A15 smart light bulb? (Making a ceiling fan smart if it has a light)


(Scott) #1

We currently have a fan with no light. Looking to replace it with a fan with a light. Since we only have one switch on the wall, I figured I’d use a smart light and add a scene controller on the wall next to the fan switch. I see plenty of A19 smart light bulbs but no A15 which is what most fans use.
Anyone know of a A15 smart light bulb. Or a fan that can use smart light bulbs?
Thanks.


#2

Hi @Scott_Barton, keep the dumb bulbs and add an Aeon micro dimmer in the ceiling or wall junction box. You’ll find controlling your fan (w/the GE fan controller?) and the Aeon to be a better combination than trying to manage smart bulbs. Managing smart bulbs in a group is possible, but why deal with that headache when a switch will do? Just my opinion.


#3

There are several different ways to handle the situation. :sunglasses:

.1. A15 Bulb

I’m only aware of one networked A15 bulb and it doesn’t work with SmartThings. Or anything else except its own app – – it doesn’t have IFTTT integration or an open API.

The reason is that it’s using Bluetooth. (The SmartThings Hub v2 has a Bluetooth antenna, but it is not turned on yet, and no word on when it will be.)

So this will fit a few use cases, but probably isn’t what you were looking for. It’s the misfit bolt. Originally came out at $50, now you can get it online at Home Depot for about $41 or 42.

.2. Wall switch for the fan, micro for the light

If you look through the forums, you will find a lot of discussion of the fan – with – light situation. Most people do something similar to what you were thinking of but with one additional twist. They put a zwave switch designed for a fan on the wall (both Leviton and GE make one). Then they put an in wall micro relay, usually Aeotec, at the fixture to control just the light. Once the micro is in place you can put a switch anywhere to control that, even a battery-operated switch or button.

The fan switch will control the current directly to the fan and must be a switch rated specifically for fan motors.

The micro does its work invisibly inside the wall.

The light switch works by sending a message to the hub which then sends a message to the micro so it can go anywhere and be of any type. it doesn’t have to be on the same circuit as the actual light.

So this set up requires three devices instead of two, but you use your regular lightbulb. :sunglasses:

One caveat: never use a light dimmer switch to control the current to a fan. You can burn out the fan motor because the physics are different. A fan can be on a regular on off switch or on a switch designed to control a variable motor.

The Leviton fan switch is on the official “works with SmartThings” compatibility list. Some people don’t like the rocker because you only use the bottom part. But I think it’s a more intuitive style for a fan than it is for a light . I did just want to mention that, though. there are other brands if you want a different style switch.

The following is a good sample project from a person who did it safely.

Oh, and here is the link to the thread that shows all the battery-operated switches and buttons that work with SmartThings.

.3. Two Micros

There are some other ways to do this. It’s possible to put two micros at the fixture in some set ups, one for the motor and one for the light. (Again, remember that you should only use a device for a fan motor which is rated for a motor.).

.4. Two wall switches

And of course some people will use a double gang switch, with separate leads to the fan and the light. That may work too, depending on the wiring. You still need a separate network device for both the fan and the light.

.5. Logitech Harmony as a “man in the middle”

Since you don’t have the fan yet, If you find a fan which is compatible with the Logitech Harmony Universal Remote, then you could use the harmony to control the fan and integrate it with SmartThings that way. The exact options you have will depend on the fan.

Another option that uses Harmony is to get a wall switch that Harmony can control. Lutron makes excellent quality switches, but unfortunately SmartThings does not have direct support for them. However, harmony does have support for many Lutron models, including a wall switch that can control both the motor and the light on a fan. It’s an unusual form factor, but it works very well. And once you have a harmony activity set up to control it, you can use SmartThings to trigger that.

So those are just some options. The misfit will work, it’s just that the only way you have to control it is with its own phone app. The other options give you better integration with SmartThings. :sunglasses:


#4

Great minds think alike? :wink:

Awesome reply @JDRoberts, as always!


#5

And a momentary digression for why you can’t find fans that just have a regular A19 bulb: “We’re from the government, and we’re here to help you.”

In one of those political decisions that drive engineers crazy, a few years ago the US federal government determined that ceiling fans wasted energy. Therefore, they put a hard legal limit on how much wattage a ceiling fan could devote to lighting.

And that is why you no longer see ceiling fans with three regular bulbs in them. :disappointed_relieved:

http://www.hansenwholesale.com/ceilingfans/with_lights/

There are still a few made, usually 54 inch. They will come with CFL bulbs, because that’s what the law requires, but the ones I’ve seen seem to be more expensive than the other fans. Casablanca still makes a few models that take regular A19 bulbs.

If you are looking for the fans that can take a regular A19 bulb, look for ones that say “CFL bulbs included” as that’s part of the legal requirement. The search results will still return some of the chandelier bulbs, but at least you’ll have narrowed the search.


(Paul Haskins) #6

Not sure that’s completely true. They do need to to get the “Energy Star” rating and you still may find some without it. Easier way is get a fan with no light and get a good light kit. I did that with a couple and have 3 large LED;s in them. Still looking for a 4 bulb holder that meets the WAF. I’m sure there are some online - but been burned as to appearance and only will buy in person.

Old - need more light :slight_smile:


#7

“Completely true” is one of those things that varies depending on what you’re looking at it from a legal point of view or an engineering point of view or just an end user point of view. :sunglasses:

There were new EPA regs a few years ago regarding medium base lights in a fan, they do affect wattage, and the manufacturer can provide medium base sockets if they also do some other things including shipping with CFL bulbs. And this is the reason why most fan manufacturers dropped that style. Details at the link I gave above.

But as I also mentioned, you can still find some.

A light kit is definitely another good suggestion. It won’t run into the fan law because it’s sold separately.


#8

This thread got me thinking of finally adding automation in our master bedroom. I have zwave stuff all over the house but the bedroom is one of that I have not messed with yet. Like the OP, I only have one wall switch.


(Thomas Skinner) #9

(Scott) #10

So I found a fan that had an A19 bulb. Well actually as @JDRoberts pointed out, I had to buy a fan without a light, then purchase a compatible light add on kit for it. But anyway I was able to finally get what I wanted.
Problem is wiring it. I have 3 wires in the box, black, white and ground. With fan completely disconnected black is always hot (~123v), however as soon as I wire the fan up, the black is cold and is only hot when fan switch is turned on. Really weird. So the problem is that since I have to share power wire for the light. The light only works when the fan is on, and if the fan is running at 50%, the light is only supplied 50% power. This doesn’t work with a LED smartlight obviously. :frowning:


(Scott) #11

I think I may have to use a micro relay switch between wiring and fan. I’d then have to have power to fan and light always on and then use a ST enabled switches to control the fan micro relay and smart light. At least I think that would work.
Are there any dimming micro relay switches that work with fan motors?


#12

Tagging @Navat604


(Jon Allsebrook) #13

So this would let me use hues in my fans?


(Ray) #14

Sounded like you have power source going into your light switch first then going up to your fan. That’s probably why the switch cutting out power when in off position. As for 123v. It’s just a floating voltage most likely due to your voltmeter.
Your light bulb should not dim with the speed of the fan unless you are using the dimmer switch at the switch box.
You should be able to use a dual relay module and be able to control both the light and fan separately but that’s only for full speed.
Or witch a smart switch at the switch box you can turn power off for both light and fan.


(Scott) #15

I have a dimming smart switch at the wall for the fan. It wouldn’t surprise me if the power source is going into the fan first. I think I have a similar situation on a light with 2 switches which is causing the add on switch not to work. :frowning:
Any remedy for this?


(Ray) #16

Why not find out first so we know which option to go with. The dimmer switch doesn’t dictate the power source location. You have to check it yourself by pulling the switch back and have a peek.