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ZWP Dimmers and Switches now available in 3-Way Kits!

ZWP WD-100, WS-100, and WA-100

ZWP Dimmers and Switches now available in 3-Way Kits!
The majority of our users have purchased and successfully installed our ZWP line of switches and dimmers. They appreciated the quality and cost.
However, we are getting some of repeat questions when it comes to 3-Way switches.


We have added kits that help simplify your 3-Way WA-100 switch purchase. Below is some information that should help.

Definitions
 
Single pole: Your ‘average’ switch- the light is controlled from one location.

3-way: When the light is controlled from two locations. Also called upstairs/downstairs switches in some regions.

Primary switch: In a 3-way installation, the Primary switch contains the Z-Wave chip. The device used in Single pole applications is the Primary - same device.

Auxiliary switch: In a 3-way installation, the Auxiliary switch gives an alternate switch location. An Auxiliary switch CANNOT be used by itself as a Primary switch and is only used with a Primary.

Load: The light, fixture, or other item you want to turn on/off/dim.

Line: The source of the electricity from the electric box/fuse box.

Neutral: The return route of electricity. When installing a Smart Switch, a neutral is required. See What to Know Before Changing Your Wall Switch for more on Neutrals.

Traveler Wire: Also called the "common" wire, this power line is fed into the common terminal of one of the switches.

Toggle: Type of switch that sort-of looks like an older ‘standard’ switch, and will fit toggle face plates. We do not have any ZWP toggle dimmers or toggle switches, but they are available from GE/JASCO

Rocker: (also called a paddle switch or known by a brand name "Decora") Type of switch with a wider surface than the toggle. Most modern homes have rocker switches, and this is among the first upgrades done by DIYer’s.

Understanding 3-way Circuits
A 3-way switch is a setup where a load is controlled from 2 locations. There are also 4-way (3 locations), 5-way (4 locations) and even 6-way (5 locations) or more. For Z-Wave purposes (and this blog entry) we are writing about how to install ZWP 3-Way Smart Switches. NOTE: most Z-Wave devices will support up to a 5-way switch.

Why is it called a 3-way? I’ve been told that it’s because there are 3 ways for the electricity to flow, or that originally there were 3 points of contact. Nothing seems to make sense to me, and I will leave the nomenclature for electricians and scholars. The average DIY handyman/woman will need to know a single pole switch and a 3-way.

You’ve got a 3-way that you want to add to your Z-Wave network. Now what? The first step in automating your basic 3-way setup is identifying the wiring. There are at least 5 ways of wiring a 3-way switch, and each of those will require a slightly different setup. As we do not give electrical advice on this blog, we will assume you have the “standard” way that professionals will wire a 3-way circuit and refer to the wiring diagram below (full instructions available here). Know that there may be other ways before you play “Eeny, meeny, miny, mo” (yes, it happens) with the ‘extra’ wires. When in doubt, please call an electrician.



What is an Auxiliary Switch?
Smart switches can be broken up into 2 main categories: Primary Switches and Auxiliary Switches. A Primary (also known as a Master) switch contains the Z-Wave chip. It’s the more expensive of the pair. If you are only replacing one switch (non 3-way) then you would choose a Primary switch and be done.

An Auxiliary (also known as a slave or add-on) switch gives an alternate location to control the Primary switch. An Auxiliary switch will not control a load, or even work with a Z-Wave network since it does not have a Z-Wave chip. An Auxiliary is required when you want to automate a 3-way circuit. The old, existing dumb switch will NOT serve as an Auxiliary switch. A Primary Switch and Auxiliary Switch will NOT communicate wirelessly; you need the existing wiring that supported the dumb 3-Way switches.

   

What is the difference in Model Numbers?
(Click on the model number to open the product page in a new tab).

The WD-100 is an in-wall Z-Wave Plus Multi-level Light Dimmer

The WS-100 is an in-wall Z-Wave Plus ON/OFF Light Switch

The WA-100 is an in-wall Auxiliary Switch for both of the above
NOTE: Auxiliary switches will ‘become’ the type of device it supports; a dimmer becomes a dimmer; a switch becomes a switch.

The KITZWP-WD-WA-100 is a Dimmer/Auxiliary Switch set for 3-Way applications

The KITZWP-WS-WA-100 is an ON/OFF Switch/Auxiliary Switch set for 3-Way applications

Multi-gang Switch Boxes
When you have multiple switches in the same box, this is called a multi-gang switch installation. Although you MAY have one or more 3-way circuits in a multi-gang box, each of the switches in that box will be it's own circuit. Handle these like any other single gang installation with one caveat: You may not be able to fit multiple Smart Switches next to one another. In this case follow the manufacturer's instructions on how to clip/break off the heat sink tabs on the sides of the switch. This will allow you to fit more switches side-by-side, but removing tabs will decrease the load rating of the switch. Read the instructions that come with the switch for more information.

NOTE: This is an updated version of a previous blog that specified GE/JASCO devices instead of ZWP devices.

Have questions? See any errors/omissions/confusion? Please leave a message using the link in the bottom right of this screen, or fill out our Ask An Expert form for more help with your Z-Wave installation projects.
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Automate utility lighting with this GE motion sensor and LED bulb

Enbrighten 35931 Z-Wave Smart LED and GE 34193 Z-Wave Tabletop Motion Sensor

Automate utility lighting with this GE motion sensor and LED bulb
Cost and time; About $70 and 30 minutes (assuming you already have a Z-Wave gateway)

I have a closet where I stuff photography gear, blog ideas, reams of paper and Christmas gifts I’ve hidden yet forgot to give to my wife. It's lit by a single bulb operated by a pull chain. The closet door is in my line of sight, and every time I walk in to my office, the bulb is on. I’m not sure if I just leave it on, or if the pull chain is being pulled by ghosts determined to watch my electric bill climb. I'm not using the closet nearly enough to be burning the bulb 24/7.

   

As a blog writer with access to everything Z-Wave, I got my hands on the GE 34193 Z-Wave Plus Tabletop Smart Motion Sensor as well as the Enbrighten 35931 Z-Wave Plus Smart LED Bulb, Dimmable, (60w equivalent).



The 34193 was a bit smaller than I expected out of a device advertised as a ‘tabletop unit,’ but felt solid. Not related to your user experience, but I'm not crazy about the tagline, "Use any mobile device!".  While OUR customers would never see it on a shelf, I've already gotten an earful (or keyboard-full) from disgruntled users who purchased this from their local box store and were misled.

THESE DEVICES REQUIRE A Z-WAVE HUB! Regardless, both devices were packaged well and had a good feel and even some directions.

  

I used the motion sensor's included mounting bracket, screws and anchors, and installed it just above the transom of the closet door, so it will trigger as soon as I stick my head in to look for something.



I paired this and the 35931 bulb (a simple screw-in installation) with my Fibaro Home Center Lite, which took only a few minutes with no drama. I used the Magic Scene wizard to create two scenes: turn on the Enbrighten LED when the motion sensor detects motion, and turn off the Enbrighten LED when the motion sensor doesn’t detect motion for 4 minutes. So far, 3 days since I set this up, the LED bulb is off, and responds quickly when I need something. This inexpensive and easy solution automated my office closet to save energy and money. Granted, it would take approximately 1 year to recoup the $70 cost of this project (A 60 watt bulb costs $0.0071/hour x 24 hours 365 days =$62.34/year) but the convenience of the automation and never walking into a dark closet gives value as well.

Take a look and see if a quick automation project like this will work for you. As always, please feel free to send me a message using the link in the bottom right corner, or ask our team at Ask An Expert
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Kit Suggestions for new WINK 2 owners

Kit Suggestions for new WINK 2 owners
A few visitors to Zwaveproducts.com have asked, 'What home automation hub do Z-Wave retailers use at home?' and 'What devices work with my WINK 2?'

Here's the answer to both questions. Pictured above is my WINK 2, which has joined the army of other Z-Wave hubs in operation at home. The WINK 2 a good device (read my overview here), and there are many things you can do with it. In this blog entry are devices that you you consider when getting started with your own smart home network. Going back through my blogs, you'll see similar entries, but I tried to keep this one simple.
Click on the device names for links with more information.

In-wall Switch Lighting Control

Already have a WINK 2? Add these products to add lighting control to your smart home project.

Add two GE 12722 Smart Switches or two GE 12724 Smart Dimmers
Have a 3-way circuit that you want to control? Add a GE 12723 Add-On and READ THIS BLOG on Understanding 3-way Switches.

No Wiring Apartment Lighting Kit!
Have a WINK 2 but are not able to change the wiring in your home or apartment? Check out these plug-in and screw-in units that will have you up and running in less than 20 minutes.

Add two Z-Wave Dimmable LED Light Bulbs and two GE Plug-in Smart Switches for total control of a living room or bedroom.

Security Add On
Want to get notifications or trigger a robot when someone enters a room ? These devices work well with your WINK 2.

Three Aeotec Door/Window sensors are a great start and will allow you to really understand how these will work best for you and your smart home.
One Go Control Z-Wave Wireless IR Motion sensor covers those places where a door sensor won't work.  http://www.zwaveproducts.com/shop/z-wave-security/motion-detectors-and-sensors/z-wave-wireless-smoke-detector-sensor

Energy Saver Add On
Want to cut down on your A/C bills this summer? Use schedules and robots on your WINK 2 for best effect in your busy life.

Add a Go Control TBZ48 Z-Wave Thermostat and program the device to fit your schedule.

Door Lock Add On

Get a notification to your WINK 2 App when someone comes home, or even lock/unlock doors from your phone when you're not there

Add one Kwikset Smartcode Lever Lock and a Ecolink Z-Wave Garage Door Tilt Sensor to manage the coming/going of your family and stop unauthorized access to your home.

Complete Kits Available Too!

We also have WINK 2 kits with a hub and some devices, if you haven't purchased your WINK 2 yet.

Please let us know if you have any questions!
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"Making my home smart." How to get started.

The Summer 2017 guide to getting started with Z-Wave Products

"Making my home smart." How to get started.
Defining a “Smart Home"
"Smart Home" is a phrase that is often used in our marketing, but it may mean different things to different people. Answering the question “what is a smart home?” will help a beginner get the most out of his or her investment, and allow Zwaveproducts.com to better answer any questions that come up.

I answer hundreds of questions; from elderly homeowners to professional installers. Most people that I chat with want to dabble in technology, make their lives a little easier, add some level of security, and be able to impress friends and family. Home ‘assistant’ devices like Amazon Echo or Google Home have become staples in many households, and are usually a gateway to home automation, once the user starts exploring options.


The Amazon Echo (Alexa) has been a popular entry device into home automation, but its capabilities are sometimes misunderstood.

But does adding a voice controlled device constitute a smart home? For many Alexa users, voice-controlling a few WiFi light bulbs is sufficient. On the other end of the spectrum, some users want the security of a panel from a nationally known alarm company, and will pay the monthly fees to have it monitored. Everyone is different, and the definition of a 'smart home' usually falls somewhere in between a single device and a million-dollar newly constructed showplace. This makes answering emails with the vague statement, “What do I need to get started in home automation?” a little difficult. It also adds spice when we sit around and discuss what is necessary to go into a ‘get started’ kit.

Simple
Nobody is more qualified to answer the question of what you need, than you. We can help you with describing the technology and what the device is called, but you either have something in your head, or you have seen a demo of something done. Start there. Concentrate on what your smart home is supposed to do for you. Read the following primer that discusses the more technical side, and then references some of our best devices (more information on any device can be found by clicking on the link, where available). When you’re done, contact us for more information on putting together a compatible Z-Wave network that’s right for you.

RF Protocols and Compatibility
Devices have varying levels of compatibility, depending on the radio protocol (language) you choose. There are pros and cons for each type. WiFi has great compatibility, but as it’s broadcast where anyone can catch the signal, devices require passkeys to keep it secure. Bluetooth has a similar range and security concern as WiFi, but it’s only peer-to-peer, meaning there is no mesh network (you can’t add and utilize multiple devices at one time). Zigbee is a RF protocol that uses small bits of info, and its secret nature keeps it secure. Battery life is increased in battery-operated Zigbee devices, since there isn’t a lot of information transferred. Zigbee’s big flaw is its lack of cohesive operation between different brands. If you buy a controller from brand ABC and a bulb from XYZ, there’s a pretty good chance that they will not work together. Still, Zigbee is a ahead of WiFi and Bluetooth when it comes to running the show in your smart home.



Z-Wave is our favorite RF protocol for controlling smart devices in the home automation field. Every controller has a secret home ID; every node has an ID assigned to that controller. Battery-operated devices benefit from long life due to tiny information transfers, and mains-powered devices work together in a mesh network to make sure each devices stays online. Devices from different manufacturers have a better than average chance of communicating together, thanks to the Z-Wave Alliance and their rules for certification. There’s a reason why were are zwaveproducts.com. We had (and still have) the chance to work with any RF radio we wanted, and we chose Z-Wave because we feel it is the best. Other protocols that are installed on popular gateways are Kidde and Lutron’s Clear Connect. They are similar to Zigbee and have a place in the smart home, but we still prefer Z-Wave.

Why is a hub necessary?
All Z-Wave networks start with a Z-Wave hub. Popular models are Vera Plus, WINK 2, Smart Things and Fibaro Home Center 2. A Z-Wave hub will sometimes be referred to as a Z-Wave controller. A hub with several radios is commonly called a gateway. No matter what the name, the purpose of the hub is to act as a central point between the internet and your Z-Wave devices. This allows you to control (or receive information from) your smart home, anywhere you can get to the internet. Z-Wave is exceptionally modular, so you can keep the costs down as you build your automation network. Most of our new customers get a hub and a few wall switches (or plug-in switches) and go from there.


The WINK 2 hub is a great choice for any smart home.

You almost can’t make a bad decision with getting started, as long as you know what your long term goals are. Ask your installer, or us, for more help on determining the correct hub for those goals. Buying a hub that won’t work with Amazon Echo will be a poor choice if one of your goals is to control lights from Alexa. If cameras are a big draw, you’re not going to be happy if your shiny gateway won’t run multiple cameras. Hopefully this “Getting Started” guide (2017) will help you understand what you are getting into. Why is a hub necessary with Z-Wave and not with WiFi? Because your smart phone doesn’t have the Z-Wave chip required to talk directly from App to device. The WiFi that’s in your smart phone controls the WiFi device, but also contributes to a very crowded and unstable network.

Adding Lighting Controls
Once you have a hub, you’ll most likely consider adding some lighting controls. The line of ZWP wall switches feature the WD-100 dimmer, WS-100 switch, and WA-100 accessory (for 3, 4, and 5 way applications). These devices work with almost any hub, which makes them simple from the smart home point of view. However, you’ll need to understand some electricity DIY basics, including if you have a neutral wire in the wall switch box (necessary, but not always present). Changing switches can be easy, but understand what you are getting into; contact an electrician if you feel overwhelmed. For lamp control with a different spin, consider an in-wall smart receptacle, like the GE 12721 In-Wall Smart Duplex Outlet. This device features two outlets; one Z-Wave controlled, and one always powered.


The Zwaveproducts WD-100 Z-Wave Plus In-wall Dimmer is a feature-rich device with a great price point.

An alternative to wiring are plug-in dimmers and switches. The GE 12718 Plug-In Smart Dimmer and 12719 Plug-In Smart Switch plug right into your existing wall outlets; no wiring necessary. For lamps and fixtures with A-style bases, the Go Control LB60Z-1 Dimmable LED gives you Z-Wave controlled lighting with the change of a lightbulb. For your track lights and recessed cans (4” or bigger) check out the Go Control LBR30Z-1 Dimmable Indoor Flood Light.

Energy Savings via HVAC Control
Wrestling the heating or A/C bill is a fairly easy concept. Change the thermostat and apply some automation (discussed later). However, like lighting controls, replacing your stat assumes you know a little bit about what is going on with that wire that runs from your living room to your furnace. Manufacturers do a great job describing the 50 ways your HVAC system could be wired, but its ultimately up to you (or your hired pro) to ensure correct installation. For most homes, with or without a common wire, the Go Control GC-TBZ48 does an excellent job bridging your climate control with your hub.


By just upgrading to smart thermostat, like the Go Control TZB48 pictured above, a user can add climate control and reap energy savings from his/her smart home.

For those with line-voltage baseboard heat, the Stelpro STZW402B+ is the only Z-Wave device available to handle the job, and it does it well.

Adding Sensors
Sensors provide the touch and feel to your smart home. The Aeotec ZW120 Door/Window Sensor and Go Control WAPIRZ Motion Sensor can be used to trigger a scene, or send notifications to your phone about someone moving about. Add any non-Z-Wave dry contact sensor (driveway sensor, window tape, etc) to a Fibaro FGK-101ZW5 Door/Window Sensor for easy Z-Wave compatibility. To check if your garage door is open, use the Ecolink TILTZWAVE2-ECO Tilt Sensor the same way you’d use a door/window sensor in the rest of the house.

Z-Wave sensors are unobtrusive and battery operated, allowing for simple installation and discrete notifications. Aeon Labs DSB45 Water Sensor pictured above.

The Aeotec DSB45-ZWUS Smart Water Sensor can start a scene (or send a notification) on your Z-Wave hub, depending on the presence OR absence of water. The First Alert ZCOMBO-G Smoke/CO2 Alarm (doesn’t work with WINK) can trigger a scene that kicks off a siren and sends a notification to your phone.

Securing your Home - Door Locks
Due to the security of the Z-Wave signal, lever locks and dead bolts are a popular addition to any smart home. Right now, our Z-Wave door locks will fit standard residential-style doors. For efficiency (battery life as well as secure locking) the door must be square and easy to close. If you find yourself leaning a shoulder into the door panel to squish 15 years of weatherstripping, a smart lock will not be a good choice for you. I find that a deadbolt gives me more security, and I recommend pairing the smart lock of your choice with a ‘dumb’ lever lock of the same color/manufacturer.


Electronic Z-Wave Door Locks, like the Yale Real Living YRD240-ZW Touchscreen Deadbolt pictured above, allow notifications and remote access to/from your smart device via your Z-Wave hub.

The Yale Real Living YRD210-ZW Pushbutton Deadbolt is a great choice for convenience and security. The Yale Real Living YRD240-ZW Touchscreen Deadbolt is still one of the best in form; the sleek panel and voice-guided programming are stellar, even if the lock is a little chunky. To create access control (different users have different codes and separate notifications) with WINK2, you would use the Schlage BE469NX Touchscreen Deadbolt, which has a great user experience, very similar to the Yale YRD240.

Adding Cameras

In order to understand camera integration, you will need to know a little background.

Z-Wave is a radio protocol that allows a little bit of information to be shared. Bits are sent then acknowledged, and through this process your gateway tells your door lock to open, or your hall light to turn off. There is only enough information for directions, but not enough for any real meaty information. This is important, because while many devices have unlimited power (plugged in or wired to 120VAC), many are battery powered. This information has to be powerful enough to automate an entire house but also not drain the battery life of motion sensors, thermostats, and door locks. That rules out any bandwidth-heavy information draws like video, music, emails, and security cameras. Items like that are usually left for WiFi or cellular transmission.

So, why doesn’t Z-Wave use WiFi to communicate? Because WiFi is a very crowded place, and Z-Wave has proprietary means of securing information, so your neighbor isn’t turning his lights on and unlocking your back door, etc. What the home automation industry has done is in the form of integration. So your Z-Wave gateway handles all of your Z-Wave devices, and allows a connection to IP cameras via WiFi or a corded connection. Not to mention WiFi would really tax those battery operated devices and you’d be sending us your battery bills. Hence, most of our cameras descriptions come with warnings: Not Z-Wave enabled; IP camera only, or Use a wired or WiFi connection to operate.

Cameras can be key to any smart home, but understanding integration leads to many questions. Vera VistaCam 700 pictured above.

I have “Z-Wave Controller X.” Will any of your cameras work? Just like Z-Wave, all these devices are expected to work, regardless of make or model. I find a lot of that to not be true. Our cameras will not work with WINK, and will not work with Nexia Bridge unless expressly made for this purpose. Our cameras will work with many of the major alarm companies with two caveats: Some will not let you include 3rd party cameras into their systems, and some will not let you include any cameras without paying for a plan. One of the things that makes the Vera Plus so powerful is its inclusion of third-party IP cameras, like the D-Link 933L, which even allows you to see your home's interior in the dark.

Other

While 'smart home' and 'security system' are sometimes used interchangeably, both phrases are actually pretty different. Regardless, you can add security to your home automation by scaring off intruders with a Go Control WA105DBZ-1 Siren & Strobe. Low voltage systems (zone valves, irrigation systems) can be added to your Z-Wave network using a relay, like the Remotec ZFM-80 15A Dry Contact Module. Want to keep your controls in your pocket? Aside from your smart phone, you can also control scenes from a remote, like the Aeotec ZW088-A Key Fob.

Automation
So, taking into account the primer on the hardware listed above, what are some basic things that you can do in a smart home?

  • Get a notification that a child or spouse got home safely (hub and smart lock)
  • Create scenes for entertaining, utility, safety, energy savings (hub and wall dimmers, plug-in switches, Smart LED bulbs, or any combo of these)
  • Turn a dumb coffee pot into coffee waking you up in the morning (hub and appliance module + dumb coffee pot)
  • Monitor your home via your smart phone from work (hub and IP camera)
  • Create a schedule for your HVAC system that is as flexible as you want to make it. (hub and smart thermostat)
  • Automatic closet/utility room lighting that turns off when nobody is using it (hub, door/window sensor, and Smart LED bulb)
  • Have your outside lights come on as soon as you get home (geofence via the hub, wall switches controlling the outside lighting)
  • Receive a notification on your phone that water is in your basement (hub and water sensor)
  • Turn your lights on/off/dim via Amazon Echo (Echo-compatible hub, Amazon Echo, and wall dimmers, plug-in switches, Smart LED bulbs, or any combo of these)
  • Scare away a prowler using a scene controller/key fob (hub, remote, and your choice of lighting controls)
  • Get a notification on your smart phone if your home temperature has dropped (hub and smart thermostat)
  • Water your lawn (or not) based on current weather forecast (hub, weather plug-in for your hub, smart relay)
  • Alert the house (and neighborhood) of unauthorized entry into your home with a siren (hub, door/window sensor, siren/strobe)

Conclusion
What does a Smart Home mean to you? Ask the team at Zwaveproducts.com to help you put together your smart home automation system.

Have a question? In the bottom right corner of this website is a link to Leave me a Message.

Alternately . . . Ask An Expert by filling out this form.

I hope this was helpful.
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