So I’ve been researching several different dimmers and realize that one thing may be just as important if not even more than build or physical looks (to me at least) is (im not certain I’m calling it by the correct name) is the programmable parameters of different dimmers and how it appears that they may vary significantly from switch to switch.
I was just about ready to pull the “trigger” (no pun intended) on the zooz dimmable switch, but if I read correctly, the only programmable parameters available for that switch is the led light status and up/down direction (in case of upside down installation?).
If I understand correctly, other switches offer a much richer set of configurable parameters, such as max and min dim levels, ramp up and ramp down rate, default dim lvl vs last dim lvl on switch turn on…
I probably don’t understand this fully yet, but it seems safe to assume that each different brand/model of switch contains it’s own firmware that allows for different settings…
Would greatly appreciate knowing if I am somewhat on base or totally out in left field? =)
Good to know thanks, however I’ve been done wrong one too many times by my local HD and have been giving my business to the Lowe’s across the street ever since. I’m sure the same advice applies there still…
Thanks @JDRoberts. I have finally completely read through the Bulbs switches and sensors oh my thread, and while I’ve gotten to the point where I pretty much knew and understand everything in your excellent smart switch options/issues post, it still is extremely useful in summarizing all the options/issues all in one place.
Now I will be in search of understanding exactly the pros/cons of the different switches and the configurable features they provide and/or lack. Once I can get that all organized, if I haven’t found a post listing it all, I’ll add that to the conversation myself.
In the meantime, for a pretty awesome rundown of the HomeSeer HS-WD100+, the GE Dimmer, and several other dimmers, see: The Best Z-Wave In-Wall Dimmer. These people put several dimmers through the paces and did a wonderful writeup on their results.
I’ve seen that article on “best zwave switch” but unfortunately they really just did a consumer test where they put the switch in the wall and tried it. They didn’t go into some of the significant features like whether it has physical traveler wires or virtual or what kind of association it uses if any. They did do some looking at the spec sheets, but I’m not sure they really understood what was there.
They ended up picking a switch which is probably a good switch, but they didn’t really understand enough to know what some of the issues might be when using it with SmartThings.
Specifically when using the Homeseer switch with SmartThings, it cannot at present run locally. So the double tap and triple tap functions will not work if the SmartThings cloud is not available. (They would work locally with the homeseer controller.) This is the kind of distinction that makes it very difficult to come up with a “best” anything – – it always depends on the match of the devices features to that person’s specific needs and set up.
Then there is also the issue of dimmer range, and how low it is possible to dim the lights. A lot of people won’t care about that at all, but some people do, and the GE are pretty much the weakest in this regard. And then there’s the issue of universal dimming. So just a lot of specific issues that weren’t even touched on
That I would’ve expected to see in a consumer reports type evaluation.
I did find the article interesting. But I think it is also in some ways misleading.
Thanks @JDRoberts, I was hoping to get your thoughts on the article. I agree that they didn’t cover traveler wired vs virtual very well and I am still in search of a definitive list of what are the configurable features of this switch vs that switch. I realize more and more that fine tuning how the switch is physically controlled at the wall plate is going to be pretty important to me, as that will be how my wife controls things the majority of the time.
I didn’t realize the double and triple tap wouldn’t function locally, and would be willing to accept that as long as the primary tap on/off and dim up/down function properly, obviously. (There wouldn’t be any issues there, correct??) Also, what’s the universal dimming issue you mentioned? Don’t believe I read about that in my research.
On another note, my SmartThings hub arrived today!! It’s all setup and connected to my Wemo wall plug so far lol. I also am trying to get the Nest Manager app setup for my Nest Thermostat. Fighting with it at the moment to show up in “My Apps” but hoping to get that resolved over at [RELEASE] Nest Manager 4.0. Fingers crossed!!
To put it more simply… The physics of an incandescent bulb are different than that of a dimmable LED. And different yet again from florescents. A universal dimmer is intended to be able to handle many different types of bulbs.
If you look at the homeseer manual for the switch, you’ll see that in the wiring diagrams it is wired to the load. It then describes “local” operation where tapping the top of the switch once send power to the load, and tapping the bottom of the switch once cuts the power to load. That should work even if your home automation system is down just like a regular non-networked switch.
But it is also possible to wire the switch so that it is just a scene controller, and it is not directly control of the load. In that case, it won’t work at all if the smartthings hub and cloud account are not available.
I definitely fall on the technical side of things (I’m a web developer) so I’ll be giving those a read for sure. I’m especially intrigued by the leading vs trailing edge dimmers but acknowledge the importance of LED technology and how inconsistencies among manufacturers can/do cause issues among various dimmers.
Good call. Reading the actual manual for the switch will probably tell me everything I need to know about its configurable features. I’ll be giving that a read also. I wouldn’t imagine wiring the switch up different than the most common way, allowing for maximum functionality, enabling both local on/off/dimming features as well as any enhanced network required controls.
So, I read through the homeseer manual, looked through their website, and for the life of me, I still cannot find a list of specific features that are configurable.
It does mention “dimming is configurable” or something to that effect, but that is quite a vague statement. I’m looking for something like: “max dim threshold, min dim threshold, dim speed, led light configuration, etc”.
I’m basically wanting to ensure that the control from the switch itself is a pleasurable one. Otherwise I’d just go with the GE switch and save some money…
Am I missing this important info? Or perhaps I should I just call their customer service…
Well I finally pulled the trigger on the HomeSeer HS-WD100+ paired with the HS-WA100+ companion switch. My next decision is what would be an ideal LED dimmable bulb to use. I just created a thread located here asking just that. If anybody with experience wouldn’t mind chiming in, I would greatly appreciate it as always.
Installation of my on/off and dimmer switches went (fairly lol) smoothly. The dimmer was a bit of a puzzle for awhile but I was able to work out the kinds and all is well now.
Next question is I’m going to add a dimmer switch in the family room downstairs and would like to add a motion detector as well so it turns on when we walk downstairs. Any suggestions for this? I like the idea of it having a temp monitor also as the main thermostat is upstairs so this would be helpful having a connected monitor downstairs also. I’ve seen this one:
Does anybody have any experience with this or can chime in good or bad or recmmend others over this?
Monoprice devices are inexpensive for a reason. Simple and cheap, so just depends on what you’re looking for.
I think right now if you live in the US at the Lowe’s iris motion sensors are probably the most popular. If you get a 10% off coupon from Lowes, which they seem to distribute pretty regularly in their sales flyers , you can get a very good price. You’ll find lots of discussion in the forms about them. The following thread discusses the various features that motion sensors might have and why some cost more than others. But the truth is they’re all pretty good. The more expensive motion sensors have more features, but you may not need those.
All of these PIR motion sensors work on the same principle, which is measuring a change in heat as it moves across the Detection field. For this reason you will get the quickest and most reliable detection if you don’t place the sensor so that the person is walking straight towards it. Instead you want to catch them moving across the field. For this reason some people place them on the ceiling pointing down others place them on the wall crosswise to where the people will walk. There are some sensors specifically designed for ceiling mounts which have a wider angle to catch people coming from both directions.
If you have pets, you’ll need to think about whether you care if the pets’ movement triggers the motion sensor or not.
I have a pair of those monoprice motion sensors, a pair of aeon 6 sensors and 3 or 4 ST sensors. Of those three types, the monoprice ones are my least favorite. They are the least sensitive of the group, slowest to respond and they seem to have difficulty working with the “turn off after X minutes of inactivity” command writing smart lighting.
As I get more sensors, they will be demoted to non critical type areas…
Awesome, thanks again @JDRoberts and @Schro , this is exactly what I’m looking for! I will probably steer clear of the monoprice sensor then. I’ll be reading that thread (again, hehe) and glean the motion sensor info from it this time!
Super interesting and helpful info too JD about the way they detect and ideal placement methods. This will greatly help with how I decide to place it.
I’m also going to have to do some research/learning about how to program its behavior to my specifications… such as I don’t want it to automatically turn on during the primary daylight hours (it’s a daylight basement which doesn’t need extra lights during the day). I’m hoping there’s a way to tell it to turn on my light on motion but only something like 20 minutes before sundown until 20 minutes after sunrise. Otherwise I don’t want it to trigger on motion at all. I assume that’s possible?
I do also have two cats so I’ll have to decide how to deal with that…
Beautiful, thank you good Sir! I’ve become quite famiar with the Smart Lighting app and use the sunrise sunset restrictions for my porch and entryway lights. So that should work perfect for my motion sensor as well then!
Will read through all the links you attached regardless as there’s ALWAYS more to learn… Thanks again!
I have adjusted the sensitivity on one of my Aeon6’s to the lowest level in the stock device handler and the cat will no longer trigger it. At stock levels, he will trigger the ST ones (that are not sensitivity configurable in the stock device type), and I don’t know on the monoprice ones as they are in cat free zones.