Best dimmers for scenes/dimmer default based on time of day

Continuing the discussion from Who makes the BEST Z-Wave dimmer? (Leviton, GE, Linear, Cooper):

hi all,

i’m making my first foray into HA and after poking around with lightify/wemo and lifx have decided that what i want is probably best served by smartthings. i’d like the following setup:

  • lights operated by switch that can do on/off as well as dim
  • light level/dimness set by time of day so that when you switch a light on in the afternoon it’s full brightness but later in the day/evening is dimmer and at night would be at minimum brightness for bathroom trips
  • sunrise feature that turns on the lights gradually to help with waking up
  • there will be 2-3 40 watt equivalent bulbs on one switch and 1 65 watt equivalent on the other.
  • (i had wanted color temperature control, but after playing with the lightify/lifx bulbs i find that i preferred the warm light even when i wanted max brightness. smart bulbs are interesting, but don’t seem to be easy to control the way i want based on time)

i’m assuming that to achieve this setup, i’ll need dimmer switches. based on what @Ash posted in a related thread, some of the less expensive dimmers can’t turn on with less than 10% power. i’ve done some reading and have a short list of dimmers that i think could work:

  • Cooper Wiring Devices RF9540-N
  • GE Z-Wave Smart Dimmer (In-Wall), 12724
  • Enerwave ZW500D

here are my questions:

  • will the dimmer be capable of having the dimness set while the lights are out, such that they come on at the level they should, based on time of day?
  • can the dimmer turn on the lights to 1% dim (or whatever the minimum is)
  • can the dimmer do the sunrise trick to gradually light up the room in the morning?

thanks for your input,


I’m very interested in the default dim level by time of day:

Did you ever figure out how to do this? Thanks for any help you have to offer!

sadly no. i’ve done some research again recently and it seems like there’s an issue where the dimmer switch, either because of the device handler or firmware, issues an on command when you change the dim level. it’s frustrating.

i’m not a programmer, but i did try and trim out some of the code in the DH and tested it, but it didn’t make a difference. that’s not conclusive, since i have no way of really understanding why, but that’s as much as i can do as a lay person.

some folks have suggested to use CoRE to issue the dim command and then an off command, if the light was off to begin with, as a way to get around this. i haven’t tried yet, but might muck about with it this weekend. the risk is that the lights will flash on, which i don’t want.

OK so according to the reading I’ve done there is a good chance that at least sometimes the light will flicker on when you’re doing the old “set dim and turn off immediately”. So I’m confident the GE switch doesn’t support the command to set dim without turning on. However, I just bought a different dimmer a couple days ago:

Leviton DZMX1-1BZ Decora Z-Wave

This has been mentioned in a couple threads and for some reason I feel like I read you can set the dim level while switch is off on this. Haven’t installed it yet… the buttons on the face of it are really weird and I wouldn’t say it has a clean look. That all being said, may consider switching to these if I can finally have the lights turn on at different levels based on what time it is.

Will report back once I install it.

cool deal, i’ll be curious to see your results. i ended up getting the RF9540-N which can manually dim up/down without turning on the light, but still have this issue. i’m betting it’s the DH at issue more than anything for these more advanced switches. it’s a pretty generic DH and we might need one that’s more tuned to our specific devices.

I installed the dimmer… in short I find it very unintuitive to use. It has these ugly up/down switches in the middle of it to set the actual dim level. I tried a bunch of device handlers as well, but couldn’t find one that actually let me control the dim level independently of turning on the switch. However, if I was willing to write some code I think that there is a piece of code that will set the dim level and not turn on the light. That being said, I’m not going to spend any time on this because the dimmer is just too insanely ugly and awkward to use. What I really loved were my Lutron dimmers… I wish a big company would make the perfect Z-Wave dimmer switch that is easy to use and supports setting dim level without turning on the light.