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Author Topic: Replace existing light switch with Scene controller?  (Read 2308 times)

Offline foghat

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Replace existing light switch with Scene controller?
« on: November 19, 2011, 11:47:18 am »
Hi all,

Once I get all my hardware I will create an 'away' scene that looks something like this:
- turn off all lights
- turn on light by door for 5 minutes and then turn off
- turn off water valve
- set temperature to <some value>

I know I could kick off this scene using the iphone app.  But I also want to be able to trigger the scene using a hard button.  Here is where I am not sure what I need.

The only way this is going to work (that I can think of) is I will need to replace an existing light switch with the scene controller. Which means I need a controller that can control the light as well as a scene. I believe this type of controller is a Load controller, correct?

If so, any recommendations? If above is not correct, can you elaborate?

I was looking at this one:

http://store.homeseer.com/store/Leviton-VRCS2-MRZ-Z-Wave-2-Button-SceneLoad-Controller-P792C182.aspx

Even after reading the instructions, I am not clear on if this will work for me and if it does, how the heck you control it.

My confusion:
1. It says it can control 2 different loads directly. Since I am replacing a single light switch that controls a single light, I only have 1 load that needs to be controlled. Can I use this switch? Would the load 2 wire (the blue one according to the instructions) just not be connected to anything?

2. Operating the switch. How does a 2 button switch control 2 different loads AND 2 different scenes? All it says in the instructions under Operation is to Tap to turn lights on. Tap again to turn lights off. No mention of how to activate a scene.

3. A more general question: I want the pushing of the button to always activate, say, the scene noted above. It sounds like these buttons have an on and off state (led or no led). If I push the button once to activate the scene, what happens when I push it again?

So, am I even looking at the right piece of equipment to control a light and a couple of scenes? Or is there something else I should be looking at.

As a bit of an aside. How are people running controllers without load control? I mean, unless you are re-wiring your house or building new, doesn't every existing switch control a load?

Or am I completely missing the boat on this?

Thanks a lot.

Offline oTi@

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Re: Replace existing light switch with Scene controller?
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2011, 12:12:39 pm »
[...]VRCS2[...]
There are some recent topics on this device.

Quote
As a bit of an aside. How are people running controllers without load control? I mean, unless you are re-wiring your house or building new, doesn't every existing switch control a load?
You could potentially put them in a 3-way (or more) location. And if you have any switched outlets, you could make those permanently powered (and use it with a Z-Wave plug-in module, if desired; or put in a Z-Wave outlet), freeing up the switch location for a Z-Wave controller.
Dezwaved at the moment...

Offline aa6vh

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Re: Replace existing light switch with Scene controller?
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2011, 12:46:33 pm »
You could do what I do: I obtained one of the stand alone controllers that sits on a shelf in the hall near the outside door. The controller is programmed to have scene buttons that activate "away", "vacation", and other modes/scenes.

I use the HA07 controller, which I really like. They are currently being made by Wayne Dalton. There are other stand alone controllers that work well with Vera.

Offline foghat

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Re: Replace existing light switch with Scene controller?
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2011, 02:16:03 pm »
Thanks for the insight.

I may just look at the remote option.  Seems a little more flexible and a little less frustrating, if the other VRCS2 threads are any indication.

Offline Double J

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Re: Replace existing light switch with Scene controller?
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2011, 01:18:37 am »
Your confusion:
1. You're correct leaving the blue wire disconnected. Also, you just bypass the step including that button as a switch. It will recognize it as a scene controller while including the entire unit in the 1st step.

2. Their description is a little misleading. Your top switch will be a switch, your bottom switch will be your scene(or visa versa) Mine finally both work as a switch, as I wanted them to, and in a sense, I'm limited to them as that.

3. The on/off LEDs simply show the state of the load. I hit my switch to turn off my light or fan, then about 1-3 seconds later Vera sends a command to turn the LED on or off to reflect the state of my light/fan. As a scene controller, you're correct the LED may come on, then shut off when hitting it again. Irrelevant, though. If you want it to activate the 1 scene no matter what then you just program the button that way. When setting up the controller you have 2 settings: "Activate the following scenes when the buttons are turned on:" & "Activate the following scenes when the buttons are turned off:" Just add your scene to both options.

...or an easier option as aa6vh suggests.  :)
If you're a little crafty, I personally use Leviton's 4-scene controllers by the back door & in the living room. I installed them in a single gang box, built it into a nice stained and varnished box wired to a lamp plug. They look nice, easier to set up, get great comments on them all the time, are cheaper than the 2 scene and you get more functionality out of them. We're stuck in a very old house that we've had to get a little creative here and there.

Good luck however you plan it.
"Trust, but verify." ~ Ronald Reagan