I know there are plug-in modules that support load sensing, but would rather use an in-wall receptacle. Are there any in-wall outlets compatible with SmartThings that support load sensing that is either enabled by default or can be configured using a SmartApp (i.e., I wouldn’t need any third party devices to change parameters)?
You can bury an Aeon microswitch behind an outlet, one with energy measurement.
I’ve use the Aeon module behind an outlet. It works well and reports usage. (I don’t really use the usage, but it is there…)
The Intermatic CA3500 in wall receptacle (zwave) has load sensing, but I don’t know how well it works with SmartThings. I believe @joshua_lyon has some of these, perhaps he can say more.
The Leviton VRR15 is a more expensive choice, but I believe it’s officially supported.
Also, for clarity: the term “load sensing” is used two different ways.
As typically used by manufacturers of home automation devices, it means a networked lamp switch (either an in wall receptacle or a pocket socket) which detects when the manual switch on a table lamp that is plugged into that lamp has been turned on and then allows current through to the lamp even though the last networked command to the socket was “off.” (This is less useful than it sounds, because although it allows lamps to be turned on manually, when they are turned off manually it may prevent the lamp from being turned on again from the network.)
Alternatively, it may mean a device that simply measures and reports current draw. This is also called “energy monitoring.”
I may be mistaken, but I thought that the Aeon micro relays fell into the second group. I didn’t think manually turning on a table lamp plugged into an in wall receptacle controlled by the micro relay would then send current to that lamp. Or am I mistaken?
The Intermatic CA3500 works fine with SmartThings and pairs up without any additional configuration beyond the normal. The load sensing works the way JD described: detecting when a lamp is switched on at the lamp and then turning the outlet on even though the outlet was considered in an off state.
I would note that the Intermatic switches/outlets with relays are really loud. The relays have a loud industrial grade THUD whenever they are switched on/off. I originally outfitted my house with a bunch of Intermatic equipment as a local home automation outlet had them on clearance prices a few years back. Subsequently, I’ve had a number of the switches go bad and have had to replace them.
Thanks for the detailed explanations.
Does anyone know if the load sensing option for the Leviton receptacle is turned on by default, or is it configurable within the Device Type? The spec sheet refers to a “load sensing option,” but doesn’t indicate the default state. The default state for the GE/Jasco plug-in modules used to be that load sensing was off
Good to know about the noise level of the Intermatic receptacles.
I’m looking for a solution for the bedside light on my wife’s nightstand. She usually falls asleep with the light on, and I’m looking for a way to turn it off without having to walk around too much on the creaky floors. She’ll likely only use the lamp switch to turn it on and off, so I’m not worried about the case where the lamp switch has been turned off and we need to turn on the lamp as part of an automation. Hopefully she won’t mind possibly having to turn the switch twice to trigger the load sensing after I use the app to turn off the socket.
Another possible solution would be to find a nice looking single button switch to put on her nightstand to control the outlet. Perhaps the Iris White Security Alarm Button http://www.lowes.com/pd_690401-41277-3460-L_0__. I lost WAF points when I swapped out some switches in other parts of the house, so I’m looking for solutions that are non-intrusive or have clear perks. Maybe I can convince her the button would be more convenient to reach than the switch near the bulb. And we could use the temperature sensor to trigger a space heater or electric blanket. Of course, then we’d need additional buttons, so I should just get a Minimote and some additional outlets.
I originally bought the GE Lamp Dimmer Modules for this purpose. They have the option to enable load sensing, but that can be challenging with SmartThings. I enabled the option using my Vera before switching to SmartThings, so I can’t speak from personal experience about enabling the option with SmartThings alone.
That being said, I had been following one of the threads on enabling load sensing on the GE Lamp Modules and while the general recommendation is to use the GE 45601 which can be purchased for $30-50, there was also a post further down describing how to change parameters using custom code in the SmartThings IDE.
I have an Aeon Minimote on each of our nightstands and my wife occasionally uses it, but I’ve found that she is more likely to use the widgets from my Android app SharpTools to turn the lamp on/off. She can even turn the lamp on/off using a switch (Z-wave controller) that’s in the wall along with the other light switches, but most the time I find that she still uses the widgets on her phone.
I actually have one of the GE Lamp Dimmer Modules on another light and enabled load sensing using a remote that I bought on eBay. You can now change the parameter using Device Type code, so the remote is no longer necessary (and I sold it on eBay). I was hoping for an option that wasn’t as bulky as a plug-in module.
My wife doesn’t keep her phone on her nightstand, so for us it would make sense to have a dedicated button, ideally keeping it simple with just a single button.
Thanks for all the insights.
Here are some more options to consider. We find people at our house like the smartenIT 3 toggle for a nightstand option as it lies flat, but it’s easy to feel the separation between the three toggles even in the dark. But it does cost $50 so unless you have a purpose for all three, the iris button or something like that might make more sense.
Bedside Minimotes work very well. There are four buttons. My wife uses hers every night to turn off the lights. She left town for 2 nights, so I use mine. She uses all 4 buttons, and I use 4 plus two held down.
just want to second these thoughts on intermatic devices - there were one of the only brands of zwave circa 2009/2010 when i started playing so i had a handfull or two.
they are loud- i actually dont mind the industrial relay click for some audio feedback Gives me the confidence something happenend like when a VFD or PLC at work throws something on… BUT eventually in every last one of mine the “industrial” relay stuck. It would typically stick on- so no amount of local or remote control would shut the switch. That’s a safety issue in my mind. Some times punching the wall next to the swich like “the fonze” could unfreeze them. Other times I would have to go kill the breaker. Eventually I pulled them all out. Might have just been i got really early batches.
the only intermatic devices i have left are two plug in wall warts (which are only 2 prong by the way) that I use at christmas time for holiday lights.
The original quality from the ACT, Intermatic, and other first gen devices was far from great. All I have left from those days are the two intermatic wall warts, and a wayne dalton homelink bridge (oh and the z-stick which was the original radio for the vera’s asus router brain).
Since I’ve tried many a brand always looking for “something better” functionally and aesthetically. At the moment I’m a GE guy…