GE Z-Wave Wireless Smart Fan Speed Control, 3-Speed, In-Wall

[quote=“JDRoberts, post:20, topic:86374”]
Have you tried just disconnecting the second fan altogether to see if that affected the speed of the first one?
[/quote] It’s on my to-do list. Access is pretty difficult (I have to disconnect it at the fan) but I will.

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Unless your fans are not split capacitor or shaded pole ceiling fan motors, both fans have more than 1.5A combine or they are not the same made/model. I would still think it’s your wiring. How did you wire the fans and GE fan switch?

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The GE switch is neutral to fan red+white and hot (load terminal on the switch) to fan blue+black.

I’m wanting to check the wiring at the fan, as well as disconnect one to see if the first improves; but I need to borrow a ladder to get to it and I’m delayed. But will do.

I do have one more data point: I have the same GE fan switch on another, more moderate, fan. I measured its RPM at 73 on medium - not too far off what my “super fan” gives (61). Maybe 60-70 RPM is appropriate for a normal fan on medium and I’m just seeing a relatively large dropoff because my fan hits higher-than-normal RPM at high? Does it make sense that the technology used to slow a fan motor would deliver a constant speed (i.e. 60-70) irrespective of the motor’s max speed?

Ok. So I see
GE neutral = red+white fan
GE load (you are calling it hot) = blue+black fan
GE line = ?? Where is this wire connecting to?

As for fan speed measurement. You can guess but I don’t think you can accurately predict at high rpm. I would put the old switch back and compare it at 60%. Maybe airflow is a better guess.

First, @Navat604, thank you very much for your time.

The original switch was a simple builder-grade two-pole on/off with no neutral; just line --> sw --> load.

The 12730 is connected:

  1. house hot line to switch line terminal
  2. fan line (presumably, but unseen) to switch load.
  3. House ground and neutral were previously unused at the switch but were readily available and I connected them to their respective 12730 terminals.
  4. Up at the fan, the line (presumably the same wire as in #2 above from the 12730 load) connects to the fan blue+black.
  5. Up at the fan, the available neutral connects to the fan red+white.

More for academic understanding than anything else… I’ve googled-about but I can’t find a crisp answer to how these work. Does the 12730 reduce voltage? (If so, I’d put a multimeter at the switch and check it.). I take it as gospel not to connect a light dimmer to a motor, but I don’t know why. Slowing a motor must use completely different technology than dimming a light?

Yes, exactly. Details in the FAQ: :sunglasses:

Thanks, @JDRoberts. So, the only ST-options are the GE 12730 that I have or an $85+ :frowning: Leviton. If I thought the Leviton would actually give me the control I want, at this point my desperation is such, I would try it. However, it is similarly a 3-speed controller, so I fear it would be like the GE. I may be left with that as the only choice (gulp!).

Since I do have a second 12730, I’m going to try swapping it out and see if there is any improvement. Though, from my evaluation of it (Post #23 above), I expect it to perform similarly.

There are two other options, one good and one very hacky which some people are using but most people won’t.

First, the good option: Home Depot now has a zigbee fan controller which will work with SmartThings. It has both a handheld remote and a wall mount remote which you would use instead of a wall switch. And it has four speed levels, not just three. You can read more about it and talk to the people who are using it in the following thread:

Lutron Canopy Control + Lutron Specialty Wall Switch + Harmony Home

The not so good alternative is using old tech mixed with newer tech but has the problem that if someone turns on the fan at the wall switch smartthings won’t know it was turned on. And it’s the most expensive of any of the approaches mentioned so far. But it does give you a wall switch that can control both the fan and the fan’s light kit.

There’s no direct integration in this method with SmartThings. Instead, you’re going to use an old style Lutron canopy fan controller with its own wall switch, then use the harmony home hub to control that wall switch, and then integrate the harmony with SmartThings. This does let you control the fan from the smart thing side, but there is that sync issue because the wall switch does not report to either harmony or smartthings when it changes state.

Now that the Hampton Bay option is available, I don’t think most people are going to have any interest in the Lutron/harmony option, but it does exist.

https://www.amazon.com/Lutron-MIR-LFQMT-WH-Maestro-Dimmer-Control/dp/B0017OAWQ0

That gives you control of the fan from a wall switch, but in order to get control from SmartThings you have to also have the harmony home hub, and it has to be in the same room as the Lutron specialtyswitch. If you already have a harmony home hub in that room, you can use it, but if not, you have to add the extra cost for that additional device.

https://www.amazon.com/Logitech-Harmony-Smartphone-Entertainment-Automation/dp/B00N3RFC4Q

But you still have to get the wiring right

Either of those might give you somewhat different speed levels than what you’re seeing with the Z wave devices, but you still have the same basic wiring issues.

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Thanks @JDRoberts for the nice detail. I don’t the have GE fan controller so I can only guess but since it gives you only 3 presets for control. I assume it’s a stepped (capacitive type) controller. By adding or removing capacitors to the circuit. You will change the output voltage.
Since I see people mentioned about using a dimmer DTH and have Linear control. This would make it a stepless (triac type) controller. With Triac type controller. You usually set the minimum speed and control from there up. Capacitor type is fixed at presets.
Can you confirm you could control the fan just like a dimmer with a dimmer DTH?
I am assuming the line hot and neutral at the switch and fixture are in the same circuit breaker?
The wire connecting to the hot side of the light is called Load. This way we don’t get confused.

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[quote=“Navat604, post:29, topic:86374”]Can you confirm you could control the fan just like a dimmer with a dimmer DTH? [/quote] Yes, the DTH takes any percentage input and translates that to one of the three speeds.

[quote=“Navat604, post:29, topic:86374”]I am assuming the line hot and neutral at the switch and fixture are in the same circuit breaker?[/quote]I can’t be 100% sure, but the switch box has the hot and the neutral together. The distance from the switch to the fan fixture is short and, from past crawling in the attic, I know the neutral and the load wires are in the single romex. To me, that’s close to conclusive.

I would not recommend doing two of these commercial ceiling fans with one GE Smart Fan Controller. Try removing one of the fans and see how it performs.

edit: The GE 12730 allows for up to two fans to be connected but your Canarm fan pulls 0.84amps at high speed so two of these will be over the specified max amp rating of 1.50amps of the GE 12730

Best I can tell you have the wiring correct to the GE controller connected to the motor so if it still doesn’t operate the medium speed correctly I would investigate changing the threshold that triggers the medium speed in the device handler.

[quote=“CAL7, post:17, topic:86374”]
I measured the actual rotation speeds at low=32rpm, medium=61rpm. The specs give the high at 292rpm, which I don’t doubt.
Given all the help - which I greatly appreciate! - I should have mentioned that I have the switch actually controlling two of these fans in parallel with mirrored performance. Is it possible the load is more than the switch can handle and that causes a reduced speed but only on the low and medium settings?
[/quote]With the advice here to use just one fan, I finally was able to get to the wiring and disconnect one fan to test a single fan load on the switch.

It’s - I guess no surprise - just about double the speed of two fans on the same 12730 switch. Low=61 rpm, Med=125 rpm.

This leaves me in something of a quandary. The low speed is still nearly useless but the medium speed is acceptable though my experience of it tells me that something like 60% (perhaps 180 rpm) of the max works be a good setting for medium.

Needing two circuits and two switches seems to be the inevitable conclusion, but that means wiring changes. One option, that might end up being the cheapest, is to use the Home Depot / Hampton Bay 4-speed controller that also has the benefit of a 4th speed. With that I have the inconvenience of two remotes when I don’t really want separate controls except for the necessity of having two speed controllers for the motors. I know I’m rambling, but any ideas are welcome.

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Using core, you should be able to have one fan follow the other if you want. There might be a slight delay before the second fan kicked in, but it should only be a few seconds. It would be worth a try, anyway. :sunglasses:

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I use webCoRE now to control both fans with the one 12730 switch so I have been imagining the new piston I will need to control both.

So, here’s my plan: order two of the parts-only variant of the receiver. Rip out the 12730 and replace with a simple $1 on/off wall switch (taped ON) or just nut the switch line+ load. I don’t think I need a fan-specific remote because I’ll misty use webCoRE automatons with the occasional repurposed minimote button push to override, i.e. push 1-4 for fan#1 & hold 1-4 for fan#2.

In addition to the upside of getting - I hope - the fan speeds I want, there is additional WAF by separately controlling the two fans. This is going to be one complicated webCoRE piston.

Maybe I missed something in the post, but my immediate though was…Why can’t you just change the low, medium, high setpoint? That’s what i did with mine when I didn’t like the preset speeds.

[quote=“Jason_Bush, post:35, topic:86374”]
Maybe I missed something in the post, but my immediate though was…Why can’t you just change the low, medium, high setpoint? That’s what i did with mine when I didn’t like the preset speeds.
[/quote]I’m - definitely - not the expert, but I believe the DTH uses those setpoints to map to the switch’s actual low-med-high. For now, my DTH uses 33% and 66% for the medium and high thresholds. The GE 12730 is only capable of three speeds that are fixed within the switch. I could move the setpoints to, say, 90 & 95, but at 92% the fan would still only turn at the fixed medium speed of the switch (and in my case, only half the speed because I’m splitting the switch output to two motors).

I defer to the experts, @JDRoberts @dalec @Navat604 , to better explain or correct.

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Honestly that makes sense…but I’m almost positive that I noticed a change when adjusting it. Anyway, good luck!

I don’t follow how do you control your fan speed without a fan control switch? What is the minimote controlling?

Not exactly, you have options.

  • Only use one remote but it would control both zigbee fan devices via a simple SmartLighting application you have one fan follow the other fan speeds.
  • I haven’t tried this yet but it might even be simpler. I have used multiple remotes to control a single fan successfully but I haven’t tried setting the dip switches so that a single remote controls two fan devices.

Hi, Dale. I think I’m using the wrong terminology. Here’s what I mean:

  1. One circuit controlled by a dumb switch (which will never actually be used - just there to fill the hole in the box on the wall. The switch will always be on.

  2. On that circuit, two identical fans that inherently have no on/off/speed control.

  3. Each fan will have one of the Zigbee controllers, so each is separately controlled by ST.

  4. One complex webCoRE piston that sets each fan speed according to temperature or MiniMote button pushes or WAF.

I have prepped everything - just waiting on the two Zigbee controllers (any day now) - so if you see a flaw in the plan, please advise.

I do have one specific question: the speed control piston is much more elegant if I can use a variable setLevel, i.e 25% 50% 75% 100%, instead of Low/ Med/ MedHi/ Hi. Saves me from a bunch of ifs. Does your DTH recognize percentages for the speed?

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That is great. You will be able to use that switch as a way for resetting the controller when necessary.

That is the way the GE Smart Fan Controller works by thresholds to achieve discrete speeds within an analog 0-99 setLevel variable. This zigbee device simply uses binary on-off for each of the speeds independently. Sorry.

You can always try the beta smartapp for 4-Speed Fan Thermostat control if the WebCoRE version becomes too complex. Just look down the page a little to see the info.

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