think the OP wants the Inovelli in the basement box.

But it’s also possible that you have the line and load in both boxes aka lights in the middle. In that configuration, that 2nd 2-wire might not be going to the lights, it may simply be passing power to additional devices on the circuit. @acorbin13, in your drawing, you have a 2-wire labeled basement, I think. Are you saying that goes to the lights or are you unsure of where it’s going?

@Bry yes, I’d like the Inovelli switch in the basement. For the switch labeled basement, I believe this 2-wire goes to the basement lights (multimeter is on its way). The one labelled traveler matches up with the wires in the switch box at the top of the stairs.

@acorbin13 - Disregard my drawing then. With the new placement, it’ll be a non neutral setup (could possibly need bypass now) and I think you may have to use an aux switch, but @bry and @johnrob will get it settled out.

Maybe I’m confused. In the original post, the OP said he has box at the bottom of the stairs with 3 Romex in it. The bottom of the stairs is the basement and that’s where he wants the Inovelli.

So if that 2nd 2-wire is really going to the lights (I would test to make sure after he gets his meter) then @harjms and @JohnRob’s drawings are correct.

Back to you, James.

UGGHHH, my reading comprehension is WAYYY off today.

You’re just trying to weasel out of getting the rest of this figured out . . .:slightly_smiling_face:


I modified my diagram in post #4. It appears the Upstairs / Basement nomenclature was incorrect.

So if you wish to put the dimmer in Box A then @harjms 's suggested diagram is likely correct.

If so and you would like the install before you get the meter it is simple.

Turn off the breaker for this circuit:

  1. disconnect Cable A1 from the others
  2. Connect the black in A1 to the dimmer “LINE” and the White to the dimmer “Neutral”
  3. Repower the circuit
    If the dimmer Led turns on an does whatever dance the instructions mention then you’ve found the power input wires.

If not repeat with Cable A3

If neither are power please post that to this thread (this is unlikely).

Once you’ve found power, you follow @harjms 's posted diagram.

Please feel free to ask anything that you concerns you. Sometimes what seems clear to us is not for someone just starting to change switches.


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Can confirm with the multimeter the A1 black wire is the hot from the breaker. The red in the upstairs box has 120V, and the white and black are both ~47V. I also used @JohnRob method to verify the switch was getting power, but no light in the basement box. I verified my finding on a known single light, and again no led on the switch. Unfortunately sounds like I have a bad switch.

acorbin13 can you verify Box A in my drawing is the basement box?

BTW your 47 volt reading is an open circuit i.e. no connections on either end. Electrical pickup causes what appears to be some voltage but there is no power behind it.

@JohnRob Yes, box A is the basement box. Good to know about the open circuit voltage!

Is this how you have it wired now?

Parameter 21 = 0
Parameter 22 = 1


@JohnRob Yes, I have tried the traveler and the white going to the upstairs box interchangeably.

Ok so in post 11 you reported:

B_1_black is open
B_1_white is open
B_1_red is 120 V

Is this with the B switch connected or disconnected?
If it with the B switch connected and you cannot get the light to light with switch B in either position then the B switch is likely defective.

Also could you help me understand your current situation? I.e. with works and what doesn’t.


@JohnRob switch B was connected when I verified the inovelli LED light would not turn on. I don’t believe either dumb switch I am using is faulty, since they both work in the 3 way wiring I have now. My current wiring in box A with the dumb 3 way switch has the below.
A1 Black - Line
A2 Red - Load/Traveler
A2/3 Black - Pig tailed
A1/3 - Pig tailed
A2 White - Neutral


I think I’m missing something…

is A2 Red - Load AND Traveler?
I assume: A1/3 - Pig tailed are the white wires?

Where does A1 White go?


@acorbin13 Did you get this working?