Searching for direction on motion-triggered lighting (will NestCams work?)

Is that right? lol but im sure it’s worth more unopened? :slight_smile:

I read the post from your link. Thanks a lot. I can see that there is some value in having the cams, but not really for anything other than the security aspect, and being able to talk through them when not home, and maybe some other uses.

So with that being said, I will definitely need a different motion sensing device. I was looking at the Aeotec Tri Sensor. Is anybody familiar with this? This has temperature sensing and motion detecting capabilities using Z-wave. Since the smartthings hub is Z-wave, in theory i could get a z-wave switch and the sensor that I noted earlier, and be golden. Do you guys have any thoughts on this? I definitely don’t want that delay that you spoke about earlier regarding the nest cams

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So, I looked at my hallway switch and compared the wiring to some of the Zooz switches. I don’t think my existing switch has a Neutral wire but I took some pictures, so maybe someone else can tell me.

I found this dimmer switch, which is said to be the top z-wave switch that doesnt use a neutral. Anybody else have any experience or thoughts about this?

Did you see the note that that specific model GE switch Will only work with resistive bulbs, that is incandescent or halogen. It will not work with LED bulbs whether they are dimmable or not. Does that work for your set up?

You’ll need to unscrew the switch from the box and pull it out some to see the wires in the back to tell if it has a neutral wire in the box. “Dumb” switches don’t normally have a neutral wire connected directly to them, so you can’t tell from your pics, although there does appear to be a bundle of white wires in the background.

This is the newer model of that dimmer that does work with LED bulbs

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The white wires wire nutted together in the back of the box are probably your neutral. I see these in the 2nd picture.

Okay, sorry. I tried to pull the switch out more but it seemed like the wires were really short because it wouldnt pull out much

Okay, I will check that one out. LED is probably not a must but it’s certainly a plus. If I’m not mistaken, LED bulbs last longer and are more energy efficient. Which, energy efficiency, is probably my primary goal here

Will I have to remove the other two wires from the switch to confirm this or are you pretty confident? Like i was saying earlier, the wires seem really short and that switch probably isnt pulling out much further

In the US a group of white wires, wire nutted together in a switch box are usually neutral wires.

In the US, only a few wire colors are mandated by code, so people can and do use almost any color for any purpose. So the only way to be certain is to learn how to map the circuit with a tool for that purpose.

If you Live near a Home Depot, once they move out of pandemic mode many offer free classes, including ones on installing a light switch and installing a three-way switch. Although these won’t apply directly to smart switches, you will learn how to use the tools and since Home Depot does sell a number of smart switches, particularly the GE, Leviton, and Lutron lines, if you do have a specific question the teacher can often find the answer for you. So it’s just something to consider for the long term. Wiring can definitely vary from one switchbox to another in the same house as work is often done over time by different people.

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Also, before I forget, before removing the old switch take pictures of the front, the back, and the screws where the wires are attached if they don’t show up in the other two pictures. Everybody thinks they will remember how it was, and just nobody does. This will be useful information if you have to put the old switch back, or even just troubleshooting a new switch. :sunglasses:

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One handy thing with the newer Jasco z-wave dimmer is it has their Quick Fit technology so you can just connect the two black wires and it figures out which is line and which is load.

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I could see value in that class. In the meantime, if i remove the switch, or figure out a way to pull it out further…will i learn enough about the wiring to move forward with a smart switch or is there a lot more that i HAVE to know? Also, if i take more pics, and go to home depot would they be able to identify more?

The ease of install does sound intriguing. I feel like figuring out which is load/line probably isnt super complicated though, right? I mean, the wire that is routed upwards is probably going to the lights, right? Or am i being a little too naive?

damn, Enbrighten 52252 Z-Wave Plus Smart Light Dimmer with QuickFit and SimpleWire, Compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant, Zwave Hub Required, Repeater/Range Extender, 3-Way, White & Light Almond

This only has one more in stock. the ones without a neutral seem to be much harder to find

Jasco is the manufacturer for the GE/enbrighten zwave line, so you can always get it from them. :sunglasses:

Oh, I did not know that lol. I thought i knew a lot about tech until i met you guys

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You can’t count on that.

I use a non-contact voltage tester to find which is line. The wire that has voltage no matter which way the switch is flipped is line.

Non-contact testers are nice because you don’t have to shove conductive probes into junction boxes. There’s at least one forum user who blew out some expensive equipment when testing with a volt meter by accidentally shorting across two switches.

They are also a good way to check that you really have popped the breaker for the box you’re working on, especially with multi-gang boxes which might have multiple circuits.

You can find one for $20 or so almost anywhere.