SmartThings Community

Ceiling Fan Control Options


#5

What’s the brand and model of the current wall switch?

And in particular, is the remote an IR remote or is it a radio frequency remote? One of the easiest ways to tell quickly is if the remote works from outside the room with the door closed, so that the signal is going through the wall, it’s probably an RF remote. IR remotes need to be line of sight.

If it’s an IR remote, there’s a good chance that it would work with the Logitech Harmony hub. And if it works with the Logitech Harmony hub, you can get integration with SmartThings that way without having to do any rewiring at all. But you would have to buy a Logitech Harmony hub for that room if you don’t already have one. You would also be able to use the Harmony for other purposes at the same time, such as controlling a television. But for this to work it has to be in the same room with the fan switch.

If it’s an RF remote, then you’re out of luck and you probably have to replace the switch and start from the beginning.

But I did just want to mention the harmony option in case it was something that might work for you.

Here’s the site where you can look up what fan remotes are compatible with harmony:

https://support.myharmony.com/en-us/compatibility

The following is the harmony hub that is compatible with smartthings. Price varies a lot, I often see the least expensive price at Best Buy, but sometimes Amazon has it at a good price so it’s worth checking around. To make the fan switch option work, all you need is the harmony hub itself. But you can also buy it in a bundle with a button remote.

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/logitech-harmony-home-hub-black/1483019.p?skuId=1483019

Again, this won’t work with all set ups, but it is worth checking to see if it might work with yours. :sunglasses:


(Chris Schwab) #6

@JDRoberts Thanks! Its just a generic non smart switch on the wall right now. I’m still in the planning stages.

Pretty sure the remote is RF, it works outside the room and has dip switches inside. Sucks though cause I already have a Harmony hub in that room.

Nothing out there that would blast RF and have wifi? That would be too simple.

@chrisb So for the fan, I could always hot the fan controls by bypassing the light switch, then use a micro for fan on off, then use the wall switch for light control right? I would just need to figure out which wire is light, fan, etc. I need to read up on the micro link you posted. Will do that when I have more time.


(Chrisb) #7

Yes, that is correct.

I have example #1 in my bedrooms, so I can easily just put the micro controller on the blue line, smart switch in the box and I’m all set.

In my den I have example #2, which means when (if?) I ever wire this up to a smart switches I’ll need to put in two controllers cause I don’t really have any way of getting a new wire up there. :frowning:

But, if you can, then you have example #3 were you’re bring in a new hot line, which basically just makes it like example #1.


(Chris Schwab) #8

Man, thanks for all the detail. One more question. How big are the Micros? Even though its a 1 gang box, there is some room in there, would it fit without having to take down the fan? Assuming I’m in Example 3 that is.

Course putting a smart switch in will take up some of that free space for sure.


(Chrisb) #9

It’s easily small enough to fit in a 1-gang box with a REGULAR switch… in fact that’s what it was originally designed to do.

However, I doubt it would fit with a SMART switch. Those are pretty big and usually take up a lot of room in a box.


(Dale C) #10

Verify what you actually have first at the ceiling box. Open it up and make sure is there only two wires (which is most likely). Those would be the switched power coming from the light switch box. BUT check to be sure so we know your options.

The examples @chrisb gives in #1 and #3 assume you have three conductors available at the ceiling which I don’t think applies to you. Unless you plan on installing another wire but it doesn’t sound like you would since you weren’t considering your own option #2 which to me is the best and gives you total flexibility. Obviously I did that option :wink:

So if you decide on simple on-off control you could save money and mounting space using a dual relay instead of two singles. Something like the Fibaro or Enerwave. I prefer Enerwave here because of price and the pig tails are easy to work with for me.

But if you go the two micro switch route to give you dimming light and on-off fan you might just revisit installing a fan speed control like I did to give full flexibility. You are doing the same amount of work and money.


(Chrisb) #11

@dalec, how does the Enerwave show us in SmartThings? Does it show up as two devices or one device with two “children”?


(Dale C) #12

Just follow this thread where you would need to install the special device handler code that lets SmartThings to access both relays. Both relays will look like individual switches to SmartThings that you control separately. Remember this is only On-Off control of Fan and On-Off of Light; no dimming.


(Kevin Culp) #13

Hello there,

I have read the previous threads and have the same configuration where light source, fan source are on the same paddle switch and are controlled by a remote as long as the paddle switch is turned on.

I have additional questions:

  1. do I replace the existing paddle switch with a zwave fan dimmer such as a GE which I am partial to?
  2. purchase Enerwave Z-Wave Plus Switch Module ZWN-RSM2 Converting 2 Current Switches Smart, NEUTRAL WIRE REQUIRED, Black which will be housed in the cowl fan
  3. map wiring as previously discussed
  4. Pair the GE fan dimmer switch to the smarthings controller - then I am good from a fan perspective
  5. What dims the light in the fan or controls its power source?

Regards,
Kevin J. Culp
Master Technologist (NFV Master, SDN SME, Telecom Carrier Grade Support)


(Chris Schwab) #14

I ended up ripping out the remote receiver and replacing it with two of the Micros linked above. Then I just leave the switch on the wall on. During my work, I did attempt to leave the remote in place for the light and use the micro in line for fan only. It worked, however the dimmer on the light was pretty unreliable, I didn’t spend much time troubleshooting though.

The downsides to this are.

  1. No real control over the light or fan from the wall.
  2. You have to pull the chain to change speeds on the fan.

With Alexa and some smart lighting controls, number 1 isn’t an issue. And and we never really change the speed anyway, so number 2 wasn’t a problem for us.

Only other thing I did was replace the wall switch from a toggle to a non smart paddle just to have consistency in the look and feel of the other switches in the house.


(Don) #15

Depending on what wires you have going from the switch to the fan / light. You can hook one of the Enerwaves to the wall switch. It has a wire dedicated for this.

Would have to bypass the switch to get power to the Enerwaves in the overhead. Then run line to one side of the switch and the other side of the switch goes to the Enerwaves aux input wire.

Look at the wiring instructions that came with the Enerwaves. I’m winging it from memory.


(Don) #17

Hmmm, I see solutions proposed. Not easy solutions, because nobody has made a device for this exact situation yet.

There are other option for this situation too if you look around. None of them cookie cutter easy.

In this thread they are discussing and trying to get a new device coming out that can resolve this very question that just about everyone could use.


(Kevin Culp) #18

Thanks - I am don’t think implementing a wink device is the way I want to go given the fact that I already have a remote devices to control my existing configuration. Besides wink is proprietary and ZigBee specific. In my opinion with all the problems with OTA firmware updates specific to ST I am of the opinion ZigBee is not a robust technology as zwave is. I have been really turned off lately with ZigBee technology.

I have learned from working in a devops R&D environment for many years that sometimes it is best to walk away from something that does not fit the solution entirely. It comes to mind the analogy of smashing a square peg in a round whole. Yeah it will fit but with a lot of effort. I am looking for something that is robust and minimal effort.

Your insights TN_Oldman are greatly appreciated though.

Regards,
Kevin Culp HPE Master Technologist (NFV Master, SDN SME, Telecom Carrier grade Technical Support)


(Kevin Culp) #19

Hello there,

I am very intrigued by your configuration - I have some additional questions

  1. How to you prevent a chassis ground fault condition when you have exposed terminal posts on your zwave paddle switch in the Fan COWL? When you place the paddle switch back in the wall outlet you are connected to earth ground.

  2. How do two devices fit in a fan cowl given the space requirements.

  3. I am concerned about arching and safety concerns especially in the ceiling - I can’t imagine this is code.

Best Regards,
Kevin Culp


(Don) #20

I agree, But it just depends on each persons comfort level when working on these things. I personally think NOTHING related to smartthings meets these criteria:

I have yet to do anything that was easy and obvious. I think if I was not semi technical minded,a tinkerer, and the help of these forums it would be even harder to do most everything I have working in my house.

Sorry I did not see your post earlier. Guess I read right past it.

To answer your questions:

  1. Depending on your wiring, and your requirements you could put either the GE fan switch or the GE light Dimmer switch in the wall box. I have done this in my house (light switch in wall box)
  2. You can put the Enerwave in the fan cowling. It is an on / off controller so you would only get those functions, depending on the room available in your fan and ceiling light box. You could stuff a GE fan switch in there. (which I did, was VERY tight but I got it in there) then you would have variable fan control vice only on / off.
  3. Not sure about mapping wiring as previously discussed. I have found not everything is the same when it comes to house wiring. You will need to verify your wiring and plan out your install using guides above and asking for help (with details) when stuck.
  4. yes you would pair whatever switch combination you chose to smartthings. You would then have control of them in that environment. We used the light more than the fan So that is why I put the light on the wall switch and fan in ceiling.
  5. depending which direction you go, you would wire it so that one smart switch would control each item. So one switch for light and one for fan. Each respective switch then controls it’s load of fan or light.

My fan has a separate wire exiting it for hookup purposes 1 for the fan and 1 for the light. From what I have read on the forum some fans do not. They have a single fan and are wired internally to the light and fan. Also in my situation I had the line power located in the overhead box under the fan. So it was readily available for use.

I felt comfortable wiring my fan / light combo how I did. I actually have my light on a 3 way circuit with 2 switches on opposite walls. My fan is now only controllable from something connected to smartthings like phone,button controller, Alexa ect… That is not a big deal for us since we don’t use that fan alot and we previously had to use one of those RF controllers to use the fan before. So we are in the habit of grabbing something to turn on the fan anyway.

The whole putting one switch in the ceiling light box is discussed alot on the forum. For both the fan / combination or just lights where the power source (line) in the the overhead light box.

I just finished installing 2 of these Enerwave switches in 2 of my ceiling lights box due to the power in overhead issue. Vice putting the Enerwave in the wall light box behind the switch.

Like I said in the previous post, a single device designed exactly for fan / light control does not exist. I don’t understand why someone has not developed and made this yet. Seems like a no brainer that would sell itself. There must be some issue that we as consumers are unaware of that prevents this. Until then we are stuck either pulling new wires, stuffing switches behind things, or waiting for something to get made that is indeed Zwave and easy to install like the current RF controllers you can buy anywhere.

Hope that answers your questions.


(Kevin Culp) #21

You could not have said it any better! I envision something like a one paddle switch that has two zwave chips; one to control fan oscillator speed and one for light dimmer capability. Then of course we have the zwave classification as well to content with on the standards body. I can’t imagine nobody is working on this they have they aeon and zeus power strip but of course that is just a toggle off condition.


(Dale C) #22

[quote=“SDNCloudman, post:19, topic:74207”]

  1. How to you prevent a chassis ground fault condition when you have exposed terminal posts on your zwave paddle switch in the Fan COWL? When you place the paddle switch back in the wall outlet you are connected to earth ground. [/quote] In my situation I had no wall switch. The power was run directly to the ceiling box and the fan/lights were controlled directly from the pull chains only. My only solution if I was going to have automation was to fit the device(s) in the ceiling location. Have had zero issues after more than a year.

[quote]
2) How do two devices fit in a fan cowl given the space requirements.
[/quote] I am assuming you saw my pictures in the Control 3-speed Ceiling Fan and Light Kit post? It was a pretty tight fit and you will see I had to actually bend the aluminum bracket (which also doubles as a cooling fin) so it fit in the cowl. But I would NOT do it this way today if I were you. I will be replacing mine with the Wink Enabled White Universal Ceiling Fan Premier Remote Control that @TN_Oldman referred to when it becomes available shortly. I have already ordered one for testing and I have no doubt that it will be by far the best solution for the money and the features provided by the remote control. The custom device handler is already in testing.

[quote]
3) I am concerned about arching and safety concerns especially in the ceiling - I can’t imagine this is code.
[/quote] Why not? Code doesn’t say it has to be pretty looking :wink: Seriously though if you look closely at the pictures I went above and beyond by using crimped insulated terminals on the wire instead of just going directly to the screws to make sure no loose strands stuck out. Nothing is exposed as the fan cowl serves as the terminal enclosure and everything terminated is grounded as per code. And you can’t tell from these pictures because this was in stage but I used electrical tape over the exposed screws on the GE switch.

[quote]
You could not have said it any better! I envision something like a one paddle switch that has two zwave chips; one to control fan oscillator speed and one for light dimmer capability. Then of course we have the zwave classification as well to content with on the standards body. I can’t imagine nobody is working on this they have they aeon and zeus power strip but of course that is just a toggle off condition.
[/quote] There has already been a device out for years that does this fan/light control FanLinc for Insteon protocol I don’t understand why a device isn’t done yet via z-wave either but I really don’t care since we have SmartThings. So having either a zigbee device by Hampton Bay that we can use a custom device handler with or even a WiFi device which also already exists but we don’t have custom device handler for; as long as SmartThings can talk to it directly I am happy camper. :slight_smile:


(Don) #23

In my installation (which I will probably change out the new all in one is available and working) I have the GE fan switch actually stuffed in the light box above the fan with the rest of the wiring. The switch is facing down towards the fan. It is also taped to be safe. So essentially it is in a electrical box just not all pretty. I was very careful to try and make sure I could get it in the box behind the fan mount. If you drop my fan you’ll see the switch just to the left of the fan bracket and you could toggle the paddles if you desired.

I agree an inspector would probably not approve. I am 100% confident it is safe and will not move or short out in any way. I have seen FAR worse wiring on other houses I have helped friends install stuff in.

I too look forward to the all in one unit. Then I can rip out the unconventional install and put something neat and tidy. :slight_smile:


(Kevin Culp) #24

Maybe I should not hold my breath however I agree with you @TN_Oldman maybe I should wait till an all in one unit gets released.

Thanks to @TN_Oldman @dalec for your insights - You were very helpful in making my decisions for me. This is a new built home and it would be my luck I get transferred with my job and the inspector comes in for the buyer and see’s this and fails the inspection. Just don’t want to take the chance.


(Jessica) #25

I found this
http://www.insteon.com/ceiling-fan-controller/
That controls both fan and light but seems to work only with Insteon. Having found a way to make it work with SmartThings