GE Ceiling Fan Switch Custom Device Type - Low, Med, High buttons w/no slider!



Newbie question. When I install my new switch, do I first pair it using the standard GE dimmer switch option in the marketplace? And then change the device type to your code?

The “boss” actually gave me this new switch for my birthday, my WAF must be improving.



What you’re experiencing is a problem with ST and delayed/wrong device states - I think maybe?. I’ve not seen/heard of that behavior before.


LOL…and that’s important!

The code in my github repo does not have a “fingerprint”, so your device will first pair as a Dimmer. Just go into the IDE and change it (the Type* field) to the DH you created and you’ll be in great shape.


I just updated to the your latest code and I’m getting the exact same thing. That only seems to be with the LOW setting. Not sure what/where to look for in the code to see if it’s just a simple typo. Any suggestions?

(Arvinuma) #107

Sorry didn’t go through the whole thread. This can be integrated with Alexa correct? Also can someone point me to updated code. Thanks in advance.

(Rey Rios) #108

Yes. Like any dimmer switch you can say “Alexa, set the Living Room fan to 20” and that would set it to low. You need to use a number and play with the a good range for low, medium or high.

(Arvinuma) #109

Thanks rey.

(Dale C) #110

Is a device handler able to do something equivalent that I did on my smartapp 3-Speed Ceiling Fan Thermostat where when you toggle lowSpeed on it actually starts momentarily in highSpeed first to protect the motor? It would be nice to have it built in to your device type so that regardless of it being manually triggered the motor safety is in the device handler and not required in the smartapp

if (fanDimmer.currentSwitch == “off”) { // if fan is OFF protect motor by
fanDimmer.setLevel(90) // starting fan in High speed temporarily then
fanDimmer.setLevel(30, [delay: 3000]) // change to Low speed after 3 seconds
else {
fanDimmer.setLevel(30) //fan is already running, not necessary to protect motor
} //set Low speed immediately

(Sean) #111

I have never heard of this before. Do you have any info to share? I have run my fans for the last 12 years starting on speeds other than high to begin with with no issues.

(Stephen) #112

I think that you are confusing the ceiling fans with something like a box fan. A box fan will have the first setting on the knobs as high due to how those motors start. The speed switches on fans like that usually control the speed by changing the number of poles in the motor, thus selecting different sets of windings. In ceiling fans, the speed is controlled by using triacs and shunting the power through various capacitors to limit the voltage going to the fan.

In either case, neither would cause more wear on the brushes or the windings - it is just that in a box fan that runs in phase with AC, starting with the least number of poles will cause the fan to struggle while it is starting.

(Dale C) #113

You can search and find info but it is just typical for ceiling fans when you pull the fan speed chain to start in High first, then step down. The physics is that the startup in low speed produces more current than needed then in high speed start in the motor winding’s which in turn produces additional heat which can cause the motor winding wire insulation to fail prematurely. Regardless if it actually is significant wear, the idea though is to mimic the typical fan speed switch operation and it certainly isn’t taking any risk to do it that way. If your fan came with a switch that can start in any speed I would think that it isn’t the typical ceiling fan.

And I do agree with this as well,

(Jason "The Enabler" as deemed so by @Smart) #114

I gotta throw in my two cents…

I honestly do not believe that it matters… Any more. In the past this was must probably true. But, electronics and electrical quality have definitely improved over time.

Also, there is a vast majority of new model (last few years) that actually have dc motors instead of ac motors.

They are more efficient, less noisy, and last longer. They after powered by the dc rectifier and it really doesn’t care of the a.c. Is 90v or 120v. As long as the incoming a.c. is within the upper and lower limits of the rectifier it will produce the exact same voltage every time.

Also, if your ceiling fan is ten years or older, you would be best to replace it. The annual savings is rather dramatic.

Most ceiling fans run 24/7.
An older fan on high easily draws 60w. This at 12.5 cents per kwh = approx $66.00 per year
A new fan on high draws about 22w. This at 12.5 cents per kwh = approx $24.00 per year

Now, count the number of fans in your house.
If you have 5 fans running 24/7 that is a lot of money.

Buying a new ceiling fan can pay for itself in monthly savings in one to two years, depending on variables.

(Stephen) #115

This is pretty much correct. Most ceiling fans now are powered by an AC induction motor - which means the windings are on the stator (the stationary part of the motor). This creates the rotating magnetic field that is responsible for generating the current in the secondary windings on the rotor (induction). The current is generated by the fact that the stator magnetic field is rotating (in phase with the electricity).

Also, since these are induction motors, there is zero torque at zero speed. This means they need something seperate to start them. These “starter” windings provide the torque for the motor to start and also determine the direction of the spin. They are separate from the windings for overall operation.

One of the ways to vary the speed of an induction motor is to vary the applied voltage (This is a completely separate conversation, but if you want to read about it, look up “slip” on induction motors). This is exactly what happens in a ceiling fan, and the reason that you can have a fan speed control that looks like a light switch in your wall. It is not a dimmer, but a control that changes the applied voltage in three distinct steps (just like the pull chain does). This applied voltage is the voltage that is going to the stator windings though, and not the starter windings.

All of that being said, there is no need to start a ceiling fan on high. The mechanical and electrical design of this type of induction motor separate the “starting” and the “running” modes. The starter windings require a lot less applied voltage to produce starting torque.


Anyone else still having issues with this displaying the wrong speeds? I completely removed this device handler and recopied it. Still the same issue. Clicking LOW says Adjusting to Med, clicking MED says Adjusting to HIGH and so on.

(Rey Rios) #117

Yes. I had to adjust the values in the script.

(Sean) #118

I did but it always went to low. I pulled the power tab out on the switch itself then pushed it back in and that took care of my problem.

(Scot Kreienkamp) #119

I only had to adjust the low value to 30.

(Chris) #120

I set up this device type and it seems to work fine in the ST app, but echo still sees it as a dimmer so I have to tell it a percent instead of low/med/high. Any way around this? I’d love to be able to say “Alexa, set the fan to medium” instead of “Set the fan to 50%”

(Allan) #121

I have the exact same request…just got a Echo and it would be nice to say “Set Living Room Fan to Low” instead of randomly picking a number between 1 and 30.


(Micheal ) #122

You should check out Ask Alexa…you can do that exact thing (almost with those exact words).