AS I’ve ready many of you here having the same issue with dimmers that don’t work without the neutral wire, I heard of a work around being possible by using a micros switch, can someone here help me understand how a micro switch would get me around the neutral wire not being inside the gang box?
If you are in the US, you can benefit from an official integration just announced this month between SmartThings and Lutron Caseta switches. Many of the Lutron Caseta models do not require a neutral, although you will have to get the Lutron SmartBridge device for the integration to work. One SmartBridge can support several dozen Lutron devices.
There is also a Leviton zigbee switch which doesn’t require a neutral and is on the official “works with SmartThings” list, but apparently it’s only available from a Leviton installer, so far no one has seen one in any retail channels. So most people would choose the Lutron instead, but the Leviton is another possibility. Note that it’s only this specific Leviton model that doesn’t require a neutral, their other ones do.
As far as the in wall micros, many people use those by putting them at the light fixture rather than in the switchbox. There’s almost always a neutral at the fixture. This will work in both the US and the UK. There are several brands available.
There is also one model, the Fibaro dimmer 212, which is a micro that can be installed without a neutral.
I just put in three Lutron Caseta switches. I bought the first one with the hub for $99. The switches are roughly $60 with a Pico remote (which doesn’t work natively with Smartthings, but it still works with your lights.)
I really like these switches. I like them better than any of my Leviton or GE switches. I’m going to finish the house with more Casetas. I don’t see replacing the 8 or so smart siwtches I already have installed. But I only plan on buying Casetas from here on out. Most the the remaining dumb switches lack neutrals here. I replaced all the switches that had them before I learned about the Casetas from JD on another thread.
The bridge will only support 50 devices, including the Picos, but that’s enough for me. . . . The ST / Lutron integration is very fast. I don’t notice any delay.
The lack of dimmer memory might be an issue for some. I wouldn’t put a Caseta in my dining room. I don’t want it coming on full brightness. You can program a favorite in to the remote, but I don’t have a good place for it in my dining room. So it will stay a Leviton with a neutral for a long time.
Correct. Lutron uses its own proprietary protocol, Clear Connect. Some home automation hubs, such as wink and staples connect, include a Lutron Clear Connect radio, but SmartThings does not, so the integration with SmartThings is cloud to cloud to the Lutron smartbridge.
The Lutron Caseta without a neutral have a minimum load of right around 7.5W We have them working with some dumb FEIT LEDs, no problem, but those are 13 W each. In their compatibility tool, they say, for example, if you are using 7W chandelier style bulbs you’ll need to have two of them, but the ones that are 7.5 W can work as singles. However there are brand differences, so they do have a recommended list of specific models.
The switches that are compatible with smartthings are under the “wireless” category. The “Caseta pro” dimmer model requires a neutral, but the regular Caseta one does not.
Cooper still makes a no neutral model zwave dimmer, the Aspire RF9534, that works with incandescents only, but these days most people are looking for switches that can work with LEDs. (Eaton is the company, Cooper is the division, and aspire is the model line. The switch may be listed under any of those three names.)
Amazon ratings for this Cooper switch will be low because people keep trying to make it work with LEDs, which it doesn’t. I think it has a 60 W minimum load.
Ah, man. Why did GE discontinue those? I really liked those, and was planning to add them to a few more rooms. I don’t like how the Cooper’s look and really don’t want to have a mix/match of switches on the one. I have one Wemo switch, that I received as a present, and I have 3 of the Leviton VRS05, because i couldn’t get neutral to a few rooms, and they look very close to the GE but function slightly different.
Some of the specialty home automation retailers will still have stock of the old GE models. I’m not happy with the outlet place that sells through Amazon because their product descriptions are often wrong, and they will say that the switches work with LEDs when they don’t.
But you can check some of the more reputable places. HA world online Usually has both the discontinued Leviton and the discontinued GE no neutral models in stock.
Just out of curiosity, how would a regular wall dimmer would work if I was
to add a micro dimmer by the light fixture, Im just trying to understand
how a micro dimmer/switch works in conjuction with the wall seitch/dimmer.
If you mean a rotary dial analog dimmer switch it would burn out the micro dimmer. The micro needs to control the amount of current draw for itself. So you want the wall switch just to send it a pulse message and then the micro will decide what to do with the current.
Read the user guide for any of the micro devices, they’ll tell you what kinds of switches are compatible.
If you’re OK with a modern style, you can get a really elegant look with multiple switches by using the Legrand adorn switches combined with the micros in the wall. Again, you use a press and hold for dimming.
Correct. Lutron uses its own protocol. The integration with ST is cloud to cloud. But it’s super fast. The Lutron hub is small. I just have it on the top of a bookshelf, an Ikea Billy with an extension. WST on the left. Lutron in the middle. And ST on the right:
Two separate questions here. So let me get to the one which may be more important to you:
If you are using the official SmartThings/Lutron integration, You will not be able to use the pico remote to trigger anything in SmartThings. The Picos will be invisible to SmartThings and SmartThings will not be told about any of their button presses .
They will still work with whichever Lutron SmartBridge you get, which means you can still use them to control devices which are controlled by the SmartBridge itself, mainly the Caseta wall switches and pocket sockets.
As far as the official integration goes, I know you can use the regular Lutron SmartBridge
There’s a good bundle price that includes the smartbridge, one in wall dimmer switch, one wall plate, and one pico:
And I believe you can also use the SmartBridge Pro.
You can’t use any of the other Lutron control devices with SmartThings, they are for different systems.
There is also an unofficial community – created SmartThings/Lutron integration. which does make the pico button presses visible to SmartThings so they can be used more like a minimote. However, you will have to set up an additional separate device like a raspberry pi to act as a server, and to get access to the pico information you would have to have the SmartBridge pro model, not just a plain SmartBridge. And it’s technically much more complex to set up than the official integration.
So the short answer is that with the official integration you can use either the Lutron smartbridge or I think the Lutron smartbridge pro, but neither is going to give you any pico information in SmartThings.