New to smart things

(Jeff Lichatz) #1

Ok so I’m sorry in advance if there is already a post about this. I want to get started with smart things but I’ve already had a bad experience with wemo (my fault) I bought a bunch of them only to realize that my house didn’t have a neutral wire. So I was curious what options I have. I saw some posts about a GE 3 way dimmer but I want to make sure it works in non 3 way applications. And then does that mean I need special bulbs as well? Sorry again about my lack of understanding.

(DLee) #2

The best thing to do is set aside a few hours to do a bunch of research for the things you are interested in. Your questions are about z-wave things, more than smartthings itself. The hours of research on various products should clear things up for you.

I can answer a bit, the GE 3-way switches and the non-3-way on/off switches do require a neutral. I have them running LED light bulbs just fine (newest version). The GE single pole dimmers do not require a neutral, they say incandescent bulbs recommended, but I also have them running LED recessed lighting units just fine. You can use any light bulb as far as I know. I think there are also controllable LED bulbs that can join your z-wave network individually without the need for wiring new switches. Check out Phillips and TCP bulbs to see if that is possible.

(Gilbert Chan) #3

Welcome to SmartThings.

Sorry you had such a bad start but once you start adding devices together, you’ll get to enjoy it more.

As for your no neutral wire issue, there’s a few solutions. I’ve ran into this in my own house and have tried different methods for different areas.

The easiest way is to get a TCP Connected Kit that includes 2 or 3 bulbs and a gateway. Replacing your regular bulbs with TCP Connected bulbs will allow you to easily make those lights controllable with SmartThings. You may not want to take out your phone every time you want to turn it on/off so I would advise an Aeon Labs Minimote found in the ST Shop. You’ll be able to control these lights plus many other things you may later add.
To make it a little smarter, you should consider adding a motion detector to turn on/off lights. TCP bulbs function very similarly to Philips Hue bulbs so you can opt to get these if you would like light notifications.
Both will allow you to still turn on a light by toggling the wall switch off and on again (it’s advised that you keep power running to the lights, light switch on, so that you can control the bulbs remotely.

Another option is adding a relay in your ceiling since there’s a neutral wire going to the lamp itself. Something like this the Evolve Fixture Module. I use the Aeon Labs Micro Switch since it’s a bit smaller.

The GE Dimmer switch works, but I found that they are less than ideal. It does make a slight humming noise and causes a flicker with the bulbs I’ve used. (not sure if someone could recommend some good LED dimmable bulbs that works with these).

Continue to post your experience.