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General => Lighting & Load Control => Topic started by: fsa317 on June 02, 2013, 08:51:31 pm

Title: 'Simplest' 3-way switch
Post by: fsa317 on June 02, 2013, 08:51:31 pm
Hi, planning out my lighting layout on new construction.  A few of the lights I'd like to control are on 3 way switches.  My electrician isn't experience with z-wave stuff so I'm trying to pick z-wave switches that are "closest to normal".  Any recommendations?
Title: Re: 'Simplest' 3-way switch
Post by: Z-Waver on June 02, 2013, 10:57:00 pm
I think the ones closest to normal are the Intermatic switches, which can use normal switches as 3-way remotes. But, they are discontinued switches. The ones on the market are surplus. That's not necessarily bad, just letting you know.

It does seem that every Z-Wave switch manufacturer's 3-way wiring is unique. But, they're still not complicated and they all come with instructions which most home owners and any electrician should be able to read and understand.

For still in production switches, the GE/Jasco are good and relatively inexpensive. You can get them at Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0035YUOWC/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B0035YUOWC&linkCode=as2&tag=zwavec-20) and even at Lowes. The Evolve LSM15 (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008OF8CC6/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B008OF8CC6&linkCode=as2&tag=zwavec-20) and LTM5 (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008OF8CJO/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B008OF8CJO&linkCode=as2&tag=zwavec-20) remote as well as the Leviton VRS15-1LZ (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001HT0PB2/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B001HT0PB2&linkCode=as2&tag=zwavec-20) and VRCS1-1LZ (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001HSYTII/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B001HSYTII&linkCode=as2&tag=zwavec-20) remote are more expensive, but they support instant status, which is often desirable at some point or another.

You could also use normal switches but put micro switches like Aeon Labs and Fibaro inline.
Title: Re: 'Simplest' 3-way switch
Post by: nullx8 on June 03, 2013, 12:45:16 am
Standard 3 way setup, and between the last switch and the las itself place a fibaro dimmer in switch mode or relais.

But honestly, in anew house, i wouldnt do that.
Make sure you have permanent power and ground in all switch-locations, then you can handle all this things later on in a very easy fashion yourself.

The main trouble you have in a "old" house is that you not have the ground wire avaiable to serve the modules.

The technican can simply execute this task "put neutral wire in all switch-boxes" with no explaination ;)
Title: Re: 'Simplest' 3-way switch
Post by: fsa317 on June 03, 2013, 08:36:09 am
The Leviton VRCS1-1LZ looks like a good switch.  As far as I can see there aren't any major tradeoffs with respect to scene control or anything.  Please let me know if there are any limitations to this switch, other than I dont think it is a dimmer.  For the one room I will have a dimmer I'll use VRI06-1LZ.

Title: Re: 'Simplest' 3-way switch
Post by: Z-Waver on June 03, 2013, 09:41:47 am
The Leviton VRCS1-1LZ looks like a good switch.  As far as I can see there aren't any major tradeoffs with respect to scene control or anything.  Please let me know if there are any limitations to this switch, other than I dont think it is a dimmer.  For the one room I will have a dimmer I'll use VRI06-1LZ.



Price is the only issue I'm aware of with these switches.

Please also be aware that the VRCS1-1LZ is only the remote, it must be used in conjunction with the VRS15-1LZ. The VRS15-1LZ is the primary and load controlling switch.
Title: Re: 'Simplest' 3-way switch
Post by: fsa317 on June 03, 2013, 10:03:09 am
I think I may not fully get this.  What does the "remote" do?  What I'm looking to do with these switches is basically be able to turn them on and off from my Vera (scenes / direct manipulation).  For the one room with a dimmer I want to also set the dim level.

I'm not sure where the remote comes in to play.
Title: Re: 'Simplest' 3-way switch
Post by: Z-Waver on June 03, 2013, 01:54:46 pm
In 3-way switch configurations there are two switches that control the load. e.g a stairway light has a switch at the top and another at the bottom of the stairs. Normally, you use two 3-way switches for this configuration.

Most Z-Wave switches, when used in the above 3-Way configuration will use a Z-Wave controlled(master) switch and a remote switch that activates the master.

Using Leviton as an example the master at the top of the stairs is the Leviton VRS15-1LZ and the remote at the bottom of the stairs is the Leviton VRCS1-1LZ. They are different switches that are used together in a 3-way circuit. Each manufacturer has their own way of doing it, but most all of them use two different switches, a master and a remote.

Z-Wave dimmers work in a similar fashion. When used in 3-way circuits, there is usually a master and a different remote switch.

In all cases, since they are Z-Wave switches, Vera can turn them on and off and also set dim levels on dimmers.
Title: Re: 'Simplest' 3-way switch
Post by: fsa317 on June 03, 2013, 03:01:13 pm
So in your example I cant use a z-wave at the bottom of the stairs and a "regular" (cheap) switch at the top?
Title: Re: 'Simplest' 3-way switch
Post by: Freakin on June 03, 2013, 03:14:13 pm
Standard 3 way setup, and between the last switch and the las itself place a fibaro dimmer in switch mode or relais.

But honestly, in anew house, i wouldnt do that.
Make sure you have permanent power and ground in all switch-locations, then you can handle all this things later on in a very easy fashion yourself.

The main trouble you have in a "old" house is that you not have the ground wire avaiable to serve the modules.

The technican can simply execute this task "put neutral wire in all switch-boxes" with no explaination ;)

minor correction, you need a neutral wire in most places to serve the modules.  Without a neutral, it has to pass the power through the load which doesn't work properly with LEDs or CFLs.  Dimmers for these generally require a neutral in the box for this reason.
Title: Re: 'Simplest' 3-way switch
Post by: Z-Waver on June 03, 2013, 03:49:35 pm
@fsa-317 - That is correct for most switches.

There are only types of switches, that I am aware of,  that allow the use of standard 3-way switches in combination with the Z-Wave switch. First is the Intermatic CA3000 On/Off and CA600 dimmer that I mentioned at the top of this thread.

The second are the in-wall micro switches such as the Fibaro that @nullx8 mentioned(not available in the U.S. yet) or the Aeon Labs (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00A0A4OPW/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00A0A4OPW&linkCode=as2&tag=zwavec-20). But, these are less popular. Though, I don't know why.
Title: Re: 'Simplest' 3-way switch
Post by: nullx8 on June 03, 2013, 09:39:16 pm
The main trouble you have in a "old" house is that you not have the ground wire avaiable to serve the modules.
The technican can simply execute this task "put neutral wire in all switch-boxes" with no explaination ;)
minor correction, you need a neutral wire in most places to serve the modules.

ain't that exactly what i wrote ? :)
Title: Re: 'Simplest' 3-way switch
Post by: nullx8 on June 03, 2013, 09:51:26 pm
general Question: are you okay with Momentary switches ?
this would save you the "3-way cableing" completly . .and also may save z-wave hardware as well.

Pro:
- it wont matter then if you have 1 or 10 momentary switches connect to the same dimmer/switch via the same channel.
- you can use standard dimmer/switches instead of overpriced-3way
- the momentrary switches have the advantage to not "show" a status which is not really the case

Con:
- you can not just "bypass" the dimmer/switch module then in case of failure.

you can have the traditional 3 way cabeling and have momentary switches installed and function with all the mentioned advantages as well (this may of advantage if you change it back to "normal") just a cost issue i guess
Title: Re: 'Simplest' 3-way switch
Post by: fsa317 on June 03, 2013, 09:56:05 pm
Honestly don't understand enough about momentary switches to know if I'm OK or not.  I'm trying to balance a cost effective and simple solution.  I'd prefer not have to buy 2 $50+ z-wave devices to control 1 light, so I'm open to any other approaches.
Title: Re: 'Simplest' 3-way switch
Post by: nullx8 on June 03, 2013, 10:16:56 pm
momentary switches are simply the same as standard, just that they flip back to the off position by themselfs.

this give you the advantage that they always in the same position and not indicate a "on" where no "on" is ...
basically all switches are avaiable as static and momentary in the same outfit/design .. noone would see the difference, and then you would need only one module .. even you use 20 switches to control 1 light ;)

this GE 3-way modules (us market) are great for refit but i would not use such things in a new house.

if the lamps are close by you can save additional money by using multi-node modules
like the fibaro FGS221 (2*1.5k Module)
or this one from TKB http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/577455595/Z_Wave_inwall_Switch_Module_for.html

a setup like this may need more cables under the ceiling .. but saves you 50% of the module-costs.

Title: Re: 'Simplest' 3-way switch
Post by: fsa317 on June 03, 2013, 10:32:04 pm
wow, so many options.  So is a momentary switch more like a push button then an actual switch? What I don't get is where the z-wave comes in to play, I don't see (via Google) any "zwave momentary" switches.
Title: Re: 'Simplest' 3-way switch
Post by: johnnyv on June 03, 2013, 11:11:56 pm
ok,  I know my status is "newbie"  but i have managed to hook up a 4 way dimmer "z-wave" switch with absolutely no issue at all,  and yes using the existing wiring...

#1.  not to insult anyone,  but if your electrician can not interpret the wiring schematic included with every z-wave switch,  get a new electrician...

The big confusion electricians run into, is that they were trained that in 3-way, 4-way, all the way up to six way switches, the traveler carries 110V..  not the case with the Z-wave scenario....  trouble is they are electricians, and not "electronics" trained...  these switches pass a "SIGNAL"...  meaning turn on, turn off, dim, or brighten, back to the MASTER switch   but they do require Traveler (signal), neutral, and ground...

With that said,
assuming he is running Romex...

Have him run the wiring the way he normally would..  Line power into 1st box (14-2 or 12-2), then bounce to each and every other Switch box(14-3 or 12-3), and then Load out to Lights from last box (14-2 or 12-2)..

This way,  this circuit can be wired the conventional way,  or modified to the Z-wave way... (which is what i did)
(better if you ever go to sell the house, you can always remove your expensive Z-wave switches, and revert to normal, so another electrician will understand it)...

as long as 3-wire (ground 'bare copper' not counted in wire count) is ran between each box, the black wire can be used to send power from the master(1st) switch through each box, to the final box then connected to the load (lights) in the last box..

red remains the traveler(now signal), white is always neutral, and ground is always ground.. (notice in the schematic,  the white,  red, and Ground are the only one's used at every remote switch.. leaving the black wire as a spare in the remote switch boxes.

Have the electrician or do it yourself, label in each box, where each wire group goes, for future reference...







 

Title: Re: 'Simplest' 3-way switch
Post by: nullx8 on June 03, 2013, 11:24:28 pm
wow, so many options.  So is a momentary switch more like a push button then an actual switch? What I don't get is where the z-wave comes in to play, I don't see (via Google) any "zwave momentary" switches.

yes momentary and push button is the same thing ;)
but if you hit in a home-mart or so .. you will see they are avaiable in just the same design and apearance as the "normal ones"

NOT z-wave switches ! just the normal ones from the shelfs in the home-marts (same you use in the rest of the house)
this combined with a micro module .. and you good to go
Title: Re: 'Simplest' 3-way switch
Post by: fsa317 on June 03, 2013, 11:54:20 pm
ok,  I know my status is "newbie"  but i have managed to hook up a 4 way dimmer "z-wave" switch with absolutely no issue at all,  and yes using the existing wiring...
 

So with your setup did you have to have 4 z-wave devices or 3 "regular" switches and 1 z-wave?
Title: Re: 'Simplest' 3-way switch
Post by: johnnyv on June 04, 2013, 12:03:10 am
its called  4-way, in old school  terms..    2 switches turning on the same lights, requires a "3-way switch on each end...

if you want or need more switch locations,  "old school", it requires 1 "4-way" switch in between the two "end" 3-ways...

the more switches you want,  you just add a "4-way" switch in between them...

with Z-wave,  there is 1 "master (GE-45609)"  and as many "remote, slave, signal senders, or whatever you want to call them (GE-45610) in between...

that help??


Title: Re: 'Simplest' 3-way switch
Post by: johnnyv on June 04, 2013, 12:10:03 am
I just re-read that, and see i might have made that a lil confusing..

in Z-wave,  Only 1 master,  just like the JEDI!!!

but unlike them,  as many  Slaves (padiwans) as you want...

make sense yet?

2 switches only old school is (2) 3-ways;  Z-wave 1 master 1 slave...

3 switches old school (2) 3-ways (1) 4-way in between; Z-wave 1 master 2 slaves

4 switches old school (2) 3-ways (2) 4-ways in between; Z-wave 1 master 3 slaves

5 switches old school (2) 3-ways (3) 4-ways inbetween; z-wave 1 master 4 slaves..

see the pattern??
Title: Re: 'Simplest' 3-way switch
Post by: fsa317 on June 04, 2013, 12:13:55 am
I think I'm getting closer :-)

So your 4 way - is actually 3 switches, and they are either all "old school" or all z-wave, you cant have a single z-wave device and then 2 regular?  Assuming I'm right that they are all z-wave, that means each light is going to cost at least $100 bucks to "zwave" unless I go with an alternative method (like the momentary switch).

I guess I'm just having sticker shock as I was thinking one zwave switch per light was going to be enough. 

Johnnyv, just curious which zwave switches did you use?

Perhaps I missed something else, can a cheaper slave (non-zwave), e.g. http://www.amazon.com/Leviton-VP0SR-1LZ-Digital-Matching-applications/dp/B001HSYT3S/ be used with more expensive master? http://www.amazon.com/Leviton-Vizia-VRS15-1LZ-Switch-Z-Wave/dp/B001HT0PB2/ref=pd_sim_hi_1
Title: Re: 'Simplest' 3-way switch
Post by: garrettwp on June 04, 2013, 12:28:45 am
Many of the z-wave switches that support 3 way wiring will require a companion / auxiliary switch that is a fraction of the cost of the z-wave. This was mention in previous posts. So for example, if you go with a Leviton z-wave switch, you'll need the corresponding auxiliary switch to go with it that will cost around 15 dollars for each one. When it comes to 3-way, 4-way, and more, it can get expensive, but home automation is not cheap in the first place. What I believe nullx8 is trying to say (based on what I can gather from the posts) is that you can use regular momentary switches that will be used with say a fibaro or aeon microswitch. So all you need is the one microswitch (z-wave).

- Garrett
Title: Re: 'Simplest' 3-way switch
Post by: johnnyv on June 04, 2013, 12:36:59 am
all Z-wave..  no they won't all cost that much .  if every time you buy a switch for other locations, you but the 3-way combo. only 5 Bucks more..  you will accumulate (45610's).. use them anywhere...

as for mixing old school with z-wave...

hmm may be possible......  I'd have to draw a schematic,  to verify,   but,  the aeon labs: 

Aeon Labs Aeotec SC19103-ZWUS Z-Wave Micro Smart Energy Illuminator

Aeon Labs Aeotec DSC27103-ZWUS Z-Wave Micro Illuminator

Might be a possible "possible" solution.  . NOT sure.  Honestly, it's past my bedtime, and, I'd have to really draw it out..

but if you are doing the whole house z-wave, like i said if every time you buy a switch for other locations, you but the 3-way combo. only 5 Buck more..  you will accumulate (45610's).. use them anywhere...

 any help? ---  wont answer till tomorrow some time.... :(
Title: Re: 'Simplest' 3-way switch
Post by: garrettwp on June 04, 2013, 01:04:27 am
That is if you go with GE. I am not a fan of the GE switches and spend the extra money with buy Leviton for many reasons. Quality is better, I like the look, and it supports instant status.

- Garrett
Title: Re: 'Simplest' 3-way switch
Post by: fsa317 on June 04, 2013, 08:53:12 am
Since I'm initially only 'z-waving' 3 or 4 lighting areas the Leviton seem like a good start.

So to confirm for a room with a 3-way switch (non dimmer) I would buy:
http://www.amazon.com/Leviton-Vizia-VRS15-1LZ-Switch-Z-Wave/dp/B001HT0PB2/ref=pd_sim_hi_1 (Master)
http://www.amazon.com/Leviton-VP0SR-1LZ-Digital-Matching-applications/dp/B001HSYT3S/ (Remote)

For a room with a dimmer:
http://www.amazon.com/Leviton-VRI06-1LZ-Incandescent-Capable-Dimmer/dp/B001U3Z6YG/ref=pd_sim_hi_1
http://www.amazon.com/Leviton-VP00R-1LZ-Digital-Matching-applications/dp/B001HT4M4I/ref=pd_bxgy_hi_text_y


Title: Re: 'Simplest' 3-way switch
Post by: Freakin on June 04, 2013, 12:15:28 pm
The main trouble you have in a "old" house is that you not have the ground wire avaiable to serve the modules.
The technican can simply execute this task "put neutral wire in all switch-boxes" with no explaination ;)
minor correction, you need a neutral wire in most places to serve the modules.

ain't that exactly what i wrote ? :)

Sorry I'm functionally retarded at times  :D I somehow missed your second sentence and thought you said you only need a ground in each box, not a neutral.
Title: Re: 'Simplest' 3-way switch
Post by: fsa317 on June 07, 2013, 08:31:45 pm
Sorry to repost, but was going to put an order in tonight... does this look correct?

Since I'm initially only 'z-waving' 3 or 4 lighting areas the Leviton seem like a good start.

So to confirm for a room with a 3-way switch (non dimmer) I would buy:
http://www.amazon.com/Leviton-Vizia-VRS15-1LZ-Switch-Z-Wave/dp/B001HT0PB2/ref=pd_sim_hi_1 (Master)
http://www.amazon.com/Leviton-VP0SR-1LZ-Digital-Matching-applications/dp/B001HSYT3S/ (Remote)

For a room with a dimmer:
http://www.amazon.com/Leviton-VRI06-1LZ-Incandescent-Capable-Dimmer/dp/B001U3Z6YG/ref=pd_sim_hi_1
http://www.amazon.com/Leviton-VP00R-1LZ-Digital-Matching-applications/dp/B001HT4M4I/ref=pd_bxgy_hi_text_y