SmartThings Community

Do I have neutral?


(Todd R.) #1

Super newbie here. I quickly learned that bulbs are a complete fail for me because other’s in my household just turn off the switch and my smart things become disconnected things.

So, I want to put my first switch in my master bedroom. I have a ceiling fan with the fan connected to a three knob type switch that turns to off/slow/med/fast. This is not my main concern, I can leave the fan on that switch for the moment. First order of business is to replace the dimmer which controls the bulb connected to the fan. There is currently a knob type dimmer in the same box which controls this light. I want to replace just the light dimmer with a smart dimmer.

I have decided what switch to go with yet but I would prefer if it was Zwave so I can use it with my ST hub and also a Zwave stick I have yet to toy around with.

First I don’t know if I even have neutral which I have heard, I will need in most cases to replace switches.

So, can anyone tell me by looking that the attached pictures if I have the wiring (Neutral) I need to replace the dimmer for the light with a smart dimmer?

Also, what switch brand model would you recommend? Zwave preferred as mentioned and not a lot of $$ would be nice too.

Finally, if someone can point me to some instructions on how to rewire it, that would be icing on the cake. Maybe best to ask about the actual wiring in a separate post one I have the switch in hand and know that I have the wires needed.

Thanks in advance for any help.


(Joel W) #3

You have to drag the photo to the text box on the left. Also make sure it isn’t to large a file.


(Dan) #4

GE Z-Wave switches and dimmers are probably the most commonly used smart-switches. I have had very good reliability with mine as well, however YMMV (of course.) GE also makes a Z-Wave Fan Switch.

Be sure to shop around as vendors and current sales can really make a difference in price.

Dimmer - https://www.lowes.com/pd/GE-Z-Wave-Plus-600-watt-Single-Pole-3-way-Wireless-White-Almond-Rocker-Indoor-Dimmer/1000241627

Switch - https://www.lowes.com/pd/GE-Z-Wave-Plus-15-amp-Single-Pole-3-way-Wireless-White-Almond-Rocker-Indoor-Light-Switch/1000241629

Fan Control - https://www.lowes.com/pd/GE-Z-Wave-Plus-3-speed-2-5-Amp-Wireless-White-Almond-Indoor-Rocker-Fan-Control/1000217683

NOTE - Attaching a picture should just be a drag and drop into your post while you are editing it.


(Joel W) #5

You need a voltage tester, like a Wiggins and open carefully the yellow wirenut at the back of the box, and put the tester between one of the hot legs on the switch usually the bottom if wired correctly and the white wire. If you get 110 volts or 115 volts or even 120 volts that white wire is the neutral.


(Dan) #6

I think I see a neutral bundle (white wires typically) in the bottom left of your photo. If you’re not familiar with electrical wiring work, you may want to have an electrician come over.


(Todd R.) #8

I guess the fan control confuses me a bit. Will this control the light and the fan in one switch? Also, it doesn’t look like any of the rocker switches are dimmers at all, are they? I mean can you dim the light or for that matter control the fan manually?

I ask because if it can’t be controlled manually, there will be wife issues. :slight_smile: Probably just need to go buy a few and mess with them. It would be good to just buy the right devices the first time though which is why I am asking.

Do rocker switches dim manually by moving the rocker slightly? Sorry, totally lost.

Can’t for the life of me see how the fan could be controlled manually with that fan control by GE. I am sure I am just missing something and I don’t understand the switches and how they work.

Thanks


(Michael) #9

Agree with Dan that the white bundle is most likely your neutral. You can confirm that with a multimeter by putting one probe on those white wires and the other on the black bundle that’s the left most in your picture with 2 pigtails going to both switches. If your multimeter reads 120v you are good.


(Dan) #10

You press and hold the ge dimmer switch to either increase or decrease the dim level.

The fan controller only controls the fan speed. I don’t have one, but I am guessing it has local control as well.


#11

For fan control options, see the following thread (this is a clickable link)

For ways of handling the “people keep turning off the switch!“ Problem with smart bulbs, see the following thread:

As far as figuring out what wiring you have, it can definitely be tricky. If you’re interested in doing your own wiring going forward, a good first step if you live near Home Depot is to take one of their free classes on installing a light switch. Although this doesn’t cover network switches, you will learn how to use the tools and identify the wiring inside the switchbox. And if you happen to be buying networked switches which are sold by Home Depot, such as the GE switches, the instructor may also be able to get you some answers on questions you have about those. But in any case you’ll be much better equipped to address installing your own switches. :sunglasses:

Otherwise, as others have said, you may just want to call in an electrician. It can get pretty complicated.


#12

And here’s a video that shows how the GE switches work when you have one switch for the fan lights and a separate switch for the fan speed. I like this video because the guy walks through exactly what you have to do to change the fan speed at the switch.

(The app shown towards the end of the video is not the smartthings app, but you would get similar results with the smart things app it would just look a little different.)