This Old House Blues, Denied a 3-Way (Switch)
So a lot of fun stuff this week. I’ve been wanting to wire my basement man-cave to Z-Wave control, using an IR/Z-wave remote, a 3-Way setup for the steps, and two Dimmers for the TV theater area. My goal is to plant my butt on the couch, and control the lights and entertainment center via a remote control and Z-Wave without getting up (personal beer-serving robot will have to be for another day).
I first played around with direct control from the remote control of 2 simple WD-100’s that I installed to replace dumb switches in my 3 year old refurb of my basement. I did the electrical upgrades myself, so I knew there was a neutral wire and correct ground, etc. The devices both installed easily, and controlling them via the remote was just as easy. The instructions took a little getting used to, but after 2 tries it was second nature. (NOTE: The Z-URC550 doesn’t work with the newest cable boxes that use different radios; check to make sure your device is listed in the instructions!). I will pair the Z-URC550 to my Vera as a secondary controller soon, but I’m not quite there yet.
A big complaint I have with my lighting/electrical setup is the switch for the stair lights is at the top of the steps, and the other is on the other side of the basement. I figured adding a Z-wave setup to this (my first Z-wave 3-Way setup) would allow me remote control of this, and easier future automation. When installing the 3-Way setup, I found that the neutral goes directly to the load box from the breaker, so neither switch location had a neutral. I was skunked; without running more wires I couldn’t get the desired result. So I boxed the 3-way switches until I can hire an electrician or figure out some other solution. It’s kind of a pain to have such nice couch-side access to all the lights, TV and surround sound, but still having to get up to turn off the stairs light (which is pretty noticeable when my TV scene is set).