Manufacturer review: GE/Jasoc


(Chrisb) #1

Thought it might be helpful to get some commentary started on different manufacturers and how well they do or don’t work in the SmartThings environment. Obviously everyone will have different results based on things like distance from hub, number of devices, type construction, etc. But if we get a large enough sample size of users we should be able to start getting some general information available for new users who are deciding what they want to look for and what options are available. To that end… here’s my thoughts on GE/Jasco. If you have any of their products, please add your opinion to this thread.

Appearance: I, personally, like the look of these switches, just an uncomplicated up/down. All of mine are white, though I believe that Almond and even brown might be available for the switches. The outlets only come in white. One of the nice things about these is that they blend in nicely with rockers switches of the same style. In one area I have a z-wave switch right next to a plain on/off switch and they do not look out of place next to each other at all. They use a pretty bright blue LED indicator light that is by default on when the switch is off. Smartthings has decent success changing this, but be aware that it is pretty bright, possibly too bright for bedroom conditions.

Physical traits: When installing be away that these switch are a lot thicker than traditional switches. Especially if you have a lot of wiring in the wall area it may be hard to push these in. If you have a plaster (like me) it’s entirely possible you’ll have to chip a bit of it out of the way to get full access to the wall slot in order to get your switch in. I’ve never been unable to get a switch in, but it has been a challenge at times. The switch can be a bit mussy to the touch. There isn’t a solid click when pressing it like a rocker switch over my Evolve switches, but this is only a minor thing.

Operation: All my GE/Jasco switches and outlets work very well with SmartThings. Pairing them has been super easy and functionally they work great with only one issue (more about htat later).

Here’s the one things to be aware of with GE/Jasco: Lutron holds a (stupid) patent for z-wave switches regarding the switch reporting back to the hub when it has been physically changed. If a company does not licence this patent from Lutron, their switch is not allowed to report back to the hub and say: I’ve been turned on, or I’ve been turned off, or I’ve been set to 50% dimming level. There are ways to get around this that work to varying degrees.

First, while it can’t report what has happened, it can report that some state in the network has changed and this “alert” triggers the ST hub to poll the switch and ask for it’s current state. For On/Off switches or outlets, this works fine 99.99% of the time. For dimmers… no so much. What’s happens is that the dimmer is pressed off and starts to reduce level to 0%. The Hub sees the alert, polls the switch and asks: “Hey, are you on?” The light, which is reducing through 80 or 70% right now on it’s way to zero says: “Yep! I’m on!” because it still is. Granted, it will be off in just a split second more, but when that poll goes out, the dimmer is still technically on, so ST reports it as on.

The second solution is that every so often the ST hub will poll every device in the network just to see what’s happening. Right now this is a command issued from the cloud to the hub and I believe happens every five minutes. (ST things is looking at ways to improve performance of this without overload their network.) This will update everything properly, but of course has a delay of up to 5 minutes from when the event happened.

GE/Jasco devices that I have:

45609 - On/Off switch. DOES require neutral. Can be used as a master in a 3-way setup.

45612 - On/Off/Dimmer. Does NOT require neutral, only for Incandescent lighting. Will not work for CFLs, even dimmable. May work with LEDs if the load is high enough. Can be used as a master in a 3-way setup.

45606 (maybe 45607?) - This is a discontinued product but still available on eBay or Amazon I think. It’s a dimmer switch that DOES require neutral and works with LEDs and should work with dimmable CFLs. Can be used as a 3-way master. Please be careful when buying these… may sure you’re getting the right product here if you want the neutral. The vast majority of GE/Jasco dimmer switches will be 45612. Here’s the best way that I know of to be sure of what you’re getting: The 45606 (or 07?) have wires coming out of the back of the switch. The 45612 does not. The 45612 has spots to screw in your walls wiring directly to the switch.

45610 - AUX unit for three-way setup. DOES require neutral, even if used with a 45612. Also works with the 45606 or 45609.

45605 - Outlet - The top outlet is switched on and off via Z-wave, the bottom is always on. It does have a button to manually turn the top outlet on or off, but this button can be hard to get at if there are two things plugged in.


(Carl Aydelotte) #2

45609 - I have one for my kitchen lights. I had a small battle getting it to pair with the hub but that was more because I only thought I knew what I was doing. Now that I really do, its working great.

Its not THAT tight a fit but I did find it easier to install by placing a couple of inches of wire on to the to the switch connectors themselves, binding the wires together with the wires in the wall, and then sliding it all inside the wall mount. There is more room to work with the wires this way. I hope that made sense…

The appearance is very good, and you can pick up the wall plates (does not come with them) from Home Depot or Lowes for pretty cheap. I didn’t find that out until after I paid about 3 times more for one online. The blue LED light is not overpowering to me, in fact I like the brightness. This makes it easy to see in the dark, and I use it. I just don’t see as well as I used to in the dark.

The manufacturing seems solid, does not seem to be built cheap at all. I even like the weight and feel of it when using it manually. It does not feel cheap.

I plan on getting more for the rest of my house, and hear that the 45637 is a comparable model from Lowes. Someone else on these forums has already posted that he has used them successfully with his ST hub.


(Chrisb) #3

Wow… if that 45637 works that’s a good price for it. That’s about the best price you can find for used switches.


(Duncan) #4

I just wanted to clear up the reason we sometimes get immediate updates when a Jasco switch is flipped even though it doesn’t associate.

When you do an action on the switch that is also used for joining the switch to the network (like turn it on or off), the switch sends a Node Info broadcast. Even though this broadcast is part of the include/exclude process, it’s a good clue that the switch was flipped, so when the hub hears it from a switch it turns around and requests the switch’s current state.

The bad part is the Node Info broadcast isn’t directed at the hub, so it won’t get routed to the hub if it’s not in direct range. This is probably why the Evolve switches that you installed upstairs aren’t reporting. I believe Evolve devices are made by Jasco and have similar or identical firmware.

The other bad part is 3-way switches. The auxiliary switch can’t be used to join the network, so it doesn’t send the Node Info broadcast, and thus can change the switch state without the hub hearing about it.

In a future hub firmware update (the one after the next one), the hub will poll these out-of-range switches much faster than the current 5 minute poll that comes from the cloud, hopefully on the order of seconds. That change will help with getting timely updates of switch changes.


(Solardave1) #5

I just wanted to add, since this is a common problem especially in 2/3/4 gang boxes, you can significantly reduce the physical space required inside the box for wire connections by using flat USB-in wire connectors as opposed to traditional wire nuts. I’ve put in over a hundred switches/outlets using these and they are UL listed and code approved (US for sure-dint know about Europe). They do cost a bit more than regular wire nuts but they make the whole space in the box problem go away:
http://www.idealindustries.com/prodDetail.do?prodId=in-sure&div=0


(Solardave1) #6

I just wanted to add, since this is a common problem especially in 2/3/4 gang boxes, you can significantly reduce the physical space required inside the box for wire connections by using flat Push-in wire connectors as opposed to traditional wire nuts. I’ve put in over a hundred switches/outlets using these and they are UL listed and code approved (US for sure-don’t know about Europe). They do cost a bit more than regular wire nuts but they make the whole space in the box problem go away:
http://www.idealindustries.com/prodDetail.do?prodId=in-sure&div=0


(Chrisb) #7

Those would have been helpful in a few of my installs… Thanks for the tip.

Just to pass along another, I was doing three switches in on area and it suddenly dawned on me… there’s two holes on each of these things, why not use 'em both? So I connected line to the first switch and neutral to the first switch then just daisy chained 'em with a short wire from switch-to-switch-to-switch. That also saved a lot of space. Obviously can’t do that with the line wire though.


(Chrisb) #8

@duncan

Thrilled to hear about the possibility to “near real time” polling. Is this looking like a possibility that won’t adversely effect other network traffic? I like the idea of getting my switches updated correctly quickly but if this will interfere with other communication that wouldn’t be desirable.

What I mean is if I have a program that runs based on when a switch is turned on that is in range of the hub I get near instant response from the program. Hit the switch, not even a full second pause later the the program fires. If the hub has to wait until it’s polled everything then respond to the switch calling the program… even if that’s a 2-3 second delay it would cause issues in some situations.

Also… do you have any sort of vague time line on when this firmware is schedule to be out? Obviously way to early to nail down a day, but are we talking weeks or months?

Thanks,

Chris


(Duncan) #9

This added polling won’t replace the current query in response to the Node Info frame, so in-range switches will continue to update immediately as they currently do. It will also be lower-priority than commands issued from the cloud, so as not to interfere with other traffic.

The firmware update with this feature is probably 1-2 months out, though it could be sooner if the first firmware rollout goes super smoothly.


(Dave) #10

The electrician just installed a 45609 on a ceiling fan light. Using the switch, it works as expected. I paired it with ST’s and touching the tile turns the tile on/off but it doesn’t do anything to the light.

Thoughts?


(Dave) #11

I’ve been critical of ST’s for various reasons including the lack of progress on the Android app.

But to give credit where it’s due and in the name of my own humility I’ll add this.

My problem above was user error. I easily added the device but when it showed up, I picked the wrong tile and was working with the wrong tile the whole time.

Here’s the thing. I have two other outlets, neither of which is plugged in yet they also show up on my app. It would be nice if they either didn’t show up when not connected or maybe some indication they weren’t active. It also would be nice if when a new tile show sup to indicate it someway. But regardless, it was my problem.

I chatted with Ryan at ST’s who was very very helpful and patient. Again, a credit to ST’s.