After starting out with a SmartThings starter box, then getting more door switches, having the laundry room light come on automatically when entering, and setting up security in general with cameras etc, my wonderful wife has agreed to let me wire all our light switches with Z-wave devices!
I am looking at purchasing
7 GE dimmers #12724
12 GE on off #12722
7 add on switches #12723
and lutron claro wall plates 1,2, and 3 gang (enough to cover all new switches)
Yessh you never realize how many switches are in a house till you start counting them… this was just the downstairs.
I have already installed a ge dimmer (toggle) and add on toggle, so I am familiar how they work, and my house does have all the necessary wiring (only built in 2003)
we have some ceiling fans with lights, but I am resigned to the fact that there is just no easy way to set them up so I am just going to have them as on/off at the switch. Controlling them from the fan. (They all just have one light switch to turn whole fan/light off)
Is there any reason someone could dissuade me from using GE? after reading so many posts here it all becomes a jumbled mess in my brain.
I am going to sleep on it for a day or two before pushing the “buy” button on amazon I am also going to throw in a new echo dot for good measure!
GE switches are popular because the brand name is famous and they are inexpensive. They are a “good enough” choice for many people. They are not the best engineered switches, and in particular, they seem to have a fairly high failure rate, maybe 15%, around six months to a year after the end of the warranty period. They are not technically defective, because they’re out of warranty. And many people are fine with just replacing the 10% or so that go bad feeling that they still saved considerable money on the overall project. But it is just something to be aware of.
This has nothing to do with SmartThings, you will find the same discussion on other forums.
There’s a discussion of individual features for switches in the following thread that might be of interest:
BTW, GE/Jasco has just released their brand-new models which are zwave plus. They’re definitely worth considering over the older models. They will have noticeably longer range and can probably be paired in place, a real advantage for wired devices.
Try to stay away from the first gen Dragontech z-wave plus switch if you can. I have only 4 of these switches and they have problem of turning off for the first 30 seconds or so. It’s a known issue and there is no way to do a firmware update to correct the problem. I find the cheap Aeon minimote V1 very useful beside my night table for turning certain thing off when you are on bed. It’s only $18 on Amazon as well.
Suggestion: Mount a Osram or Hue light strip under the end of the bed or along the hallway. paired with a motion sensor under the bed, I use it as a nightlight that turns on to 5-10% when motion is detected during the night.
I think I may take JDRoberts advice and wait just a bit for the zwave plus switches.
I appreciate all the input from the community. I haven’t been here long but anytime I have a question or need something there is always someone in the community who has done it before and willing to share the experience (good and bad)
The new ones aren’t on Amazon yet, but they are available for purchase on Jasco’s (they are the true manufacturer) website. I ordered one last week and has been “pending” since, so who knows how long it will take to actually get to me.
Yes, I see the switches on the Jasco site, but not dimmers. Do you think dimmers and add on switches will be available as well? I guess I will go look.
I am guessing the old add on switches will work they are just dumb and talk to the master switch (I think) so there would be no reason to re do them, I don’t think the add ons are they zwave repeaters or are they?.
(Jason "The Enabler" as deemed so by @Smart)
That’s right, the add on switches are dumb and only talk to the master via the traveler wire.
FYI, I have several of the GE/jasco add on switches I need to offload. They aren’t in the packages, but they have never been used. I bought them new and took them out myself.
My new switch (14761) arrived yesterday and I installed it last night. So far, it seems identical to the previous model. I do appreciate the better radio with the possibility of firmware upgrades though. The manual does mention the add-on switch and specifically calls out the old part number (12723) so I would say they are not planning a new release of the add-on.
I’m not sure about the availability of the dimmers. I’d guess soon, but you never know…
My recommendations on smart lighting for your house are:
Switches are your best choice for lights. They still work exactly the same as old switches, but with all of the automation capabilities.
If you don’t have a switch (lamps) go with smart bulbs. Not as good as switches, because you have to leave the lamp “on” and turn them on and off via SmartThings (or Amazon Echo). You can also manually override ST by turning them on and off a bunch of times.
As a last resort, you can use plug-in receptacles. They work, but my least favorite option.
A few things that I’ve done to make ST work (for my wife) is have Amazon Echo and Aeon MiniMotes around the house. Automations are nice, but sometimes you (or a guest) just wants to wak into a room and turn on a light without pulling out your phone.
Motion sensors are also handy. If I walk into my dining room at night (rare) the lights will come on, then turn off after I leave.
Any way - good luck and post your experience as you go.