Compatible switches, doorbells, locks, and cameras

Thanks for your input and help.

I previously had a home security system that allowed for control of z wave switches through the home security app. A little pricey per month and minimal automation support, yet I have come to miss this system.

My family just purchased a new home and have a blank slate to do a home automation system. I am an engineer with some programming skills and think the HE is the right choice for me. Just need to figure out the right sensors, switches, etc. to get started.

I would like to minimize the number of interfaces between locks, doorbell cameras, switches, and sensors. A couple questions:

  1. I am thinking a ring doorbell with Kwikset 910 deadbolt. I would like to stick to the Kwikset brand with the re programmable mechanical locks. Is this a good combo? Do they get along well? Can I minimize the number of manipulations with my phone as compared to a different combo? Any better recommendations out there?

  2. My previous setup utilized the GE smart switches and dimmer switches. I require a neutral connection to the switches (no caseta), like the disconnect feature, and liked the dimmer capability. Is there a better or more economical dimmer switch to consider?

  3. I would like to control outdoor lighting switches. Are there outdoor rated switches?

GE has a a couple outdoor units.

direct wire https://www.amazon.com/GE-Appliance-Required-Works-SmartThings-14285/dp/B00YTCZZF0

Other smart switches might need to go into an electrical "bubble". My outdoor lighting (both low voltage and line voltage) are control by switches/dry contact relays, that are in the house. Do you currently have switches outside, or is this something you are adding?

You can reuse these most likely, are they Z-wave?

#1 I will leave to someone else to comment on.

Outdoor switches would be something I am adding on. Looking at a wharf light, fan, low voltage deck lighting and low voltage landscaping lighting. I plan on installing an isolation transformer and could run a line back to the house. One of the problems would be that the transformer would be 75' from the house; the electrical current would be traveling approximately 175' to the load if I route back to the house. It would be nice to have slave switches at the dock control the master switch from inside the conditioned house.

My ge enbrighten switches were purchased back in 2015. That would make them non plus z-wave? I think z-wave makes the most sense for my application vice zigbee. I also sold that house with the switches (technically the house was free provided they paid 30K a switch). But the important point is that I am starting from scratch.

Not a big deal. A couple of my LV runs are that long. You can get a transformer that has a 14V output and your voltage will still be near 12V at 175 feet provided you use 12 gauge wire (not an electrician so my math could be off). I do it with mine at about that.

You can do that with load-less smart switches, button devices, Picos (I know you said no Castea but Picos are worth it by themselves) motion plenty of options there.

Any thoughts on home security and doorbells integrating with HE?

I have a Ring Doorbell integrated with Hubitat via Amazon Alexa.

I use two Amazon Alexa Skills, one for Ring and another for Hubitat. I use an Alexa “Routine”, triggered by the Ring Doorbell, to turn on a virtual Hubitat Switch (which has the auto-off feature enabled.) This allows Hubitat to react whenever Ring detects motion or a doorbell pushed event.

I have been using this technique for about 2 years, and it has been very reliable and fast performing. I initially tried using IFTTT, however it was way too slow.

Thanks! Good info. I assume the routine will only work with internet connection? Do you do anything to integrate a smart lock?

I use Kwikset Zigbee smart locks directly paired to my Hubitat hub.

I would check out the Lutron Casetta switches you will need the pro 2 hub but they are highly regarded.

https://www.casetawireless.com/

Pat,

If lutron would make one that powers the switch from a neutral wire, I would buy them in a heart beat. I believe these switches are using the grounds (backup for the neutral) in order to power the switch and therefore shouldn't pass UL testing. They are also a little more pricey.

hmm mine all have a neutral wire,,,,actually re checking that

Caseta does not use a neutral. It was purposefully designed for old construction (pre 1980's ish) where a neutral wire is not available to tap into.

from their doc
If available,connect the neutral wire from the wallbox to the white wire on the in-wall dimmer.
If neutral is not available, cap the white wire with a wire connector.
Neutral requiredfor: MLV loads,LED drivers, PHPM-PA, PHPM-3F, GRX-TVI.

also listed on amazon as UL certified

You can use a Neutral with Lutron's higher-end PD-5NE
dimmer switch. Also, the 'Switches' (PD-5ANS,
PD-6ANS) and 'Fan Controller' (PD-FSQN) all require a neutral wire.

https://www.lutron.com/TechnicalDocumentLibrary/369987_ENG.pdf

Is there a specific reason why you want to use a neutral wire? I have Caseta Dimmers, Switches, and Fan Controllers throughout my house. My dimmers are all the lower cost, no-neutral PD-6WCL model and they work fine, as long as your lighting load is compatible. For those areas where I knew the lighting was not compatible, I used the PD-5ANS Switches instead of dimmers.

Pat,

Note that the white wire is optional. Just because a white wire is an option does not make it the go to "ground" for the switch to power the switch when the switch is off. While I didn't design the thing, it is likely that the neutral and the ground are connected in some fashion. This becomes problematic with low ground fault currents and reflects poorly of the safety of the design. I prefer for my grounds to not be used unless there is a short.

TLDR: I don't know enough about the design of the caseta switches, but I am not interested due to their (selective) use of ground wires. I would be willing to reconsider, but would need to talk to an engineer.

I do not believe this is accurate. Lutron requires a very small amount of current to always be passed through the load, to neutral, in order to power its electronics, when a neutral wire is not required. They do not use the ground wire, to my knowledge.

The way to test this would be to remove the load so it is open. If it switches on and off, they are using the ground. I cannot find a technical answer from google. A single incandescent bulb would be the easiest to test.

Out of curiosity, why do you like them so much?

I have used quite a variety of home automation platform and hardware over the last 35+ years. For me, Lutron lighting is very well designed by an engineering company, and it just works, every time, all the time. I have had zero failures since I installed Lutron Caseta. Every other technology I have used has had issues of some sort. Also, I really like that once paired to the Caseta SmartBridge Pro, these devices will never need to be re-paired ever again. I can use my Lutron Caseta Lighting System with Hubitat, SmartThings, Home Assistant, Node-RED, Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Logitech Harmony, Apple HomeKit, Ecobee, Sonos, etc... You're not just buying switches, dimmers, and fan controllers... you're buying a standalone lighting solution that has amazing integration options available to provide the user with amazing flexibility, while maintaining incredible reliability.

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You made me curious enough to run this test... I removed the light bulb from an overhead fixture that is controlled by a Lutron PD-6WCL Caseta 'No-Neutral' dimmer switch. This dimmer is wired to Line, Load, and Ground correctly (I am an Electrical Engineer, and I installed all of my smart switches.) Without the bulb, the Lutron Dimmer would not turn on at all. Only once the bulb was reinstalled did the switch become responsive again.

So, hopefully that answers the question. :slight_smile:

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