Author Topic: Z wave controllable outdoor light fixtures (waterproof)?  (Read 473 times)

Offline leedavidr

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 60
  • Karma: +0/-0
Z wave controllable outdoor light fixtures (waterproof)?
« on: March 23, 2018, 10:04:56 am »
I have a friend who wants to install a z wave controllable outdoor lighting fixture in his backyard?  He claims he cannot find any fixtures like this.  Can anyone here point us in the right direction?  Or do folks just use z wave controllable bulbs in existing outdoor fixtures?  Are all of those bulbs sufficiently waterproof to be used in an outdoor fixture?  Thanks for any help any of you can give me.

Offline HSD99

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 139
  • Karma: +5/-0
Re: Z wave controllable outdoor light fixtures (waterproof)?
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2018, 10:34:59 am »
I don't think your friend will find what he's looking for as a complete outdoor fixture.
Some questions:
1. What is the power source for this fixture?
2. Is there a switch inside the house?
3. Is the fixture exposed to the elements?
4. Is there direct line-of-sight to the house?

Light bulbs have a locations rating, e.g. "damp" locations (think bathroom or outdoors but not directly exposed to water), or "wet" (the bulb may be exposed to water.) I don't know if Z-Wave bulbs carry damp or wet ratings. I have used a Z-wave lamp in an outdoor wall-mounted fixture in a "damp" location without problems.

Offline leedavidr

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 60
  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Z wave controllable outdoor light fixtures (waterproof)?
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2018, 10:40:24 am »
Some questions:
1. What is the power source for this fixture?
2. Is there a switch inside the house?
3. Is the fixture exposed to the elements?
4. Is there direct line-of-sight to the house?
1. Yes.
2. Yes
3. Probably.  Its on the back of the house and I am pretty sure it isn't under an overhang except perhaps the eave.
4. Yes.  See reply to 3 above.

Offline leedavidr

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 60
  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Z wave controllable outdoor light fixtures (waterproof)?
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2018, 10:41:50 am »
whoops.  The answer to 1 is that it is the house electrical system.  110 volts.  Not low voltage.

Offline kwieto

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 426
  • Karma: +18/-10
Re: Z wave controllable outdoor light fixtures (waterproof)?
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2018, 11:12:27 am »
I managed most of my external lamps by simply installing z-wave dimmers/switches in the switch locations (inside the building).

Makes more sense for me as in case when lamp has physical switch, turning it off by such switch in most cases will turn off the z-wave module if located in the lamp itself. As a result either you sacrify ability to switch the lam physically, or you have to remember to leave physical switch ON whenever you want to steer it via z-wave. Not very convenient.
For the ones where above is not possible (like: no physical switch), mainly three apporoaches can be used:
1. Buy a lamp with enough place to hide in-wall dimmer/switch inside. Lot of lamps has relatively big fixtures and dimmers/switches are more and more compact, so it can go like that. Just take care that the housing is not metal, as it will shield the signal.
2. You can also make a hole in the external wall like those where wall switches or plug sockets are located and put the z-wave device there. Then attach lamp over it and seal with silicone.
3 You can buy waterproof external electric box and put cables and z-wave device there. I have two lamps attached like that and they are doing fine. I have also one lamp where the easiest way was to put the cable inside the building through a wall, then attach z-wave switch inside the building and connect it to the house installation. Good for garrages or other places where cables running on the walls are not a big problem, and exterior walls are relatively thin and/or made from wood/gypsum

Offline HSD99

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 139
  • Karma: +5/-0
Re: Z wave controllable outdoor light fixtures (waterproof)?
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2018, 11:35:27 am »
whoops.  The answer to 1 is that it is the house electrical system.  110 volts.  Not low voltage.

I agree with @kwieto 100% here. The easiest and most reliable solution is to replace the switch inside the house with a Z-Wave switch and use an outdoor rate bulb in the outdoor fixture. I replaced the outdoor Z-Wave lamp with a standard lamp (wet location rated dimmable LED lamp), and put in a Z-Wave dimmer in place of the regular wall switch since I wanted multi-level control.


Offline leedavidr

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 60
  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Z wave controllable outdoor light fixtures (waterproof)?
« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2018, 02:09:11 pm »
I managed most of my external lamps by simply installing z-wave dimmers/switches in the switch locations (inside the building).

Makes more sense for me as in case when lamp has physical switch, turning it off by such switch in most cases will turn off the z-wave module if located in the lamp itself. As a result either you sacrify ability to switch the lam physically, or you have to remember to leave physical switch ON whenever you want to steer it via z-wave. Not very convenient.

So if you replace an inside, in-wall switch for an outside light fixture with a zwave controllable switch, can one turn on the outside lamp with the switch independent of the z-wave controller.  For example, my nephew and niece actually own this property and the niece's mother is living in a downstairs apartment.  My nephew has access to zwave controller but the mother in law doesn't.  Would the mother in law be able to turn on the outside light with just the inside z wave switch?  I have never owned one of those switches, so I just don't know.  Thanks for the help.  This seems like the ideal solution, particularly if the mother in law could turn on the light with just the switch without having access to the z wave controller.

Offline HSD99

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 139
  • Karma: +5/-0
Re: Z wave controllable outdoor light fixtures (waterproof)?
« Reply #7 on: March 23, 2018, 02:21:35 pm »
A typical Z-wave wall switch will look and act exactly like its non-Z-Wave counterpart. It may be turned on and off manually at the switch, as well as remotely via the Z-Wave controller. The last action will take precedence, i.e. a switch turned on or off via Z-Wave may be turned on or off manually, and vice-versa.

This should give you exactly the functionality that's needed.

Offline leedavidr

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 60
  • Karma: +0/-0
Re: Z wave controllable outdoor light fixtures (waterproof)?
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2018, 02:22:25 pm »
Thanks for all the help.  Greatly appreciated.

Offline kwieto

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 426
  • Karma: +18/-10
Re: Z wave controllable outdoor light fixtures (waterproof)?
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2018, 06:23:15 pm »
Imagine z-wave switch as some device in between original (physical) switch and the light (or any other device which was connected to the original switch).
If you don't use z-wave functionality at the moment, this additional device is "transparent" to the installation, which means that it just pass commands from physical switch to the light as in regular installation.
The benefit is that in addition you can manage it via Z-wave controller.

You have two tpes of in-wall switches: one is built as a physical switch which you put in a place of original one,
(see for example: www.domotics.sg/review-mco-home-capacitive-touch-z-wave-switch/ ),  the other is a device which you put into in-wall box behind original switch, and connect to the light and to the switch (see for example: https://www.vesternet.com/resources/application-notes/apnt-111 )
What you choose depends on your needs (i.e. if you need to keep visual design same as other switches, probably the option "behind the switch" will be better than replacing original switch) or possibilities (i.e. do you have hot and neutral available at the place where original switch is installed?).
Remember that in some cases you'll need to replace original switch anyway (i.e. dimmers work better with monostable, "doorbell" type of switches, so if you want to use dimming features, you'll probably need to install such type of switch even if you use "behind the switch" type of z-wave device).