A couple newbie questions


#1

Hello! I just recently moved into a house that I’m interested in making a bit smarter, and I have a few simple questions that I want to double-check before I plonk down some money or do things the wrong way.

I’ve got a ceiling light that is not currently connected to a wall switch. It is operated via a pull cord. It is very hard for me to run new wires to that light because of the way the house is built. I’d like to solve the problem with a z-wave switch and a z-wave relay installed in the light fixture, but I’d also like to do it in a way where I can leave it installed after I move out and take my hub with me.

Questions:

  1. I’ve got my eye on the GE 12727 because it would blend in well with the normal toggle light switches I’ve got everywhere else. Just need to double-check: I can connect it to hot, neutral, and ground, but since the light I want to control is not wired to that box, I won’t be able to connect load. Will the switch function without a load connected? Searching around, it seems like other GE switches do, but I want to be sure…

  2. If I got a GE 12727 switch, a monoprice Z-wave in-wall on/off relay,and a AeonLabs Minimote, could I set up the 12727 switch to trigger the relay if a hub like Smartthings is not present? Basically just a mesh of the switch and the relay?

  3. If this would work, is there a similar z-wave product to the monoprice relay that also supports dimming?

Basically, I’m trying to figure out the pros and cons of doing this versus spending a few days cursing and diving into three-plus feet of blown insulation in the attic in order to run some proper wires to the ceiling light that could be controlled in the normal ways.

Thanks for your time!


#3

Let me rephrase that second question: I know you can use the minimote to associate switches with sensors. What I’m wondering is if you can associate a switch with the monoprice relay so that triggering the switch triggers the relay via z-wave.

Both the switch and the relay support association (though documentation seems vague)

edit: Oh, wait, maybe the switch doesn’t support direct association. I guess I misread that. Shoot.

Okay, same question, but with a switch that is direct association capable, like those Leviton ones.


(Keith Croshaw) #4

Welcome!

  1. it would need to be connected to the load, no offense how would it control otherwise?

  2. from what I hear the minimote can act as a separate controller if configured as such.

  3. check out the aeon micro switches. there is a dimmer variant.

Good luck!


#5

I misread that the first time also, but I believe the OP is saying that they will put a relay to control the load that goes to the light fixture, and they want to associate that with the switch on a different circuit.

That kind of set up will work provided both devices support zwave association, but I’m a little bit confused about what’s on the circuit that is controlled by the switch. Because that’s also going to go on and off as the switch goes on and off.

And I agree a minimote makes a lot of sense. You need it to do the association in the first place.


(Keith Croshaw) #6

Yea I suppose, there’s some cheap wireless switches that just adhere to the wall instead of an expensive full blown switch. I think GE makes it as well.


#7

Yeah, maybe I wasn’t very clear. My house’s wiring is kind of weird. It’s the result of it being very old (built around 1958, I believe) and having a new owner every three or four years (college town). So every room was decorated by a different person, and repairs were made piecemeal.

At some point, someone did run quality 12-gauge hot/neutral/ground wiring all through the house (awesome, considering most of the houses around here don’t have grounded outlets), but the way they did is a little weird. In my living room, I’ve got a light with no switch attached (on circuit 1), and a two-switch gangbox with only one switch in it, going to the porch light (on circuit 2).

What I want to do is add a switch to the gangbox that can be used to control the living room light. There… three ways I know of to do this.

  1. Run a new set of wires from the gangbox up through the attic to the living room light, and wire it up with a normal switch or a smart switch.
  2. Set up a direct association between a z-wave switch and a z-wave relay (no direct wired connection) so that flipping the switch triggers the relay (which is acting as a second switch, essentially)
  3. Install a smart switch and a z-wave relay, and use the Smartthings hub to coordinate the activity of the two.

The problem with #1 is that it’s a lot of work. The problem with #3 is that when I move out in four years, I either need to leave my hub behind (boo) or strip out the entire setup and convince the buyer that a living room light with no switch is not a big deal (bad idea)

So #2 seems like the simplest solution, if I’m understanding correctly. I could move away with my hub, and the switch and relay would keep working fine on their own, a little z-wave mesh network of two.

But if it’s going to be a whole ordeal, I might just do #1 instead.


#8

I’m really trying to avoid adhere-to-the-wall type switches. I’m doing a bunch of remodelling on the rest of the house, trying to up its value, and I think a battery-powered switch stuck to the wall would just look tacky, no offense to anyone who uses 'em.


(Keith Croshaw) #9

Just goes against my sensibility to use 120V for a digital signal. I think it’s all possible. I just bought my first in-wall switch/relay from monoprice so I don’t have too much experience in that field to say I know it’s possible. Check out GE z-wave add-on module. I can’t remember if that’s the battery powered one or just a z-wave switch that is exactly what you need.