Micro dimmer that works with a fan

project_hvac

(Scott) #1

I’d like to add a light to my fan that can be controlled separate of the fan. There are only 3 wires in the box to the fan. Black (hot), White, and ground. The black is off when the wall switch is off when the fan is connected. The light is dim when the fan is not at 100%. I was going to use a Lightify light bulb to be able to control the light remotely. Problem is it needs power all the time.

So I was thinking I could remove the current wall switch and wire it so that it was always on, and replace it with a z-wave scene controller. I would then use a micro dimmer for the fan and have the Lightify light on all the time.

Problem is I don’t know of any micro dimmers that can safely operate a fan. @TheSmartestHouse, any suggestions?


Fan with light, no neutral wire
(John C) #2

You need a fan controller, not a lamp dimmer.

@JDRoberts posted a detailed response to a similar question explaining why…


#3

Hi Scott, as @Barkis mentioned, you definitely can’t use a dimmer to operate a fan. A micro motor controller and a micro dimmer for the light could work if installed and connected to appropriate loads but it depends on the specs for your fan, you would have to compare them against the Aeon Labs or Zipato micro motor controllers:


Dimmable light + 4 step ceiling fan control?
(Scott) #4

Can that micro motor controller, control fan speed? Ie, can I set the fan speed to 60% with this device?


#6

Hi Scott, that’s the thing, these micro switches are designed to control shutters and blinds, not fans. So in theory, they could work with small fans, but we’ve never tried it and don’t usually recommend it. If you can separate light and motor wires, we would recommend using the GE12730 which is a dedicated fan motor switch. It does NOT control light however and this is your primary need right now. It’s a good idea for a new device and we’ll start developing it but for now, it seems like there is not a good solution we can offer…


(Don) #7

You need to read the first couple post in this topic:

Specifically @dalec reply which is the 3rd post. (I think)
I did something similar. I think I put a GE 12722 light switch in the wall and the GE fan switch 12730 stuffed inside the fan shroud/ box in the overhead. Has worked very well. Just have to use a phone or another device to control fan. I use our echo 90% of the time.

Hope that helps


(Don) #8

I also recommend this DTH for the switch if you would like a low,med, high button to control the speed vice the slider


(Scott) #9

Can the fan speed be increased or decreased from a scene controller or other wall mounted button or switch?


(Don) #10

Scott,

It’s going to depend on how you end up setting up your light and fan. Some people control the light from the wall and some control the fan. Others do it just the opposite. You will need to see what wiring options you have and then decide which way works best for you. I did not use a Micro switch to control the light.

I set mine up so the light was controlled by the switch since that is what we use the most on that specific fan / light combination. If it were say my living room one it would be the opposite way for me since in there we use the fan more that the light.

To answer your question about other ways to control the hidden switch be it fan or light. Yes you can use other switches battery or whatever to control it. We have Minimotes that we currently use to control both the light and the fan speed from one remote. You could also use a battery operated switch to tell smart things you want to change the light or fan. In turn your settings in smart things would perform the function.

There is a lot of different ways to go about this and everyone has their personal preference. Somewhere else on another topic @JDRoberts gave me an example of a good battery switch that mounts on the wall. I’ll try to find that and post it here if he doesn’t beat me to it.

Just remember you HAVE to have a fan controller for the fan. A regular dimmer will not work for the fan. You can use a regular dimmer for your light just not the fan.

Either way your going to have to do more wiring than just connecting the wires where the old switch use to be. If you are not comfortable doing this or able to safely. I HIGHLY recommend hiring an electrician.


#11

Many choices for possible wall mount controllers in the following thread:

Just remember that if you do choose a battery operated controller, you will not be able to turn the fan on or off if the smartthings service is not available. So you may want to leave a secondary method of control to deal with Internet or smartthings outages. :sunglasses:


(Don) #12

@Scott_Barton This is another reason I chose to have the light on the physical switch. I can go without a fan if there is issues.

Thanks @JDRoberts once again your Johnny on the spot with the great helpful advice.


(Dale C) #13

This comes up pretty regularly for ceiling fans. The one that @TN_Oldman was referring to that I did was because I didn’t have a light switch.

And here is one that applies to you that I think would work best. I would have done it this way if I had a wall switch on the wall. So put your GE Fan controller on the wall switch location…


(Scott) #14

Good news and bad news. Using this method worked and does exactly what I want to do. GE Fan controller wired into fan box. I’m using a Lightify Bulb so no need for a micro dimmer for the light. Replaced the GE Fan Dimmer that used to be mounted on the wall (no in light) with a regular On/Off on the wall. It needs to be in the On position at all times, but toggling it Off then On, allows me to turn on the Lightify Light without a remote.

Problem is the fan cover is too small to fit a large dimmer switch inside it. The WAF is 0 for a large dangling switch and exposed wires above the fan. :frowning:

Any ideas where I can get a large white fan box cover while I wait for @TheSmartestHouse to build a micro fan dimmer? :wink:


#15

Any electrical supply house should have standard gray/white project boxes that would work. The big ones are often used for pool equipment.

You may be able to find them on Amazon as well, here’s one that would be too small but it’s the same idea.


(Don) #16

I had kinda the same issue. It was a VERY TIGHT fit with the switch. I had to bend the metal heat sync some to get it in above the fan mount in the box. It was not easy but I got it in there. I believe I had to actually have some one hold the fan out of the way. Then set it back in the holder.

It has worked great since I put it in.

@Scott_Barton,
Now I think about it some. I might have even taken the fan mount down some and pushed it all in there. The screwed fan mount back on and put fan in and wired the fan and light back up. Was a pain in the ARSE but with it when it worked.


(Scott) #17

Can the Enerwave 7-Button scene controller be used to manually dim the fan? Ie, push or hold a button to increase the speed. Similar to how the GE Fan controller works?


(Dale C) #18

@Scott_Barton Just like Don mentions I had the same issue and ended up bending the corners of the heat sinks with some pliers to make it fit in the fan ceiling cover. BUT don’t forget to try to fit it up inside the gangbox in the ceiling first. I couldn’t do that with mine because mine is mounted using a pancake flat ceiling fan box directly to a ceiling joist.

Here is an idea, go by your local home improvement store and look at the ceiling fans with large base covers. If you find a big one that will fit then you can contact the manufacturer for the one piece as a repair part. Also another option then is to even replace the existing ceiling box with a larger capacity box that is rated to hold ceiling fans so that you could put the switch up in there. Of course the best option to help with WAF is purchasing a new ceiling fan that she always wanted (with a big enough base to hide the switch in so you need to do your homework first) … that is what I did. :grin:


#19

Not exactly.

The SC7 basically works like a minimote. It is not controlling the current to the fan itself. It sends an instruction to the hub which sends an instruction to whatever network device you have that is controlling the current to the fan.

If you put the GE fan controller up in the canopy, you could put the SC7 on the wall and it would just be like any of the other button/remote options at that point. But you can’t use the SC7 instead of the GE fan controller, because it’s not able to directly control the fan.


(Don) #20

Yet ANOTHER item on my smartthings to do list!!

I’ll die before that list EVER gets done.

Actually I had looked at a different switch that looks like all my other toggle switches. Still on my amazon wish list and to do list.


(Scott) #21

Right, so what I’m wondering is, is there a way to bump up the power level. In the ST, app there is a slider that allows you to control the power level. In Smart Apps, you can turn on and set level (in 10% increments).
What I would like is an app that when you push a button, it increase the current level by 10%. Ie The fan is at 30%. I hit the button, it goes up to 40%, I hit it again, it goes to 50% one more time, it goes to 60%, etc.