Dimmer / Switch Recommendations


#1

I asked this over in the FB group, but I think I may get a few more responses on the forum.

Looking for a switch recommendation... I currently have some older GE z-wave switches that don't provide status updates. I know I can run z-wave poller to help with some of these, but I think I'm going to slowly replace them.

My main requirements are that the dimmer switches 1) come on at the last known brightness level, 2) they come on instantly and don't ramp up and 3) report status back to Hubitat. My wife HATES the GE dimmers due to the ramp up/down. I've also had more and more GE devices (after two years) start to fail.

I'm not married to the z-wave protocol and am happy to look at Zigbee or Lutron devices. Also happy to stay on z-wave but look at Leviton, Cooper, Innovelli or ZooZ brand switches.

Cheers!


#2

A few thoughts...

  • I've been using a variety of Zooz switches/dimmers and have had good luck with them. They are affordable (especially on sale) and I've had great response from support. However, I think the minimum ramp time is 1 second (although some of the LED fixtures I have seem to ramp up more quickly). I'd suggest checking with their support or TheSmartestHouse if this is critical.
  • People seem to like the Lutron Caseta switches although they seem a little pricey for me throughout the house.
  • If you haven't already, I'd suggest a search on past community posts.

Good luck in your search.


#3

I'm with @RichCNJ on the Zooz Zen 26 & 27 switches and Dimmers.

I just played around with one of my Zen 27 dimmers to evaluate the ramp rate, and the minimum ramp rate is indeed 1 second, which to me is sufficiently short to be equvqlent to zero, but I clearly don't know if your Mrs would agree.

Anything Zwave Plus should return status.

I have no Lutrons, but they are very popular here. For my money, the Zooz products seem to be the best bang for the buck, but there are some oddities when using them in 3 and 4 way circuits.

S.


#4

@scottgu3, not to take the thread too off-course but I was wondering what issues you had with 3-way and 4-way scenarios? I used a ZEN27 in a 5-way (keeping the existing traditional toggle switches) and didn't have any issues. I use it with 4-in-1 sensor to light a hallway when it's cloudy/night.


#5

Rich,

I think @Ryan780 pointed out in another thread (I'd have to dig it up), that the other switches in a 2/3/4/N are simple on/off switches, and won't act as dimmer controls with the Zen-27.

Its only an issue if your use case would want multipoint dimmer control, which at least in a 2 way connection will work with a GE and its Add-On switches. I'm not sure if you can do 3+ ways with add-on switches though.

Scott


#6

The add-on switches for the GE work with as many add-on switches you want. And the addon switch also gives you full dimmer control at the secondary switch. That's what's so nice about them.

You can do the zen27 in a 5 way configuration. There's an article on how it has to be wired.

http://www.support.getzooz.com/kb/article/182-5way-diagrams-for-zen26-and-zen27-s2-switches/

However, you get no dimming control at the 3 other switches, only at the primary Zooz switch.


#7

Thanks, now I understand. In my case, the dimmer is in the center of a hallway with bedrooms in 3 different directions (hence the 5-way) but they're within 10 feet of the ZEN27. I'm OK with using the original toggles by each bedroom. I know Zooz has a Momentary In-Wall Switch (ZAC99) but it doesn't seem to operate as an add-on to their other dimmers.


#8

The Leviton Z-Wave dimmers are super configurable. Ramp rates on/off, on at set level or previous level. Similar look as a Lutron Maestro style, but with a rocker lever. Home Depot usually has them in stock. If you buy them off eBay you may need to update firmware as there is a lot of old stock for sale.

Lutron RadioRA 2 (full, not Select). Fully configurable ramp rates and on actions. Super reliable. ~2-3x cost of the Leviton devices. Maestro style dimmers. Note that neither Caseta nor RA2 Select will give you what you want as on is always on to 100% and there is no ramp rate configuration.


#9

The GE add-on operates like the main switch because it has 2 button functions, just like the primary switch does. That is the only reason they are able to charge $20 for the add-on switch.


#10

I posted this elsewhere. I'm done with Z-wave. It sucks. Some of the switch brands are questionable quality (people love GE, but I've had a huge failure rate on them). The binding to the controller sucks when you have to replace your hardware for an upgrade or failure, because the manual re-pairing process can take all afternoon. Some cheaper Z-wave devices are permanently bound to whatever you first paired them to, and they are impossible to factory reset, etc....

I've been loving Zigbee, but there are seemingly no decent zigbee switches/dimmers out yet. I found one that looked decent, but it was $130.

I think you should look into Caseta. It meets all your requirements, and those little pico switches are pretty awesome for adding additional switches or dealing with 3/4/5/6/xxx-way scenarios. I'm currently remodeling some stuff, and I'll probably switch to Caseta for the new area, and slowly replace all of the Z-wave stuff. I only have 15 or 16 Z-wave switches and dimmers now, so it won't be that bad.


#11

Caseta dimmers do not meet OP requirements. The physical devices have a fixed ramp rate - ~1 second for on and ~2 seconds for off. On is always 100%. The only way to get around those constraints is to use Picos programmed in Hubitat. But the dimmer itself cannot be changed.

The only Lutron solution is to go full RadioRA 2. Ramp rates and "on" behavior (fixed level or previous level) are programmable. RA2 Select has the same ramp constraints as Caseta.

RadioRA 2 can actually be price competitive with a Caseta install if one is speccing PD-5NE (neutral wire required) Caseta devices. The equivalent RadioRA 2 dimmer isn't that much more expensive if you have access to a decent electrical supply house.


#12

Lutron caseta, well worth the extra $5 or $6. Plus you then get the capability of adding Pico remotes.


#13

There is a Zigbee version of the GE dimmer as well. And it is currently on sale at Lowes.


#14

I ended up buying two of the Leviton Dimmers to do as a pilot program. The wife liked them because the dimming function is separate from the paddle. She hates in when she is trying to turn off a light and inadvertently dims it down. They also have an adjustable ramp rate and report status. I'll update this thread once the wife puts them through the paces.

https://www.leviton.com/en/products/dz1kd-1bz


#15

Let us know how they work out for you. I have a Cooper with a separate Dimming bar and find it less friendly to use than a GE or Zooz with the Push On/Off and Hold Dim functions.

It will be interesting to see how you get along with these!

Scott


#16

I saw your post in the other thread. I found that the GE's were frustrating to get included, mostly because even New In Box units had to be Excluded before they could be included....and I also had a couple non-Plus models in my inventory.

However, I've found the Zooz units to be easy to pair, and uber reliable (so far).

I've gota couple of Honeywell/Jasco Zigbee models, and they seem pretty good, alothough I only bought them to use them as ZIgbee repeaters....

Truth be told, Ihave no problems with either my Zigbee or Zwave networks! (Knocks on Wood).

I've not seriously looked at the Caseta, mostly because I can't think of anything I need a Pico for...lol

S.


#17

I wasn't aware that these dimmers allowed changing the "preset level" so when you tap on on the dimmer itself, it comes on to that preset level. That's interesting...a lot of dimmer don't offer that and turning them on returns them to the last dimmer level and to change the dimming level you have to turn the dimmer on. I even found a driver that lets you change that programmatically. I might have to take a look at these too.


#18

Insteon do this. You can set them to come on to the last level or don't. You can set the ramp rate or you can set them to come on instantly like you prefer. You can change the light indicator brightness, or turn it off entirely, and you can set any of them up in a three-way or four-way setup without having to purchase special switches. You can make them beep when you control them or keep them silent. Insteon is dual mesh, so if the packets don't make it by wireless, they go over the power lines. Quality product, but not expensive.

The catch, for our local integration, you need a small node.js app to listen to the hub for status updates. If that doesn't bother you, they offer high end features, and solid performance on hobbyist's budget.


#19

Yeah...but the Leviton are Z-wave and work natively. So....seems a little easier to me. And I wasn't aware of any device other than the GE Motion dimmer that allowed you to set a preset level.


#20

He was willing to look at Lutron, so I figured I'd plug my favorite wall devices. What's one more Pi in the closet? :grinning:.