Is it possible to use an in wall module like the Aeon Micro or the Monoprice On/Off Module for an outlet? I’ve only seen them used for light switches. My use case would be for the outlet on my wife’s side of the vanity in our bathroom. She gets paranoid about whether she unplugged her straightener and/or curling iron whenever we leave. The Z-wave outlets seem to only have one plug controlled and I would like power to the whole outlet cut off whenever we leave.
You can, but you have to have one relay for each outlet. People typically use a dual relay like the SmartenIT which is on the official compatibility list just because using one dual relay takes less space in the wall then two single relays.
A bunch of the newer curling irons turn themselves off when idle . Can’t hurt to kill the receptacle anyway.
Receptacles and ceiling lights and ceiling fans can be good locations for an Aeon Micro Smart Switch because you can be fairly certain that the neutral and the hot lines are in the receptacle or ceiling box.
The caveat is that the Aeon device is buried in the box and maintenance access is less convenient when you have to press the device button. In practice I’ve never had to service the ceiling fan device in about a year of operation so maybe that is not a big deal.
The Monoprice 11990 dual relay would work fine for you. If you’re using it for a receptacle, you wouldn’t need the custom device type, but if you use it for a light switch you’d want to use it for the real-time updates on the second relay.
Code’s here if you should need it.
Thanks for the input everybody!
would i need the dual relay if i don’t care about operating the plugs independently? I’m thinking if the whole outlet is considered one load then the single relay would work. But I could be thinking wrong!
One relay, one plug. Two plugs are not a single load.
Something to consider: I looked into switching an outlet with the DSC27103-ZWUS aeotec switch a while back but decided not to because the switch has a 2.5 A max rating. Typical outlets are connected to 10A breakers. Using the aeotec switch I could not have used the outlet for devices over 275W anymore.
Always good to check. The SmartenIT relays are rated higher. And I believe Aeotec has a motor relay rated higher as well.
My bad, I thought the nonnetworked outlet was already split. If it’s a single yoke duplex one relay (with a high enough rating) might do it, I honestly don’t know. Most people want separate control. You’d need to check with a local electrician to see what’s to code.
Also, the bathroom is going to require GFCI, which you want for the hairdryer in the bathroom anyway. That complicates things. The relay itself can’t be GFCI because it has to always draw power and the GFCI has to be able to totally cut power. So you need to put a GFCI circuit upstream from the relay. It’s not impossible, it’s just trickier than simply swapping out the receptacle.
ohhhh, good thinking! Looks like both Monoprice are rated at 800W, so ~7.3A. The breaker is a 15A Arc Fault/GFCI combo. Sooooo this isn’t looking too good haha.
For a lot of reasons this is probably a bad practice for an outlet. Not an electrician but I know a fair amount about this stuff, and people have already discussed the downfalls around amp rating, maintenance of the device, etc. I would also venture to say many boxes for outlets are already pretty crowded and might not have room for the device. However, one thing not mentioned but important is this would be a violation of the 2014 NEC unless you also marked the outlet as controlled. I am not certain if you can make both outlets controlled, as the commercial offerings all had 1 controlled 1 not which I thought was to comply with code.
““Controlled Receptacle Marking” was added to 406.3, Receptacle Rating and Type. This new subsection will now require a new marking symbol for all nonlocking-type, 125-volt, 15- and 20-ampere receptacle outlets controlled by an automatic control device or by an automatic energy management system. A new symbol was also added in new Figure 406.3(E). An exception follows this rule to indicate that this marking is not required for receptacle outlets controlled by a wall switch to provide the required room lighting outlet(s) as permitted by 210.70(A)(1) Ex. No. 1.”"
Wow, good to know! So would a sharpie marking the outlet as controllable work?
So kinda circling back, the GFCI discussion got me thinking. Our house is a new build (4 months old) and the circuit panel is all Arc Fault/GFCI breakers, except one circuit which is just Arc Fault. Wouldn’t this mean that every Z-wave device I install is downstream of a GFCI? Is this really that big of a problem? Assuming it does get tripped, would the device(s) need to be re-paired to SmartThings since they lose all power?
Funny enough I don’t believe the NEC tells you how to mark, just to mark. With GFCI where you have one GFCI outlet protecting another downstream, the code says you need to mark the other outlets as “protected” and the GFCI comes with stickers to do it. Of course, almost nobody does this unless the inspector makes them, and every homeowner removes the stickers because they are ugly. I would assume it would be similar with the “controlled” thing but I don’t know. Your area might not even be governed by the 2014 update yet. You would have to research.
ALL of your breakers are Arc Fault / GFCI? Even the ones that control your HVAC and other loads? The 2014 update requires AFCI in a lot more places so that is possible but really sucky. If its true, then yes all your devices will be “protected” by AFCI / GFCI. The devices would not need to be repaired if they lose power so that wont be an issue at all. If you want, post a pic of your panel and we can confirm they are AFCI.
What might be an issue is nuisance trips that will be difficult to troubleshoot. AFCI outlets and breakers are finicky. There are plenty of instances of what most people think are false positives. While they are well intentioned the current implementation sucks, especially when it comes to loads with motors and the like. GFCI’s are better and usually when they trip its for good reason. However, they still do have some issues, and that is why the code allows some exceptions, example, Sump pump can not have GFCI as long as there is just single outlet blah blah.
i’ll look again when i get home. it may just be the subpanel that is full of them. They are definitely sensitive. We had a good snow storm a couple weeks ago with some power blinks and it tripped over half of the breakers.
I’m not an electrician either, but as a former network engineer I follow device designed pretty closely.
One controlled, one not controlled has historically been more about the size of the antennas doing the controlling. Historically it’s been hard to fit them into a one gang box. But there are a lot of Zigbee dual controlled outlets using a dual relay in deep box setups. For example, they’ve been really popular for ornamental pond and swimming pool equipment.
Almost all of the new HomeKit outlets (both plug ins and in wall) coming out have both outlets controlled and this is creating market pull for other protocols and is likely to be the new typical device feature going forward. The LED indicator counts as the controlled marker.
(This particular one is not compatible with SmartThings, but if you look at it and think “that’s what I want!” You’re not alone. Which is the market pull point. Zwave plus allows for smaller internal hardware, and some of the Z wave device manufacturers are already working on dual split receptacles with independent controls for release in late 2016. )
Thanks for the clarification. Personally, I wouldn’t want both outlets to be controlled UNLESS there is some form of local button based control that is obvious to non technical people. For example, I want my cleaning lady to be able to use the vacuum without me having to turn on an outlet or show her how to do so. I think that is part of the thinking in the code. You mark one of the outlets as controlled and do so in a way that ANYONE can tell and then they know the other outlet is good to go.
They won’t need to be re-paired to the network. The whole point of Zwave and Zigbee is that they are “self healing.” The idea was that you could take any of your battery-powered devices off-line to, say, change batteries, and it would come right back into the network when it was re-powered. The same thing applies to mains-powered devices. When you lose the power and then restore it, devices should just come back into the network, no problem. (Except for GE link bulbs, which have a known firmware problem.)
So on that point, at least, you’re fine.
Are you in the US or the UK? UK homes typically use whole house protection at the breaker box.
Turns out not quite ALL of them, but definitely the majority. Since the text is hard to read, the blue label breakers are AFCI/GFCI combo, Green label is only AFCI and black are regular breakers. What’s funny is some of the regular breakers have a GFCI plug on them (garage, sump pump, basement, bath). First pic is the main panel, second pic is the sub panel
Also just looked and my county uses 2014 NEC
the GFCI plugs are way cheaper than the breakers so if they have a situation where they can get away with using the outlets they do. Personally I wouldn’t want my sump pump on GFI but that could be required under the 2014 code.
Anyway if they are not tripping all the time consider yourself lucky as you probably are not going to have your house burn down because of arc faults and you probably want get shocked due to all those GFI.