Single switch wall switches vs multi switch


(Joel Housman) #1

Hey folks,

I’m a complete newbie to home automation and know little about electrical wiring. The most I’ve ever done is install a ceiling fan/ceiling fixture that was already pre-wired for it in the ceiling.

My wife and I just moved into a new house that we’ve had custom built last year. Every room in our house has a wall outlet that is controlled by a wall switch, in addition to a ceiling fan/fixture pre-wire that is also controlled by a wall switch, with 2 switches (1 for fan, one for light on fan).

Many of my rooms have minimum 2 switch panels, some have three, four or five.

How would I be able to add SmartThings compatible switches to these? Is it even possible?

Thanks for any help or information you’re able to give.


(Michael) #2

All you need to do is change out the wall switches to one of these:
http://www.lowes.com/pd_339577-1353-45637_0__?productId=3707736

Unless of course that switch is a 3-way meaning that you have multiple wall switches in different locations controlling the same thing. There is a 3-way version of this switch at Lowes as well.

Ceiling fans can be tricky if you want to control the fan speed as there aren’t many solutions out there yet, there are some but Lowes doesn’t carry them. Simply turning off and on can be accomplished with the switch noted above.


(Joel Housman) #3

Thanks for the reply.

What about a panel that has 4 switches? (One switch controls the wall outlet, one switch controls 4 BR 30 Can lights in the ceiling, one switch controls a fan’s light and one switch controls the fan).


(Michael) #4

You will need to replace each switch that you want to control with ST. Some people on this forum have posted pictures of 5-6 zwave switches all beside each other in one gang box.

If you don’t want to control all 4 switches in your example with ST, then you would leave the existing but replace just a few. As an example, I have a 4 gang box in my foyer that has 2 zwave switches and 2 “dumb” paddle switches.


(Paul) #5

Since you already own switches, it’s probably most economical to use the Aeon Labs Micro Switches. You can get them for $28 per switch if you buy 10: http://thesmartesthouse.com/collections/installers-zone/products/10-labs-aeotec-dsc26103-zwus-z-wave-micro-switch-10-pack

What’s great about the Micro Switches is they add full Smartthings control to the switches you already own. From the outside, all of your switches will still look the same.


(Scott G) #6

@NorCalLights how do the micro modules work with the traditional switch? Example: if the light is turned on via z-wave, then the switch is flipped to ‘on’; will the light turn off? Or will nothing happen since flipping the switch ‘on’ initiates an ‘on’ command via the module?


(Paul) #7

You can configure them a few ways, but the way I have my micro switch modules set up to work with regular single-pole switches is: Moving the switch to any position tells the relay to flip to the other state. For example:

The relay is ON, and I move the switch from the UP position to the DOWN position, the relay turns OFF.

The relay is OFF, and I move the switch from the UP position to the DOWN position, the relay turns ON.

The relay is ON, and I move the switch from the DOWN position to the UP position, the relay turns OFF

The relay is OFF, and I move the switch from the DOWN position to the UP position, the relay turns ON.

All of these actions create z-wave events that follow the proper position of the relay, so ST is always updated, and smart apps always trigger properly.


(Scott G) #8

So it turns it into a 3-way switch where the z-wave module acts a separate switch? Pretty cool.

Can it be configured so the on/off is always in sync with the dumb switch position? For higher WAF. Thanks for the info.


(Paul) #9

@Sticks18 yeah it does basically behave like a 3-way switch.

The switch will be in sync as long as you never trigger the relay to change position over z-wave, but since the relay can’t physically move the switch, there’s no way to do what you’re asking.

For what it’s worth, the threshold for WAF in my household is pretty high, and she hasn’t mentioned the switches being out of sync once.

Edit: One more thing… the cheapest micro switches don’t always update their status to the hub reliably. You’ll need to run Pollster or something to get that working. The fastest updating switches seem to be these:

http://thesmartesthouse.com/collections/switches/products/aeon-labs-micro-smart-energy-switch

But they’re more expensive, of course.

Another Edit: The status reporting is configurable, so it’s possible to set the cheapest micro switches to report just as quickly as the expensive ones. The process is detailed here:


(Paul) #10

For anyone who’s curious, there’s a pretty good set of schematics for different switch/load wiring combinations on Aeotec’s website:

http://aeotec.com/support/1219-micro-switch-wiring-schematics.html