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Author Topic: Remote control of ceiling 3 speed fans with dimmable lights  (Read 41881 times)

Offline catchingthezwaves

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I am starting to get my lighting system going, i have about half of the house set up wit z wave switches (about 20 so far). I have set up a few scenes and everything seems pretty intuitive with Vera3.  I am now working on the more complex issues to see what i can accomplish.  I saw this in an older thread on this, but i am working through the situation of having ceiling fans controlled by remotes to dim the light and control fan speed (3 speeds) I installed these fans in the location that only had a light and therefor the remote was required to control the second function.   I know that there are options of using insteon or micro switches or something like that.  I have two questions.

First, i would like to keep the remote controller installed in the fan to control speed and light and I'm wondering if there are any new developments to control this with an IR blaster that Vera controls with a scene and triggers or the like.

Secondly without that option, can someone explain how the insteon interface works with Vera?

Thanks in advance!

Offline Z-Waver

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Re: Remote control of ceiling 3 speed fans with dimmable lights
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2014, 06:29:12 pm »
There are several layers to the onion that is your post.

First we must determine what type of fans/remotes you are using. Are they actually infrared controllers, in which case you may be able to use an IR Blaster, or are they radio frequency(RF) remote controllers? If they are RF controllers an IR blaster will not work.

Forum user @Vodden recently posted about his plan to automate his Hampton Bay fans using an Arduino and a transceiver. I don't know how successful that will be, but I know that you could disassemble a fan's handheld remote and connect its buttons to Arduino controlled relays that you could trigger from Vera. It's not an ideal solution as it lacks positive feedback as to the fan's current state, but it might be sufficient for most people.

Insteon is a manufacturer and a protocol. The Insteon protocol is another system that is similar to a combination of Z-Wave and X-10. It uses wired and/or wireless channels to communicate commands from the Insteon controller to the Insteon devices. Vera has a limited built-in understanding of Insteon devices and with the addition of an Insteon 2413S PowerLinc Modem INSTEON Dual-Band Serial Interface or PLM, Vera can command Insteon devices directly.

Insteon offers the Insteon 2475F FanLinc Ceiling Fan and Light Controller which offers dual control of the fans speed and its lights. The Insteon FanLinc controller is intended to control pull-chain-for-speed type fans. I suspect that it would not work well, if at all, with wireless remote controlled fans like the Hampton Bay units discussed in @Vodden's post. So, if that is what you have, it may not be a good choice.

In the Z-Wave world there is only one Z-Wave fan speed controller at the moment. It is the Leviton VRF01-1LZ Scene Capable Quiet Fan Speed Control Switch. This switch allows Z-Wave speed control of  pull chain type fans. It does not offer control of the light, you would need another Z-Wave switch/dimmer if you wished to control the light.

Offline Vodden

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Re: Remote control of ceiling 3 speed fans with dimmable lights
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2014, 09:17:02 pm »
First we must determine what type of fans/remotes you are using. Are they actually infrared controllers, in which case you may be able to use an IR Blaster, or are they radio frequency(RF) remote controllers? If they are RF controllers an IR blaster will not work.

I checked multiple wireless remote fan manufacturer/suppliers and they all use the same equipment.  This is RF and uses the 303.875MHz frequency.  As @Z-Waver mentioned, this is a project I will be tackling as soon as my Arduino bits show up.

This includes:
Hampton Bay
Hunter
Harbor Breeze
Concord
Minkaire

My objective is to be able to ditch the fan remote, as they look cheap and cheezy, and replace it with a Universal that can control more than just the fan via Z-wave/IR if local control is required.  One remote would work just about everything. 

In the Z-Wave world there is only one Z-Wave fan speed controller at the moment. It is the Leviton VRF01-1LZ Scene Capable Quiet Fan Speed Control Switch. This switch allows Z-Wave speed control of  pull chain type fans. It does not offer control of the light, you would need another Z-Wave switch/dimmer if you wished to control the light.

If the Arduino adventure doesn't pan out, then I planned on pulling the RF controller and splitting the wiring at the fan so I could control the fans via a Leviton VRF01-1LZ and the lights via a Aeon Micro-switch.  The micro-switch would be in the fan's octagon box and controlled via scene control/associated controller.  This would allow existing 2-wire cable to be used to control the fan at the switch box.  This is an existing 4 gang box with a feed so I can power the controller as well. 

I checked the amp draw on the fan motor and the Leviton will be able to run 2 fans MAX.  Something you might want to check if you go this route and have multiple fans.
Vera 3 v1.5.622, Sharp Aquos, DSC 1864, EVL-3, (2) iPhone 6, Kwikset 912, Kwikset 910, (2) Linear WT00Z-1, (2) Linear WS15Z-1, (2) Linear WD500Z-1, (2) Evolve LTM-5, (8.) Aeotec micro-dimmer,  (3) Aeotec micro-switch, (1) Cooper Aspire RF9500

Offline catchingthezwaves

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Re: Remote control of ceiling 3 speed fans with dimmable lights
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2014, 10:15:51 am »
I have the Harbor Breeze Cheezy version and will pursue this as well

THanks,


Offline catchingthezwaves

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Re: Remote control of ceiling 3 speed fans with dimmable lights
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2014, 06:59:26 pm »
Vodden, how many fans do you have?  I have 3 fans/lights on 2 different floors...

Can you send me to the thread that you explained your approach?  I seem to recall reading it but couldn't find it...


Offline Vodden

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Re: Remote control of ceiling 3 speed fans with dimmable lights
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2014, 10:46:30 pm »
Vodden, how many fans do you have?  I have 3 fans/lights on 2 different floors...

Can you send me to the thread that you explained your approach?  I seem to recall reading it but couldn't find it...

2 fans, same room.

I have yet to tackle this project as I am waiting for Arduino parts, and just recently found the transmitter/receiver using the correct frequency.  I have been corresponding with the manufacturer in Taiwan and finally received a pro forma invoice yesterday so I could send them payment.  The components were a little pricy compared to what was being offered on ebay for different frequencies, but I could live with $15 for 2 pairs of receiver/transmitters as I was 'pioneering' fan control via Arduino/Vera and was willing to take a slight financial hit (compared to the ebay units) to be the 'first'.  It was still going to be much cheaper than taking the Leviton approach.

Well, it turns out that they only accept wire transfers, which would cost me $45, on top of the $70USD they decided to tack on for banking charges and freight.  :o  The same components in 315 MHz or 433.92 MHz cost about $1.50 a pair with free shipping on ebay, and I was expected to pay ~$60.  Easy decision.  Not happening.  They did forward me the South American distributor contact, so we will see if that works out any better but I'm not holding my breath.  (Me no speaky Spanish)

I have scoured the corners of the earth looking for 303.875MHz components with no luck except this supplier, (Wenshing). If anyone has better luck than I, let me know.  Even if I implement a different solution (which is planned) I still want to give this a shot and would be happy to collaborate with others that have more knowledge/experience with Arduino than I. 

I can purchase an extra remote on Ebay for $10, so now I think I am going to take the same approach @RexBeckett did with his blinds remote here with the slight issue that there isn't a plug-in to support it.  :( I know it could be done via Arduino and a relay board, but it would require 5 relay closures per remote which would be cumbersome and impractical even if I decide to use the same codes for both fans. 
Vera 3 v1.5.622, Sharp Aquos, DSC 1864, EVL-3, (2) iPhone 6, Kwikset 912, Kwikset 910, (2) Linear WT00Z-1, (2) Linear WS15Z-1, (2) Linear WD500Z-1, (2) Evolve LTM-5, (8.) Aeotec micro-dimmer,  (3) Aeotec micro-switch, (1) Cooper Aspire RF9500

Offline RexBeckett

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Re: Remote control of ceiling 3 speed fans with dimmable lights
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2014, 06:08:36 am »
Quote
I can purchase an extra remote on Ebay for $10, so now I think I am going to take the same approach @RexBeckett did with his blinds remote here with the slight issue that there isn't a plug-in to support it.

I also have a more-recent version that uses an Arduino to operate the remote. This could have advantages for your application:
  • It can handle more buttons and even multiple remotes
  • The button timing is handled by the Arduino so it simplifies the Vera end
  • The commands are simple strings which could be sent from scenes
  • It would not take much to modify my plugin to look like a fan controller
See WifiRTSM

Offline Z-Waver

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Re: Remote control of ceiling 3 speed fans with dimmable lights
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2014, 09:29:03 am »
@RexBeckett - This is fantastic! I'm really sorry that I had not seen this project previously.

Spectacular job, as always.

Offline Vodden

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Re: Remote control of ceiling 3 speed fans with dimmable lights
« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2014, 11:17:24 pm »

I also have a more-recent version that uses an Arduino to operate the remote. This could have advantages for your application:
  • It can handle more buttons and even multiple remotes
  • The button timing is handled by the Arduino so it simplifies the Vera end
  • The commands are simple strings which could be sent from scenes
  • It would not take much to modify my plugin to look like a fan controller
See WifiRTSM


@RexBeckett

I checked out this project and I like it. 

I have gone ahead and purchased 2 Hampton Bay remotes off Ebay and they should be here next week to see if we can pull this off. 

So many questions  ???

As you attested to in the quoted post, this has capability to handle more buttons. 

The fan controller remote has 5 buttons, and some have an optional 6th for fan direction, which appears to be present on my 5 button remote's PCB, but no button on the remote itself.  If we did this, I'm thinking we should support the 6th button to cover all bases.  The buttons are:
 
Fan High
Fan Med
Fan Low
Fan Off
Reverse
Light: This button turns on/off with a press and dims up and down if held.  In my situation, with 2 fans in the same room, if I chose to run one remote for both fans (by keeping the dip switches the same on both controllers), this is what I would expect to get out of sync between the 2 fans. 

How would we support a second remote?  I am making the assumption that we would require 6 digital and 6 analog pins per remote. 

Would this mean a second Arduino?  A different Arduino that supports more I/O?

Could this be supported by the Arduino gateway by @hek with some tweaks? (don't plan on reinventing the wheel, just curious)

Would it be possible to use a wired RS232 to Ethernet board like a Wiznet 5100 instead of the USR-WIFI232 unit?  Would this present connectivity/programming challenges?  I am asking because I am going to be running cat6 everywhere in my house and rather than sending signals via wifi, I could do it via cable.  It also adds the option of powering the units via PoE and eliminating the need for a power source.  The perfect situation for me would be to mount this in-wall in a plastic dual gang box with an Ethernet cable running into it from behind the wall providing power and system connectivity.   

Please let me know what your thoughts are on this.

Thanks for your input/support/cooperation/etc.

V
Vera 3 v1.5.622, Sharp Aquos, DSC 1864, EVL-3, (2) iPhone 6, Kwikset 912, Kwikset 910, (2) Linear WT00Z-1, (2) Linear WS15Z-1, (2) Linear WD500Z-1, (2) Evolve LTM-5, (8.) Aeotec micro-dimmer,  (3) Aeotec micro-switch, (1) Cooper Aspire RF9500

Offline RexBeckett

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Re: Remote control of ceiling 3 speed fans with dimmable lights
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2014, 03:55:28 am »
Quote
How would we support a second remote?  I am making the assumption that we would require 6 digital and 6 analog pins per remote.

You will not need the analogue inputs. I used them because the Somfy remote has selectable channels and I needed to read the state of the LEDs. If you just have six buttons to operate, you just need six outputs per remote. An Arduino Pro Mini or Nano should be able to handle two remotes.

Quote
Could this be supported by the Arduino gateway by @hek with some tweaks? (don't plan on reinventing the wheel, just curious)

I don't see why not. They have a very good system structure so it shouldn't take much additional work.

Quote
Would it be possible to use a wired RS232 to Ethernet board like a Wiznet 5100 instead of the USR-WIFI232 unit?  Would this present connectivity/programming challenges?

This is all down to how good the Ethernet/RS232 module is. Provided it can be setup to run as a UDP server, it should be transparent to both the Vera plugin and the Arduino.

Quote
Light: This button turns on/off with a press and dims up and down if held.  In my situation, with 2 fans in the same room, if I chose to run one remote for both fans (by keeping the dip switches the same on both controllers), this is what I would expect to get out of sync between the 2 fans. 

Automation of buttons with toggle or press and hold until it is doing what you want functionality is a minefield. Getting one to work reliably is close to impossible unless there is some mechanism to force it to a known state. Getting two to track? Just how lucky do you feel? My advice is to not waste your time. If it were my project, I would rewire the lamps to use Z-Wave dimmer micro-modules.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2014, 04:39:50 am by RexBeckett »

Offline Vodden

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Re: Remote control of ceiling 3 speed fans with dimmable lights
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2014, 07:24:50 am »
Quote
How would we support a second remote?  I am making the assumption that we would require 6 digital and 6 analog pins per remote.

You will not need the analogue inputs. I used them because the Somfy remote has selectable channels and I needed to read the state of the LEDs. If you just have six buttons to operate, you just need six outputs per remote. An Arduino Pro Mini or Nano should be able to handle two remotes.

Quote
Light: This button turns on/off with a press and dims up and down if held.  In my situation, with 2 fans in the same room, if I chose to run one remote for both fans (by keeping the dip switches the same on both controllers), this is what I would expect to get out of sync between the 2 fans. 

Automation of buttons with toggle or press and hold until it is doing what you want functionality is a minefield. Getting one to work reliably is close to impossible unless there is some mechanism to force it to a known state. Getting two to track? Just how lucky do you feel? My advice is to not waste your time. If it were my project, I would rewire the lamps to use Z-Wave dimmer micro-modules.

I was leaning toward 2 remotes due to the light sync issue, but it sounds like 'hold to activate' is a nightmare, so I am going to rewire the light to be controlled via micro-dimmer (my original intention before I got adventurous with Adruino).  This would allow both fans to be controlled via one remote control, which is fine.  I have always intended on having them working in tandem, so this will keep things simple.

Quote
Would it be possible to use a wired RS232 to Ethernet board like a Wiznet 5100 instead of the USR-WIFI232 unit?  Would this present connectivity/programming challenges?

This is all down to how good the Ethernet/RS232 module is. Provided it can be setup to run as a UDP server, it should be transparent to both the Vera plugin and the Arduino.

The device I am looking at is a Wiznet WIZ100SR..  According to the page it supports UDP, but I am unsure if that means it can be set up to run as a UDP server as you mentioned.    The plan would be to run the cat6 to a keystone jack that would be fitted into the back of the box and an RJ45 male connection that would connect to the board data I/O and supply power to the Arduino, remote board, and wiznet. 
Vera 3 v1.5.622, Sharp Aquos, DSC 1864, EVL-3, (2) iPhone 6, Kwikset 912, Kwikset 910, (2) Linear WT00Z-1, (2) Linear WS15Z-1, (2) Linear WD500Z-1, (2) Evolve LTM-5, (8.) Aeotec micro-dimmer,  (3) Aeotec micro-switch, (1) Cooper Aspire RF9500

Offline RexBeckett

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Re: Remote control of ceiling 3 speed fans with dimmable lights
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2014, 07:53:45 am »
Quote
I am going to rewire the light to be controlled via micro-dimmer...

Good decision!

Quote
I am unsure if that means it can be set up to run as a UDP server as you mentioned.

As far as I can see from the user manual, it should be OK. I think you would need to set the Server IP to that of your Vera if you wanted to get responses back. Actually, given that you are just hitting a button and the Arduino has no way of telling if the transmission got through, a response may not have any value.

Offline RexBeckett

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Re: Remote control of ceiling 3 speed fans with dimmable lights
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2014, 06:59:59 pm »
Here is your basic NetFan plugin and Arduino sketch. I've set a default option in the plugin to ignore response from the Arduino so you can install it and try it out before you get the hardware built. It will send out UDP packets but does not look for a response. When you create the device (see enclosed instructions), you will need to set a sensible IP address even if it does not yet exist.

The Arduino sketch takes a simple two-character command to specify which remote button to operate. See instructions and sketch comments for details. You can load the sketch onto an Arduino and check it using the Serial Monitor. Even without a connection to the remote, you should see the LED on pin 13 flash when you send a command. You should also get a response character. Once you get your network module and have it configured, you can hook it up and run it from the plugin.

I have verified it all works up to the Arduino. What I cannot predict is the interface to your remote. If you are lucky, it will be like the Somfy ones where the buttons pull the chip pins down to ground. This allows a simple connection from the Arduino output pins using a diode as shown in WifiRTSM. You will need to inspect your remote to see how it is wired. If the buttons don't have ground on one side, you may need four optical isolators (or one quad) and four resistors to condition the Arduino outputs.
 
« Last Edit: May 03, 2014, 08:16:59 pm by RexBeckett »

Offline Vodden

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Re: Remote control of ceiling 3 speed fans with dimmable lights
« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2014, 12:00:08 am »
@RexBeckett

WOW! That was quick!  Thank you so much!  Funny how something that would have taken me days of painstaking research, cut/pasting, and harassing of others here on the forum probably took you minutes, and you even took the time to write up a procedure!  Rex, you are 1st Class!   ;D

I performed surgery again today on my fan remote (not the first time) and figured I would attach the pictures so you could see what the guts look like.  I'm not exactly sure how the buttons function, but there is just a rubber pushes button that pushes down on the PCB.  Now that I have looked at it a bit closer I am making the assumption (don't have the rubber buttons or a tester with me) that the backs of the buttons are conductive and the black areas where the button contacts the board are bare, allowing a button press to short the 2 sides.  The top 3 are all for the light (we wont use these), second row is fan low/med/high, and the entire 3rd row is the fan off function.  The bottom button is the reverse button which doesn't appear to be functional since 'J8' and 'D9' are missing.  I may need some guidance on what components I will need to make the buttons function properly. 

Once again Rex, thanks a bunch.

Vera 3 v1.5.622, Sharp Aquos, DSC 1864, EVL-3, (2) iPhone 6, Kwikset 912, Kwikset 910, (2) Linear WT00Z-1, (2) Linear WS15Z-1, (2) Linear WD500Z-1, (2) Evolve LTM-5, (8.) Aeotec micro-dimmer,  (3) Aeotec micro-switch, (1) Cooper Aspire RF9500

Offline RexBeckett

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Re: Remote control of ceiling 3 speed fans with dimmable lights
« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2014, 04:25:14 am »
Quote
Funny how something that would have taken me days of painstaking research, cut/pasting, and harassing of others here on the forum probably took you minutes, and you even took the time to write up a procedure!

It is quicker when you take something that already works and delete great chunks of it. It took longer to find/edit the icons. They are pretty crude and you can probably do better.

Quote
I may need some guidance on what components I will need to make the buttons function properly.

One side of each button appears to be connected to ground (large areas of copper and black battery wire). What voltage is the battery? Unless it is 3 to 3.7 Volts, you will need to use an opto-isolator to connect to the Arduino's 3.3 V outputs. There are lots of different types that would work. Toshiba TLP521-4 are good or Vishay CNY74-4 or... I'll post a likely schematic later.