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General => Lighting & Load Control => Topic started by: akashk on January 08, 2011, 08:54:57 am

Title: GE 45613 - 3way dimmer worth buying for $20 bucks?
Post by: akashk on January 08, 2011, 08:54:57 am
Radioshack seems to be at it again with their el-cheapo z-wave stuff. I am looking at buying the subject switch http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3882042&clickid=cart (http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3882042&clickid=cart) but amazon reviews seem to be scary. Should I even think of getting this (along with a cheap trane for $60  ;D)
Title: Re: GE 45613 - 3way dimmer worth buying for $20 bucks?
Post by: fmulder21 on January 08, 2011, 09:23:54 am
Radioshack seems to be at it again with their el-cheapo z-wave stuff. I am looking at buying the subject switch http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3882042&clickid=cart (http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3882042&clickid=cart) but amazon reviews seem to be scary. Should I even think of getting this (along with a cheap trane for $60  ;D)
I haven't had any issues with it. Worst case your out $20...
Title: Re: GE 45613 - 3way dimmer worth buying for $20 bucks?
Post by: wseverino on January 08, 2011, 04:13:26 pm
They work well...I have some of them in my house and they are version 3.0A that they are selling.
Title: Re: GE 45613 - 3way dimmer worth buying for $20 bucks?
Post by: rlmalisz on January 08, 2011, 05:05:25 pm
They work well...I have some of them in my house and they are version 3.0A that they are selling.

So for clarity--these are incandescent loads only, or are they good for CFL as well?

--Richard
Title: Re: GE 45613 - 3way dimmer worth buying for $20 bucks?
Post by: rlmalisz on January 08, 2011, 05:15:38 pm
They work well...I have some of them in my house and they are version 3.0A that they are selling.

So for clarity--these are incandescent loads only, or are they good for CFL as well?

--Richard


Hmm...according to the manual, incandescent-only.  Does *anyone* besides Leviton make Z-wave dimmers for CFLs?

--Richard
Title: Re: GE 45613 - 3way dimmer worth buying for $20 bucks?
Post by: myhomeserver on January 08, 2011, 05:23:31 pm
The amazon reviews and other bad reviews are probably due to the wiring of these.  Many older homes have no nuetral wires, and if you don't, these wont work. It also depends on the wiring of the lights, etc....

All of the GE stuff I've ever tested was top notch, good stuff and 2.0a and 3.0a support beaming for locks
Title: Re: GE 45613 - 3way dimmer worth buying for $20 bucks?
Post by: mbairhead on January 08, 2011, 06:26:01 pm
Just my .02 but I've had the GE stuff fail at a amazing rate. I bought a house full of the stuff and am now replacing them a room at a time. In other news...I have a bunch of these for sale  :D
Title: Re: GE 45613 - 3way dimmer worth buying for $20 bucks?
Post by: strangely on January 08, 2011, 09:25:38 pm
If you have any of the on/off type ones rather than a dimmer then I'd be up for buying some!?
Title: Re: GE 45613 - 3way dimmer worth buying for $20 bucks?
Post by: wseverino on January 08, 2011, 09:37:56 pm
Just my .02 but I've had the GE stuff fail at a amazing rate. I bought a house full of the stuff and am now replacing them a room at a time. In other news...I have a bunch of these for sale  :D

I can honestly say, that I have had a bunch of these switches in my house for over 2 years and have never had one single failure.
Title: Re: GE 45613 - 3way dimmer worth buying for $20 bucks?
Post by: Chimpware on January 08, 2011, 11:22:48 pm
I have had bad experience with the 3-Way GE switches.  Will not allow 100% brightness, which seems to be a common issue among many users.  I would not buy the 3-way.  The dimmer switches work fine.
Title: Re: GE 45613 - 3way dimmer worth buying for $20 bucks?
Post by: mbairhead on January 08, 2011, 11:52:38 pm
If you have any of the on/off type ones rather than a dimmer then I'd be up for buying some!?

No, I'm afraid I don't have any of the on/off switches, just a LOT of dimmers.

I can honestly say, that I have had a bunch of these switches in my house for over 2 years and have never had one single failure.

My original reaction to all this zwave stuff has been it's either good or junk but I'm learning that it really depends on the application. I do have issue with GE's use of odd ball wiring (who uses candy cane striped wires?) but after having 6 of them go in about a month, I was personally done with them. I do have to say that once I got passed those and got rid of all the 3 way switches, they work well.

My advise to anyone who asks is simply, it's your house and what level of quality do you want? If you are good with something that's inexpensive but will likely have a high fail rate than go that route. I personally find that frustrating but can't afford to just buy a few dozen high quality switches so I buy 3 or 4 at a time.
Title: Re: GE 45613 - 3way dimmer worth buying for $20 bucks?
Post by: westguard on January 09, 2011, 12:39:01 am
Ignore the Amazon reviews, most of them describe a problem as a result of incorrectly wiring them up. I have 5 of the 3 way dimmers and have never had a problem with them and for $20 you can't really go wrong :)
Title: Re: GE 45613 - 3way dimmer worth buying for $20 bucks?
Post by: vera_nc on January 10, 2011, 05:05:18 pm
Ignore the Amazon reviews, most of them describe a problem as a result of incorrectly wiring them up. I have 5 of the 3 way dimmers and have never had a problem with them and for $20 you can't really go wrong :)

Mine are wired CORRECTLY.  Have a Neutral wire and they DON'T work properly....

One is only 8 feet apart from the master and the other is farther (bottom/top of stairs).

Both only go to 50% brightness and recently, the one that is only 8 feet apart is now starting to randomly flash to full brightness.  I am replacing the flashing one with the Wayne-Dalton HA14WD and a regular remote switch.  The other one I increased the wattage of the bulbs to partially compensate for the brightness deficiency.
Title: Re: GE 45613 - 3way dimmer worth buying for $20 bucks?
Post by: TheGadgetGuy on January 10, 2011, 05:22:46 pm
I just bought a "butt load" of these switches from Radio Shack, and will begin putting them in as soon as I get some free time.

Probably 90% of my house already has Z-wave light switches installed, but I think I'll be close to 98% when all is said and done.  Hopefully, my experience won't match vera_nc's!

Title: Re: GE 45613 - 3way dimmer worth buying for $20 bucks?
Post by: Chimpware on January 10, 2011, 08:03:11 pm
Same experience as vera_nc here!  I tried multiple ways to rectify this issue, including doubling the carrier wire.  The way my original switch was wired I had to bring power from one box to the other through a spare wire so I had the carrier signal and power in the 2 wires from Box A to Box B.  The only way I could make these switches work properly was to run a wire directly from one box to the other outside the wall as a test, and then I could get them to work correctly.  Any attempt to use the wiring in the wall failed.

Either one of 2 things are causing this:

1. Switches too far apart - This is ridiculous as my switches are the same as millions of 3-way applications at the top and bottom of a stairway.
2. Interference with signal from power in other wires adjacent to carrier line - This is what I believe is the case - See thread below:

http://forum.micasaverde.com/index.php?topic=4193.0 (http://forum.micasaverde.com/index.php?topic=4193.0)
Title: Re: GE 45613 - 3way dimmer worth buying for $20 bucks?
Post by: MICHAELMN on January 12, 2011, 03:03:18 pm
I have two of these wired up in my house and they work "most" of the time.  For some reason one of them likes to stop working when I use the traveler or dummy switch.  To fix this I have to either pull the air gap switch or use MCV (strange) and all is fine.  This happens maybe once every month or so and oddly enough only seems to happen to my roommates so I haven't really dug into the problem. 

I'll put it this way...at the $20 price tag I bought 5 more.  I have mostly GE outlets and will now have mostly GE switches in my house.  They are not the Cadillac of switches but hey, I only drive a Chevrolet. 
Title: Re: GE 45613 - 3way dimmer worth buying for $20 bucks?
Post by: bikeman147 on January 24, 2011, 06:12:16 pm
I have had bad experience with the 3-Way GE switches.  Will not allow 100% brightness, which seems to be a common issue among many users.  I would not buy the 3-way.  The dimmer switches work fine.

I suspect Chimpware isn't the only person who has experienced this. 

If you do not get 100% brightness, I recommend the following
1) Verify the master switch (the one with the blue led) is closest to the load/light.  If not, the switch must be relocated to the box closest the load.
2) Determine where the source power is located
3a) If the source power is closest to the master switch
      then follow the direction for the slave switch.  Specifically, connect the white wire with red tracer to hot (black)
3b) If the source power is closest to the slave switch
      then ignore the direction and connect the white wire with red tracer to the neutral (white)

You will have a correctly functioning 3 way dimmer setup.  Please check the back of the slave switch to see the note that says white / red tracer (hot or common).

These are great switches that work as designed.  I suspect what we have is a case where the product was designed and engineered outside the US; and the manual was translated with only partial success.  Subsequently, you get a lot of frustration and unhappy customers who have perfectly good switches.

If your GE 3-way gets only 50-80% of full brightness or you have the load in a different box than the master switch, try the white / red tracer "trick". 
 
     
Title: Re: GE 45613 - 3way dimmer worth buying for $20 bucks?
Post by: aschwalb on April 02, 2011, 11:33:16 am
Ok, I apologize up front as I have searched these forums and am sure I am being redundant, but after hours of reading I am still at a loss.

Ge 3 ways.  Will they work in a 4 way situation?  I have a single light that was on a normal non 3 way switch and a set of 3 other hall way lights that were.  1) I want to combine the non 3 way light with the other lights so that when turning on the 3 way all the lights in the hallway light. Can I just tie the lead to both light sets (the single, plus the other lights together)? 2) Can I have 1 master plus 3 slave/aux switches with the GE dimmers? 3) do I use the neutral or the hot to connect to my aux switches?  I have 14-3 wiring to each location and the hot is where the master switch is.  in 2 of the aux boxes there are 2 14-3 that connect down stream...

Title: Re: GE 45613 - 3way dimmer worth buying for $20 bucks?
Post by: oTi@ on April 02, 2011, 12:01:32 pm
Ge 3 ways.  Will they work in a 4 way situation?  I have a single light that was on a normal non 3 way switch and a set of 3 other hall way lights that were.  1) I want to combine the non 3 way light with the other lights so that when turning on the 3 way all the lights in the hallway light. Can I just tie the lead to both light sets (the single, plus the other lights together)? 2) Can I have 1 master plus 3 slave/aux switches with the GE dimmers? 3) do I use the neutral or the hot to connect to my aux switches?
Are the single light and the group of lights on the same branch circuit? If they're not, you want to make sure you're not overloading your circuit.

Depends on the exact situation if you can wire your single light in with the rest and still have wires left to put an aux there.

One master plus three aux switches implies 5-way. But you can do 4-way (and possibly 5-way with the GE's, but the manual doesn't seem to say anything about it). At least theoretically. I would try it out on a bench first. Getting it wired right with your existing wiring may be a challenge. And even if that's all correct, it may still not work due to the length/interference issues people have reported.

You can use either neutral or hot for the aux switches. People have reported sometimes getting better results with neutral. Neutral is also compatible with GE's other switches.

Perhaps it's easier to keep stuff separated and use Vera to make a virtual 4-way? Again, I would try that out though, see if you're happy with it etc., before messing with the existing wiring.
Title: Re: GE 45613 - 3way dimmer worth buying for $20 bucks?
Post by: aschwalb on April 02, 2011, 12:44:51 pm
Thanks @oTi

Not sure I understand branch circuit.  In my hallway there is a 4 gang box which had 1 light on a single switch and three other lights on a 5?way setup.  I just tied the black from the single light to the black of the multi light circuit and connected that to my blue wire off the ge master.  Connected red to yellow and white to neutral and black to the common power in the 4 gang box.  Then it appears that from there the 14-3 wire go to the 1st aux then another leg of 14-3 goes to another ( so you end up with 2 red 2 black and 2 white in each aux box except the last one in the chain.  I connected the 2 reds and 2 blacks together and connected the blacks to the white red stripe and the yellow to the 2 reds in each box. (except that last box which has one red and one black)  That doesn't work...
Title: Re: GE 45613 - 3way dimmer worth buying for $20 bucks?
Post by: mitch672 on April 02, 2011, 01:47:42 pm
Try using the neutral instead of the hot to the "red/white stripes" on the slave switches, I think you will have better results.
Title: Re: GE 45613 - 3way dimmer worth buying for $20 bucks?
Post by: oTi@ on April 02, 2011, 01:55:51 pm
OK; it sounds like stuff is all on the same breaker.

It also sounds like power and load are in that 4-gang box, and in that case you hooked up your primary correctly. If so, your primary should work and be able to control the lights without any of the 14-3 connected. Did you try that?
Title: Re: GE 45613 - 3way dimmer worth buying for $20 bucks?
Post by: aschwalb on April 02, 2011, 03:22:42 pm
First before I forget...  Thank you for helping! :)

With the aux switches disconnected (the 2 reds not connected nor the 2 blacks in each aux box) the only light that works is the one that was a single originally. Do I need to connect the blacks together in order to complete the circuit?
Title: Re: GE 45613 - 3way dimmer worth buying for $20 bucks?
Post by: oTi@ on April 02, 2011, 04:25:39 pm
I think we're going to need a diagram at this point of how you think stuff is wired.

You said you connected black of the multi light circuit to blue on the primary.Was that the black in the 14-3, or a black in a separate 14-2?
Title: Re: GE 45613 - 3way dimmer worth buying for $20 bucks?
Post by: aschwalb on April 02, 2011, 05:00:24 pm
Sorry doing this on my iPad....

Yellow------>red (14-3 main box)---->red (aux box 1)---->red (aux box 2)---->red ( aux box 3)
                                                            |.                            |.                               |
                                                             --->yel aux sw1.   ---> yel aux sw 2.     --->yel aux sw 3

Blue------->black(14-3 main box)---->black (Aux box1)---->black (aux box 2)---->black (aux box 3)
                                                            |.                               |.                                 |
                                                             --->white/red            ---> white/red.           ---> white/red

Black------>black (hot)
White------>white (neutral)------>?
Green------>ground----------------------(aux box 1)---------(aux box 2)----------(aux box 3)

There is a white wire (part of the 14-3) that daisy chains through each box, but when I used my cable proble ( puts a tone on the wire) it didn't seem to flow through.  The black and reds do for sure. 

Not sure I know where the lights are connected in.
Title: Re: GE 45613 - 3way dimmer worth buying for $20 bucks?
Post by: aschwalb on April 02, 2011, 05:13:31 pm
I think the wiring follows switch --> light ---> light---> light ---> aux ---> aux ---> aux
Title: Re: GE 45613 - 3way dimmer worth buying for $20 bucks?
Post by: oTi@ on April 02, 2011, 08:20:30 pm
The candycane (white/red) should not be connected to blue on the primary. Blue is the load side and should be connected to just your lights.

It sounds like you haven't figured out how exactly your lights are connected / how all the wiring runs. There has to be 14-2 somewhere that connects to your lights (i.e. there's more than just the 14-3 involved).
Title: Re: GE 45613 - 3way dimmer worth buying for $20 bucks?
Post by: aschwalb on April 04, 2011, 10:52:12 am
Ok I found a diagram that is very likely what I have.  This explains what I was seeing...  The only difference is a second 4 way switch after the multiple light setup.  So mine is 3way-->lights-->lights-->lights-->4way-->4way-->3way.
Title: Re: GE 45613 - 3way dimmer worth buying for $20 bucks?
Post by: oTi@ on April 04, 2011, 03:22:35 pm
Well, you have an additional light, an additional 4-way switch, and only one switch 'before' the lights. That's quite different.

I would verify that in the 'last' box with the 3-way you have indeed only a single 14-3. If so, it should be easy to get the lights going with just the primary.

To make it work with aux switches, you would have to rewire things behind one of the lights.
Title: Re: GE 45613 - 3way dimmer worth buying for $20 bucks?
Post by: aschwalb on April 04, 2011, 05:15:42 pm
ok, well I finally did a real drawing...  based on the previous one. 
Title: Re: GE 45613 - 3way dimmer worth buying for $20 bucks?
Post by: aschwalb on April 04, 2011, 05:18:18 pm
Gif if easier....
Title: Re: GE 45613 - 3way dimmer worth buying for $20 bucks?
Post by: oTi@ on April 04, 2011, 05:30:36 pm
Nice work.

So, based on this diagram, you could, as an intermediary step:
- Take out the 2 4-ways, and connect the 2 blacks in each of those boxes.
- Take out the 3-way at the end, and connect the black and the white.
=> With the GE primary in place, but without its yellow connected to the red in the 14-3, can you now switch/dim all the lights?
Title: Re: GE 45613 - 3way dimmer worth buying for $20 bucks?
Post by: aschwalb on April 04, 2011, 05:44:03 pm
 ;D Yes, thats what I ended up doing (through trial and error) on Sunday.  The dimmer works fine without the yellow attached.  As soon as I attach the Yellow I get the 80% dimmer problem.  If we assume I can live with that how would I wire up the first aux switch in the first (ex) 4way box?
Title: Re: GE 45613 - 3way dimmer worth buying for $20 bucks?
Post by: oTi@ on April 04, 2011, 08:57:44 pm
OK, great. 8)

Now, based on the diagram, you could do the following:
- Disconnect black and white in the 3-way.
- Cap the black.

Then, where those 4 wire nuts are near the lights:
= Nut-1 has 4 whites
= Nut-2 has 2 reds
= Nut-3 has 2 blacks
= Nut-4 has 3 blacks, 1 white
- Disconnect the black from nut-3 that is part of the 14-3 going to the right.
- Cap the black.
=> This run of black from here to the 3-way is now fully isolated and capped.

- Disconnect the white from nut-4.
- Connect that white to nut-1.
=> All your whites are now neutral.

- Connect a new black wire to nut-3.
- Connect the other end of that black to nut-4.
=> The lights are now (more directly) connected to the load (blue) on the primary.

=> Test the primary.

- Add the first aux; candycane to white, yellow to red.
=> Test.

- Add the other 2 aux switches; testing along the way.
Title: Re: GE 45613 - 3way dimmer worth buying for $20 bucks?
Post by: aschwalb on April 05, 2011, 10:02:53 am
oTi@ 

Thanks so much for your help! :D
Title: Re: GE 45613 - 3way dimmer worth buying for $20 bucks?
Post by: oTi@ on April 11, 2011, 10:15:16 am
@aschwalb,

Just wondering where you are at with this; specifically, do you still have the 80% issue after wiring everything?
Title: Re: GE 45613 - 3way dimmer worth buying for $20 bucks?
Post by: aschwalb on April 11, 2011, 10:22:03 am
@oTi
:D Well, I gave up with the 3 way only because getting up in the ceiling to try and re-wire (per our discussion) seemed like a big pain.  So I took a 'plan b' route and am using lots of Leviton Zone controllers...  It actually made more sense than this convoluted 5 way wiring. I am basically converting my house from a hardwired house to a software driven one.  Every room has at least one zone controller which will be the main way to control the lights/fans/whatever in that room.  This rational is that this house (built in 1924, then added on) had screwy placement of lights and switches.  I converted to 3.2 zwave and am running the latest beta build.  Everything is working flawlessly!.  Leviton controls these GE dimmer/Switches perfectly and Vera is the primary.  I have never even unboxed the leviton controller I bought.  And no 80% issue since I ditched the traveller wire.
Title: Re: GE 45613 - 3way dimmer worth buying for $20 bucks?
Post by: oTi@ on April 11, 2011, 11:04:19 am
Thanks for the status feedback on this @aschwalb.

Interesting project! I have some questions, but I'll ask those over here (http://forum.micasaverde.com/index.php?topic=6178.msg37739#msg37739).