Please help me find a dimmer! I gave up (dimming characteristics of different zwave switches)

Hey guys. This is my first post here so take it easy :). Let me start by explaining my setup. My basement has a total of 12 Feit 40w Dimmable A19 LED bulbs. I had a cheap GE (builders grade) rotary dimmer on the wall and even though I’m using very low power LEDs, this dimmer worked flawlessly. I had no flicker and the bulbs dimmed incredibly low. I was surprised these LEDs even worked on a old dimmer.

I bought my ST hub about 4 days ago and I bought a few Linear (Evolve) WD500Z dimmers based on their praise here. After properly wiring one of them up in my basement, I noticed that the lights wouldn’t dim even half as low as the GE traditional dimmer. To make things even more complicated, the original GE dimmer wasn’t even using a neutral wire like the new Linear Dimmer was. I thought maybe it was a fluke so I tried one of the other WD500z dimmers I bought and had the same results.

I gave up on the linear dimmers and bought a Leviton DZMX1 dimmer from Home Depot. I wired it up last night and this dimmer won’t dim the bulbs AT ALL. I double checked my connections and even made sure the lowest dim setting was enabled and they still wouldn’t dim. My only options are 100% or off. I completely gave up last night and put my old GE dimmer back on. I have a home theater in my basement so very low dimming is a must. Any suggestions?

Not sure why my post was moved from the “Devices and Integrations” subforum.

I ended up buying a Cooper Wiring Devices RF9540-NWS Aspire. LOVE IT! It dims the LEDs down to a ridiculous level that’s way lower than my incandescent bulbs could ever go.

Most dimmers without the Neutral wire are NOT designed for use with LED’s. Suggest you use a Switch that requires a neutral wire for proper operation. Did you hook up Neutral to the WD500Z , without it it will not work properly.

Yes. I connected the neutral wire. Everything was wired correctly on all 3 dimmers. I know my post is sort of confusing but I was saying that the original (non-smart) dimmer does NOT use a neutral but it works perfectly. The z-wave dimmers, with the neutral wires connected have been the issue.

I think Big Orange got a bad batch of the DZMX1 dimmers. They are all I have used for ZW dimmers and never had a problem . Well except for ZW range with one that was too far from hub/repeater. That said the last 2 I bought at my local HD " on sale" were junk. They would not work with LEDs at all. The only way turn turn the lights off was to trigger the air gap and completely cut power to the circuit. $108 for 2 dimmers “on sale” to have them not work was not acceptable.
IMHO somebody repackaged some old 1000W incandescent dimmers trying to pass them off. Which would work in most cases. However when the total draw from the 4 LED cans was only 36W they simply could not go low enough to make any noticeable difference. Since they shut the lights off by dimming to 0 even off did not work.
However with your 12 7.5w LEDs the draw is high enough that your old mechanical dimmer thought it had 1 100w bulb which is why it would work.
Since neither the GE or Leviton worked ,I would double check your wiring going to the switch. Make sure that you actually do have a neutral wire and not just a loop back single pole setup. ( 2 sets of romex going into the box. 1 going to your panel and the other going to the lights )

Were you able to control the dimmer from the ST app? I think your post goes more on the side that it doesn’t dim as low as the other one, which is not a wiring issue. You could try Dragon Tech, which are a lot like the GE dimmers or try one of the AEON labs micro dimmers that go behind the switch. Only thing with the micro is that you can’t dim from the switch.
Other options are the Evolve and Enerwave dimmers, although I can’t recall if someone has tried those.

But you can with their matching wall plate. Of course, they don’t offer an option for multi-gang setups, but these work well.

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Yes. The dimming worked with the Linear/Evolve switch but only dimmed about 70% or so. My big issue is the amount of dimming that I need.

Interesting. I guess it’s possible that it’s just a bad one. I ended up moving the Leviton switch to my kitchen since I don’t need dimming there. I haven’t actually tried a GE smart switch yet. My original old fashioned dimmer is GE though.

I’m still puzzled by this. What’s the difference between how a old traditional dimmer works and the newer “LED supported” dimmers? I just abought a GE 12724 and I’m still only getting the lights down to about 75% before they shut off. Is there a way to adjust it?

Unfortunately, no. The GE dimmers don’t have a calibration option like the Lutron Casetas have. It really depends on your dimmer and light bulb combination.

Traditional incandescent dimmers worked by lowering the amount of energy to the bulb, hence a dimmed light. On the other hand, since LEDs rely on electronics to increase or decrease the intensity of the light, old incandescent dimmer usually don’t play well with them. Manufacturers have worked around that issue by installing on-bulb electronics that can adjust when an incandescent dimmers is used, but it is kind of hit or miss with some bulbs.

New LED dimmers are more complex in regards they use electronics as well to make the LED light bulb dim. Since now you are using two different set of electronics, you need compatibility between them. There’s no longer just a filament that emits light based on the current. So, how good your dimmer works depends a lot on which light bulbs you use AND the total wattage on the circuit. Most people would agree that you need a minimum of 40w on a circuit for the dimming to work properly.

This being said, I own a few of the GE dimmers and yesterday I asked the community which light bulb works better for them, because my Philips bulbs were giving trouble, as well as my previous Cree 4-flow. Granted, I only have one or two bulbs per dimmer.

Hope this helps. Disclaimer: I’m an average user and all of this is what I’ve gathered from reading on different websites and forums. I have no engineering or electrical background, whatsoever.

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try the lutron caseta PRO … not the regular lutron caseta, but the PRO version dimmer (it’s a special order from most stores) … it has a neutral wire and support LEDs better than the regular version… and can be integrated with smartthings if you get a staples connect hub.

I’m finally happy!! I bought a “Cooper Wiring Devices RF9540-NWS Aspire”. It was a bit pricey at about $65 but it’s an awesome dimmer. Not only does it have a great design but it somehow dims the bulbs down to a tiny tiny glow that’s barely noticeable. My LED bulbs now dim lower than my incandescent bulbs did. Unbelievable. I’ll be leaving a 5 star review.

Shouldn’t this topic be moved back to “Devices and Integrations” where I originally posted it?

Projects are for brainstorming the answers to one person’s particular needs, where the answer that’s right for them but not be right for someone else. And for opinion discussions where people may just not agree on what the right answer is.

The devices section of the forum is more for technical specifications where there is in fact a single answer. Things like which dimmer supports beaming.

Many projects deal with a particular device, but the question is a year from now from now when someone is looking for information are they looking for something specific to the model, or something specific to the use case. :sunglasses:

Issues with flickers and dimming frequently come down to the mix of fixtures and bulbs that the person is trying to use, rather than the individual Z wave dimmer. That same zwave dimmer might work perfectly for someone else. So this type of lighting question is more typically a “project” then a “device discussion.”

It’s not a big deal either way as this conversation did end up including discussion of the specific dimming characteristics of different models. So it could go justifiably in either.

From the first post it sounded more like it would be a matter of untangling the needs of a particular project, particularly since the Leviton was described as not dimming at all. That’s usually a wiring project issue for that particular house, not a technical feature of the switch.

Glad you found something that worked! The Cooper Aspire line are my own favorite Z wave switches. Just really well engineered. :sunglasses:

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@themajesticking, thanks for sharing your results with the Cooper. Can you confirm it runs as a local device / device type?

I’ve installed a few GE dimmers, and my wife isn’t liking the precision of manual dimming control with them, and I see her point. We have a number of older Lutron dimmers that I want to replace, but I think I’d be in trouble if I replace them with the GE dimmers.

The manual control was the first thing to wow me. The separate switch for dimming works well. Of course nothing is as quick as a rotary dimmer but the Cooper works very well. I want to say there are about 14 steps and 7 LED lights so every 2 steps is a full level on the LED indicator.

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