FAQ: 2017/2018 Ceiling Fan and Dimmer light wall mount control compatible with SmartThings and Alexa?


(Charley King) #1

There is much said about light and fan controls, but I can’t find any specific brands that are listed. I find several light switches but not dimmers, and nothing listed as a fan control. Looked at the similar topic listed but it had no actual solution.


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#2

Are you looking for a single device that controls both the light and fan? If so, what about this:

There are a few links within that link to follow up on, so be sure to read up on those.

If you’re looking for separate devices, the GE dimmer and fan controller devices are ones to use and/or look at.


#3

Just to add a visual to @johnconstantelo 's excellent response…

Option 1: Hampton Bay Zigbee Controller. Full integration with SmartThings of both fan and dimmable lights. Optional single gang wall switch.

The Hampton Bay zigbee option has a single gang wallmount Controller that has both fan and light controls and looks like this. This one will also let you reverse the fan if your fan controller has that feature. Because each button is labeled, it’s very intuitive for guests to use.

Option 2: GE Zwave switches. One model controls the fan speed and a different model can dim the lights. Full integration with SmartThings, officially supported.

The GE zwave option will require a dual gang, with one switch to control the lights in the fan and one switch to control the fan speed. They will end up looking something like this. You will get low/medium/high Control for the fan, but no reverse.

IMG_3794

http://www.ezzwave.com/z-wave-products/

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 how you 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 smartthings app, it would just look a little different.)

Option 3: GE Fan Control model 14287 With Doubletap Plus Smart Bulbs in the Fan

GE released a fan control switch in late 2017, model 14287 , which allows you to double tap the top or bottom of the rocker and perform a different function. If you use Zwave (not zigbee) smart bulbs in the fan kit this will work to turn the lights on or off even if your SmartThings hub is offline. :sunglasses::bulb: This gives you a single gang zwave Option, although it will not be intuitive for guests since just tapping the rocker once will only control the fan, not the lights. And you won’t be able to dim the lights from the switch, just on/off. Also, this will only work if your fan kit takes regular full size A19 bulbs. Still, it will be a good choice for some people.

https://products.z-wavealliance.org/products/2506

Although the product description says “lights must be on a separate switch,” that is only true if you want a wired wall switch, in which case use option 2 above. If you use smart bulbs and use the double tap feature of this switch, you can control both fan speed and lights from one device.

All three of these first options work well with SmartThings and you will be able to use Alexa through SmartThings to control them.

Two more retrofit options, but not yet as good as the first three

Option 4: Bond Remote: easy no-wiring solution, but limited features so far and expensive

Olibra has come out with the Bond remote, which is an expensive universal remote designed to add voice control to fans that already have a remote. Note that it doesn’t have its own button remote or wall switch – – it’s really just adding as a second controller to your existing fan system, but a controller that can also understand Alexa or Google Home.

IMG_4609

It costs $99, partly because they have put multiple radios inside this thing so it can work with many different fans that have remotes, on a number of different frequencies or on IR. It doesn’t work with every fan, for example it doesn’t work with a Lutron maestro controller or an Insteon fan controller or some of the Casablanca models. But it works with a lot of the most popular ones as long as the fan already has a remote.

The bond adds voice control and also has Wi-Fi capability and its own IFTTT channel. At the time of this writing, the only way to integrate it with SmartThings was through the IFTTT channel, which offered only a limited set of features.

If you use the wall switch or handheld remote, or the bond app, smartthings will not get any status updates so the smartthings app may get out of sync with the fan.

It seems to be pretty good at controlling the fan speed, but so far light controls are mostly limited on/off, no dimming. But that also varies by specific model. However, if you are using the IFTTT channel to get integration with SmartThings, as of this writing that only works with the fan, not the lights. Although they are expected to add more features in the future.

One bond is supposed to be able to control up to six fans, but if they have IR remotes they will have to be line of sight to the device. For RF remotes, you’ll just have to try it and see what the range is.

You can contact the company in advance to see if it’s known whether or not it will work with your model.

So the first three options in this post will give you much more granular control of a fan with lights, but the bond is worth looking at if you want a no wiring solution. (Also, the other options in this post all have their own wall switches; the Bond just adds voice control and some IFTTT capability to what you already have.)

I will say I absolutely hate this company’s marketing approach. They are the definition of “overpromise and Underdeliver.” (not being able to dim the lights is a good example, but there are others) so I know they say they are working on full SmartThings integration and they are working on control for other types of devices, but I would wait and see what they actually come up with. More discussion in the following thread:

@Jamieboy05 , @mamouLA , and @ErnieG all brought up the bond when it was still in pre-release, and I am very glad to see that the device as delivered does have a lot of practical value for some community members. So I have updated this post to include it. :sunglasses:

Option 5: Lutron Maestro. No neutral required, full control, but no status updates from the wall switch

There is one other option if you don’t have a neutral at the switchbox, but it’s not as good as the first three because when someone uses the wall switch the information will not be reported to smartthings so you could never trust the status in the mobile app. So I just mention it here for completeness.

There is a Lutron Maestro fan Control Device (MIR-FQ4FMT-WH) where the Wall Switch can be controlled with a Logitech Harmony Home Hub. It will work fine in terms of having SmartThings control the fan by using the harmony as a “man in the middle”, and you will have a wall switch, but again, if someone uses the wall switch SmartThings won’t know that that happened. So this one is only for retrofit options where the other options don’t work.

IMG_3795

Summary

Choose one of the first three options if you have a neutral at the switch and you want to fully integrate the fan and its lights with SmartThings, including keeping the status up-to-date in the SmartThings mobile app. You will be able to use a voice assistant by using the SmartThings integration.

If you want a no wiring solution, the bond is definitely worth looking at. However, at the present time it doesn’t give you full integration and the status will not be updated if someone uses the old remote or a wall switch to turn the fan on or off.

If you don’t have a neutral at the switchbox but you do want a wired solution with its own wall switch, the Lutron maestro may also be worth considering. You will get control of more features than you might with the bond, but installation is more complex and does require installing a fan controller as well as replacing the switch. And you still have the issue that the status can get out of sync with the SmartThings app.


(Mamou La) #4

(Rusty Logan) #6

Anyone with any thoughts on using a NodeMCU soldered up to control the rf relays in the reciever box? I’m thinking of tearing into the box in the fan and doing some circuit chasing to see if it would be possible… may take some creativity as everything in the rf box probably runs on 120v… but may be a better permanent solution than tearing apart the rf remote and soldering relays to it…


#7

Since this is an FAQ thread intended for brief descriptions of completed solutions, why don’t you start a new thread in the project section and I’m sure there will be several people who will be glad to help you brainstorm a new approach. :sunglasses:


#8

@JDRoberts - can you buy the Hampton Bay controller with the wall mount instead of the loose controller? I have 5 rooms with wireless wall mounted controllers that I’d love to replace to make zigbee but I’m only seeing the remote control version for the Zigbee.

Thanks!


(Dan Crandall) #9

No, you’re stuck with purchasing both the Hampton Bay Universal Wink Enabled White Ceiling Fan Premier Remote Control: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Hampton-Bay-Universal-Wink-Enabled-White-Ceiling-Fan-Premier-Remote-Control-99432/206591100?cm_sp=BazVoice--PRRDR--206591100-_-x
and the Hampton Bay Universal Ceiling Fan Wireless Wall Control: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Hampton-Bay-Universal-Ceiling-Fan-Wireless-Wall-Control-68109/205846346
You can throw away the Receiver that came with the Wall Mount Control as it doesn’t have Zigbee. You can use both the wall mount and the loose remote to control the fan and lights. You just have to make sure the switches are all set the same.


#10

@dancran So the wall mount connects to the Zigbee receiver and remote? End game id really just want the receiver and wall mount. I have it set up this way at the moment but with Hunter fan and i believe hunter wireless wall mount.


(Dan Crandall) #11

Yes, the wall mounted remote will control the Zigbee receiver without problem and you will also still be able to use the loose remote. Unfortunately, Home Depot does not package the wall mount remote with the Zigbee receiver which is why you have to purchase both kits throwing away the Receiver (Non-Zigbee) that comes packaged with the Wall Mount Remote. (Using the Zigbee Receiver that comes packaged with the loose remote) I’ve done this with two of my ceiling fans.


#12

Does it allow the fan to turn on/off or just control the speed? I would think it allows on/off, but I can’t find that on the amazon page for it.


#13

It’s always a good idea to read the user manual for any smart device that you are considering buying.

In this case you press once on the top for on, and you hold to change the speed.

You press once on the bottom for off, and again hold to decrease the speed.