GE vs Leviton z-wave fan control (2021)

Does anyone have any experience using either the GE 14297 z-wave fan control or the Leviton Decora ZW4SF-1BW fan control switches.
Looking for pros and cons.

Thanks

I have the GEs installed and they are a little confusing to operate. To change speeds, you have to hold the paddle up or down and the LED will blink to indicate which speed is being selected. I believe 1 blink is low, 2 medium and 3 blinks is high. Also, they show up as dimmers (I don’t know if this has changed) instead of distinct low, medium and high settings. I’ve had them installed for about 5 years and they have been reliable thus far. I remember being able to tell Alexa to set the fan to low, medium or high and she would but now I have to say something like 30%. Don’t know if it’s because I was using a custom DTH or if it was just in my mind. :man_shrugging:t5:

I do not have experience with the other one.

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The leviton is a 700 series ZWPlus chipset where I believe the Jasco (Ge, Honeywell, Homeseer are all OEM’s by Jasco) does not yet have a 700 chipset. The Leviton can operate with an aux switch for 3-way operation.

The 3-4 speed thing really refers to what’s on board the device itself - but it is nice to see the 4 individual LED’s for speed indication. I’ve never had an issue with how the Jasco operates - but then again i rarely touch the device itself. MOstly it’s automation or voice control.

The High, Med, Low voice thing Ron mentions is totally Amazon’s doing - sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t to refer by ‘speeds.’ It’s complex function of the device handler you use vs. what Alexa’s developers are feeling today - I could never get that part to work reliably so I just created Alexa voice routines to set speeds for the fans I was concerned about. Problem solved.

If I were buying today I’d try a Leviton and see, but I’ve got 4 of the Jasco’s right now and they’ve been rock solid since they were first installed. One of my least problematic devices, in fact. Just works.

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As @nathancu mentions, that specific Leviton model is brand new, using the latest Z wave technology, so I don’t think too many people have tried it yet. The previous generation Leviton switch was good, but at that time much more expensive than the GE/Jasco model, so most people went with the GE. ( Honeywell is a re-brand of the GE switch. Same case, similar features.)

One other thing that some people care about and some people don’t: the GE switch has a blue indicator light and the Leviton switch has a green indicator light. this is standard for both brands in all their switch models. Some people have a preference for one color or the other and some people like to make sure all of their switches match, so just one more thing to be aware of. :sunglasses:

Also, if you intend to use Zwave direct association, that will only work well between devices at the same security level, which can introduce some complications if you have one or two devices of the newest generation and the others are older. But you don’t need to use Zwave direct association with a smartthings set up, and I would guess that most people don’t. But if you do get into any discussions about direct association, that’s another difference between these two models be aware of.

The GE switch now comes with a five year warranty, while the Leviton is two.

Both offer extra cost “color change“ kits to switch out the face plate in white, almond, brown, and black. Leviton also offers gray.

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Thank you for all the feedback. I think I’m going to try the Leviton. I’ll let you know what I think.

My LED preference if off. :grin:

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i’m pretty happy with my GE fan swiches, I just wish they supported turning the LED completely off from the app. You can turn them off with a toggle combination but that gets reset easily.

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There was a custom DTH that could set those options but ive lost track of it. Ive been trying to roll back to default DTHs as much as possible to work towards local automations. (which, BTW the default ‘ZWave Fan’ DTH provided by ST is still not local capable so if you find the custom one you won’t be missing anything at the current time except the fancy spinning fan icon in the mobile app)

Update:
I went with the Leviton Decora ZW4SF-1BW fan control switches.

They paired easily, work locally, and I can completely turn off the LED!

The app settings are Off, Low, Medium, High.

Automating with Webcore uses Off, 25%, 50%, 75%, 100%.

Overall I am really happy with my choice

Update: the execution location changed from local to cloud.

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Cool. Which device type are you using on SmartThings for the Leviton ZW4SF-1BW?

I am using both the stock DTH and the stock Edge driver z-wave fan control.

Differences noticed between DTH and Edge
Edge is local
DTH exposes raiseFanSpeed and lowerFanSpeed capabilities to 3rd parties like Shrptools, Edge driver does not.
DTH presentation in ST is fan speed (off, low, med, high, max)
Edge presentation in ST is fan speed and dimmer
Now have to set LED from paddle controls

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Any updates with the Edge driver that you’ve noticed? Are the fan speeds and other capabilities improved now?

I have an updated Edge driver that supports the Leviton z-wave fan controller with enhanced options.

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Apologies for the late bump…but comment and a question

Hardware choice: Leviton ZW4SF rated at 1.5Amps max. Jasco 14287 rated at 2.5Amp max. the big fan I’m thinking about is rated at 1.9Amps, so pertinent to me.

Hardware question: I can’t figure out how these devices control speed of a single-phase induction motor driven fan. Theoretically it’s done by deliberately reducing the motor torque output, forcing the fan to rotate more slowly. Practically, torque is reduced by the fan manufacturer by either 1. tapping the stator coil to vary windings number-of-turns and resistance, or 2. putting selectable capacitors inline to reduce the voltage to the motor. But since neither Jasco nor Leviton knows what sort of fan the switch is controlling, they clearly can’t do #1 and doubtful they can do #2. So what then?

I’m told a conventional incandescent or LED light dimmer switch will not work well with an induction motor…fan will audibly hum while switch and fan will get warm…for reasons I don’t understand, but have validated by experience.

Any insights on how fan speed is controlled by a third-party switch, pls let me know. Or even speculation :grin:

Thanks!

They’re doing #2. They add in 2 or 3 stages of capacitance in series to slow the fan down from its full speed at line voltage. They know its a 120VAC fan in a standard range of current draws, so they can select values that match. They also likely slightly delay the additional capacitance so the fan can get started easier when going to “low” speed, but modern ceiling fans are efficient enough that this may not be necessary.

We have 2 of the Leviton ZW4SFs and they work great for us.

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Thats not a choice. If the fan is rated higher than the switch you MUST pick a different device. Period.

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It’s pretty simple: the physics are different. You can burn out the dimmer, the fan motor, or both. So you should never use a dimmer intended for light with a motor.

Since it sounds like you’re Interested in some of the engineering details, here’s a community FAQ on that issue that includes links to even more detailed technical discussions. Although the thread is old, the information is still good, because, physics. :wink:

Automating Fan Control--Don't Use a Light Dimmer!

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Thanks to Corey, Nathan & JD!
So for the series capacitance method of speed control, I’m thinking of the voltage reduction as a voltage divider between the capacitor and motor stator resistance. Does this sound like the right way to think about it? If so, the voltage division heavily dependent on stator resistance. Quick measurement of the stator resistance on some different sizes of home “box” fans has 15"= 112ohms, 20inch=41 ohms, 24"=21 ohms. (Can’t get to ceiling fan easily to measure). So, quite a range of voltage division. Do you agree? Full-disclosure, I’m presently investigating controlling a dedicated AC receptacle with a ZWave Fan control switch, so probably more variation in the universe of possible fans than ceiling fans, which seem to be similar physical size.

Installing a hard wired permanent dimming/speed control to control a receptacle like that may not be allowed according to your local electrical code. Check with a local certified electrician before you do.

(code does not usually allow installing things that modify voltage or amperage of a receptacle specifically because you dontycontrol what’s later plugged into that receptacle). Personality od find a different way.

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Nathan, thanks for the warning.

Looks like NEC allows using unique plug/receptacle combinations, that prevents plugging anything else into receptacle. Lutron makes one, looks like simple plastic key, but very expensive!!!

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