Requirements when switches are Wireless

Status
Not open for further replies.

mkgrady

Senior Member
Location
Massachusetts
I just attended a sales type meeting put on by the local rep for Lutron. They were pitching the Caseta line of switches that include dimmer switches and remotes. Like a typical dimmer, the dimmer is connected to a hot lead in a switchbox and the switched output to the light fixture(s). No neutral required to connect to the switch.

The remotes are battery operated (10 year battery). Multiple remotes can be installed at all the different doorways and some can even just sit on a table to control the dimmer. The remotes can be just stuck to a wall or mounted on a typical device box. It seems to me that a lot of expense could be saved by not running 14-3 NM all over the room to wire all the 3 and four way switches and these have the added convenience of being dimmable from every location.

My question is about requirements for switches that are needed to meet the NEC. Let's use the only example I can think of (there may be many others). That is a light for a stairway. We are required to have a switch at the bottom AND the top of the stairs. Will the wired switch and the wireless remote satisfy this requirement?

I'm also very interested to hear opinions about the product in general..
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Little Bill

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Tennessee NEC:2017
Occupation
Electrician
I think it should but I can hear some inspector saying:
"What happens if the battery is dead? Now you have no switch at the top of the stairs!"

Another thing similar is occ. sensors are allowed to serve as a switch but they have to have a manual override.

P.S. I've put in those wireless switches and think they are great.
 

mkgrady

Senior Member
Location
Massachusetts
I think it should but I can hear some inspector saying:
"What happens if the battery is dead? Now you have no switch at the top of the stairs!"

Another thing similar is occ. sensors are allowed to serve as a switch but they have to have a manual override.

P.S. I've put in those wireless switches and think they are great.

I thought there would be a large response to this post.
 

al hildenbrand

Senior Member
Location
Minnesota
Occupation
Electrical Contractor, Electrical Consultant, Electrical Engineer
My question is about requirements for switches that are needed to meet the NEC. Let's use the only example I can think of (there may be many others). That is a light for a stairway. We are required to have a switch at the bottom AND the top of the stairs. Will the wired switch and the wireless remote satisfy this requirement?

NEC 210.70(A)(2)(3) seems to be the applicable rule. In the rule I see the two word term "wall switch" and I note that it is not defined in Article 100 Definitions.

Even if the rule term is the one word "switch", that, too, is undefined.

I then recall the old low voltage switching systems and think of the various ways they actually switched the line power to a load. . . the relay often times wasn't anywhere near a wall. Yet they "switched" the lights as required by the Code.

So, I think, why wouldn't a wireless switch qualify?
 

mkgrady

Senior Member
Location
Massachusetts
The remotes can and in this case will be mounted to a wall and they do switch the load. The actual making of the contacts obviously happens somewhere else but I would think that could be in a utility room somewhere else. I say these remotes are switches even if the battery only lasts 10 years. I install in-wall time switches that need a battery change every couple of years but they are still switches.
 

al hildenbrand

Senior Member
Location
Minnesota
Occupation
Electrical Contractor, Electrical Consultant, Electrical Engineer
The wireless remotes are, in ways, an interesting contraption. . . as is normal Chapter 3 wiring. . .

The question is, when does the "acceptable" contraption threshold over into the "dubious" contraption such as this switching scheme:

TennesseeOneWireThreeWay.jpg
 

mkgrady

Senior Member
Location
Massachusetts
The wireless remotes are, in ways, an interesting contraption. . . as is normal Chapter 3 wiring. . .

The question is, when does the "acceptable" contraption threshold over into the "dubious" contraption such as this switching scheme:

TennesseeOneWireThreeWay.jpg

Not that I would ever install that contraption, but I guess it would meet the requirements I've been talking about.
 

al hildenbrand

Senior Member
Location
Minnesota
Occupation
Electrical Contractor, Electrical Consultant, Electrical Engineer
Not that I would ever install that contraption, but I guess it would meet the requirements I've been talking about.

I used to have the single pole version for my basement pantry pull chain so my kids could turn on the light in the dark scary room from the door. . . :D

That was before I put in the motion detector.
 

Fulthrotl

~Autocorrect is My Worst Enema.~
My question is about requirements for switches that are needed to meet the NEC. Let's use the only example I can think of (there may be many others). That is a light for a stairway. We are required to have a switch at the bottom AND the top of the stairs. Will the wired switch and the wireless remote satisfy this requirement?

I'm also very interested to hear opinions about the product in general..

lutron pico switches are used everywhere. they work.

they are title 24 compliant in california. you must have
local control for lighting systems in the area served.

nLight is coming out with wireless controls for their luminaries.
the light has a built in occupancy sensor, and you can pair a wireless
switch to it for local control. group them, set up zones, scenes, daylighting, etc.

so all you do is hit the fixture with a hot circuit. no hardwires switching
required.

in calif. stairwells, hallways and such need partial off controls, effective
the first of the year. the lights dim to 50% when nobody is around.

this also applies to hardscape lighting on sided of buildings. occupancy
sensors dim the lights to 50% when nobody is there. obviously, no
local control required.

and while this is california only, don't the rest of y'all relax too much.
like the jackson browne song says... "don't think it won't happen,
just because it hasn't happened yet....":blink:

to the OP... use 'em. they work fine....

for what it's worth, folks who can *program* lighting control systems
command $1k per day.... and that is a nationwide rate. you don't even
have to be an electrician, and most of the programmers aren't.

lutron charges $1,500 a day for programming. every day.
it's currently running a three~four week wait time for a programmer.

just a thought......:happyyes:
 

mkgrady

Senior Member
Location
Massachusetts
lutron pico switches are used everywhere. they work.

they are title 24 compliant in california. you must have
local control for lighting systems in the area served.

nLight is coming out with wireless controls for their luminaries.
the light has a built in occupancy sensor, and you can pair a wireless
switch to it for local control. group them, set up zones, scenes, daylighting, etc.

so all you do is hit the fixture with a hot circuit. no hardwires switching
required.

in calif. stairwells, hallways and such need partial off controls, effective
the first of the year. the lights dim to 50% when nobody is around.

this also applies to hardscape lighting on sided of buildings. occupancy
sensors dim the lights to 50% when nobody is there. obviously, no
local control required.

and while this is california only, don't the rest of y'all relax too much.
like the jackson browne song says... "don't think it won't happen,
just because it hasn't happened yet....":blink:

to the OP... use 'em. they work fine....

for what it's worth, folks who can *program* lighting control systems
command $1k per day.... and that is a nationwide rate. you don't even
have to be an electrician, and most of the programmers aren't.

lutron charges $1,500 a day for programming. every day.
it's currently running a three~four week wait time for a programmer.

just a thought......:happyyes:

Interesting stuff FT. These programmers you mention from Lutron, what are they programming? I assume not Pico switches. I saw a demo on how to do that and it seemed simple.

BTW, I bought a package that includes several Caseta Dimmers and Pico remotes. With the order they were offering a free Amazon Alexa and a free hub that can talk to all the Lutron wireless switches, internet connected T-stats, and electric Lutron window shades. Seems like a good thing to learn. I think I can tell Alexa to order me something on Amazon. All very wizbang I guess. I'm trying not to fall too far behind in technology. I just found out I can tell Siri what to do even when my iPhone is not on. Amazing stuff
 
I just attended a sales type meeting put on by the local rep for Lutron. They were pitching the Caseta line of switches that include dimmer switches and remotes. Like a typical dimmer, the dimmer is connected to a hot lead in a switchbox and the switched output to the light fixture(s). No neutral required to connect to the switch.

The remotes are battery operated (10 year battery). Multiple remotes can be installed at all the different doorways and some can even just sit on a table to control the dimmer. The remotes can be just stuck to a wall or mounted on a typical device box. It seems to me that a lot of expense could be saved by not running 14-3 NM all over the room to wire all the 3 and four way switches and these have the added convenience of being dimmable from every location.

My question is about requirements for switches that are needed to meet the NEC. Let's use the only example I can think of (there may be many others). That is a light for a stairway. We are required to have a switch at the bottom AND the top of the stairs. Will the wired switch and the wireless remote satisfy this requirement?

I'm also very interested to hear opinions about the product in general..
yes, Over write switches with occupancy sensor will be sufficient for your stair case and similar to that we are applying in our project.
 

RAKocher

Senior Member
Location
SE Pennsylvania
Low Voltage Switching

Low Voltage Switching

In 1963 my Mom & Dad bought a house pre-construction and among other things my Dad wired it. He used a GE 24v switching system throughout. He had 3 little rocker sw's inside every door, at every archway, bottom and top of stairs and elsewhere. The most important sw at each location was illuminated. And the master br had a control for around a dozen key lights.

Over 50 years ago and I haven't seen anything quite that nice since.
 

mwm1752

Senior Member
Location
Aspen, Colo
Show me in the NEC where these battery operated remote switches are -- If the switch is not in the NEC then how can it be used as compliance per the NEC?
 
Last edited:

mkgrady

Senior Member
Location
Massachusetts
Show me in the NEC where these battery operated remote switches are -- If the switch is not in the NEC then how can it be used as compliance per the NEC?

See post #4. As Al has pointed out a wall switch is not defined in the NEC. I say if the remote is on the wall and it turns the light on and off, the it is a switch.
 

Fulthrotl

~Autocorrect is My Worst Enema.~
Interesting stuff FT. These programmers you mention from Lutron, what are they programming? I assume not Pico switches. I saw a demo on how to do that and it seemed simple.

grafik eyes and higher end systems.
pico switches interface with all the
higher end lutron stuff... Quantum.

the new apple campus it seems has
a hybrid quantum system with enhancements.
supposedly 20 full time programmers on
site for the next two years. ginormous system.

http://www.lutron.com/en-US/Products/Pages/WholeBuildingSystems/Quantum/Overview.aspx
 

curt swartz

Electrical Contractor - San Jose, CA
Location
San Jose, CA
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
grafik eyes and higher end systems.
pico switches interface with all the
higher end lutron stuff... Quantum.

the new apple campus it seems has
a hybrid quantum system with enhancements.
supposedly 20 full time programmers on
site for the next two years. ginormous system.

http://www.lutron.com/en-US/Products/Pages/WholeBuildingSystems/Quantum/Overview.aspx

Randy, are you doing the certification for Apple Campus 2?
If so I'll buy you a beer. I figure you will be in town at lease a couple days to complete that project. :)
 

mwm1752

Senior Member
Location
Aspen, Colo
See post #4. As Al has pointed out a wall switch is not defined in the NEC. I say if the remote is on the wall and it turns the light on and off, the it is a switch.


post 4# did not satisfy an answer IMO -- so you have no reference to these types of switched in the NEC -- There are many switch construction specifications in part II -- The NEC code only references equipment & devices it regulates so when a switch is required logically only switch mechanisms referenced in the NEC are what the code refers to --- the NEC regulates fixed wiring systems not radio frequency waves IMO --
 

al hildenbrand

Senior Member
Location
Minnesota
Occupation
Electrical Contractor, Electrical Consultant, Electrical Engineer
post 4# did not satisfy an answer IMO -- so you have no reference to these types of switched in the NEC -- There are many switch construction specifications in part II -- The NEC code only references equipment & devices it regulates so when a switch is required logically only switch mechanisms referenced in the NEC are what the code refers to --- the NEC regulates fixed wiring systems not radio frequency waves IMO --
So, you are claiming that the Code is prescriptive and what is not described (ruled) as a wall switch cannot be used as a wall switch?

Where does the Code describe the allowed types of wall switches? And where does the Code rule say that what is not on the list of wall switches is prohibited?
 

al hildenbrand

Senior Member
Location
Minnesota
Occupation
Electrical Contractor, Electrical Consultant, Electrical Engineer
the NEC regulates fixed wiring systems not radio frequency waves IMO --
The difficulty in this statement, for me, is that radio frequency waves are not "stand alone" when considering the OP question about the Lutron Caseta wireless remotes.

The RF signal is used in a switching system . And, very obviously, the switching system is controlling the behavior of utilization equipment connected to a premises wiring (system).
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top