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Ceiling Fan control with Speed for the wall - many questions


leonpc

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It seems like it was 2011 when SmartHome came out with the fanlinc  and people have been asking for a switch that will allow control from the wall.  It could be that you are using a fan without a light kit or you have a house that is wired with both a light switch and a fan switch.  SmartHome has been stubborn in not providing that switch.  I have read through many posts and have come to the following conclusions:

  1. In the past I have used FanLinc and then put a dummy switch to blank out a hole.  With 4 fans I had to replace 3 of the 4 fanlincs multiple times.  This seem to be an unreliable proposition.
  2. There are at least four options available and none of those are insteon based:
    1. GE Zwave Plus Smart Fan Control
    2. Homeseer HS-FC200+
    3. Leviton DW4SF-1BW Decora Smart Wi-Fi Fan Speed Controller
    4. Lutron Caseta wireless fan control

All of the options have at least one issue...

The GE ZWave does not report status to the ISY994 when controlled locally..., the homeseer HS-FC200+ works well but the color does not match and therefore does not meet WAF...,  the Leviton is not a ZWave switch but use Leviton new propriety wireless protocol and the Lutron requires a caseta hub to integrate which adds to the cost.

I would like to hear from others how they have tackled this issue.  Is there a way to build an Insteon solution using relays and capacitors?(For obvious reasonsI do not want to use a dimmer to control fan speed)  Have anybody used any of the new Leviton SmartWiFi switches and if so how would you integrated that with the rest of your system?  I have not seen a node server for the Leviton Smart Wifi protocol yet although I have seen a python plugin on github.  How well does Zwave devices work when included with scenes?  Can I still use an Insteon remote to set the fan speeds?

As for using the Homeseer switches and the color that does not match... I can get around that by buying a Homeseer light switch and face plate so thatthe color difference does not stand out.  I am sure I can re-use the Insteon switches elsewhere in the house.

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8 minutes ago, leonpc said:

It seems like it was 2011 when SmartHome came out with the fanlinc  and people have been asking for a switch that will allow control from the wall.  It could be that you are using a fan without a light kit or you have a house that is wired with both a light switch and a fan switch.  SmartHome has been stubborn in not providing that switch.  I have read through many posts and have come to the following conclusions:

  1. In the past I have used FanLinc and then put a dummy switch to blank out a hole.  With 4 fans I had to replace 3 of the 4 fanlincs multiple times.  This seem to be an unreliable proposition.
  2. There are at least four options available and none of those are insteon based:
    1. GE Zwave Plus Smart Fan Control
    2. Homeseer HS-FC200+
    3. Leviton DW4SF-1BW Decora Smart Wi-Fi Fan Speed Controller
    4. Lutron Caseta wireless fan control

All of the options have at least one issue...

The GE ZWave does not report status to the ISY994 when controlled locally..., the homeseer HS-FC200+ works well but the color does not match and therefore does not meet WAF...,  the Leviton is not a ZWave switch but use Leviton new propriety wireless protocol and the Lutron requires a caseta hub to integrate which adds to the cost.

I would like to hear from others how they have tackled this issue.  Is there a way to build an Insteon solution using relays and capacitors?(For obvious reasonsI do not want to use a dimmer to control fan speed)  Have anybody used any of the new Leviton SmartWiFi switches and if so how would you integrated that with the rest of your system?  I have not seen a node server for the Leviton Smart Wifi protocol yet although I have seen a python plugin on github.  How well does Zwave devices work when included with scenes?  Can I still use an Insteon remote to set the fan speeds?

As for using the Homeseer switches and the color that does not match... I can get around that by buying a Homeseer light switch and face plate so thatthe color difference does not stand out.  I am sure I can re-use the Insteon switches elsewhere in the house.

I have four ceiling fans, each with a built-in light. They each have a Zwave GE/Jasco switch with a separate switch for the light. Though these are most likely not Zwave Plus switches, I do not really have a status update issue.

The new GE fan switches are Zwave Plus, thus with automatic status update. Inovelli has  a  Zwave Plus Fan + Light switch, but it requires to put a Fanlinc style module inside the fan. Zooz has the Zen30 (also Zwave Plus) which controls both the fan and the light. However, it only controls the fan with ON and OFF (no speed control).

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Years ago I used a couple of Fanlincs with Insteon keypads.  Didn't have any issues, but I did learn something...  I never changed the speed!  So when we moved to our current house I just put in on/off Insteon wall switches.  Simple and works 100% for my needs.

If I were wanting to control fan speeds I would probably look into the Bond Bridge hub and nodeserver.

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Thanks for all the insight so far. When we moved into the new house, I considered using just an Insteon switch but previously we did change the fan speed. One of the first things my wife complained about in 2 of the rooms was that the chain to adjust the speed was missing and you could only switch on the fan at a given speed. I will  try the new GE/Jasco switch and keep you updated. I may even slip in a home seer combination and let you know the difference

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6 hours ago, leonpc said:

Thanks for all the insight so far. When we moved into the new house, I considered using just an Insteon switch but previously we did change the fan speed. One of the first things my wife complained about in 2 of the rooms was that the chain to adjust the speed was missing and you could only switch on the fan at a given speed. I will  try the new GE/Jasco switch and keep you updated. I may even slip in a home seer combination and let you know the difference

With many of the better looking and performing fans coming with remotes, what I started doing was hardwiring them to a relay switch. Since our new fans have 6 speeds, we were able to get a better experience with setting them and never changing the speed.  

By connecting it to a switch, we get control over the fan via insteon while still preserving the ability to change speeds as we need to

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With many of the better looking and performing fans coming with remotes, what I started doing was hardwiring them to a relay switch. Since our new fans have 6 speeds, we were able to get a better experience with setting them and never changing the speed.  
By connecting it to a switch, we get control over the fan via insteon while still preserving the ability to change speeds as we need to


So the Insteon switch just allows you to turn the fan on / off? When you feel the need to increase or decrease the speed you just use the remote?!?

Much lower initial cost and higher reliability I believe.


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36 minutes ago, Teken said:

 


So the Insteon switch just allows you to turn the fan on / off? When you feel the need to increase or decrease the speed you just use the remote?!? emoji848.png

Much lower initial cost and higher reliability I believe. emoji106.pngemoji481.png


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That is correct. To be honest, I think we've changed speeds 2 or 3 times since we went to this method. While I didn't have problems with the fanlinc, the extra speeds our fan has makes for a better experience. 

I wouldn't say lower since the fans were much more expensive. Lol

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2 hours ago, lilyoyo1 said:

With many of the better looking and performing fans coming with remotes, what I started doing was hardwiring them to a relay switch. Since our new fans have 6 speeds, we were able to get a better experience with setting them and never changing the speed.  

By connecting it to a switch, we get control over the fan via insteon while still preserving the ability to change speeds as we need to

I've been doing the same thing as @lilyoyo1. I've used several fanlincs in the past and had no problems with them. We very seldom change the fan speed and it was much more convenient to just change the fan switch than add a fanlinc.

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That is correct. To be honest, I think we've changed speeds 2 or 3 times since we went to this method. While I didn't have problems with the fanlinc, the extra speeds our fan has makes for a better experience. 
I wouldn't say lower since the fans were much more expensive. Lol


Welps, since my goal is value and not Mr. Money Bags. I may have to consider going this route for some installs. On a more serious note I truly believe once people have used and played with their systems.

The vast majority leave them at one defined level. Now, don’t get me wrong having choices and the ability to have a slow breeze for a romantic night vs Mach 2 for those hot and heavy?!?


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44 minutes ago, Teken said:

 


Welps, since my goal is value and not Mr. Money Bags. emoji1787.png I may have to consider going this route for some installs. On a more serious note I truly believe once people have used and played with their systems.

The vast majority leave them at one defined level. Now, don’t get me wrong having choices and the ability to have a slow breeze for a romantic night vs Mach 2 for those hot and heavy?!? emoji1787.pngemoji2956.png


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I've started doing them for customers and I haven't heard a complaint yet. I give them 6 months to decide whether they want to keep it or not. Should they not like it, then I'll replace at no cost to them. So far no one has swapped out

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Interesting but we have different experience. Living in South Florida, we often change speed of our fans. While normally they are on mid speed, sometimes when the A/C may take some time to adjust to lower temperature, we need the higher speed, and at other times (as right now while typing this message) the lower speed in my office is just fine.

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58 minutes ago, asbril said:

Interesting but we have different experience. Living in South Florida, we often change speed of our fans. While normally they are on mid speed, sometimes when the A/C may take some time to adjust to lower temperature, we need the higher speed, and at other times (as right now while typing this message) the lower speed in my office is just fine.

It's not a perfect setup and may not fit everyone. I like it because I still have fan speed control. I just have to switch once the fan is on. Prior to that, we would simply set medium and if that was to much or not enough we'd adjust after the fact anyway, so it hasn't been a big change anyway

We do have them tied in with our ecobees so that they'll kick on before it starts to feel uncomfortable but before the AC kicks in. Once the AC kicks in, they'll run for a few minutes and turn off.

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It's not a perfect setup and may not fit everyone. I like it because I still have fan speed control. I just have to switch once the fan is on. Prior to that, we would simply set medium and if that was to much or not enough we'd adjust after the fact anyway, so it hasn't been a big change anyway


So the conversation goes like this: Ma’am I’ll come back if you want - wink wink
You’re a smooth operator my man!


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On 7/7/2020 at 10:32 AM, dbuss said:

I've been doing the same thing as @lilyoyo1. I've used several fanlincs in the past and had no problems with them. We very seldom change the fan speed and it was much more convenient to just change the fan switch than add a fanlinc.

Have been using fanlincs since they came out.. Have replaced ~30% of them through the years. When recently building a new house, with this replacement history, I had the electricians place boxes in convenient places for the fanlincs, like in a closet or in a bathroom cabinet, so that I dont have to access the fan itself in two 10 foot ceiling rooms and one 20 ft room etc. in replacing them. So far in four years, I have had to replace 3 of 5...... :(  Failure seems to follow power surges / outages. 

I also have temp sensors in the fans or in the rooms and have the fan speed correlated to the temps / season etc. 

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1 hour ago, dbwarner5 said:

Have been using fanlincs since they came out.. Have replaced ~30% of them through the years. When recently building a new house, with this replacement history, I had the electricians place boxes in convenient places for the fanlincs, like in a closet or in a bathroom cabinet, so that I dont have to access the fan itself in two 10 foot ceiling rooms and one 20 ft room etc. in replacing them. So far in four years, I have had to replace 3 of 5...... :(  Failure seems to follow power surges / outages. 

I also have temp sensors in the fans or in the rooms and have the fan speed correlated to the temps / season etc. 

I am an all Zwave person and stopped using Insteon  more than 5 years ago. I have not had to replace any of my 4 Zwave fan switches in these more than five years.

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1 hour ago, dbwarner5 said:

When recently building a new house, with this replacement history, I had the electricians place boxes in convenient places for the fanlincs, like in a closet or in a bathroom cabinet, so that I dont have to access the fan itself in two 10 foot ceiling rooms and one 20 ft room etc. in replacing them.

 

Excellent "PRO" tip there! Our fans are also 10 FT + in the ceiling. Having had to already replace 1 (of 3) and hoping not to have to replace others we have considered options and dropping a box in an out of the way place seems best bet. Not so easy in the living room, but we'll see if we ever have to make a change.

As with @asbril we have to change our speed often (Georgia summers (and sometimes winter) are brutal with humidity). Going from middle of the road remote fans to fanlinc controlled high quality fans has made a huge improvement in comfort for us. 

Having whole home surge protection will hopefully help some, but if happens after power outages that's a different story with our storms (year round).

@dbwarner5 great tip on relocating the fanlinc to a serviceable location!

 

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Thanks for all the great discussion.  In the old house we had 2 fans with DC motors and obviously could not use the Fanlinc on them.  I really liked the fans and the remote they had allowed great control... even switching for summer and winter.  The only issue was that I could not integrate these fans with ISY. And then I found Bond and their local API.  I had a tough time getting Bond to learn the remote signal but finally got that sorted out.  I wanted all my fans controllable by ISY so that I could write a program to turn all fans on low while the A/C was running.  This mixed the air better.  Then when the A/C shut off the fans change to medium speed.  At night the fans in the living areas shut off while the fans in the bedrooms run on low.

Using Bond brought some interesting conflicts when using local/remote control along with programmatic control with ISY.  I fixed it in a very crude way  by sending an off signal, wait 5 seconds and then setting the speed. With that ISY mostly displayed the correct status for the DC fans.

I think the idea of adding a box in an accessible location to add a fanlinc is great during a new build but is not always feasible when moving into an existing home.  It also means spending money to fix an issue that the manufacturer should address. 

The other option of using a Insteon Switch to contol on and off, and then use the remote to control speed and direction is good, specially with some of the newer DC motor fans.  I question the value of using and Insteon switch in this way if you have a standard fan without the remote from a pricing perspective...  The Insteon switch is $49.95 and then i can turn the fan on and off... or I can get a GE Fan Control switch that turns the fan on and off and allows speed control for around $43 or I can get the HomeSeer fan control, have on/off control, speed control up to 4 speeds and use the LEDs on control as status indicators for otherevents in the whole system for around $47.  

My thought is I bought my ISY994  because of Insteon but it supports Zwave very well.  It seems like I now have options that SmartHome has not given us before and these options allows me to build a better overall system to suit my needs.

I do find it interesting that when I started this post I also mentioned the Leviton Smart Wifi protocol and fan control.  In all of the discussion nobody mentioned it at all which may just be an indication of what people think of that product range.  I figure we have some very smart people in this community that does lots of Home Automation for a living and nobody commented on it!

Thanks again for the great points everybody raised.

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23 minutes ago, leonpc said:

Thanks for all the great discussion.  In the old house we had 2 fans with DC motors and obviously could not use the Fanlinc on them.  I really liked the fans and the remote they had allowed great control... even switching for summer and winter.  The only issue was that I could not integrate these fans with ISY. And then I found Bond and their local API.  I had a tough time getting Bond to learn the remote signal but finally got that sorted out.  I wanted all my fans controllable by ISY so that I could write a program to turn all fans on low while the A/C was running.  This mixed the air better.  Then when the A/C shut off the fans change to medium speed.  At night the fans in the living areas shut off while the fans in the bedrooms run on low.

Using Bond brought some interesting conflicts when using local/remote control along with programmatic control with ISY.  I fixed it in a very crude way  by sending an off signal, wait 5 seconds and then setting the speed. With that ISY mostly displayed the correct status for the DC fans.

I think the idea of adding a box in an accessible location to add a fanlinc is great during a new build but is not always feasible when moving into an existing home.  It also means spending money to fix an issue that the manufacturer should address. 

The other option of using a Insteon Switch to contol on and off, and then use the remote to control speed and direction is good, specially with some of the newer DC motor fans.  I question the value of using and Insteon switch in this way if you have a standard fan without the remote from a pricing perspective...  The Insteon switch is $49.95 and then i can turn the fan on and off... or I can get a GE Fan Control switch that turns the fan on and off and allows speed control for around $43 or I can get the HomeSeer fan control, have on/off control, speed control up to 4 speeds and use the LEDs on control as status indicators for otherevents in the whole system for around $47.  

My thought is I bought my ISY994  because of Insteon but it supports Zwave very well.  It seems like I now have options that SmartHome has not given us before and these options allows me to build a better overall system to suit my needs.

I do find it interesting that when I started this post I also mentioned the Leviton Smart Wifi protocol and fan control.  In all of the discussion nobody mentioned it at all which may just be an indication of what people think of that product range.  I figure we have some very smart people in this community that does lots of Home Automation for a living and nobody commented on it!

Thanks again for the great points everybody raised.

I believe since you're in a Insteon / Z-Wave community the vast majority of people have this type of protocol. I don't think it can be construed that the Leviton Smart WiFi is inferior or a bad product. In my mind if and when the Polisy is able to extend its WiFi & BLE to support other third party hardware devices. We, as a community will start to see more forum members offering their insight as to the latest gadgets they have incorporated into their home automation system.

Sadly, I suspect the integration of both of these protocols are years away unless something huge changes in terms of resources and business priorities  . . .

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