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Author Topic: Micasa and z-wave for lighting controls  (Read 9857 times)

Offline Z-Waver

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Re: Micasa and z-wave for lighting controls
« Reply #15 on: March 25, 2014, 08:55:19 am »
Caution. While it is possible to install and use some Z-Wave switches without a controller, most switches require a controller at installation to initially include and configure the device. Some devices will not work at all until the have been included into a Z_Wave network. After that, it is possible for the switches to operate without the controller.

The Z-Wave controller(Vera) provides several functions. I creates and manages the Z-Wave network and includes(pairs) and configures Z-Wave devices. It also provides scheduling, control, logic and automation of the Z-Wave devices.

You can have scene capable Z-Wave switches and sensors that operate multiple devices without the presence of a controller, such as Vera. But, you must have the controller in order to perform the initial setup and configuration of those devices. Also, the controller does not have to be a Vera, even controllers like a GE 45600 Z-Wave Basic Handheld Remote(I wouldn't recommend this) or a Aeon Labs Z-Wave Minimote can get a Z-Wave network started.

Understand also that a controller-less network is just a bunch of switches. There will no automation almost everything will be manual, so what's the point of that? What @TC1 was suggesting was that you can build your Z-Wave network and when you sell your house and take your controller with you, the remaining Z-Wave switches will continue to operate more or less like regular switches if you set them up correctly. The new home owner can then use them like regular dumb switches, or they can get their own controller.

I don't think that there is sufficient desire/demand from home buyers for DIY home automation systems that a Vera/Z-Wave setup would add much value to the sale of the home. So, as @SirMeili stated, I would likely take my stuff with me. But, if the automation and integration were extensive enough to compel a buyer, then leaving it would make sense.

Offline TC1

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Re: Micasa and z-wave for lighting controls
« Reply #16 on: March 25, 2014, 11:10:20 am »
Back to my original question of creating a lighting control system, with all of the input that i have seen to date the concept of using a vera controller is secondary to adding lighting control devices to the house as long as I design the system to have control-ability with z-wave scene controlling switches. Once the system is in place the addition of a vera controller would add even more control-ability.  It further seems to me that the lighting control devices would not be much different with or without the vera controller (exclusive of any t-stats and locks) 

So to boil my question down, is the following correct? To have lighting only scenes that are controlled within the house, you need to have scene capable devices, and once the Vera is in place those same devices are needed to allow you to control lighting along with the other systems, like HVAC and Security.

Cheers!

To make a "controller-less" Z-wave network that will do some automation through scenes, you still need an initial programmer/controller to include the devices into the network and set certain parameters up. An example of a programmer is like this http://www.amazon.com/Leviton-VRCPG-0SG-Handheld-Controller-Programmer/dp/B001HT4MK2

Or you can buy a Z-wave USB stick for your laptop and use its software to setup your network.

But once you figure in the costs of getting the standalone network programmer, you might as well invest in a VeraLite that can do the same thing plus more. The handheld programmers are mostly fo HA installers who want to create basic networks for customers, without having to upcharge them for a permanent controller.

-TC

Offline catchingthezwaves

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Re: Micasa and z-wave for lighting controls
« Reply #17 on: March 27, 2014, 08:58:51 pm »
As I have started researching costs and specific devices, it seems that there is a real cost difference between leviton and GE devices.  Also there appears that there is some quality difference.  Is there a consensus that the GE product is a lower quality? 


I also have a programming question.  The in wall scene devices say that they can control up to 32 devices.  With the desire to set up an 'away' scene that would shut off upwards of 55 light switch devices.  Would this be an issue or would the controller handle these more complex scenes? 

Cheers!


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Offline TC1

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Re: Micasa and z-wave for lighting controls
« Reply #18 on: March 27, 2014, 09:10:27 pm »
Quote
As I have started researching costs and specific devices, it seems that there is a real cost difference between leviton and GE devices.  Also there appears that there is some quality difference.  Is there a consensus that the GE product is a lower quality?

I think if you ask most folks they'll say not necessarily lower quality, just maybe not as feature rich (or reliable). You need to research both devices and decide if a GE dimmer is good enough in terms of features for you, or you need the feature-set of say a Leviton dimmer. Both devices have all their instruction manuals online, so you can see everything you need to know for both devices before you buy them.

Quote
I also have a programming question.  The in wall scene devices say that they can control up to 32 devices.  With the desire to set up an 'away' scene that would shut off upwards of 55 light switch devices.  Would this be an issue or would the controller handle these more complex scenes? 

Actually, shutting all lights on or off is a simple scene. I know for a fact that the even the GE devices will honor the "all off" or on Z-wave command. It's basically a broadcast message that tells every light load device listening to turn on or off.

A scene controller should be able to issue a All On/Off command to the network, but again, check the online resources first. Another good idea is call one of the better online distributors and simply ask them pre-sales questions.

-TC

Offline catchingthezwaves

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Re: Micasa and z-wave for lighting controls
« Reply #19 on: March 28, 2014, 02:26:43 am »
TC, thanks for your your reply.  It seems that there IS value for the higher cost Leviton, as reliability is pretty important when it comes to an installed system-plus the feature richness is an added value.  So for the additional ten bucks or so to me, its worth the headache.  I have gotten a sense reading in this forum that the GE products are less reliable, and Lowes while convenient and available on site (at the store with Iris products) if i have to install, test and uninstall--Frankly I'd rather save the hassle.

As I continue to research, I'm leaning toward Leviton as my standard switch (for aesthetic consistency), but is there another mainstream manufacturer that should be considered?

Cheers! 


Offline SirMeili

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Re: Micasa and z-wave for lighting controls
« Reply #20 on: March 28, 2014, 08:32:16 am »
TC, thanks for your your reply.  It seems that there IS value for the higher cost Leviton, as reliability is pretty important when it comes to an installed system-plus the feature richness is an added value.  So for the additional ten bucks or so to me, its worth the headache.  I have gotten a sense reading in this forum that the GE products are less reliable, and Lowes while convenient and available on site (at the store with Iris products) if i have to install, test and uninstall--Frankly I'd rather save the hassle.

As I continue to research, I'm leaning toward Leviton as my standard switch (for aesthetic consistency), but is there another mainstream manufacturer that should be considered?

Cheers!

I would look into Cooper Wiring switches as well. They are up there with the Leviton, but have a slightly different aesthetic to them. I am not sure about the functional difference. Some prefer the dimmer bar on the Coopers.
VeraLite (Live); ISY 994i (Live); Vera 3 (Waiting to replace VeraLite); Vera Edge (Waiting for all the bugs to be fixed); Xuan StackBox (Testing and waiting for more plugins and for it to mature)
Countless z-wave and insteon devices :D

Offline TC1

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Re: Micasa and z-wave for lighting controls
« Reply #21 on: March 28, 2014, 06:33:53 pm »
Agree about the Coopers, plus, they have two models now. They are both identical in terms of electronics, just different aesthetics. The Designer series has always been around, but now they have the Decorator series through Staples. They are "plain" looking, but also about $20 cheaper per dimmer. I am considering those models for my standard dimmers.

Also to add, I've come to the conclusion that most folks on these forums that complain about the GE/Jasco devices were folks that bought them off of Ebay or an Amazon 3rd party seller. I have several GE switches in my house bought from Lowes, both individual and 3-way setups, and have had no issues. Also to note, there are new GE dimmers coming out that utilize a neutral wire (they will dim LEDs reliably).

Just a reminder, the one thing the Coopers and Levitons do that no other Z-wave dimmers do (that I am aware) is provide instant status. You have to decide if that feature is worth the premium over something like the GEs.

Offline catchingthezwaves

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Re: Micasa and z-wave for lighting controls
« Reply #22 on: March 28, 2014, 09:05:43 pm »
All good info.  Wanting to maintain a consistent look the cooper decorator series sounds worth consideration.  I like the fact that the GE is available at lowes.  Can you explain what 'instant status' is and what the advantages of that are?


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Offline SirMeili

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Re: Micasa and z-wave for lighting controls
« Reply #23 on: March 28, 2014, 11:21:19 pm »
Instant status means when you turn on a switch at the actual switch it notifies the controller (in this case the vera) instantly. Other switches you have to wait for the next polling for it to update in Vera.

One of my use cases is this: I have a Leviton switch controlling my front porch lights. I also have a security light that had no switch and functioned solely on the motion/light sensor. I replaced the security light with a plain 3 bulb version and put an aeon micro dimmer in the box. Now when I turn on my from porch lights I can have the vera instantly turn on the security lights as well.

Edit: the above is a simplified version of what happens. I can also control the lights independently via motion sensors and the smart switch plugin. It also changes depending on the time of day.

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« Last Edit: March 28, 2014, 11:24:11 pm by SirMeili »
VeraLite (Live); ISY 994i (Live); Vera 3 (Waiting to replace VeraLite); Vera Edge (Waiting for all the bugs to be fixed); Xuan StackBox (Testing and waiting for more plugins and for it to mature)
Countless z-wave and insteon devices :D

Offline catchingthezwaves

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Re: Micasa and z-wave for lighting controls
« Reply #24 on: March 31, 2014, 03:11:28 pm »
Thanks, that is helpful.  I realize i am probably boiling it down too far, or not completely accurate in how i am describing this, but it seems to me that if you are willing to accept the different looks of the cooper decorator series (or leviton) and the GE/Jasco you could develop an affordable system that uses the two switches within the house to allow for the ones that you want or need to have instant status so that they can control other z wave devices to create scenes and so forth.  While using the non instant switches where they are basic switches or even slaves.

Another question, does anyone know if systems like Crestron or Lutron use these types of switches for their mesh network systems? 

Offline TC1

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Re: Micasa and z-wave for lighting controls
« Reply #25 on: March 31, 2014, 04:36:08 pm »
Yes, they do. Crestron uses a RF protocol they call infiNET, it operates @2.4Ghz and provides two-way communication (instant status). But the wall switches are all >$100 and can only be had through a Crestron dealer. Complete systems start in the 5-figure $$ range.

Lutron has their RadioRA2 system, which I believe is also a proprietary protocol.

Both systems are mesh type networks, but in a much higher price range than a typical Z-wave system.

Offline catchingthezwaves

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Re: Micasa and z-wave for lighting controls
« Reply #26 on: April 20, 2014, 11:23:06 am »
Well it's finally here, I have purchased the controller Vera 3 opting for the more robust capacity.  I have also bought a few switches. The switches showed up first.  Can I install them without the controller to see how they feel?  Will they operate?

Thanks!


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Offline Z-Waver

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Re: Micasa and z-wave for lighting controls
« Reply #27 on: April 20, 2014, 01:32:47 pm »
Well it's finally here, I have purchased the controller Vera 3 opting for the more robust capacity.  I have also bought a few switches. The switches showed up first.  Can I install them without the controller to see how they feel?  Will they operate?
I'm pretty sure that I answered this question earlier in this thread.

Offline dpendleton

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Re: Micasa and z-wave for lighting controls
« Reply #28 on: April 20, 2014, 08:34:07 pm »
If I have a three way swith in my house and I want to up grade it with a z- wave switch do I have to replace all switches in this application or just one?

Offline catchingthezwaves

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Re: Micasa and z-wave for lighting controls
« Reply #29 on: April 21, 2014, 03:17:45 pm »
Z-waver, You are right, thanks for the reminder. 

As I continue to design the system and select switches and get more specific about my choices.  I have decided where i want in wall scene controllers. As I look at the physical locations and how the boxes work i want to consolidate switches if possible. ( why have an automated lighting system is you still have a light switch bank of 4-5 switches)  I now have the following questions:

1. Can  you replace a slave switch for a 3 way with a scene controller by programming one button for that function?

2. Are there non-scene switches that can handle 2 or more loads directly. (dealing with downsizing boxes where possible)

Cheers!