12V Treo Pool LEDs control via SmartThings + Z Wave?


#1

I recently replaced the Treo LEDs (12v) in my pool and would like to swap out the switch for a Z Wave model. I have several Z Wave devices at my house, but I’m stumped as to how I can control my pool lights given the current wiring and location of the switch.

The switch box is outside, close to the pool. It’s a Carlon weatherpoof box with a standard Leviton switch inside. I have no option to move the switch indoors. Here are some photos of the box and internals:

As you can see, there’s just blue (line) and green (ground) wires. Is there a Z Wave device out there that I can tuck inside this box that will allow me to control my lights via SmartThings?

Thanks!


#2

There may be some options, but my first concern is that I don’t think you’re going to be able to get radio signal in or out of that box, regardless of the device you choose. Would it be possible to replace the box itself with one that has a plastic front? Obviously it would still need to be something which is to code for your area, and looking at that box I’m assuming you’re inside the splash zone from the pool so we need to take galvanic corrosion into account. The box can be waterproof, that’s not a problem, it just needs to not be a material that blocks RF signal. Clear or a gray plastic are the usual choices. For whatever reason, there are more reports of trouble in this regard with blue plastic.

Also, is the line just regular 120 V?


#3

BTW, One option I’m thinking of which works well for retrofit is a battery operated smart switch cover which fits over the existing toggle and physically moves it. That way you don’t have to worry about the wiring at all. We just have to worry about whether the depth of the box is big enough for it and getting signal out of the box. But it’s a fast and easy solution for a lot of retrofit use cases. :sunglasses:


#4

Thanks for the replies! So you’re suggesting putting that Ecolink over top of the Leviton switch that’s already in there? The Ecolink is listed as indoor only… do you think inside a waterproof box is ok?

To answer your other question… I’m more than willing to swap out whatever I need to with the existing wiring. I didn’t do it originally because the pool guy had his own electrician.

The line from the breaker is 120v… it feeds a couple of items out around the pool (pump, heater, timer, etc).


#5

Yes, as long as it doesn’t get so hot or so cold that the batteries don’t work anymore. What part of the country are you in?

And, yes, the ecolink just goes right over the top of the existing Leviton switch, so it’s a super easy solution. I’m not saying it’s the best solution, just that it takes care of any concerns about the wiring. :sunglasses:


#6

Update: The line out of the basement eventually heads in to a PX100 transformer (120V > 12V) before going to the switch/lights.

If I used the Ecolink, I’d have to find a faceplate or box that provided enough room. I’ll dig a bit, thanks!

I’m in New Hampshire. The pool is active May through September. It can get pretty toasty back there in the middle of summer (sun all day).


#7

That looks like its in a 3way setup correct? (That switch outside and the switch inside both control the lights)

If so look at getting something like the zooz switch that you can wire in the 3 way configuration and put it inside the house (assuming there is a neutral there). Then outside you can keep that switch (with little rewiring) and be able to control it with smartthings.

I did something like this recently for a garage light switch.


#8

If you’re replying to me, my switch is just a standard switch (not a 3-way). The outside (red) switch just moves the inner switch with a little arm.


#9

Yeah, I thought that might be the case.

Maybe @Navat604 or one of the other electricians in the community might have a mains-powered solution, given the New Hampshire weather and the need to keep everything in a waterproof box since you’re in the pool splash zone.

I think it’s still worth considering the retrofit battery device just because it does keep things simple, but the New Hampshire temperature extremes do concern me.

Let’s see if the wiring experts have any more ideas. :sunglasses:


(Ray) #10

I don’t think you have much option other than controlling the 120VAC input voltage to the transformer or use a dry contact Z-Wave module to control the 12VAC line. The transformer is an isolated 120VAC to 12VAC. Where is the transformer located and do you know the wiring of the switch and transformer?


#11

The transformer is also outside, mounted to the board where the pump timer, swg controller, and other stuff live.

I have yet to crack open the transformer. The switch is a simple, single-pole Leviton.


#12

Ooooooooohhh… never mind. Not sure why I was thinking it had 2 switches in a 3 way. I really need to stop multitasking when reading these forums. The others have pretty much summed up the options.


(Ray) #13

Yes, the switch is simple but no Z-Wave device will work in that switch box since it’s 12VAC.
It’s time to crack open that panel and have a look at the transformer.


#14

If you are in the USA, you should use a relay to control lights where a switch is either not needed or not practical to swap out an existing dumb switch.

This person had automated his pool lights by installing a Vision In Wall Z-Wave Micro Switch to control dumb bulbs in the pool.


#15

There’s one more possible device option: the Fibaro RGBW controller is a zwave micro device that’s spec’d for 12v.

Although intended for control of multicolor LED strips, it can be used for other devices. In the past, we’ve had some community members who have used it for control of 12V automated sprinkler systems, for example. Also a couple of people have used it for low voltage RV lighting.

The wiring is more complex than the regular micros, and you still have the issue of getting a signal in and out of the box, but it might be something to consider.

IMG_5350


#16

The pool light has its own breaker.

Here is the first junction box. The two runs on the left are to/from the transformer. The two on the bottom are from the panel and to the lights (image 4 below). Straight up is the pump timer.

Transformer

And the box before the light switch. The wires coming in on the left are the wires from the transformer. The three leads coming in on the right are the pool lights. Straight up is the switch.


#17

With the Vision or Fibaro parts, could I not drill a small hole in the appropriate junction box and run the antenna through there (+ seal with silicone)?

EDIT: Looks like the Vision would need to go before the transformer since it needs a neutral? Could the Fibaro work inside the junction box where the pool lights come in?


#18

I don’t believe the Vision will run on 12V.

With the Fibaro RGBW controller, you could certainly try that and see: A lot of people do that successfully for sensors inside of mailboxes. They don’t even bother to put the antenna through, they just create a little window for the RF signals.

(btw, my own expertise is in network protocols and device specs: I leave detailed wiring discussions to the electricians. :sunglasses:)


#19

@JDRoberts is correct. The relay I commanded will not run on 12V. And you don’t need a big hole for the antenna, Just take a drill bit the size of the antenna wire coming from the Fibro relay and slide the tip of the wire out and just put some hot glue to seal the opening.


#20

Ok, the Fibaro sounds like a good option.

If I had to use the Vision, could I not put that in the transformer box and snake the antenna out one of the cracks in the casing? The line coming in to the transformer has a neutral.