Yet Another Fan Question

(Scott Alexander) #1

Hey guys I’ve searched through the fan posts but not finding a real definitive suggestion for my scenario.

I have an AC motor fan with single wall switch that controls power to standard rf receiver. Receiver is hooked up to both fan and lights and has standard 3 stage on/off/dim control. I got hit by lightning some time ago and fan no longer functions. Presumably my receiver was fried and needs to be replaced. Before I do that though I wanted to try and figure out how to incorporate SmartThings. Ideally I’d like the same subset of control I have now, here is that list ordered by my personal priorities.

  • Ability to kill/allow power manually from wall
  • Ability to turn fan/off independent of light
  • Ability to turn light on/off independent of fan
  • Ability to control fan speed

My thoughts are to install a Zwave on/off switch to replace the wall switch. This will replicate the on (resume last state) and off (kill all power) functionality I have with the standard wall switch today. Further I’d remove the receiver all together and install a DSC14104-ZWUS aeon micro motor controller to the fan. I’d then install a DSC27103-ZWUS aeon micro dimmer connected to the light. Both micros would be in parallel connected to the ceiling and stored in fan housing.

I’m thinking this should replicate my current functionality like for like but allow for extended control that SmartThings provides. Further since I’m using the aeon micro motor controller it should be safe for the fan motor.
I realize having the micros downstream of the zwave on/off may seem a little strange. But I’m wanting that for two reasons. First, if SmartThings is down/flaky I want to be able to at least resume/kill whatever state my fan/lights were in previously. Two I don’t like the aesthetic of a standard wall switch portraying a state (up/down) out of synch with the load it represents…

Am I missing anything? Any better ideas?

Hampton Bay Zigbee Fan controller
(Scott Alexander) #2

Anyone have any thoughts on this? Am I missing something totally basic?

(Bruce) #3

This is very unlikely to work. For one thing, once you turn off the power to the micros with the wall switch, they will drop off the mesh network. Turning them back on may or may not get them working again properly. Another issue, the micro motor controller is simply a SPDT switch with an off position in the middle, so it won’t be able to control the speed of the fan. To control fan speed, you need a fan switch purpose designed – there are several.

(Scott Alexander) #4

Bruce, thanks for the reply much appreciated. As far as falling off the mesh, I’ve had luck with both link/cree bulbs so maybe zigbee would be better choice than aeon. Perhaps something like the SmartenIT ZBLC15 dual relay. Although not sure how these being repeaters might play into things.

I’m not aware of anything like the GE 12730 that comes in micro controller form so It sounds like fan speed control is essentially out without running a second line or sacrificing my higher priority of light control independent of the fan. So it sounds like my options are in order of meeting priority list above are.

  1. Run additional wire to fan so light/fan have independent wall switches. Con: Cost
  2. Buy new receiver, sacrifice remote, try to pull off a @Tomforti Con: Cost, pushing my skill limits :smile:
  3. Use something like ZBLC15 in fan housing to independently control on/off function for light/fan. Install smart wall switch for “emergency” override. Con: No Speed Control, Risk mesh issues if wall switch accidentally used
  4. Use GE 12730 for Wall Switch and micro for lights. Con: Fan must be on to have light on, light will dim/brighten with fan speed.

Option 3 seems like my best bet given I don’t plan on using the wall switch unless SmartThings is down and I need a way to turn the light/fan off. Further 90% of the time when I have the fan on I want it on full anyway. However I may mull over option two a bit :slight_smile: . Thanks again for your thoughts Bruce.

(Bruce) #5

You might want to explore this a bit before you abandon it. Fishing wires is something people have done all the time, and it might not be as expensive as you imagine. Do you have an attic?

(Scott Alexander) #6

Unfortunately no, bedroom in question has vaulted ceilings directly matching roof line. Part of the reason I’ve waited this long into my HA experience to address this particular installation is due to my avoidance of getting ladder high enough to reach the current fan receiver itself…I agree it is the most elegant solution and something I will likely get a quote for, but with no prior experience fishing wire, I’m not sure this application is the best scenario to learn on…

(Bruce) #7

The reason I bring it up is that electricians do this all the time, and there are tricks they use to minimize the drywall damage. Repairing the drywall damage can be not a big deal, depending, especially if you have the right paint. I’m not suggesting this as a DIY. The last time I had an electrician come the service call was $75, and he spent about an hour here.

(Brian) #8

I know this thread is approaching old, but why not do the below? I need to do this for a high mounted ceiling fan as well, and in my area electricians don’t come out for any less than a full day’s worth of work.

  1. Replace wall switch with a dummy smart switch and tie the lines in the box to make the fan “hot” all the time.
  2. Put remote smart switches in the fan and light casing and connect them in any way you want to your smart switch/hub etc.


  1. I am not aware of a remote dimming module, but I’m going to go look now… EDIT: Found one, Aeon Micro Smart Dimmer. Problem solved.
  2. Size of remotes vs size of fan casing.
  3. Anything I’m missing?

(Scott Alexander) #9

For me personally, violates my first priority of being able to turn device on/off manually with no dependency on clouds or even local zwave communication.

If you’re willing to accept that risk what you propose is a fine solution. I just know my wife would order a cease and desist on all home automation if come bedtime, SmartThings was out and I’m either dragging out the ladder to unscrew the bulbs or opening up the switch to disconnect the line/load tie… :smile:

(Brian) #10

Ok, then you might want to leave the dumb or smart switch load controlling, and just accept the possibility that the zwave may or may not jump on the network. I actually think they will in a reasonable environment. My zwave has been more robust than I expect, and I have outdoor modules that are off a long time that come back when I need them.

Overall, for me, this is robust enough. I do wonder if a direct association with the Aeon Minimote works as a backup. Hmm…

(Brian) #11

I failed on one thing here. The remote dimmer won’t work for fan speed control. I always forget this part. Now what? Hmm.

(Benji) #12

Glad you caught that and was going to say, most of the time normal dimmers cannot be used with fans :frowning:

I’m still shocked no one has replicated the Insteon FanLinc in Z-Wave/ZigBee form…

(Scott Alexander) #13

Just thought I’d update this thread with the current best solution to the originally stated problem: