I bought an Aeon Smart Micro Switch to connect a 4-way light circuit to my ST network. The description says it installs with just a screwdriver and is compatible with 3-way circuits. After three days of frustration, I have come to the conclusion that nothing is ever as simple as it seems.
Yes, it will install with just a screwdriver on a single pole circuit, and possibly on a 3/4-way circuit that just happens to be wired in a manner that has the load (light, appliance, etc.) and the line (power source) in the same junction box. Unfortunately this is not generally how circuits are wired in the U.S.
So, it appears that you can only install the device in a 3/4-way circuit if you run additional wires. I have seen a couple of suggestions in other places that say you can re-wire your circuit and get the device to work. So far, I have not been successful.
Would love to hear if anyone else has had any experience with the Aeon Smart Micro Switch in a 3/4-way circuit.
Its not that hard once you come to the concept that you don’t wire it like a normal switch. Make sure you don’t have a dimmer. If you do it will not work in this configuration. If you have power into the first box then three wires going to either a three way or 4 way and so on to the last box then the 2 to the load or light. This is how you do it.
turn off power. Make sure your neutrals are connected through each box to the last. Ok now is where standard electrician’s thought go out the window. if you look at the first 3 way switch the bottom or black screw should be your power line. disconnect it and disconnect the the black traveler on the top of the switch. pigtail another lead together having the blacks together and one loose. Connect the loose one back to the bottom screw. the two top two screws now have one empty and the red traveler. This is where it gets strange. Add a jumper to from the empty screw to the red traveler one. so now you have a live switch 100% of the time. on the 4 way switch you will need to figure out what legs go through and jump them. Or just add another 3 way just like the first one- and so on depending how many you have in line. but you should only be using the red traveler in these. the blacks should be tied together to carry the load to the module. Ok now in the last box you connect the traveler to the top screw- jump it to the other top screw. on the bottom screw you install a 18 gauge leader that connects to the right side of the toggle inserts on the switch as shown on the diagram. now connect the power source black into the power of the module. the black that goes to the light connect to load. The white works best if you if you pigtail a loose one and just tie it into the power N insert. You will have a an empty insert on the module. Don’t worry. Now it is much easier if you use stranded 12 ga. wire to do all you jumps and tie ins to the modules and switches just because now you have to get all of that to fit in to your last box. But before you do that you have to change the mode button on the module to momentary mode. you just made all your three ways into a momentary switch.
if your worried about the power working in a momentary mode. before you connect it to the module. get your volt meter out on the last box connect to the neutral and then the single screw line out and toggle. you will see a very quick voltage drop for a split second. Have someone flip the other switches in the line to make sure you wired them correctly the 4 ways are different per manufacture. if they all so a split second drop your good.
@Mike_Maxwell - So you seem to be very comfortable working with these micro switches. Can I use a micro dimer switch with a non dimmer toggle switch? I thought it would be nice to be able to dim all of my lights but I don’t want to replace the existing switches. The rooms I want to dim will never be dimmed manually, I just want to change the brightness when I have to let the dog out in the middle of the night. I thought I could do something based on mode which would set the brightness to 50%, so I would flip the toggle and the lights would come on at that level.
Sure, the aeon dimmers will work with an existing toggle.
flipping the toggle will change the light state, since I don’t use toggles I can’t say how the dimmer change level works.
If you’re thinking of doing this, I would mock this up with a normal toggle (in your kitchen or garage, not the wall) and get the WAF sign off before going all out…
I’ve gone through 4 of these micro-switches today in a way circuit; not one of them worked. A couple of them worked for a little while, one better than the other, and only one worked well enough to pair with my hub. Even then, the device interface did not offer any of the operations like changing the switch mode between momentary and toggle. This, and the fact that the hub didn’t seem to register that the paired micro-switch was offline or log failures to change or poll switch state, made the ST app useless for troubleshooting.
The circuit is wired as described by Jeff, which matches the diagram in the instructions. The hot wire is connected to the pole of the first way switch. It is also daisy chained to the last box using the black traveller wires, just like the neutral. The first and last switches are jumpered so that the red traveller is hot in either position, and the 4 way switch is jumpered to get the same result. The black traveller doesn’t go through any switches, acting as an uninterrupted hot wire to the last gang box where the micro-switches is connected to the load, the black traveller, the neutral, and the load neutral. The pole of the last switch is wired to the right most switch port on the micro-switch.
So, the entire switch chain is hot in any switch configuration, but is interrupted at the midpoint of any switch throw. This acts as a momentary switch, and is connected to the micro-switch as such. The daisy chained neutral and hot wires are effectively uninterrupted before connecting to the micro-switch. The multimeter reads as I would expect between screw posts, but the micro-switches aren’t having it.
I’m going to pack things up for return tomorrow. I’m tempted to return the rest of the equipment for this project given the lack of reliability and utility I’ve experienced thus far.
Not sure what to tell you.
To some extent I think you’ve got pairing issues. I pair these near the hub, move them to location, then run a zwave repair.
I’ve got 25 of these (dimmers and switches) in three and 4 way, they are all wired as I’ve shown above, not one issue ever with any of them.
I’ll worry about pairing after the switches actually operate. They’re supposed to switch using a live, 120 VAC wire from the wall switch (I’m talking about the non-dimmer version of the micro-switch), and it seems like they almost do. I just wish I could tell what factor is outside the parts operating tolerances. I would probably still be annoyed that the tolerances aren’t great enough, but at least I’d know what the issue was.
If I were you I would yank them from the wall, pair each one, wire them up per the Aeon three way instructions to make sure the mock setup works, move them to their production locations, then run a zwave repair.
At least that way you know if the issue is the switches or the wiring.
Yeah, I was just thinking the same thing, especially since my (original) future plan is/was to install more if these in the other switches in the house. Last night, before reverting to the original wiring, I cycled each of the four units through with no luck. Maybe I’ll bench test them today before sending them back. Confidence is not high.
As I put then back in their packaging, I noticed that one of the inside flaps on each box was marked in pen with an O (or 0 or a circle). I’m not sure if that’s relevant, or just the equivalent of an “inspected-by” tag.
It might be of general interest that the trigger output on these is line voltage (i.e. 120VAC), which makes sense in light of the support for using the hot wire in the trigger/wall switch circuit. So, in practical terms, there’s no difference between live and no-live wall switch circuits.
The instructions include a diagram for 3/4 way wiring that matches what Jeff described, creating a momentary switch. The separate wiring diagram document (http://aeotec.com/support/1219-micro-switch-wiring-schematics.html) includes a variant that leaves them as toggles, but requires an extra wire (perhaps from repurposing the neutral wire, and tapping into another neutral from the same circuit present in the gang box).
I’ve not used the switches in a three way setup with line voltage, only with push button and low voltage trigger.
Attached is a device I wrote for these that allows for configuration of the available parameters for these, should you want to test/set the trigger and or reporting types.
For whatever it is worth, I have installed several of these switches on both single pole and 3/4 way circuits. They are great devices and work flawlessly once they are correctly installed. However, I too had great difficulty the first time on a 3/4 way circuit. In fact, because I “played” so much trying to get the wiring correct, I inadvertently damaged the switch. I only realized this when I tried to test it on a single pole switch and found it didn’t work there as well. If you are confident that your wiring is correct, I would get a replacement switch (or one that you have tested and know is good) to use on the 3/4 way circuit. By the way, my mistake was mis-identifying the box that had the power vs. the box that had the load (light fixture). The wiring just isn’t “logical” so it took me a while to buy into the design and proper wiring. Good luck.
I bench tested all four with a wall switch that I wired to a power outlet with a plug-in lamp. No joy. Again, voltage at the posts is as expected (other than the output to the load). Unfortunately, this only tells me that the switches are dead, and not what their state was before being wired into the 4-way circuit. Since the inputs measured correctly in terms of voltage, could there have been something else about the electrical flow that would cause damage? While it’s very possible that I killed a switch, the fact that at least two of them worked long enough to turn the lights on, and I had one paired up and controllable via the ST hub makes me suspect that I either received some bad switches or that something spikey is happening with the power. Might be time to hook up an oscilloscope…after I figure out what I’d be looking for.
I haven’t been able to get a single one of these to work for long in a 3-way setup. Install, pair, configure, sure; but at some point during the process of cycling breakers and wiring more switches, they always go away. The ONE that I wired on a single pole switch (same breaker) still work, and one had a short between the switch post (making it impossible to use with an external switch), so it got pulled before dying I’m the usual fashion. The Linear and GE dimmers (still on the same breaker) are still going strong. Either these things are way too fragile, or I’ve been sold a batch of returned (or whatever) switches.
Thanks for the device type, @Mike_Maxwell. It worked great with the switches during their usually brief lifespan.
Not sure what to say, I’ve got almost 25 of these, no issues. One did go up in flames when I bench tested trying to control a dimmer via 120v on the traveler…
Feeding 120vac into the contact switch port is a no beuneo…
If they no longer work on the bench, then they are bricked.
Yeah, that’s a key difference between the dimmers you have and the non-dimming micro-switches I’m using. I would not be surprised if the use of line voltage in the switching circuit is the root of theat last some of the issues. However, I’ve been having issues even after changing over to using the line voltage passed through by the switch, rather than tap in directly from line as the instructions show. Of course, the micro-switch on the SPST switch is still alive… Perhaps it has something to do with the difference between trigger modes. Beats me.
Here are some pictures and drawings since most things have been described in writing.
I figured I’d add Aeotec’s wiring diagrams to the thread lest my versions be mistaken for the official version.
All of these relate to the on-off micro-switches only. The dimmers use a low voltage trigger, and line voltage will let the smoke out.
These are what are in the paper instructions included with the micro-switch. The online documentation doesn’t include it (I found a pdf from a vendor site to clip the picture). It illustrates the use of jumpers in the switch chain to create a NC momentary switch that has been described in this thread.
There are several other variations in the online wiring schematics document, though they all use more than 3 wires to get the job done.
Yup, that’s similar to every drawing I’ve seen for the switches.
I didn’t connect my switches this way after frying a dimmer trying to connect it like this.
My switches and dimmers use a SSR as a relay to control the low voltage side of the Aeon.
I get my Aeon products at thesmartesthouse.com, they have “contractor packs” that put the price point well below other online retailers.