Wiring with multiple switches controlling the same fixture

If the switch you are replacing is part of a multi-way circuit (two or more switches controlling the same fixture), you’ll want to replace each switch with a Nokia Smart Lighting Dial, Paddle or Keypad. Wiring the switches requires a specific process be followed in order to set this up correctly.

Prepare your setup

  • Take advantage of daylight – you’ll need to disconnect power for installation, so we suggest doing the installation during the day to avoid having to work in the dark.
  • Get your tools ready
  • Screwdrivers:
  • Phillips head
  • Flathead
  • Voltage detector
  • Optional:
  • Wire strippers – in case you encounter wires that need pruning.
  • Painter's tape – you may wish to mask off the area below your switches, so your walls are kept clean.
  • Flashlight – your phone’s flashlight could do the job.
  • A friend or family member – it’s always good to have a helper.
  • Confirm compatible load – the Nokia Smart Lighting Dial, Paddle and Keypad feature two operational modes: dimmer and on/off. The default setting for the Dial and Keypad is dimmer mode. The Paddle default setting is on/off mode. Use the table below to determine which mode you should be using with your fixture and if the fixtures are within the operating range:
Dimmer modeOn/off mode
Non-Dimmable LEDNot recommended150 Watts
Dimmable LED150 Watts
Incandescent/Halogen400 Watts1000 Watts
Ceiling or Exhaust FansNot recommended1/3 HP

Note: the Nokia Smart Lighting switches are not designed to be wired to an outlet (i.e., half hot receptacle).

Remove old switches

If the switch you are replacing is part of a multi-way circuit (two or more switches controlling the same fixture), you’ll want to replace each switch with a Nokia Smart Lighting Dial, Paddle or Keypad. Wiring the switches requires a specific process be followed in order to set this up correctly.

  • Disconnect power at the breaker panel – confirm power is off at the switches by turning them on and off. The connected load should not turn on.
  • Remove old wall plates.
  • Remove the mounting screws and pull switches away from wall (leave wires connected for now).
  • Look in the junction box behind each of the switches to see if you have neutral wires. These are typically 2 or more white wires connected with a wire nut. In a multi-way circuit, the neutral wires may only be available in one location. Do you see them?
  • No: A neutral wire is required. Learn more about neutral wires and how to check if you have them.
  • Yes: Great! Let’s keep going.
  • 5. Inspect the screw terminals on the old switches. The screws that are the same color are “Traveler” wires. The third screw should be a different color.
  • 6. Remove the Line/Load wire from the screw on both switches and place wire nuts over them. If wires are pushed into the back of the switches, use wire cutters to remove.
  • 7. Use wire strippers to straighten the ends if bent and ensure you have ½ inch of exposed copper wire.
  • 8. Screw wire nuts over the wires using the wire nuts included with the new switch.
  • 9. Turn on power to the switch at the breaker panel.
  • 10. Back at the switch locations, use a voltage detector to determine which of the two disconnected wires is Line (powered). Only one of the switch locations will have this powered wire – use tape to mark wire as Line. Going forward we will refer to this switch location as “Box 1” and the other switch location as “Box 2”.
  • 11. In Box 2 use tape to mark the disconnected wire as Load.
  • 12. Turn off power to the switches at the breaker panel.

Install new switches

  • Disconnect the traveler wires and using a wire nut, twist them both together with the line wire – this will pass the power on to box 2.
    Tip: if you only have neutral wires in one switch location, you can use one of the traveler wires to carry neutral from one box to the other. See the multi-way appendix for details.
  • Connect the green ground wire on the switch to the ground wires in the wall box. These are typically bundled in the back of the switch box and are bare copper wires.
  • Connect the white neutral wire on the switch to the bundle of neutral wires (or to the traveler wire if repurposed as a neutral wire).
  • Connect the black line wire on the switch to the line wire.
  • Place a wire nut over the red load wire on the switch – this will not be needed in this switch box.
  • Gently tug on the wires connected to wire nuts to make sure they are secure. Also make sure there is no exposed copper wire.
  • Tuck the wires back into the wall box and move the switch into position:
  • Dial: LED indicator facing upward.
  • Paddle: LED indicator on left side.
  • Keypad: LED indicators on right side.
  • 8. Tighten the switch mounting screws and make sure it is properly aligned with the wall box or other switches if installed in a multi-switch box.

In Box 2

  • Connect the green ground wire on the switch to the ground wires in the wall box.
  • Connect the white neutral wire on the switch to the bundle of neutral wires (or to the traveler wire if repurposed as a neutral wire).
  • Connect the red load wire on the switch to the load wire.
  • Connect the black line wire on the switch to the two traveler wires.
  • Gently tug on the wires connected to wire nuts to make sure they are secure. Also make sure there is no exposed copper wire.
  • Tuck the wires back into the wall box and move the switch into position:
  • Dial: LED indicator facing upward.
  • Paddle: LED indicator on left side.
  • Keypad: LED indicators on right side.
  • 7. Tighten the switch mounting screws and make sure it is properly aligned with the wall box or other switches if installed in a multi-switch box.
  • 8. Return to your breaker panel and turn on the power.

Test your switch

At Box 2, test that the switch is working properly:

  • Dial: Rotate the dial to dim and brighten*. Push to turn off and on.
  • Paddle: Tap the top to turn on, bottom to turn off.
  • Keypad: Tap the 4th button from the top to turn off and on (press and hold to dim/brighten*).

*If your bulbs dim and brighten without any issues, great! If your lights flicker or otherwise are not performing as expected, you have a few options:

  • Ensure your bulbs are dimmable. This is typically marked on the bulb itself, otherwise look for a make or model number and search online for information.
  • If the bulbs are dimmable but still do not perform well (flicker, flashing) consider adding the Nokia Smart Lighting Bridge and use the app to calibrate the dimmer.
  • Change the switch to on/off mode.

Pairing your Box 1 and Box 2 Switches

See programming 3-way circuit article for instructions on pairing your switches.

Multi-way Appendix

What to do if you only have a neutral wire available in one of the switch boxes in a multi-way circuit?

Neutral wires are typically 2 or more white wires connected with a wire nut in the back of a switch box. In some multi-way circuits, you may see this in one of your switch boxes but only a single white wire with a wire nut in the other switch box. Or you may find only one white wire with a wire nut in both locations. In either case, the white wire is likely the neutral wire. To make sure the wire is neutral, use a voltage detector between the white wire and the line/hot wire in the box. You should see 110-120V.

If you’ve determined that only one of your switch boxes has a neutral connection, don’t worry! You can re-purpose one of the traveler wires to help carry it over to the other switch box.

  • First follow the multi-way wiring instructions up until you’ve determined which of the switch boxes has the incoming hot/line wire.
  • With the power to the circuit off, at box 1 connect one of the traveler wires to the hot/line wire.
  • At box 2 remove the two traveler wires from the old switch and place a wire nut over each wire.
  • Return to your breaker panel and turn on the power.
  • At box 2 use a voltage detector to determine which of the two disconnected traveler wires is carrying the power from box 1. Use tape to mark this wire as line. The other traveler wire will now be considered available for carrying the neutral. Go ahead and mark that wire in both boxes as neutral.
  • Return to your breaker panel and turn off the power.
  • At whichever box has the neutral wire, go ahead and connect it to your available traveler wire.
  • Proceed with the instructions on installing the new switches starting at step 2.