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Author Topic: GE Z-Wave® Dimmer Switch (3-Way Kit)  (Read 113279 times)

Offline kaldoon

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Re: GE Z-Wave® Dimmer Switch (3-Way Kit)
« Reply #15 on: January 20, 2011, 09:48:35 pm »
No manufacturer supports the use of CFL's with  Z-Wave dimmers as you will get the behavior described above - if you want to run CFL's I would suggest Z-Wave Relay switches: http://smarthome-products.com/s-30-fluorescent-appliance.aspx

Offline tosvus

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Re: GE Z-Wave® Dimmer Switch (3-Way Kit)
« Reply #16 on: January 21, 2011, 12:43:14 am »
I'm not expecting the dimming to be perfect, but hope to find a bulb that at least doesn't go off and on every 0.3 seconds (approx). I already bought about 20 dimmers, so this is what I'm working with.

The good news is that I picked up a LED EcoSmart 40w (equivalent) model A19 at HomeDepot today, and it works PERFECTLY. Sure, the dimming has a limited number of "steps" to it rather than a smooth dimming, but it dims quite low, and no weird behavior. About $18/bulb though so the initial investment is a bit steep, but will test it. If it is long-lasting, it may be what I'm looking for.

Now I just have to figure out how to set up the 3-way dimmers properly ;)

Offline garrettwp

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Re: GE Z-Wave® Dimmer Switch (3-Way Kit)
« Reply #17 on: January 21, 2011, 09:43:55 am »
How is the light output of the bulb?

- Garrett

Offline tosvus

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Re: GE Z-Wave® Dimmer Switch (3-Way Kit)
« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2011, 10:12:35 am »
I would say at least as strong as a 40w bulb, but with a little bit less range (I.e. the light doesn't spread quite as much out to corners etc)

Offline tosvus

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Re: GE Z-Wave® Dimmer Switch (3-Way Kit)
« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2011, 12:14:14 pm »
hmmm...I suspect I'm getting in over my head on the 3-way dimmer install... ;) if anyone can take a look at the attached pictures and tell me how to wire, I would greatly appreciate it!

Edit:

To add some information; It seems to me that:
1. the orange wire on each master goes to the lighting fixture(s) (I verified this on the top light)
2. the brown ones travel between master and aux switch (presumably..does it also somehow get power from somewhere?)
3. the blue wire on each aux goes somewhere else (guessing power panel?)
4. yellow on master dimmer goes ????

just as a first step trying to identify where the wires go - the second problem is even then, how is the 3-way GE one going to be wired in a proper manner (since it apparently differs from others)
« Last Edit: January 21, 2011, 01:48:12 pm by tosvus »

Offline TheGadgetGuy

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Re: GE Z-Wave® Dimmer Switch (3-Way Kit)
« Reply #20 on: January 21, 2011, 01:05:07 pm »
Garrett,

I have about 7 of the 40 watt LED dimmable bulbs in my house.  I bought a couple of the HD bulbs, and the rest are Sylvania brand.  From what I can tell, they are both made by the same company, but the Sylvania ones are a bit brighter.

They work reasonably well in my dimmers, but not perfect.  Really cool technology though.  They use WAY less electricity.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2011, 01:36:16 pm by TheGadgetGuy »
"Lots of Z wave switches by various companies", 8 Panasonic IP cameras, 4 Schlage locks, 2 Kwikset locks, 3 Z-wave thermometers, 2 5 button Cooper scene controllers, etc.

Offline saf101

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Re: GE Z-Wave® Dimmer Switch (3-Way Kit)
« Reply #21 on: January 21, 2011, 01:46:51 pm »
Garrett

I just installed two GE 3 ways and switched to the 40 watt LED dimmable bulbs from Home Depot (eco) brand and I really like them the color is really close the a normal incandescent light light. the dimmable switch with the LED do not have the same smooth operation as a incandescent light but in a three light fixture going from 120 Watts to 21 Watts very cool.

Offline saf101

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Re: GE Z-Wave® Dimmer Switch (3-Way Kit)
« Reply #22 on: January 21, 2011, 02:15:13 pm »
@tosvus

Ok not a certified electrian but did stay at a holiday inn last night.

so much for color standards

if Orange goes to the light that would be connected to the blue wire on the GE main switch that shoud be the load side.

but really trying to see the other wires is very hard . how many cables are coming into the junction box 3?
Do you have a voltmeter? if you can determine the wire that is coming from the breaker panel that would be a start.

I would agree that the brown wire is the traveler these are normally connect on the right side of a switch with the signal screw traveler wires get connected to the yellow wire on both GE. this is only a start


Offline tosvus

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Re: GE Z-Wave® Dimmer Switch (3-Way Kit)
« Reply #23 on: January 21, 2011, 02:25:05 pm »
Thanks :)

For the top of the stairs box (which I think hold both master switches) the following cables can be used:
-4 brown wires (2 goes to each switch)
-2 orange wires (1 goes to each switch)
-1 yellow wire (goes to the dimmer switch only)
-2 blue wires twisted together (not to any switch) inside the box
-1 white wire can be spotted going through but I think it just routs directly from power to the light fixture above.

For the bottom of the stairs box, the following cables are available.
-4 brown wires (2 go to each switch)
-1 blue wire (both switches connect to this blue wire)

No, unfortunately no voltmeter, but quickly realizing this needs to go on the shopping list.... I suspect I have to repurpose wires which may be tricky... and yes, I have no idea what the heck the installers were thinking when setting this up. between  odd-colored cables and no grounding (ever), it is pretty strange....

Offline saf101

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Re: GE Z-Wave® Dimmer Switch (3-Way Kit)
« Reply #24 on: January 21, 2011, 02:33:14 pm »
OK the two wires that are twisted together do one of those wires go to the cable going to light?

Offline tosvus

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Re: GE Z-Wave® Dimmer Switch (3-Way Kit)
« Reply #25 on: January 21, 2011, 02:42:27 pm »
I don't think so, I took down the one light fixture and it has only a orange and a white wire.  I'm speculating it is the same blue wire that can be seen as connected to both aux switches in the other box. In either case, I'm further guessing that it eventually leads to the main power. I could be way off, of course....

Offline saf101

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Re: GE Z-Wave® Dimmer Switch (3-Way Kit)
« Reply #26 on: January 21, 2011, 02:49:13 pm »
just sent you a inbox message

Offline shady

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Re: GE Z-Wave® Dimmer Switch (3-Way Kit)
« Reply #27 on: January 21, 2011, 05:04:53 pm »
Thanks :)

I'll take a closer look at your pictures when I get home and hopefully I can be of help.  A typical 3-Way circuit has power coming into one switch box, a switch-leg (going from the switch to the light) on the other switch box, and a pair of travellers (2 wires, typically black/red with Romex) running between the switches.  As you operate either switch, the power wire or switch-leg wire (depending on which switch you operate) flips between either of the travellers.  This allows you to operate the light from two locations.  For 4-Way or more switch circuits, you just add a 4-Way switch somewhere along the travellers, which just opens or closes the connection between power on one side and light on the other (using the travellers).  All neutrals and grounds just tie together typically.

So if you can get a voltage tester, NOT A LIGHT PEN, something with two leads.  They have cheap ones, but I recommend a Vol-Con tester with continuity testing to help identify wires.  A multimeter could be used too.

The trick is identifying all of your wires first hopefully using the above description of the circuit to understand it.  3-Way circuits aren't overly complicated but some of the most seasoned electricians still don't get exactly what is going on.  So just take it slow and identify each wire.  First find the switch side with power coming in, then you can assume the other switch has the light switch-leg going out.  From you pictures it looks like the downstairs has the power coming in, note wire nut supplying both switches with power.  Also you can see the upstairs box has single wires (yellow/orange) leaving each switch meaning they probably are the switch-legs going out to lights.  The brown wires are your travellers.

I'll look at the GE instructions when I get home and try to break it down further.

FYI, I had trouble with Z-Wave dimmers and my low voltage MR16 cans, so I am converting them all to line voltage using sockets I got from ebay.  So far so good, no flickering or buzzing anymore.
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Offline tosvus

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Re: GE Z-Wave® Dimmer Switch (3-Way Kit)
« Reply #28 on: January 21, 2011, 05:53:44 pm »
Hi Shady,

saf101 has been trying to help me very patiently, and we made some progress I think, though he is offline now, so any further help would be greatly appreciated!

One odd thing we found testing was that if i replace one of the 3-way switches at the top of the stairs with a regular one (an old lightswitch I had lying around), using the orange, and one of the blue wires (after untwisting them), I have power on/off. However, that approach did not work when I tried to hook it to either a GE 2-way switch (black-orange, black-blue) or a GE 3-way switch (blue-orange, black-blue). I figured if I could get at least a GE switch functioning as a regular 2-way, that would be a good start. Does this make sense to you?

I'm planning on trying some things later tonight, so any ideas would be great.

Thanks!

EDIT: PS: another thing that may have some usefulness, the one hole that is inside the topstairs box, has the one blue wire (that worked with an old switch) and the white wire coming out of it. The white wire goes straight into another hole, along with the orange wire. I have confirmed that those are the two wires going to the fixture itself. I also used a regular bulb for testing to avoid any weird results due to cfl bulb issues.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2011, 05:59:45 pm by tosvus »

Offline Vito

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Re: GE Z-Wave® Dimmer Switch (3-Way Kit)
« Reply #29 on: January 21, 2011, 08:43:35 pm »
If you provide a clearer picture of the wiring at the top of the stairs, I may be able to help.  I've just installed close to 30 light switches over the past couple of weeks in a house built in 1955.  It was my first time, and I had to do quite a bit of research and testing to figure it out.  My lights have the power source connected at the light, so I wasn't able to use the 3-ways (no neutral).  I think I may be able to help you, but it's too difficult to see which wires are jumping between switches and which are coming from the different holes.

Now, here's a tip for those of you wanting to use LED lighting with your GE dimmers.  There I have tried many different CFL's and several LED's before finally finding a trick.  It only works with fixtures that use multiple bulbs, but if you use one low wattage incandescent along with dimmable LEDs, the incandescent will hack the dimming to allow the dimmable LED's to work absolutely perfectly.  I'm using the higher end Philips LED's that just came out.  I have a couple of the $20 bulbs (they have the barely visible yellow casing within the white casing) and the $40 higher end yellow bulbs.  Here's a link so that you know what I'm talking about...

http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R-202530170/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053

I dont' know if it's the load of the incandescent or what, but this combination is working great in several of my ceiling fixtures.  It dims until it's completely off and doesn't have "steps" of dimming, just smooth transitions.