# Create a 3 way switch from seperate circuits?

#### Strombea

##### Member
I have a customer who's home has multiple porch lights but all on their own switches in different parts of the house. He wants to be able to turn any of the switches on and then they all come on like as if they were 4,5,6 way switches to begin with. They are not all necessarily on the same circuit, so the question is:

does lutron or or someone have RF Switches that will talk to each other to create this type of wanted 3 or 4 way system without having to go to smart device controlled Z wave, or automation type apps? He still just wants the hard switches on the wall.

#### gar

##### Senior Member
151121-2356 EST

1. Wire all the bulbs in parallel. This means hot and neutral must run together so there is no significant stray magnetic field. Power from one source. Create a logic circuit to control this one load.

2. Provide a relay for each bulb. Now the source of power for any one bulb can come from anywhere. Provide the logic means to control all the relays together.

.

#### Dennis Alwon

##### Moderator
Staff member
You can use a Pico remote and a master switch for each setup. The pico will mount to the wall- no hole- with a special bracket and then it plates out with a decora plate. Looks like it was always there. You need to order 3 switches and a pico remote. The remote will turn them all on or off.

The other option is a wall keypad and radio ra Maestro Switch. There tech support can tell you exactly whats available and they are on 24/7 800.523.9466

##### Senior Member
You can install x-10 switches and program them all to the same house code. Very very simple to program and is installed just like a regular switch.

#### Dennis Alwon

##### Moderator
Staff member
151121-2356 EST

1. Wire all the bulbs in parallel. This means hot and neutral must run together so there is no significant stray magnetic field. Power from one source. Create a logic circuit to control this one load.

2. Provide a relay for each bulb. Now the source of power for any one bulb can come from anywhere. Provide the logic means to control all the relays together.

.

I have the impression that a rewire is not an option or possible a difficult option

#### gar

##### Senior Member
151122-1144 EST

Dennis:

That was my impression as well. What I wanted to describe was the broad general concepts, and to essentially indicate that he could not do some direct magical wiring to solve his problem.

Once he realizes that relays are required, then the problem is what kind to use and how to control them.

For long term reliability I would use GE RR relays, but this requires pulling some wires.

Power line communication (PLC) is possible, but not high on reliability.

RF communication can be reliable and is possibly the best direction.

I also think there needs to be a very precise definition of what the customer wants and will pay for.

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#### iwire

##### Moderator
Staff member
That was my impression as well. What I wanted to describe was the broad general concepts, and to essentially indicate that he could not do some direct magical wiring to solve his problem.

Once he realizes that relays are required, then the problem is what kind to use and how to control them.
But Gar, relays are not required, that would be a choice and in my opinion a poor one for the homeowner as these more complicated methods become expensive for homeowners when they need service.

Power line communication (PLC) is possible, but not high on reliability.
It is used often and reliably in homes.

#### gar

##### Senior Member
151122-1341 EST

iwire:

As soon as you go to some sort of switch that is remotely controlled it is a relay. A switch that I directly operate I do not classify as a relay, however, in a broad sense it is.

A set of switch contacts, mechanical or solid-state, that are actuated by some intermediate signal are part of a relay.

If mechanical contacts are normally operated within their ratings they can be very tolerant of severe voltage or current overloads and continue to function after the overload. Not true of solid-state switches.

From a general perspective I stand by my statement that PLC is not reliably compared to direct wiring or RF communication. Direct wiring is the most reliable.

.

##### Senior Member
...direct magical wiring to solve his problem....
X-10 is pretty close to a magical solution to a case such as this.

#### iwire

##### Moderator
Staff member
iwire:

As soon as you go to some sort of switch that is remotely controlled it is a relay.
Electricians do not call wall switches relays. So when you say relays are required in my opinion you are just adding confusion to the thread.

A switch that I directly operate I do not classify as a relay, however, in a broad sense it is.

A set of switch contacts, mechanical or solid-state, that are actuated by some intermediate signal are part of a relay.

If mechanical contacts are normally operated within their ratings they can be very tolerant of severe voltage or current overloads and continue to function after the overload. Not true of solid-state switches.
While all of that is very true, it it is far beyond the question asked.

From a general perspective I stand by my statement that PLC is not reliably compared to direct wiring or RF communication. Direct wiring is the most reliable.
Yes, hard wired is more reliable I have no doubt but that takes hard wires that are not there. (BTW, I like those old GE relays as much as you do, I have about 10 of them in my garage waiting for a use now)

RF is just more money, my experience in the trade tells me that the OP is looking for a simple low cost, code compliant solution. The magical answer to that is PLC.

#### GoldDigger

##### Moderator
Staff member
And how are you getting the inputs to the PLC? I assume via RF or line carrier signalling?

#### gar

##### Senior Member
151122-2124 EST

X-10 is a relay system with control mostly by PLC at about 125 kHz (PLC here means Power Line Carrier). The switching device is either an electro-mechanical relay, or a solid-state relay (likely a Triac), and in some units also a dimmer.

iwire:

Neither do I call an ordinary wall switch a relay. I was simply pointing that one might extend the definition of a relay to a wall switch, but I would not do that.

For a general definition of relay the following is useful:
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/relay

If one does not use switches in some logical network to directly control the lights, then relays of some sort will be required.

PLC as used in the TED power monitoring system has a great many problems.

Filtering can reduce the problem, but that eliminates broadcast capability. TED interferes with itself, with X-10 and others, and X-10 and others interfere with TED.

A number of statements by TED people are wrong relative to their PLC system.
They use exactly 125 kHz, not something nearby as they describe. This I have determined by both measurement and analysis of their circuit.

They don't just transmit data during or near line voltage zero crossings.

The 1000 system transmits a continuous signal for a packet duration of about 0.1 second or about 6 full 60 Hz cycles. The baud rate is 1200 and there is way too much data to transfer in short segments around 60 Hz zero crossings, and provide new data every 1 second.

The 5000 system has a packet duration of about 0.2 seconds.

In the 1000 system a new packet is sent every 1 second. A maximum of 4 MTUs are allowed. If these were synchronized, then 40% of the available time would be used.

They are not synchronized and therefore interfere with each other at times. The different MTUs float around in time, intereferring at times, and not at other times.

There is no 1 second data available from the 5000 system even though TED implies there is. Data in the 5000 is available in packets that are spaced at about 2 seconds sometimes and at other times with a greater spacing up to around 5 seconds.

I agree that low cost is probably a goal. But it is not low cost if it is not reliable.

GoldDigger:

I have defined PLC in the present context just above.

.

#### Strombea

##### Member
Thanks for the replies, I will look into x10 and worst case do iPhone controlled z waves throughout and the app can be scheduled to control them as one switch

#### iwire

##### Moderator
Staff member
151122-2124 EST

X-10 is a relay system with control mostly by PLC at about 125 kHz (PLC here means Power Line Carrier). The switching device is either an electro-mechanical relay, or a solid-state relay (likely a Triac), and in some units also a dimmer.

iwire:

Neither do I call an ordinary wall switch a relay. I was simply pointing that one might extend the definition of a relay to a wall switch, but I would not do that.

For a general definition of relay the following is useful:
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/relay

If one does not use switches in some logical network to directly control the lights, then relays of some sort will be required.

PLC as used in the TED power monitoring system has a great many problems.

Filtering can reduce the problem, but that eliminates broadcast capability. TED interferes with itself, with X-10 and others, and X-10 and others interfere with TED.

A number of statements by TED people are wrong relative to their PLC system.
They use exactly 125 kHz, not something nearby as they describe. This I have determined by both measurement and analysis of their circuit.

They don't just transmit data during or near line voltage zero crossings.

The 1000 system transmits a continuous signal for a packet duration of about 0.1 second or about 6 full 60 Hz cycles. The baud rate is 1200 and there is way too much data to transfer in short segments around 60 Hz zero crossings, and provide new data every 1 second.

The 5000 system has a packet duration of about 0.2 seconds.

In the 1000 system a new packet is sent every 1 second. A maximum of 4 MTUs are allowed. If these were synchronized, then 40% of the available time would be used.

They are not synchronized and therefore interfere with each other at times. The different MTUs float around in time, intereferring at times, and not at other times.

There is no 1 second data available from the 5000 system even though TED implies there is. Data in the 5000 is available in packets that are spaced at about 2 seconds sometimes and at other times with a greater spacing up to around 5 seconds.

I agree that low cost is probably a goal. But it is not low cost if it is not reliable.

GoldDigger:

I have defined PLC in the present context just above.

.
Gar, do you really see any of the above as being helpful to the OP?

And again, the X-10 system is established and reliable in countless homes.

#### gar

##### Senior Member
151123-0852 EST

iwire:

Some TED and X-10 problems.

http://www.theenergydetectiveforums.com/index.php?topic=801.0;wap2

http://www.theenergydetectiveforums.com/index.php?topic=941.0;wap2

From http://www.amazon.com/TED-5000-G-The-Energy-Detective/dp/B003EM240U
[COLOR=#555555 !important]12 of 12 people found the following review helpful Nice idea, but be prepared to suffer if you buy one
[COLOR=#555555 !important][COLOR=#555555 !important]By [/COLOR]W. Ezell [COLOR=#555555 !important]on December 13, 2012[/COLOR][/COLOR][/COLOR]
I had a TED 5000 system for over a year. The transmitter that sends the power line data is extremely sensitive to power line noise and many people find they can't get reliable connections. I ended up 1) replacing all X-10 devices I had, 2) adding power line filters, 3) adding a dedicated breaker for BOTH the transmitter and the gateway box before I could finally get it to work semi-reliably. After a year, the gateway died. Opening it up, I found a blown capacitor and evidence of rather severe overheating. As for the remote display, it's advertised as having a rechargeable battery. Well, it more-or-lees does... the battery is so small that you can get only a few minutes of use before it has to be recharged, so just expect to keep it in the charging stand. I'd strongly suggest that you review the forums at the manufacturer's website; you'll see that these kinds of problems are pretty common. As an example, one suggestion from the manufacturer is that you not have any switching power supplies on the same circuits as the transmitter or gateway. Well, sorry, but in this day and age, just about every electrical device you can buy has a switcher. Typical of some of the absurd limitations of the unit.

It is not the transmitter that is sensitive to noise, but rather the PLC system concept and the receiver.

I can make TED PLC work reliably by use of the X-10 filter available from TED, and over moderately long distances, but then it lacks broadcast capability.

Is this information useful to Strombea? Possibly. Having knowledge of how products work and associated problems can be very important.

.

#### crainelectric

##### Member

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#### iwire

##### Moderator
Staff member
I can make TED PLC work reliably by use of the X-10 filter available from TED, and over moderately long distances, but then it lacks broadcast capability.
Yet everyday electricians are installing these X-10 devices and they work fine.

Gar I have enormous respect for your technical knowledge, but some of your suggestions for run of the mill electrical problems seem to me to be very out of touch with what electricians do daily, along with the budgets and time restraints they are under.

#### gar

##### Senior Member
151130-1003 EST

iwire:

My suggestions are simply suggestions. They may be good or bad, I make mistakes and anything I say needs verification, but I at least hope that my comments stimulate thought.

On X-10. In the past I played with X-10 a lttle, and was not impressed. As a quick means to get control somewhere with no wiring it is appealing. My previous comments about interaction between TED and X-10 are based on experiences reported by others.

I decided to try some experiements. At the moment I can find a CP 290 controller, and two X10-014611 relay switches (electromechanical relay). One relay with no load chatters when turned off by the controller. No chatter on turn on. The other relay switches normally from the controller with no load. But this relay with no load and no signal from the controller turns on when a load on it switches on. This might have been a designed in feature. Somewhere I believe I have a failed X-10 with a solid-state output relay.

TED interference with X-10. I have TED on and an X10 relay off, but with a 100 W incandescent load. Over time I will look for any random turn on of X-10.

The TED 1000 system with one MTU puts out a 0.1 second signal every 1 second. Thus, there is a 10% probability that TED will jam an X-10 command. With two MTUs the probability goes to 20%. Except when the two TED 1000s interfere with each other, then the probability is between 10% and 20%.

The probability of TED turning on an X10 relay that is off is small. Also probability of on to off is small. I may or may not get an estimate of this probability.

.

#### steve_p

##### Senior Member
I have used Insteon in this same scenario.

Very easy install and they work great.