In-wall relays - what switchs are you using?

monoprice
wallswitch
z-wave

#1

I’ve read quite a bit about how to install and use this relay, but what switches are you all using with the relay? I have read about the drawbacks of using the relays with standard toggle switches (multi manual flipping to trigger the relay), but has anyone found a better switch to use that’s also cost effective?

Essentially I am trying to find the happy medium between using the relay with a standard light switch and paying for the z-wave touch switches if there even is a happy medium.

TIA


#2

What country are you in? There are some nice inexpensive retractive switches that work well with the in wall relays, but the frame shape is different depending on whether they are intended for the US or the UK.


(Sam G) #3

Not sure exactly of the drawbacks you mention. I recently implemented an Enerwave z-wave plus ZWN-RSM1 relay for a group of Hallway lights that were 3-way with conventional wiring for 3 switches. My home is around 13 years old so I had neutrals in the boxes and power accessible so it was easy to install 1 relay at the right switch & it works great. There is a very minuscule delay when turning on or off but most don’t notice and best part was that it changed nothing in the standard controls. Pretty much seamless utilizing existing switches. Unfortunately I know not everyone has had as easy an experience as my own, but if you know your wiring, I don’t think it’s difficult. I am planning to get a few more for other areas of the house.


#4

If you’re in the UK, I would definitely look at screwfix, they have a whole bunch of retractive switches, including Schneider, for less than £4 each. Or you can spend more and get a more elegant style.

If you’re in the US, you can definitely get an inexpensive plastic momentary switch for under $10 each. You’ll commonly find these listed as appliance switches or maybe for garbage Disposals.

If you want something mid range, Cooper makes a very nice momentary switch that looks very similar to a regular rocker and usually cost just under $15. Shop around because price varies a lot on these. (Eaton is the company, Cooper is the division, The switch may be listed under either name but with the same model number.)

There are many other choices as well in both countries. Just look for a “retractive” or “momentary” switch. These are switches like a traditional doorbell button, they rest in a neutral position. When you press it, it toggles on or off and then returns to the neutral position.


#5

I am in the US - The county would have probably helped. lol


#6

Thanks for the quick responses everyone.

RX, when reading up on the drawbacks, I have read many discuss a situation similar to this:

I have a relay installed in my hallway on a standard US light switch. The switch is up in the on position. When I go to bed, I switch the relay off (via smartthings app) and the light turns off, but the switch is still physically up in the on position. I wake up wicked early to get ready for work. I go to flip the switch up to turn the hallway light on, but it’s still up from the night before. So I have to turn the light off and on (2 or 3 times, I think) to get the relay to manually trigger and turn on the light or use my phone.

I can get used to this manual flipping to get the relay to trigger, but my wife and friends/guests might have some trouble. Plus they would all need the app on their phones in my scenario. That is unless my understanding of how this works is way off base.


#7

They wouldn’t need the app on their phones unless you want them to be able to turn the lights on and off with their phones. If you have a voice assistant like echo or Google home, they can use that. Or they can use the wall switch.

There are also a number of handheld buttons and remotes that are popular, particularly for a nightstand or coffee table. You still need the relay to actually control the in wall circuit, the button is just a remote for that device.

If you do want them to be able to turn the light on and off with their phones, you either give them the SmartThings app or you can give them a dashboard app. Action tiles requires a paid subscription, but is very popular. It lets you customize exactly which devices appear for each person, so it’s an easy way to make sure that one kid can’t turn off the lights in another kid’s room, for example. :wink:

There are also some free dashboard versions created by community members. You can find them on the quick browse lists in the community – created wiki in the project report section on the dashboard list:

http://thingsthataresmart.wiki/index.php?title=How_to_Quick_Browse_the_Community-Created_SmartApps_Forum_Section#Quick_Browse_Links_for_Project_Reports.2FQuestions

So there are a number of options depending on exactly what you want.


#8

Thanks, JD. This is some great information. Action Tiles looks to be a must in a house with kids.

Ultimately I am looking for the middle ground between using the relays I have already purchased with standard switched, and spending a good bit to buy Z-wave switches for my most used lights and selling the relays. The answer seems to be using the momentary switches which is a wicked awesome idea and something I would have never thought of.

Thanks for the help!


(Sam G) #9

@Mattyj7183 I’m not sure exactly what type of relay you are speaking of, however just to share my experience: My relay works similar to a 3 way light switch. Meaning it operates based upon switch movement NOT based on absolute position alone. IF I connected it behind a single pole standard switch, it would make that switch operate like a 3-way circuit. Regardless of switch position, any change will cause the circuit to flip to the opposite state. I don’t have to do anything different if the circuit is switched via app or the physical switch. The ONLY thing I lose is the capability of up is on / down is off - just like a 3-way circuit. Perhaps you are using a different type of relay that is not intended for this purpose?


#10

You’re both saying the same thing. It’s an issue that bothers some people and doesn’t bother others.

Say that before you put the relay in when the switch was up the light was on and when the switch was down the light was off.

Now you put in the relay. If you only use the physical switch it would work exactly the same way up would be on, then flipping it to down would be off.

However, say the switch is in the down position and the light is off. Now you tap the icon in the SmartThings mobile app to turn the light on. The light comes on, but the switch is still in the down position. So the next time, if you want to turn it off from the wall switch, you have to flip the switch up.

As @rxsamg points out, it is possible to wire a nonnetworked three-way set up so the same thing happens. Sometimes you flip the switch up to turn the light on, sometimes you flip the switch down to turn the light on, it depends on the position of the other switch on the three-way. Again, that bothers some people and doesn’t bother others.

If it doesn’t bother you, you’re fine using any traditional non-network switch with the micro.

However, if it does bother you, the simplest solution is to use a momentary switch instead. It just makes it more intuitive for guests, and again, to some people it’s just aesthetically more satisfying than a switch which could be going in either direction for an “on.” :sunglasses: :level_slider::bulb: