Author Topic: 'Simplest' 3-way switch  (Read 2637 times)

fsa317

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'Simplest' 3-way switch
« on: June 02, 2013, 04:51:31 pm »
Hi, planning out my lighting layout on new construction.  A few of the lights I'd like to control are on 3 way switches.  My electrician isn't experience with z-wave stuff so I'm trying to pick z-wave switches that are "closest to normal".  Any recommendations?

Z-Waver

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Re: 'Simplest' 3-way switch
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2013, 06:57:00 pm »
I think the ones closest to normal are the Intermatic switches, which can use normal switches as 3-way remotes. But, they are discontinued switches. The ones on the market are surplus. That's not necessarily bad, just letting you know.

It does seem that every Z-Wave switch manufacturer's 3-way wiring is unique. But, they're still not complicated and they all come with instructions which most home owners and any electrician should be able to read and understand.

For still in production switches, the GE/Jasco are good and relatively inexpensive. You can get them at Amazon and even at Lowes. The Evolve LSM15 and LTM5 remote as well as the Leviton VRS15-1LZ and VRCS1-1LZ remote are more expensive, but they support instant status, which is often desirable at some point or another.

You could also use normal switches but put micro switches like Aeon Labs and Fibaro inline.

nullx8

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Re: 'Simplest' 3-way switch
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2013, 08:45:16 pm »
Standard 3 way setup, and between the last switch and the las itself place a fibaro dimmer in switch mode or relais.

But honestly, in anew house, i wouldnt do that.
Make sure you have permanent power and ground in all switch-locations, then you can handle all this things later on in a very easy fashion yourself.

The main trouble you have in a "old" house is that you not have the ground wire avaiable to serve the modules.

The technican can simply execute this task "put neutral wire in all switch-boxes" with no explaination ;)

fsa317

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Re: 'Simplest' 3-way switch
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2013, 04:36:09 am »
The Leviton VRCS1-1LZ looks like a good switch.  As far as I can see there aren't any major tradeoffs with respect to scene control or anything.  Please let me know if there are any limitations to this switch, other than I dont think it is a dimmer.  For the one room I will have a dimmer I'll use VRI06-1LZ.


Z-Waver

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Re: 'Simplest' 3-way switch
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2013, 05:41:47 am »
The Leviton VRCS1-1LZ looks like a good switch.  As far as I can see there aren't any major tradeoffs with respect to scene control or anything.  Please let me know if there are any limitations to this switch, other than I dont think it is a dimmer.  For the one room I will have a dimmer I'll use VRI06-1LZ.



Price is the only issue I'm aware of with these switches.

Please also be aware that the VRCS1-1LZ is only the remote, it must be used in conjunction with the VRS15-1LZ. The VRS15-1LZ is the primary and load controlling switch.

fsa317

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Re: 'Simplest' 3-way switch
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2013, 06:03:09 am »
I think I may not fully get this.  What does the "remote" do?  What I'm looking to do with these switches is basically be able to turn them on and off from my Vera (scenes / direct manipulation).  For the one room with a dimmer I want to also set the dim level.

I'm not sure where the remote comes in to play.

Z-Waver

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Re: 'Simplest' 3-way switch
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2013, 09:54:46 am »
In 3-way switch configurations there are two switches that control the load. e.g a stairway light has a switch at the top and another at the bottom of the stairs. Normally, you use two 3-way switches for this configuration.

Most Z-Wave switches, when used in the above 3-Way configuration will use a Z-Wave controlled(master) switch and a remote switch that activates the master.

Using Leviton as an example the master at the top of the stairs is the Leviton VRS15-1LZ and the remote at the bottom of the stairs is the Leviton VRCS1-1LZ. They are different switches that are used together in a 3-way circuit. Each manufacturer has their own way of doing it, but most all of them use two different switches, a master and a remote.

Z-Wave dimmers work in a similar fashion. When used in 3-way circuits, there is usually a master and a different remote switch.

In all cases, since they are Z-Wave switches, Vera can turn them on and off and also set dim levels on dimmers.

fsa317

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Re: 'Simplest' 3-way switch
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2013, 11:01:13 am »
So in your example I cant use a z-wave at the bottom of the stairs and a "regular" (cheap) switch at the top?

Freakin

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Re: 'Simplest' 3-way switch
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2013, 11:14:13 am »
Standard 3 way setup, and between the last switch and the las itself place a fibaro dimmer in switch mode or relais.

But honestly, in anew house, i wouldnt do that.
Make sure you have permanent power and ground in all switch-locations, then you can handle all this things later on in a very easy fashion yourself.

The main trouble you have in a "old" house is that you not have the ground wire avaiable to serve the modules.

The technican can simply execute this task "put neutral wire in all switch-boxes" with no explaination ;)

minor correction, you need a neutral wire in most places to serve the modules.  Without a neutral, it has to pass the power through the load which doesn't work properly with LEDs or CFLs.  Dimmers for these generally require a neutral in the box for this reason.

Z-Waver

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Re: 'Simplest' 3-way switch
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2013, 11:49:35 am »
@fsa-317 - That is correct for most switches.

There are only types of switches, that I am aware of,  that allow the use of standard 3-way switches in combination with the Z-Wave switch. First is the Intermatic CA3000 On/Off and CA600 dimmer that I mentioned at the top of this thread.

The second are the in-wall micro switches such as the Fibaro that @nullx8 mentioned(not available in the U.S. yet) or the Aeon Labs. But, these are less popular. Though, I don't know why.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2013, 11:51:37 am by Z-Waver »

nullx8

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Re: 'Simplest' 3-way switch
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2013, 05:39:16 pm »
The main trouble you have in a "old" house is that you not have the ground wire avaiable to serve the modules.
The technican can simply execute this task "put neutral wire in all switch-boxes" with no explaination ;)
minor correction, you need a neutral wire in most places to serve the modules.

ain't that exactly what i wrote ? :)
« Last Edit: June 03, 2013, 05:41:53 pm by nullx8 »

nullx8

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Re: 'Simplest' 3-way switch
« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2013, 05:51:26 pm »
general Question: are you okay with Momentary switches ?
this would save you the "3-way cableing" completly . .and also may save z-wave hardware as well.

Pro:
- it wont matter then if you have 1 or 10 momentary switches connect to the same dimmer/switch via the same channel.
- you can use standard dimmer/switches instead of overpriced-3way
- the momentrary switches have the advantage to not "show" a status which is not really the case

Con:
- you can not just "bypass" the dimmer/switch module then in case of failure.

you can have the traditional 3 way cabeling and have momentary switches installed and function with all the mentioned advantages as well (this may of advantage if you change it back to "normal") just a cost issue i guess

fsa317

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Re: 'Simplest' 3-way switch
« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2013, 05:56:05 pm »
Honestly don't understand enough about momentary switches to know if I'm OK or not.  I'm trying to balance a cost effective and simple solution.  I'd prefer not have to buy 2 $50+ z-wave devices to control 1 light, so I'm open to any other approaches.

nullx8

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Re: 'Simplest' 3-way switch
« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2013, 06:16:56 pm »
momentary switches are simply the same as standard, just that they flip back to the off position by themselfs.

this give you the advantage that they always in the same position and not indicate a "on" where no "on" is ...
basically all switches are avaiable as static and momentary in the same outfit/design .. noone would see the difference, and then you would need only one module .. even you use 20 switches to control 1 light ;)

this GE 3-way modules (us market) are great for refit but i would not use such things in a new house.

if the lamps are close by you can save additional money by using multi-node modules
like the fibaro FGS221 (2*1.5k Module)
or this one from TKB http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/577455595/Z_Wave_inwall_Switch_Module_for.html

a setup like this may need more cables under the ceiling .. but saves you 50% of the module-costs.

« Last Edit: June 03, 2013, 06:19:04 pm by nullx8 »

fsa317

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Re: 'Simplest' 3-way switch
« Reply #14 on: June 03, 2013, 06:32:04 pm »
wow, so many options.  So is a momentary switch more like a push button then an actual switch? What I don't get is where the z-wave comes in to play, I don't see (via Google) any "zwave momentary" switches.