Light switch that works with LED lights?


(Linda Thomas-Fowler) #1

I’m new to SmartThings and home automation but have had some early success in getting things working. I’d like to replace some of our light switches to work with SmartThings so they can be controlled either manually at the switch or via ST, but it looks like the GE switch that ST sells only works with incandescent lighting. If I’ve understood the issue it’s that this switch doesn’t have a neutral and so trickles a small amount of current to keep its electronics powered up and since the LED lights use so little power this doesn’t work well.

Can anyone recommend a light switch that does work with LED lights? Both for normal switches and for 3-way wiring? I’ve done some searching through the forum but haven’t found anything but people talking about the problem.

Thanks!


(Ron S) #2

Which GE switch do you use? I use GE 45603 Z-Wave Technology Wireless Lighting Control Fluorescent Light & Appliance Module and it does work with LED along with their outdoor modules. I use some products from Aeon Labs too.


(Linda Thomas-Fowler) #3

Not currently using any switches. We have a few hue bulbs we are currently using but the cost for those compared to the cost for replacing switches has us interested in going that route (along with keeping conventional control from a physical switch).

I’ll take a look at the GE switch you mentioned. Thanks!


(Linda Thomas-Fowler) #4

That’s not the kind of switch I meant. I meant something like http://www.amazon.com/GE-Z-Wave-Wireless-Lighting-Control/dp/B006LQFHN2/ref=pd_bxgy_hi_img_z except that the linked switch needs at least 40W at the load which would kind of defeat the power savings of LED bulbs. :smile:


(Geko) #5

I use Linear dimmers with generic LED bulbs. They work like a charm.


(Ron S) #6

:slight_smile: I do it the old fashioned way… My formal & family living rooms and the dining are all hue’s and I use taps to control them manually (if at all) which we have mounted at convenient locations on the wall using double sided tape and keep one on our coffee table. As such we mostly drive it via ST activities & actions and have got pretty used to it.


(Linda Thomas-Fowler) #7

geko, smart, thanks for your replies! That linear looks like exactly what we need. I may order one of them to try on one of our conventional switches before venturing into the 3-ways, but that looks promising!


(Edward Pope) #8

Just to verify, do you have a neutral at the switch? You seemed to be going for switches that did not require neutrals, and was curious about that. Either way, the switch above should work nicely.


(Linda Thomas-Fowler) #9

I need to verify the existing switch has a neutral but I think when I replaced a switch last summer it had one. I’ll pull one out tomorrow to verify.


(Edward Pope) #10

I think this would be a wise idea before deciding on a switch. If you do not have a good neutral, you could update with GE Link bulbs which run off the normal light switch, but come integrated with ZigBee control so you can Dim and obviously turn on and off. The problem here though is the switch needs to always be on for you to control the light remotely.

I have a partially updated house with 1950’s wiring on one side, and 2008 wiring on the other. The new side I have had no problem installing Z-Wave switches. The old side, some of the areas have good neutrals, others well… No Neutral (SMILE). So I am using GE Link (Cheap around 15 per light) where I need HA to control lights on the old side of the building.

Also, there are the Phillips HUE bulbs which I like for the color choices. But more expensive, and with the exception for mood lighting. Have not really determined a good use for them yet given the cost involved and additional hub to attach to your network.


(Chrisb) #11

Just a bit of further info…

There is an older, discontinued GE switch that does have a neutral: 45606 or 49607. I’ve been able to find them on eBay periodically. The easiest way to tell that you are getting one of these switches vs. one of the newer 45612 is the older switches have wires sticking out the back end instead of the holes that your screw your house lines into.

If I’m not mistaken GE has also said that the 45612 is being discontinued now as well to be replaced with a new dimmer that requires neutral.


(Tom S ) #12

I’m using LED lighting exclusively and have used a number of different light switches and dimmers. For on/off switches without dimming capabilities, the GE/Jasco 45609’s work great. They do require a neutral wire, and for 3 and 4-way deployments you will also need traveler wires. The only downside for me is that they make an audible click noise when switching off or on. For dimmers, I highly recommend the Evolve LRM-AS. They are completely silent (no clicking when toggled and no buzzing either) and work with LED bulbs as long as the bulbs are dimmable. What I don’t like about them is that 3 and 4 way deployments do not use the traveler wires, and instead require you to pair the accessory switches with the master switch, which is something SmartThings cannot do at the moment. (You’ll need a separate z-wave remote to do this).


(Chrisb) #13

Just because I like throwing on side information… I had two Evolve dimmers that I was trying to pair with an Intermatic remote. I could never get them to pair. I ended up replacing them with 45607s. Other than that I did like the Evolves. They worked perfectly with ST, just not with the Intermatic Remotes.

One nice thing about the Evolves, in my opinion, was the green LEDs. They are dimmer than the bright blue GE LEDs so I liked 'em in my bedrooms where you don’t want super bright switch LEDs.


(Matthew Bial) #14

I’m using the GE/Jasco dimmers with dimmable LED bulbs without issue. In one room, I only have 2 small LEDs on a given circuit and they won’t turn all the way off and also flicker when ramping up/down. I have found that Fibaro sells a “Dimmer Bypass” which is basically just a resistor to add a “dummy” load which should resolve this problem. Please take a look here for more information.


(Broderick) #15

Any Z-wave light switch that requires a neutral will work. I believe that all the On/Off switches have this. The GE dimmer that requires a neutral will work with LEDs, the dimmers that do not require a neutral will not work, as they pull power from the bulb, and LEDs don’t run enough wattage to supply it.


(Matthew Bial) #16

@73roderick This is not entirely accurate. I am actively using dimmable LED’s with the GE/Jasco dimmers that DO NOT have a neutral and they work just fine so long as there’s enough power draw. I have about 20 of them that work fine and 1 that does not because the draw is too low (just 2 small LED bulbs in sconce fixtures on that dimmer). Otherwise they work perfectly (especially for homes that do not have an available neutral). Hope this helps.


(Sean C) #17

I second the linear switches that geko recommended. Installed new strip led lighting under my cabinets and the lights would flicker on the regular switches the house was built with. The linear switches work perfectly.


(Broderick) #18

I’d heard that, but that it was still flaky. It needs at least 40 Watts of actual draw right? So if I have a switch with 6 dimmable 10 w LEDs it would work? I thought about going that way, but heard that it was hit or miss. You have 20 switches working though? That may convince me to try it out. Does the 3-way addition switch operate alright without neutral as well?


(Matthew Bial) #19

@73roderick I’m pretty confident 6x 10w LEDs will work just fine. I have loads with less draw than that working just fine (4x <10w LEDs). I’m using Feit dimmable LED bulbs. I have 2 locations where a 3-way is needed, but havent tried to wire it yet. I don’t have neutrals in either 3-way location, but do have travellers from the old switches. I’ll let you know if I succeed with the 3-ways as the accessory switches allegedly require a neutral, but I’ve heard of people somehow using the traveller to power the accessory switch.


(Broderick) #20

So, you use the Z-wave dimmers in your 3-ways and leave the other switch untouched? That means that if someone flips the other switch your z-wave switch can’t turn it back on, right?