Super confused, what do I need?

Discussion in 'HomeKit, HomePod, CarPlay, Home & Auto Technology' started by Wxchaser, Feb 1, 2018.

  1. Wxchaser macrumors regular

    Wxchaser

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2017
    #1
    I have a HomePod arriving 2/9 and have an Apple TV 4K already.

    In my living room, have a light kit on ceiling fan that uses 4 B10 bulbs. My fireplace mantle has 2 can floodlights that are 75 watts.

    I have a 2 gang switch in LR (one for ceiling fan/lights, other for fireplace insert) then single light switches on left of fireplace mantle (for flood lights) and right side of mantle (for fireplace).

    I would like to have some switches installed, I like the Elgato Eve light switch, Leviton DH15S-1BZ, or the Lutron switches. Confused by dimming or non dimming switches and what is required. I would like to get at least my living room lights configured by next Friday before the HomePod arrives.

    Welcome and open to any and all suggestions, in Apple ecosystem so will be staying with HomeKit.

    Thanks for any advice.
     
  2. wesley96 macrumors 6502

    wesley96

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2009
    #2
    If your existing switches are simply on/off toggles then get a regular non-dimmer smart switch. Get dimmer switches only if the existing ones can be dimmed or you’re going to get dimmable bulbs with the new switches.

    Elgato and Leviton switches do not need a bridge. Elgato one uses Bluetooth LE, while Leviton one uses Wi-Fi. Either is fine, but the former may be slower to respond due to the way BTLE works.

    One potential problem you may face in installing these smart switches is that you need a “neutral” wire in addition to the “load” and “live” wires in the switch box. Since you can turn on/off a light by connecting and disconnecting the load and live wires, the neutral wire can be omitted. However, smart switches need to be powered on by itself even when the lights are off, so it needs a neutral wire.

    Interestingly, it is possible to “leech off” small current between the load and live wires while not turning on the light. This is the technique used by Lutron Caseta smart switches, making it possible to install it where the neutral wire is missing. It’s not perfect, but I hear it works fine in many cases. Lutron does need an expensive bridge to make it work with HomeKit, though.

    So one thing you should do first is to open up a switch box and see what wires are there. It should save you a lot of hassle later.
     
  3. Wxchaser thread starter macrumors regular

    Wxchaser

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2017
    #3
    Thanks for the great response - I did open one of the LR switch boxes a couple days ago. An electrician I spoke with mentioned they use a lot of Decora switches here locally.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 2, 2018 ---
    The hardest item to find so far for smart lighting, is the A15 smart lights that would replace a B10 bulb in a lighting kit on ceiling fan. Not sure which one to source!
     
  4. vondo macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2013
    #4
    If you've got a fan on the same circuit as the lights in the ceiling fan, you should get an on-off switch for those as you can't dim the fan. I have a setup like this and I use a dimmer, not a switch but I never turn on the fan (with the pull chain). Also, in the lutron world, the smart switch will work with a dumb switch to replicate the 3-way setup you have now.

    For the lights, get a dimmer as long as they are dimmable bulbs. Then get a remote. The Lutron dimmer does not need a neutral wire.

    So for Lutron Caseta you'd want the starter kit (hub, two dimmers, two remotes) and a PD-6ANS (smart switch). Then re-use your existing dumb switch or buy one for $2 at Home Depot if you want to switch everything to Decora style. For the PD-6ANS you only need a neutral wire in the location with the smart switch. You might also need a couple of mounting brackets to put a remote where a switch should be.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 2, 2018 ---
    I misspoke. Lutron has a $100 kit with one dimmer and the hub. The hub may seem like an expensive add-on right now, but if (when?) the bug bites you, you will not stop at these two lights and you'll end up with a larger system. The Caseta system is widely seen as the way to go, so don't let $50 extra dollars stop you from getting the best system for you at the start.
     
  5. Wxchaser thread starter macrumors regular

    Wxchaser

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2017
    #5

    Thanks for the excellent information! Can you expand upon the mounting brackets for the remote's? A link or a picture would be great. Like you I never use the pull down chain on the fan but having issues finding smart lights with an A15 socket that will work - I have B10 bulbs in there now. Good to know that Lutron will work with my 3 way setup and I won't have to pull a neutral wire if one isn't there. Again thanks vondo!!
    --- Post Merged, Feb 2, 2018 ---
    I have a 2 gang switch where the Lutron PD-6ANS would do, is there a Lutron double gang plastic cover?
     
  6. vondo macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2013
    #6
    These are the mounting brackets. https://www.amazon.com/Caseta-Wireless-Wallplate-Bracket-PICO-WBX-ADAPT/dp/B00JZRAFEA The remotes "Picos" are the same size as a decora switch, but you can do lots of things with them. Keep them free-floating, mount on a pedestal, mount in the wall plate, or even a visor clip for your car.

    The plates come in at least 4-gang sizes (they are called Claro and used across Lutron's line). But there is nothing "special" about these. If you don't like the look you can use any decora plate since the opening size is standard.

    For the PD-6ANS you do need a neutral wire. If you don't have a neutral wire, you are still in luck, it just costs more. You get the Pro switch: https://www.amazon.com/Lutron-PD-5WS-DV-WH-Caseta-Wireless-Lighting/dp/B00NO7Z80S I don't know for sure if this needs a remote to operate in 3-way (2 switches controlling one light) mode or if you'd also have to spring for a remote.

    BTW, the Pico remotes can be set up to control multiple switches, something I find really useful in some circumstances.

    The Lutron stuff is nice in that's its a whole system. It interfaces with shades and Sonos too.
     
  7. vipergts2207 macrumors 68000

    vipergts2207

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2009
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    #7
    Remote mounting adapter:
    https://www.homedepot.com/p/Lutron-...cket-for-Pico-Remote-PICO-WBX-ADAPT/205071775

    2-gang plate:
    https://www.homedepot.com/p/Lutron-Claro-2-Gang-Decorator-Wallplate-White-CW-2-WH/100035107
     
  8. Wxchaser thread starter macrumors regular

    Wxchaser

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2017
    #8
    Pulled switch apart today to check wiring - used a circuit alert tool to check for load wire.

    Still confused - only one switch was connected (to ceiling fan and lights, the 2nd switch was not wired up at all).

    I could see one red capped wire, black and brown wires but was confused about wiring scheme for switch. I think the brown wires are considered as "white". I think the switch on the left was wired so ceiling fan and lights could be connected separately if needed.

    Perhaps someone can look at these images below and tell me what I might be dealing with (not sure there is a neutral wire or how to wire replacement switches at this time)

    Switch:

    [​IMG]

    Wiring bundle in switch box:

    [​IMG]

    Any help or advice greatly appreciated. I sent these pics to an electrician friend who said there are definitely neutrals (probably brown wires).
     
  9. wesley96 macrumors 6502

    wesley96

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2009
    #9
    One way to check if a wire is neutral is to see if there's regular AC voltage detected between that wire and the live wire (as I mentioned in the earlier post, it's one of the two wires that's connected to the switch - the other is the load wire, which leads up to the light bulb). It will be easy to check with a multimeter, provided you take precautions to not get yourself electrocuted.
     
  10. Wxchaser thread starter macrumors regular

    Wxchaser

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2017
    #10
    i have a multimeter & will check it out tomorrow when I look at the other switch.
     
  11. mmomega macrumors 68030

    mmomega

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2009
    Location:
    DFW, TX
    #11
    (usually) red is load, black is your main power, white are neutral and green or bare is ground but this can change so often but is a general rule.

    depending on the switches, you can have all white tied together. My house and old normal switches were like yours.All neutral together.
    When I put in smart switches I had to seperate and run one of the neutrals to the switch.


    Back on Homekit switches, I initially went with Insteon paddle style switches, they were fine up until their HomeKit hub ended up being the worst thing offered. Through Alexa everything works fine with the regular hub.

    I am now slowly changing out to Leviton Decora (no hub just install and setup through the home app, didnt even download the Leviton app) and the main difference I have noticed are they are quick. I was used to some sort of delay like, Alexa turn off the bedroom lights (one one thousand) lights turn off, with the Leviton I can Hey Siri or use the AppleTV remote, "turn off the bedroom lights" and they immediately turn off.

    If you are going with a dimmer make sure the bulbs are dimmable. If they arent and you try to dim you may experience flickering in between 100% on and 0% off. Again depending on the bulbs you are using.
     
  12. Wxchaser thread starter macrumors regular

    Wxchaser

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2017
    #12
    Which Leviton Decora switch did you utilize? I like the idea of how fast they are working for you.
     
  13. mmomega macrumors 68030

    mmomega

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2009
    Location:
    DFW, TX
    #13
    I have the DH15S-1BZ
    They come with white and almond covers but many of my switches are brown so I pick up the DDKIT-SB cover in brown.

    This is the non-dimmer, normal smart switch.
    600W for LEDs, 1800W for incandescents.
     
  14. Wxchaser thread starter macrumors regular

    Wxchaser

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2017
    #14
    I ordered the Lutron PD-ANS switch, PD-6WXL dimmer & the Lutron P-BDGPRO-PKG1W, including dimmer kit and Smart Bridge Pro. I'll have to rewire my ceiling fan so that the switch will control the ceiling fan and the dimmer will work on the ceiling fan light kit (have some Philips LED dimmable G25 soft white bulbs coming for the light kit).
     
  15. Wxchaser thread starter macrumors regular

    Wxchaser

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2017
    #15
    HomePod arrived, was easily installed in about one minute - and shows up in Home app immediately.
     
  16. Wxchaser thread starter macrumors regular

    Wxchaser

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2017
    #16
    Wow initial Lutron equipment connected and working well both though Lutron app and HomeKit. Had to re-wire ceiling fan and switch correctly, now they are controlled separately by a switch and a dimmer for the ceiling fan lights (using 40W Phillips bulbs that work great. Works effortlessly - even got the Pico remote paired.

    I'll definitely be purchasing more and more items for home automation - was able to pair my Honeywell thermostat as soon as I updated the software on the Caseta Pro Bridge 2, very slick interface and ease of use.
     
  17. Wxchaser thread starter macrumors regular

    Wxchaser

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2017
    #17
    Installed a new Caseta dimmer switch today in my exercise room, literally took 5 minutes. So far I really like the setup and ease of use.
     

Share This Page

16 February 1, 2018