Z-wave switch problems

kbsparky

Senior Member
Location
Delmarva, USA
That is Zwave and will work with most any Zwave device on the market. You will need a Remote to program it. You can get a really reasonable one from GE Jasco can control lights, ,heating and other Zwave products.
I installed a pair of Zwave switches today: A "master" and "slave" unit. They replaced an existing set of 3-way switches.

Here is where things got weird: The slave unit would not work part of the time. Other times, it worked fine.

After pulling my hair out for several hours, I determined that the unit was using the existing 3-wire cable for signal transmission only, and since both switches were mounted in 3-gang boxes, they were being subjected to excessive interference from inductance of the nearby energized conductors.

I was able to make it work when I turned on the other switches in the remote 3-gang box. But when I turned off those other lights, the slave unit stopped working.

Searching on the web for others who have had similar experiences with installing these switches, I found someone else who offered a solution:

I had a problem with the auxiliary switch.... I ran a traveler wire across the ground through 100' of romex and it would work perfectly (so much for the 15-25 feet theory), but it would not work with my existing wiring. Evidently the AC power on the hot wire is causing inductance on the traveler wire since they are running parallel in the Romex.

With the help of a friend (with an electronics degree), we installed a diode (Motorola MR752 rated at 240 VAC and 6 amps) on the traveler wire and it solved the problem. It is working perfectly now. This is a better option than running additional wiring to separate the traveler wire from the existing 120 VAC load....


Has anyone else here had similar issues with the use of existing wiring as a signal carrier instead of for power? Why doesn't the instructions with those zwave switches mention this problem and possible solutions?


 

kbsparky

Senior Member
Location
Delmarva, USA
I have not done it yet. I believe it would be in series with the traveller that has been reassigned to carry the signal from the aux switch to the master unit.

I still need to procure a diode and go back to the jobsite to test this theory out. I hope my local electronics supplier has them in stock.
 

Sierrasparky

Senior Member
Location
USA
Occupation
Electrician ,contractor
Zwave is wireless i don't see how what you saying would be a problem.

I have placed Zwave devices in metal boxes , surrounded by steel mesh and still they get the signal . The only thing that is of issue is distance to the next device.


What are the devices you are speaking of.

What did you use to control them?
are you creating a virtual 3 way or using something else. Most master slave devices use one of the travelers for the switch leg and the other for comm. double check the wires
 

kbsparky

Senior Member
Location
Delmarva, USA
The zwave unit and wireless functions are working just fine.

This is the aux (3-way) switch that is acting up. It is NOT wireless, but relies on the connection of one of the travelers to send a signal from the slave to the master unit. The aux switch uses a neutral connection, and one traveler to return the signal. No energized wires are used.

It's this traveler that is picking up inductive interference from nearby energized wires that is making it intermittent in operation.

I did double and triple check the wires. It works when adjacent (Non-zwave) switches are on; but when you switch those lights off, it fails to work.
 
Last edited:

Sierrasparky

Senior Member
Location
USA
Occupation
Electrician ,contractor
The zwave unit and wireless functions are working just fine.

This is the aux (3-way) switch that is acting up. It is NOT wireless, but relies on the connection of one of the travelers to send a signal from the slave to the master unit. The aux switch uses a neutral connection, and one traveler to return the signal. No energized wires are used.

It's this traveler that is picking up inductive interference from nearby energized wires that is making it intermittent in operation.

I did double and triple check the wires. It works when adjacent (Non-zwave) switches are on; but when you switch those lights off, it fails to work.
Humm ,,, Sounds like the travler is compromised. Nail or ...........nuetral issue.
 

kbsparky

Senior Member
Location
Delmarva, USA
Initial follow-up

Initial follow-up

Went over to the jobsite yesterday, to install the diode.

Lo and behold the danged thing was WORKING fine!

So for now, no diode.

The only thing I can fathom at this point is there must have been other loads in use that added to the interference causing the problems. Since the house was empty on this return trip, the other loads are minimal.

So, for now, we wait until called back. I'll keep the diode on the truck just in case we may need it in the future.
 
Top