SmartThings Community

Fan controller: Need help choosing what to get


(Scott Shell) #21

Hopefully with where smart home automation is going companies will create some devices that use the industry standards. I have a Hunter Fan in our main room and although the wall switch does have neutral wiring it only has one set of wires going up to the fan.

The fan itself has a remote that controls the fan and the lights (three speeds on the fan and on off only on the lights).

I would like it if Hunter would come up with a controller similar to their Simple Connect (Bluetooth) using Z-Wave or Zigbee so I can automate it similarly to what I’m doing in our master bedroom (which has independent switches) on the wall and I am using a GE fan controller.

(Greg) #22

@dalec Thanks for all of the info. I pulled out the switch at the wall and here’s what I see…

There are 2 sets of wires coming into the box.
2 black wires are nutted together with one of the ends of the dimmer.
1 black wire is nutted to the other end of the dimmer.
Green wire from the dimmer is nutted to the ground wires.
2 white wires are nutted together inside the box.

I’m assuming one of the black and one of the white is for the fan motor? Or is it both white? I don’t see a neutral in this setup. It’s jam-packed in there also. It’s that older wiring that is really thick and very hard to bend. Makes things much more complicated.

Hope this paints a better picture.

One other general question… In the absence of a neutral wire, is it possible to put relays of any sort up at the ceiling instead of the switch? I thought I read that somewhere but not sure I grasp it.


(Will) #23

The whites should be your neutrals. Just cut a section and tie into that nut. The GE switches actually come with a section of white wire to tie into the neutral.

(Greg) #24

Oh that’s good! so sounds like I can make that a two gang box and install a dimmer on the light and a fan controller for the fan. Just need to figure out which wire are fan and which are light.

Again I’d like speed control and dimmer control both locally and via ST. I imagine that’s the only way.

(Kavvy) #25

(Will) #26

I’ve seen something like this, but I went with the GE Smart Fan and GE Smart Dimmer because I like having something physical on the wall to manipulate. Setting the fan speed from my smart phone isn’t ideal for me.

(Kavvy) #27

If theres a device type, Ill do it and then create virtual switches for Alexa and also use smarttiles and my dashboard tablet.

(Scott Shell) #28

Unfortunately the FanLinc is not compatible with SmartThings as it is only able to be used with Insteon… It would be great if it was.

(Scott Shell) #29

I also like having something on my wall to control it as well… however I also like the 3 speed fan thermostat SmartApp created by dcoffing that automatically controls the fan in my master bedroom based on the temperature, etc… and it works pretty darn well.

(Kavvy) #30

I guess this is what got me:

Before finalizing your FanLinc installation you’ll want to link it to your selected controllers.

(Scott Shell) #31

Well… yes your selected Insteon controller.

(Dale C) #32

This was tremendously helpful. OK, it looks like I guessed right having you take those pictures because it is better than you described and you might have the best kind of outcome here. It appears like you have everything you need, the power (hot(blk) and neutral(wht)) that was run through the gangbox to the fan motor that you control from the pull chain. Then the other set of wires is going separately to the lights that the dimmer was installed on and tapped into the power at the gangbox. UPDATE: Bummer! I spoke to soon, I checked the rest of your photos closer and I can’t find a line going out to the fan separate so definitely do the verify check below and confirm where the third black wire is coming from. I can’t tell from all your photos but I don’t see a matching neutral for that unknown black?

Plus let’s have you do a quick test to confirm the wiring for me to make sure we have the actual fan power. Turn the power off at the breaker then take off the wire nut on the black group of wires so they are all isolated. Then turn power back on and you should have zero power for the fan and light both? The black line that I marked appears to be the incoming power, do you have a volt meter to test if that indeed is hot all by itself when you turn the breaker back on?

(Dale C) #33

Well thank you! :relaxed:
By the way if you aren’t integrated with github you might want to get the latest revision from a couple days ago. The current version is 1.0.160603 I made some changes to fan differential temperature to protect against a bug in groovy plus added a user’s guide.

(Scott Shell) #34

I am integrated with your github and have updated the app recently.

(Greg) #35

Thanks again @dalec. I haven’t had a chance to run the test you suggest but I’ll do that tomorrow to be clear. Thinking about it, wouldn’t the LINE be the one black wire on the left of my box and the LOAD be the two black wires on the right? One for the light and one for the fan? I guess I’ll find out.

What are my options here if I have everything I need? Best option is to turn this into a 2-gang box and include a zwave fan controller and zwave light dimmer switch right?

Also, with the fan controller switch, do I just keep the pull cord on the highest speed and let the switch take over?


(Dale C) #36

What we can tell for sure is the Romex line (the proper name of those bundled wires) on the left of the box is your lights (Load) that the dimmer connects to. The romex on the right of your box is power (Line) and hopefully comes down from your ceiling gangbox which your test will help identify but probably it is just incoming power from the next closest point in that circuit. I also need you to take a picture of the ceiling box wires I am wonder now how did they get power to the fan? Does that single black wire run up there?

Those three black wires to the wire nut; you need to tell me exactly where that undefined wire is going in the gangbox because your picture doesn’t show it except that it leaves the wirenut. Just follow it in the box and where does it end up in the gang box? Your picture accounts for the black wire for the romex to the right, and the romex to the left, so where in the world does that third black wire come from? Are there two black wires coming out of the right romex? I am just confused because I hoping to see a red wire in the romex on the left that your dimmer is connected to. That would have been normal and ideal. What your picture shows is this weird single black wire connected to the power (line).

[quote=“ultrazero, post:35, topic:49166”]
What are my options here if I have everything I need? Best option is to turn this into a 2-gang box and include a zwave fan controller and zwave light dimmer switch right?
[/quote] Yes IF indeed we have both those romex’s going up to the ceiling fan from the switch box… we just don’t know that yet.

[quote=“ultrazero, post:35, topic:49166”]
Also, with the fan controller switch, do I just keep the pull cord on the highest speed and let the switch take over?
[/quote] That is correct. You set both pull chains so that the fan speed is at the high setting and the lights on. The zwave controllers will takeover from there. I ended removing both chains from my fan to prevent accidental pulls.

(Paul) #37

If you look close the line that going to the light (left bundle) looks like a 12-3 line. 2 blacks and 1 white. That extra black wire is probably the fan power. Since there are only 2 white wires, I think we can assume that the fan and light fixture share the same neutral wire which should be a plus for Ultra.

2 switches should work.
I would do the following and only suggest this as a suggestion as it might be wrong but Dale can chime in as well.

1.) Turn off the breaker.
2.) Undo all wire nuts.
3.) The black wire on the right set that is currently tied to the switch, attach the black wires from the smart switches to this.
4.) Take the free black wire (assumed fan power) and attach to the other side of the fan control switch.
5.) Detach the black wire from the old switch and attach to the new smart dimmer.
6.) Tie all white neutral wires together.
7.) Attach grounds/greens
8.) Have someone else turn on the breaker while you watch for smoke.
9.) Test switches (turn fan to full speed and lights on via chains).
If successful:
10.) remove chains
11.) Put back together
If Fail:
Return to forums/google for help :stuck_out_tongue:


(Greg) #38

I’m going to open up my fan canopy today at some point to try and verify where that random black wire is going.

Before I start cutting out a hole in the wall for a 2-gang i’m going to test the fan controller switch in there… using only the fan wires of course.

(Michael Brux) #39

Thanks - I got it all to work by moving the hub 2 feet from my router.

(JimMay3) #40

Fan/Light Control seekers, consider the HomeSeer HS-WD100+ Light Dimmer and the GE 12730 Fan Controller combo, you can setup the Dimmer to control the Fan Controller via it’s built-in double and triple tap features:

I used this combo for a single gang box configuration, was able to mount the fan controller up in the fan shroud, there are other fan modules that are made for this specific for this type of mounting, but the GE is easily available and ST ready…