A 3-Way HS210 Installation Tutorial

A 3-Way HS210 Installation Tutorial
A 3-Way HS210 Installation Tutorial
2021-04-16 00:39:31 - last edited 2021-04-20 16:41:53
Model: HS210
Hardware Version:
Firmware Version:

The most frequent questions I have seen are related to 3-Way configurations. 

So here is a Tutorial that I hope will answer most questions, especially when it comes to installation. 

 

   What is a 3-way (or 4-way!) application? 

It is a wiring configuration to control a light from multiple switches in different locations - top and bottom of stairs is a common example.

Each switch will 'flip' the state of the light, regardless of what position the others are in. 

The Stair Lighting example mentioned typically has two switches - but it is even possible to have 3, 4 or even more switches all controlling the same fixture (for example a long hallway, where you might have a switch located outside each bedroom door) 

So, if lights are off, then switching the state of ANY of the switches will turn it on; if you leave that switch and go to any other in the chain, and flip that, it will turn light off again. 

 

Here is a graphic example of a three-switch configuration (the middle switch in the chain is a 4-way switch)
Note that this diagram is only showing the 'Line' voltage chain, which is what is being switched between the Mains Input to the Light Fixture. 

 

 

Those are the 8 possible configurations of the three switches - the first and last switches are 3-way types and the middle one is a 4-way (and if there more switch locations required, those would also 4-way)

Each switch - whether 3-way or 4-way has only 2 states. 

 

What is a 3-way Switch? 

A 3-way switch can also be called a 'change-over switch' - Technical Designation for it is a Single Pole, Double Throw (or SPDT) Switch

That means it has a common input and that will be routed to one OR other of the output terminals - but not both!!

The input is attached to the 'Common' (Line/Load designation on an HS210) and the Outputs are Traveler 1 and Traveler 2

So unlike a typical Single Switch, there is no 'Off' per se - the 3-way Switch redirects the Line Voltage to one or other terminal. 

 

Here's the simple part - an HS210 in regards to common switching, is no different from a dumb switch that it is replacing - it does exactly the same thing, switching the input terminal (Line/Load) to one OR other output (the Travelers), whether that be a manual operation of the Switch Paddle, or from your Smart Home application. Again, remember that the switch itself is never truly 'Off' - Note that the HS210 Switch is momentary action which electronically triggers an internal relay that flips the output state to the opposite Traveler, with each press of the switch.

This I think part is confusing to some - let's say you set the HS210 to a state that turns the light on - if you go to one of the dumb switches and flip that, it does not change the current state of the HS210.  The light goes out because the switch you operated flipped state, NOT the Smart Switch. So the flow diagram above applies regardless of whether it is Smart Switch or a Dumb switch in the first position. 

 

The Indicator Light itself is very clever (Smart even!!!) - it does not truly indicate which output is selected; it indicates when no current flows all the way to the load, regardless of which output is live. So the LED being on, tells nothing about whether the Relay is switched to the T1 or T2 terminals, only that (whichever state it is switched to) is flowing no current. i.e. it is NOT an on or off of the switch, it is reflecting an on or off of the LIGHT!. 

 

What are Traveler wires?

These are installed in the wall cavity BETWEEN the switch box locations. Unlike the incoming Line Romex and the Load (light) Romex which have Line, Neutral and Ground, the Traveler Romex is going to be a 3-wire plus ground - this would be Black and Red for the two Line Travelers, plus Neutral and Ground. When the circuit has been powered there will always be (only) ONE of the two Travelers in any given Romex, Hot (or live) 

 

What is a 'Smart' Switch? 

A smart Switch is simply one that can be controlled remotely, in this case of the HS210 via a WiFi command from your Local Network, from your phone, tablet or Alexa etc. 

A 'Dumb' switch (I often see these erroneously called 'Dummy' - it's Dumb', as in 'not Smart') is a purely manual physical switch which must be actuated directly 

 

Installation. 

 

This question gets asked over and over - how many HS210 do I need for my 3, 4, 5 switch configuration? In ALL cases the answer is 'Just One' 

As explained above the HS210 is essentially the same as a 'dumb' switch in its electrical config, the only difference being that it ALSO requires a connection to the Neutral (the line AND neutral is required for the power supply inside the module, which controls the electronics and wifi). Some older homes light switch boxes may not include a Neutral - if that is the case, unfortunately you cannot use the HS210 (or any of the Kasa Switches) as it is absolutely required. 

Now - again, we only need one HS210 - however it is important that it goes at the LINE end of the chain (the switch box that has the incoming power from the Breaker or Fuse Box). We need to identify the Line Input box, so we can ensure the HS210 is always powered, regardless of the State of the switch. 

It can only be one of two - only the first and last in the chain will be 3-way switches; if you pull the switch and find it is a 4-way, that immediately tells you it's not that one! 

So you have to idnetify which is the Line Box and which is the Load Box - they will both contain a 2-way (plus ground) and 3-way (plus ground), for the pertinent switch (of course there may be other cables in the box if it is a 2-gang or 3-gang installation). In order to validate that you will require a Voltage Tester - the simplest and safest is a 'Non Contact Voltage Tester' - do a search on Amazon or find at your local HD or L Store. These work as their name implies - it does not have to physically contact an exposed wire or terminal, it will even read through the wire insulation. 

 

First, guess at which it might be - you have a 50-50 shot 

 

Turn off the breaker, check with your tester that the terminals are not Live, and remove just that one wire that would be either line or load - that wire will be attached to the BLACK terminal on the Dumb Switch. Now put a spare wire nut on that exposed copper conductor. Again, at this stage do not remove any other wires. Now turn your breaker back on and test that wire with your non-contact tester - you will get an indication if you have the right one. If it's dead, then that would be the Load Wire - you guessed wrong! 

Turn off breaker, reconnect that wire to the same Black Terminal and re-install that switch back in the box - there is nothing needs to be done with that one.  

Repeat the process for the second box - since the other was the load, this one HAS to be the Line - get a confirmation then turn the breaker back off. 

 

At this stage, you can now remove the dumb switch from that box completely 

Connect up the HS210 with the newly-identified Line to Line/Load, the travelers to those two terminals (it does not matter which is which!!!) and connect your ground and neutral. 

 

Here is the schematic that shows how it will be connected (just the Line and Load boxes are shown - if there are more boxes/switches they are moot as far as the Smart installation goes) 

 

 

That should complete your wiring, you can power on the breaker and proceed to the Wifi Set-up per the App. 

 

Please note that I do not work for, or have any affiliation with, Kasa TP Link. I am simply an enthusiast who likes helping if I can.
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13 Reply
Re:A 3-Way HS210 Installation Tutorial
2021-04-16 20:34:44

@Bethel.8009 

 

Thanks for posting this, great explanation. I might also add to help improve your 50/50 first pick choose the switch closest to your breaker panel. I have found most of the time (but not always) this will be your line (hot) side. 

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Re:A 3-Way HS210 Installation Tutorial
2021-04-16 21:01:31

Thank you @Senior_Vagabond - that is a good tip generally and conversely, you could add the box closest to the fixture might likely be the load one! :) 

But as you indicate, these are not guaranteed but might often increase your 50/50 guess. I have one 3-way that is no more than 18" from my circuit breaker box (as the crow flies - although obviously the cable goes up the one wall and back down again) and as it turned out, that one is the LOAD box! Go figure!  :) 

 

Another one might be - if the switch being reviewed is in a multi-gang box, if the suspected Line Romex is commonly connected by wire nut to more than one switch, then it is almost certainly the Line - connected to two switches would also preclude it from being a load cable.

But of course if both boxes are single-gang, that doesn't give any clue! :)

Please note that I do not work for, or have any affiliation with, Kasa TP Link. I am simply an enthusiast who likes helping if I can.
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Re:A 3-Way HS210 Installation Tutorial
2021-04-18 17:18:29

@Bethel.8009 

Hi. 

Sorry ,but you have allot of miss information in there. Don't get me wrong there is useful information in there  

The white can be a traveler as well. You are only showing the scenarios for the power coming in at one of the switch boxes and the light at the other end VS power can be input into any one of the boxes.the 8 you mention are simply the potions of the internal contacts of the switches .Like wise the light can be taped off as well anywhere in the system.  

The set up and wiring for a 3way is not the same as a 4 way switching scenario.

Here is on example (not my drawing) of the light in the middle.   

 

 

 

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Re:A 3-Way HS210 Installation Tutorial
2021-04-18 19:42:01 - last edited 2021-04-23 16:54:19

@RS.user1 

RS.user1 wrote

you have allot of miss information in there.

The white can be a traveler as well.

Here is on example (not my drawing) of the light in the middle.   

 

 

Misinformation - Definition:  incorrect or misleading information 

 

There is NOTHING in my post that is incorrect or misleading. Incomplete? Maybe ..... however note I used the word 'example' - obviously there are other wiring schemes out there. 

Yes, in older house systems the white might be used as a Traveler - in those instances the White should clearly be re-identified by a sleeve or tape to avoid confusion with a Neutral. In todays NEC it is not permitted to use white for anything other than Neutral and a further requirement is that a Neutral MUST be included in each box. 

The example you showed - even though the light is shown 'in the middle'  the lamp is NOT phsyically connected 'in the middle' - it is electrically at the END of the scheme and electrically identical to my wiring installation diagram at the end. The middle box in your example with respect to the travelers is acting as nothing more than a junction box to pass them through to the second switch, 

Also important to note that in your example it is only possible to install the HS210 at box on the left because there is no neutral in the box on the right - which actually makes the installation of the HS210 in that scenario EXACTLY the same as my illustration 

Please note that I do not work for, or have any affiliation with, Kasa TP Link. I am simply an enthusiast who likes helping if I can.
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Re:A 3-Way HS210 Installation Tutorial
2021-04-23 16:18:18
Also important to note that in your example it is only possible to install the HS210 at box on the left because there is no neutral in the box on the right - which actually makes the installation of the HS210 in that scenario EXACTLY the same as my illustration
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Re:A 3-Way HS210 Installation Tutorial
2021-05-22 16:42:44

@Bethel.8009 

I replaced 1 dumb 3 way switch with the HS210, but on the app, it doesn't seem to know whether the light is on or off so I have to switch it twice for it to change the actual light being on or off. At first on the app, I would have to switch it twice for it to change the light being on or off. However, now the app still shows the switch, but doesn't seem to change the lighting at all no matter how many times i click on or off. Also, while the physical switch does turn the lights on and off with on touch, now the app isn't even changing the lights although it shows on or off inaccurately, and now the purple ring that appears when the light is off can't make up its mind whether it is on or off, and there is a buzzing coming from the switch.

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Re:A 3-Way HS210 Installation Tutorial
2021-05-22 17:43:10

@glaze Can you show images of your connections in the switch box? 

 

Are you sure you connected at the Line End and also that the white you used was indeed a Neutral (and not a traveler?) 

Sometimes white can be used as one of the travelers - the simple way to know is whether it was previously connected to the old dumb switch - Neutrals are never connected to a dumb switch, just linked in the switch box with a wire nut (if there at all).

The traveler Romex could have 2 conductors(typically black and white) plus ground or three conductors (typically red, black & white) plus ground;

In the 2 conductor setup, the white is NOT neutral, but a traveler; in the 3 wire, it IS N and the red and black are the travelers. 

In either case, the incoming Line wire must have a Neutral in order to use the HS210 

 

Just focus on the 'line' switch box in my diagram (you really don't need to do anything with the other box) 

So you will be connecting 5 wires:

The Line In 

The Neutral 

Traveler 1

Traveler 2

Ground 

 

 

Please note that I do not work for, or have any affiliation with, Kasa TP Link. I am simply an enthusiast who likes helping if I can.
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Re:A 3-Way HS210 Installation Tutorial
2021-05-23 15:07:45

@Bethel.8009 

I emailed a picture from my phone, but I am now very sure that the black is the common and the white and red are the travellers. I labelled them that way before removing them from the old switch. But to confirm it, what I just did was connect the black wire to the red wire and the lights went on when the dumb switch was in the on position and then I connected the black wire to the white wire and the lights went on when the dumb switch was in the off position, and then I connected the red wire and the white wire and the lights didn't work. This confirms to me that the black is common (either line or load) and red and white are travellers. There is a separate white neutral in the box that i connect to the white line from the smart switch and I am sure it is neutral; this is my 20th or so switch, but my first 3 way smart switch. I thought maybe the switch was bad, so I tried another 3 way smart switch and it does the same thing. The lights blink on and off and the switch clicks, so it isn't the switch.

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Re:A 3-Way HS210 Installation Tutorial
2021-05-23 15:20:45

@Bethel.8009 

Attached is the picture of the old switch before I removed the wires.you can see that the red and white wires were attached to the light gold screws and the black was attached were the black screw is.

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Re:A 3-Way HS210 Installation Tutorial
2021-05-23 15:39:16

@Bethel.8009 

Could the problem be that my dumb switch is a dimmer?

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