I am research the following 3 brands of Z-wave switches (ON/Off, Dimmer, and multi-way). Given they all are around the same price point and they all seem to be tested with SmartThings, which one are my better options? I think this may come down to which one has the 3/4-way options that work best for me. I have both a traveler and neutral for all of my 3-4 ways non-zwave and zwave switches. More than likely, I will used the same wiring I been doing where I tie the power and traveler together to the input of the z-wave switch. This way, I keep the current mechanical integrity where all the switches would have power go to its no matter if it is on or off at that moment of the 3-4 ways switch
You should follow the wiring instructions that come with each switch. Different switches have different wiring requirements.
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You might find the following helpful:
To repeat what @JDRoberts said, you must use the wiring instructions for multi-way usage for the brand and model of switches you select. In most cases you will also need to use a brand-specific add-on or aux device for the additional switches in multi-way configurations.
GE/Honeywell (made by Jasco) switches must be paired with their matching “add-on” for 3 and 4 way use. Only the “master” switch is a Z-wave device, the add-ons are dumb. These have changeable color paddles. From reading here, older model GE devices seem to have issues after a couple of years of use.
The Zooz ZEN27 and ZEN26 will work with your existing dumb switches without rewiring for 3-ways. Other Zooz models work with existing dumb switches but require rewiring. This can save a lot of money if you’re doing a lot of multi-way switches. The downside for dimmers is that you can only change light level from the smart switch. And the Zooz devices only come in bright white which doesn’t quite match the Decora standard white.
For both the GE and Zooz dimmers, adjusting light level is done by pressing and holding the paddle. I find that a fairly finicky operation. In most cases I seldom touch the actual device, preferring voice control via Alexa.
You didn’t mention Leviton. I’ve got a few Levitons. I have a couple of rooms that have two doors and a dimmer at each doorway. I just did one of the rooms with Leviton dimmers and their matching “add-ons” for 3-way. They have very specific wiring requirements (line in one box, load in the other, two travelers, neutral in both boxes) and the wiring is more complicated. But their step by step instructions are very clear. Levitons have changeable paddles in several colors.
What I really like about the Levitons for this particular case is the separate “mini paddle” to control the dim level. You also get both a locater LED and a set of dim level indicator LEDs on both the master dimmer and the add-on dimmer.
I don’t have any Inovelli devices so I can’t comment on them. From what I’ve read here, they’re well thought of.
Regarding to your comment, I would like some clarification. And here are couple important notes, none of my 3,4,or 5 ways (yes I have one 5 ways) have any dimmer to them. Also, if possible, would like to use the accessory switch by Evolve (LTM-5) as I already have them. Than again, if this is not possible at all for any vendors, it wouldn’t be the end of the world
Are you implying Zooz will work with other brand Acc switches?
Not sure about Zooz but I know that Inovelli works with the GE add ons but not sure about Evolve. @Eric_Inovelli frequents this community maybe he can confirm.
Thanks for the tag @ritchierich - yes, I can confirm that our switches will work with both dumb/existing switches and auxiliary switches made by GE/Honeywell (Jasco) and HomeSeer.
As mentioned in the thread, the benefits of leaving your existing switch is that you will save money over having to buy a $20 aux switch, however the downside is that you will not have dimming at the non-smart side. Whereas with an aux switch you’ll have dimming from both ends.
Hope that helps!
At least some Zooz models work with dumb switches in multi-way configuration. One Zooz model works with their brand momentary contact aux switch.
Don’t know about other vendors aux switches.
I have just recently switched to Inovelli Red Dimmers. I went with them after investigating options for my kitchen remodel (which is ongoing; new cabinets are in and the new floor is being layed as I type this). I have about half dozen older (non-plus) GE dimmers I’m switching out for them.
Frankly, my wife was happy with whatever switch I went with, as long as it’s color looked good against the tile backsplash. That immediately removed Zooz from consideration, as only white is available (they are coming out with new color changeable paddles soon). Inovelli came out with the color of paddles I needed just in time to make my wife happy.
The Inovelli switches have several ways of wiring 3-way. I’m able to reuse my existing GE add-on switches as auxiliaryies in the 3-way configuration, but you can also use plain-old standard switches (leaving your existing 3-way wiring intact) or a 2nd Inovelli switch.
When you comment on the dumb switch, are you referring to non-Z-Wave switches?
4-way switches are spawn of the devil! 5-way doubly so. Best thing I did was go over the electrical plan for our new house and eliminate anything more than 3-ways. With smart switches and voice control, there’s no need.
With a little googling or digging thru vendors websites you should be able to locate the user manual for any switches you might want to buy. That will get you a detailed look at the required rewiring.
I’ve done 3-ways with Zooz (existing dumb aux switch for both switches and dimmers), GE (GE brand aux switch for dimmer), and Levitons (matching Leviton aux dimmer).
The wiring for each brand was quite different. They each have advantages. As I mentioned, I particularly liked the Leviton dimmers for their separate small paddle to control dimming along with the line of LEDs to show dim level. But they’re the most expensive option.
Although some brands of aux switches are “dumb”, I’m referring to standard switches. The stuff that’s been in use for decades.
Yes (although I’m not doing that in my setup since my old switches are toggles, not Decora).
In this context, “dumb switches“ are ones which do not have a radio inside. For that reason, they will have to be connected to the master switch with physical traveler wires, they don’t have any other way of communicating.
They also will not show up as devices in the smartthings app.
Just to be clear (it gets super confusing as our ticketing queue often shows lol) both auxiliary and dumb/existing switches do not have a radio inside of them, so we try to make a distinction between using the word auxiliary and dumb/existing, but we’re also open to whatever the industry norm is and if we’re misusing the terms, we will definitely change. I’ve just seen aux and dumb mixed up a lot so it’s confusing. Example from this morning:
Dumb/Existing = $2 toggle switch that was already in your house (example: https://www.lowes.com/pd/Legrand-radiant-Single-Pole-3-Way-Gray-Compatible-with-LED-Rocker-Light-Switch/1000844164)
From a network engineering/device design standpoint, “dumb” means “no radio.” Those devices will not be assigned network IDs and will not show up in the app.
From a home-improvement industry/building code standpoint, “auxiliary“ means “not the master“ whether it is a dumb switch or a smart switch. These might also be called an “accessory“ or “secondary” switch and the master might also be called the “primary.“ but this terminology only applies to light switches: otherwise an auxiliary switch means something else. (Yeah, it’s confusing. ) and some manufacturers have their own terms: GE calls them an “add on“ switch.
I know some people who always say “an auxiliary switch in a three-way“ to make it very clear what they are talking about.
Anyway, so typically an auxiliary switch in a three-way could be either smart or dumb. And if it’s a dumb switch it could be specially designed to work with a smart master or it could just be any standard light switch.
Lutron calls a regular light switch a “mechanical” switch.
Leviton calls a regular light switch a “standard” switch and calls the auxiliary in a three way a “remote.”
so as a device manufacturer you can pretty much call it whatever you want, just be prepared to explain your own terminology frequently.
I started my smart home automation 4-5 years ago. At which time, I updated the garage door opener, front door lock, thermostat, smoke detector, and about half of my home wall switches (2nd floor and basement). I was using the Simon XTI panel with Guardian Protection through alarm.com. All of the existing contact switches and motion are old school radio bases, not z-wave. I did end up doing 1 - 4 way (on the stairs), and 2 - 3-way switches (for a room) around the house
For better or worse, life got busy and end up stop working on its, up until recent COVID While looking through home-automation again, I was looking through Homeseer, Home assistant, and few others. In short, SmartThing 3.0 seems to hit most of what I needed to do, but may still go take a Home Assistant at a later time. As one concern I have with ST is that it is cloud base, so if my Internet would go down, I would assume I am screw I am technical but still green to the Z-wave protocol. One thing that stood out for me so far with ST is the ease of excluding and adding in a node (in most cases), and the recent tweak I find for the association. I tried that in the past with Aeotec Stick and it was a total pain.
I am in the process of replacing all of my radio-based sensors first (motion and door contacts). Probably going with ST contacts (even though it is zeebee) and EcoLink Motion. But one huge investment left for me are the remaining wall switches. Through out the years, few of my Evolve switches (master) went bad on me (15 %) , thank god I have some spare. But I do not have enough spare to finish the rest of the house. However, I do have over a dozen Evolve accessory switch (LTM-5) which I would like to use. I am not sure if it is right or wrong, probably more subjective than objective, I would probably using the same wiring method I been using where I will replace all of the switches to Z-wave, both the master and all of the accessory in a multi-way configuration. I just need to ensure that whatever brand I am going with will indeed
- Work with another accessory switch brand, as it seems GE will only with GE in terms of association.
- the travel wire with my multi-way configuration will always be hot on either end (Evolve did not have a dedicate traveler connection. So I end up capping the z-wave hot in, with the AC in, and the traveler together,)
It looks like those evolve aux switches control the primary over zwave, without the traveler wires correct?
I have used models similar to these before and they work good.
Just be aware that you will have to do some manual work to setup the zwave association.
You will have to get the zwave id of the primary switch you want to control.
Then use zwave tweaker to setup the associations.
Yes, it creates virtual three ways between the auxiliary switch and the primary.