GE/Jasco Dimmers not able to dim?


(Tasmin) #1

I did my research and bought the newer GE/Jasco Smart dimmer switch from Lowes (works with Iris) that has a neutral because I have low load LEDs in a number of spots.

My first install on 3 CREE floods went beautifully and worked exactly as expected, on/off/dim. However every other one I’ve installed with all 4 attachments (line, load, Neutral, & ground) is not! They only function like on/off switches in person and are even seen in Smartthings as non-dimmable. What is going on?

I called the company and they said maybe the ground isn’t really grounded. My electrician came and said it was grounded. (He by the way had no idea how the switches worked at all). Then Jasco said maybe there was “noise” in the line. What do I do about that?

And any other suggestions about what to do in the older part of the house that doesn’t have ground OR neutral wires in the boxes?

I just want it to work! Thank goodness the first one gave me some confidence or I would have probably given up already.


#2

Where did you buy them from?

The reason I’m asking, is if SmartThings sees them as non-dimmable, that should have nothing to do with the wiring. That has to do with how the device is identifying itself via Zwave.

It doesn’t mean the wiring is right, but that wouldn’t remove the dim controls from smart things. So it sounds like the switches were misidentified.

What does the IDE show for the device?


(Tasmin) #3

I bought them from Lowe’s. For the non-working ones, IDE shows device as Z-Wave Switch, not Dimmer switch. Working one shows Dimmer switch.

In person they are functioning in the same way. On/Off instead of dimmer. I have replaced switches with new out of box, so I think its unlikely I just got a bad batch.


#4

Sounds like the wrong fingerprint. (Binary switch instead of multilevel switch.) manufacturing defects can happen, even on a whole lot.

The purest diagnostic step would be to move the one that works to The lightbox for one of the ones that doesn’t, but I know you probably don’t want to do that. If it was me, I would just exchange them and try again.

As for the The switch boxes that have neither a ground nor a neutral, how old is this House? If the wiring is from the 1940s, you might have knob and tube, but that’s really rare now. Did your electrician say anything about it?

Cooper still makes a Z wave switch that doesn’t require a neutral, but it will only work with incandescents. Unless it’s knob and tube, there’s a neutral in there somewhere, and an electrician can fish one up per master switch. Then you can use non-loadbearing auxes for anything else.

Or if the fixtures work with LEDs, to be honest the easiest thing is probably just to put smart bulbs in and not worry about rewiring the switches.


(Tasmin) #5

For the non-dimmers, I will suck it up and switch the working for non working this weekend. I guess it is possible that its the units themselves (I hope that’s actually the issue).

The older part is 40s, but not knob and tube. However I have a number of outlets with only the line & load in the box, no ground or neutral. Its not in my budget to have them rewired to include ground and neutral just for the sake of gadgetry coolness (especially since in the other locations I cant get them to work either at the mo)

I only want to use LEDs (am saving a huge amount of money compared to month 1 in the house) so the Cooper isn’t an option - and that even needs ground which I don’t have.

My experience with smart bulbs is that they are only effective when people don’t use the wall switches, which isn’t practical in my living room, kids room, and dining room. I have smart bulbs in the outside fixtures hooked up to actions like doors opening at night, etc and it works great. But it wont work inside for me.


#6

The Switch issue for smart bulbs is easy to fix, it just depends on your aesthetics.

Cheapest solution is to put a switch lock on the existing switch, and then add either a wall mount tablet or a battery-operated Smart switch. No wiring problems, there still a physical control for people to use, but the smart bulb is always powered.

Then costs go up from there depending on how fancy you want to get. :bulb:


(Tasmin) #7

thanks for pointing me to that. I do have amish light covers for the outside lights that are always powered on, but any of the minimotes that I have seen are not an elegant solution.

I so wish there existed a simple switch that looks like a Decora light switch, that would fit in my existing box, or even just on top of the wall with a battery (that lasted a year or so) that I could assign to actions or lights. It would completely circumvent the issues I have with simple (no ground or neutral) wiring with LED bulbs.


(Tasmin) #8

hah - that led me to this. looks like they even dim.

I’ll have to think on it, although the cost differential is significant going that way, and it wouldn’t work if the internet went out. but it might be a workaround in a couple cases.


#9

The Insteon switches are not compatible with SmartThings, though. So you’re taking yourself into a whole separate network just for lighting, which some people do.

The only one I know of which Does not require a neutral and is reliable with smartthings is the smartIT toggle switch:

Battery operated, though.


(Tasmin) #10

grr I jumped to the conclusion that Insteon was supported. Don’t think the smartenIt has dimming functionality, nor are there reliable smart flood light led bulbs on the market yet.


#11

Oh, sorry, you’re right: no dimming with the SmartenIT. But the point is you could dim it from the app, but retain the physical switch just for on/off. Or, you could create “scenes” where the first toggle set it to 25% brightness, the second toggle set it to 50% brightness, and the third toggle set it to 100% brightness. A little clunky, but you might be able to make it work. That’s have some home automation switches used to work.

As for floodlights that are smart LEDs, GE makes one indoor/outdoor floodlight. I can’t remember whether Osram lightify has one as well or not.

http://t.homedepot.com/p/GE-Link-90W-Equivalent-Bright-White-3000K-PAR38-Connected-Home-Flood-LED-Light-Bulb-PSB38-BW30/205404389


(Tasmin) #12

Brilliant! I pulled out the working one and examined it. Turns out the model I was sent from Lowes was 1 digit off and a simple switch instead of a dimmer. You were right! Such a simple fix in the scheme of things, so I’m exchanging them this week. I didn’t know they even had a non dimming smart switch.

Now the way things hook up will work almost everywhere. In the non wired areas, I want to add 4 smart bulbs for the left side of the living room that switch on when the right side smart dimmer turns on but matches brighness%.

How can I do that? Don’t think IFTTT would work as it would only enable an on/on, off/off relationship. Is there an app that can do that?

I’d want it to be able to match brightness: if switch 30%, bulb 30%


#13

I’m glad you figured it out!

There are a couple of different custom smart apps that will do what you want. One is dim and dimmer, and another one is dim with me. Also one of the scene setting apps like scene machine will probably do it. I can’t remember if the big switch does dimming as well or not. And Tony just posted a new app this week called FlexiLight that has a whole bunch of parameters.

Anyway take a look in the community created smart apps category and see what you find there.

http://community.smartthings.com/c/smartapps/created-smart-apps

edited to add

I just checked, and the big switch does do dimming, although it doesn’t do color setting. But it might be all you need. Basically you pick any one switch or bulb on your network and then tell selected other switches/bulbs to copy what it does.

It’s one of the officially supported smart set up smartapps, so it’s really easy to install, no custom code is needed. You’ll find it in the convenience section.


(Tasmin) #14

I can’t dig through them at the moment, but they allow the turning on of one smart switch for a light trigger other actions, like turning on another smart bulb?

I’m slightly concerned the only smart flood br30 option is a 90w equivalent in 3000k and my others (that I’m trying to match) are Cree 65w equiv in 2700k… Guess I’ll just have to trial it


#15

See my post above yours, I updated it while you were posting. And yes, the big switch is a “follow me” app where you pick one switch/bulb and tell others to model on it.


(Tasmin) #16

Ok just looked at Big switch. What it does do is initiate the action, but only in a on A /then on B at 30%

I was hoping for something more dynamic. Like on A 40% / on B 30% (maybe to compensate for a different total lumens of the bulb). Then turn A up to 80% / up B to 60%. Maybe some ratio? If not a ratio, at least mirroring changes in dimming?


Best SmartApp for Complex "follow me" Dimming Setups?
#17

Yeah, I think there’s probably one that already does something like that in the custom apps, there are a bunch of lighting ones with different variations. Usually the first post in each topic explains what the author wanted to do with it.

Taking the app discussion to a different topic:


(Tasmin) #18

Thanks! I feel like I can actually see a way forward


(Tasmin) #19

So I got the Dimmers (to replace the plain switches) and they are virtually identical in packaging and switch appearance so no wonder I didn’t question what was sent to me.

@JDRoberts After agonizing over why they wouldn’t work, I managed to swap out all 7 in an hour and everything works effortlessly. Thanks for pointing out what was not obvious to me - that I didn’t have the right part. And @Sticks18 fixed up the Dim with Me plus and offset so I’ve got the smart bulb supplements working too! Success!