Whole House Fan to GE Smart Fan Control, Z-Wave, In-Wall, 12730 wiring issue?


(Andrew) #1

I seem to have a Whole House Fan to GE Smart Fan Control, Z-Wave, In-Wall, 12730 wiring issue, or perhaps the Z-Wave device isn’t suited to run the whole house fan.

This is the Z-Wave device:

This is (or is at least very close to) the whole house fan:

The fan was originally connected to a High / Low switch (where the middle position = OFF), and worked fine. I replaced the High/Low switch with a GE Smart Fan Control, Z-Wave, In-Wall, 12730. There were separate wires to Low and High connecting to the original paddle switch. I only connected the “High” wire to the Z-Wave Smart Fan Control, and left the “Low” wire unconnected, as I only really need to turn the device on high. If it can be wired so the variable speed is an option, great, but if not, at least on/off at high setting.

The way it is currently wired, it used to start up, and seemed to work for the first <1/2 dozen times. Now, it turns on, you can hear the motor start, but it never gets enough power to even open the louvers.

I read other posts here where people used a Aeon Labs DSC18103-ZWUS behind a manual wall switch. I would still be confused as to proper wiring in that case.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Whole House Fan (Switch)
(Realy Living Dream) #2

Just a wild guess, but I am thinking it is NOT meant to be on a variable switch and is just a 2 speed motor. So as you suggested attaching it to a dimmer ( which is what the fan controller is) it is not getting enough power.

Without seeing exactly how it was before and how it is not, I am just tossing out ideas. The old hi/off/lo switch could have actually powered only low on low and both legs on high. Di you actually take any readings before you took it apart to make sure what each switch positon did ?

It may need power to both lines to actually turn on. If you no longer care about Hi/Lo , I would replace the fan controller with just a switch. I might even try and see if attaching both the lo & Hi wires to the same terminal to see if that fixes the issues.

Reading the reviews/questions on HD link you posted there is a startup capacitor that seems prone to failure .


(Dale C) #3

You hit the nail on the head my friend. Remove the GE Smart Fan Control and replace with a high amp on-off smart switch like the Remotec ZFM80 if you just want single speed or add a single pole double pole switch controlled by another smart switch to gain control of hi-lo speeds so that you never power both High and Low motor connections at the same time.You can see a similar example in the posting below where I show a wiring logic diagram but ignore the control for the pump.

@AndrewAbo what is the horse power rating of the whole house fan to make sure we size the correct rated smart switch that you need to get? Is it a single or double gang wall switch box where you installed the GE switch?


(Jason "The Enabler" as deemed so by @Smart) #4

I actually have that exact fan. When I installed it, it came with a hi/lo switch and a twist timer switch.

I replaced the timer switch with a GE on/off paddle zwave switch. I left the manual hi/lo switch in place.

It works great for turning it off and on. I just have to set the hi/lo manual because I’ve been too lazy to figure it out.


(Andrew) #5

Thank you, everyone, for your comments and assistance. I think my first course of action is to reconnect the manual Hi/Low switch to see if everything still works as it originally did. If so, I believe a simple on/off Z-Wave switch is the best route, as many have mentioned.
Time is fleeting for me these days, but I will do my best to follow up. Again, thank you everyone!


(David) #6

Which GE zwave switch did you use? I have the same kind of switch on an old whole house fan, with a timer dial and a hi/off/lo switch.

There are only 3 wires in the box: red, black and white. The white came into the timer dial on LOAD, the black had a wire nut connected to the off position wire on the switch and the white and red wires were wire nutted to the other switch positions.

The current wall plate/switch combo looks like this one - http://jetfanusa.com/media/timer-two-spd--front-ivorythumb.jpg - except it’s a small switch on the right instead of the big paddle.

I want to replace this with one of these http://www.homedepot.com/catalog/productImages/1000/dc/dc1101b2-5cf5-45ea-b257-ea3c314da1cf_1000.jpg for the 2 speed fan motor and then replace the dial timer with a GE on/off zwave switch.

The problem is, I’ve only got 3 wires in the box (Hot, low and high). What are others doing for this scenario? I imagine there are many of us with old houses and old whole house fan (wiring).


Whole House Fan using GE switch (no neutral)
(Andrew) #7

Long overdue, I know, but I replaced the dimmer switch with a basic GE Z-Wave on/off switch, and everything works as it should. I do need to replace the fan’s capacitor, as the article I found and others agreed was the problem with the fan turning on, but not turning. The fan turns on AND turns now, but not consistently. I’m sure the replacement capacitor will be the last component needed.
Thank you all for all of your contributions. Greatly appreciated!


(Alan H Glanzman) #8

Hi, newbie here. i have a 6 hour intermatic house fan timer. i would like to replace it with a z-wave switch. based on the above conversation, i believe I can use the Remotec ZFM80. i am not sure of the hp of the fan motor, I will check later. It’s an older unit, it might be larger than 1/2 hp. My question is: Can i keep the intermatic manual timer and hook it into the aux input on the Remotec ZFM80, so the fan can be used either manually or remotely? thank you!!


(Sandy) #9

Has anyone replied to fordstreet’s qestion yet ? I am thinking on the same lines


(Andrew) #10

My input would be to leave the manual timer off for the following reasons:

  1. There are automation systems in place with SmartThings (or any other hub, for that matter) that make the need for a manual timer obsolete, including tying the on/off to my thermostat, so that when the house becomes too hot, the whole house fan turns on automatically, and off once it cools down (See Whole House Fan automation in the automation marketplace).
  2. It’s just one more thing to troubleshoot and/or fail.
  3. They’re just not that attractive to have sticking out of your wall.

All of the above is why I chose the GE Z-Wave paddle on/off switch, which works great, and still provides manual on/off at the wall (plus from your mobile device).

Hope this helps.


(Sandy) #11

Good points to consider when doing this HA Andrew.But what happens in the use case when someone/house guest wants to use it besides the person controlling the app and that person is not at home.

Can we add a minimote to GE-Zwave?


(Andrew) #12

The fan can be controlled from the Z-Wave wall switch manually. Keep in mind the Z-Wave Dimmer switch I originally mentioned was NOT a good option, and I changed it out with the simple on/off wall switch:

To answer you second question, since it’s Z-Wave, I would imagine just about any of these options would work for a remote (though I haven’t used any of these):

I do also know that SmartThings added the ability to “Add Users” now, but when you do, you give them access to everything/all locations/devices. Good for family members, probably not for guests.


(Mr.T) #13

Hi folks. I just had a whole house fan installed. It too has a timer knob and a hi/lo switch. I figured I can just replace the timer with a GE 12727 smart switch.

The timer had only two wires; Load and Line.

So I pigtailed the ground from the Hi/low switch, and installed the line and load in the appropriate places on the switch.

No luck.

I swapped the load and line to see if it was a wiring issue, no luck.

Now I’m stuck. Help please : )


(Andrew) #14

Personally, I think you’re over-complicating things. Why retain the wall timer dial? It’s not exactly an attractive feature, and you can do much more via conditional statements and relationships within SmartThings. I’d remove the timer dial, and replace the Hi/Lo paddle with the GE Smart Switch - which is exactly what I did, and have been very happy with the outcome ever since.


(Mr.T) #15

I don’t want to keep the timer, but when I replace the timer with a smart switch, it doesn’t work. SO you are suggesting I remove both the timer and the hi/low switch. This was the config. I asked the installed to do, but they couldn’t get it to work either :frowning:

So, not sure what is being done wrong.


(Andrew) #16

Correct, remove the timer, replace the Hi/Lo with the GE Z-Wave switch. Keep in mind that the GE switch doesn’t have “Hi and Lo” connections. For me, I just left the “Lo” wire disconnected. Make sure the GE switch is an On/Off switch, and not a Dimmer switch (my first mistake, thus my original post on this site).


(Mr.T) #17

Do you know if the GE 3-speed fan switch would work?


(Andrew) #18

If it’s the 3 speed ceiling fan switch, it will not. I’m not aware of any other GE 3speed switch.