Two Button Decora Switch


#1

Hi Guys,

I have what I thought was a common scenario, but I cant seem to find anything on the forum. I have 2 lights and a standard bathroom fan (On/Off only) on a single switch wired in series. I would like to smarten up the circuit to allow Fan and lights to be controlled independently without pulling new wires. Since they are 2 wire romex, there is no way that i can see to hard wire this. I am thinking I need to use a relay between the fan/lights, and wire them always on. I would then use a scene controller to control the lights and fan. I was looking at the Leviton VRCS2, but they seem to have mixed reviews, and are expensive since i cant find a local supplier in Canada. Any other options? It needs to fit into a single Decora plate with the outlet, otherwise I would be looking at Aeotec Wallmotes.

image

Forgive my crappy drawing, the Lines at the bottom didnt work so well, but its just a standard line-in from the panel.


#2

I had a similar problem in my bathroom. This method assumes you have room in the fan/light electrical box for a Aeotec Nano Switch or something similar, and that you can do some basic electrical rewiring. Install the Nano Switch in the location you are showing the relay for the fan, leaving the light on the “hot” line, Then install one of the new Z Wave switches that supports double tap functions. I stayed with dumb bulbs, but one push on the switch turns on the lights, double tap turns on the fan. The exact functions and operation of the new switch depends on how you set up the related smartapp.


#3

in that instance, can you leave the fan on without lights? wont cutting the power at the switch mean the fan/relay lose power?


#4

Are you 100% sure that’s how it’s wired and not in series?

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Do you actually see the neutral at every light and the switch? Or does your switch have 2 black wires? The biggest factor would be when your house was built. Mine was in the 70 and most of the lights on a single switch are in series not in parallel.


#5

You are correct, they are wired in series, but the white wire is there, it’s just pigtailed together in the box.

My house is from the sixtys so I have some weird stuff throughout from random Reno’s, but we redid the bath when we moved in two years ago, so it’s brand new romex.


#6

The real check would be at one of the lights. If there are 2 wires coming off the light they are in series. If they are, you’re screwed. No way around that without rewiring something.


(Edward Niedziejko) #7

You’ve got the right idea, I think. As long as you can determine which light connects to the fan, and connect the relay in that junction box, you should be good. Sourcing the two-switches-in-one-decora might be the hardest part, if you’re trying to keep the single device box.


(Edward Niedziejko) #8

They wouldn’t work if they weren’t in parallel. Each light needs to have 120V. If you put 3 bulbs in series, each would only get 40V and if one burned out, they’d all stop working. If someone DID wire your house like that, hire an electrician, stat. The wiring might be in a line, but every light has to be wired from hot to neutral.


#9

This is what I was trying for…
07-21-17-06
If you break that circuit between the first and second bulb, the first bulb goes out too, right?


(Edward Niedziejko) #10

Fair, but it’s still parallel. Your original image showed series, with the black wire connected to both sides of each light, and the neutral not connected except to the last device.


#11

You are absolutely correct ! I hadn’t had my morning coffee yet when I replied. My fan/light had the power wires running separately to the switchbox so I got my power directly from there, not the other light circuit. Sorry for the misinformation.