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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Zwave products are great.

Zwave is not proprietary like RadioRa and similar technology. This allows you to mix and match products to create the perfect system. Not every manufacturer has the best of everything.

Zwave can also be configured as a stand alone system.

I have done quite a few Zwave installations involving whole home automation. (Locks, lights/dimmers, plugs, thermostats etc. )
Easy to set up and not as cost prohibitive as RadioRa or Control4.

The biggest challenge is deciding on your control platform.
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?
 

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Pool Shark
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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:



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?
First tip would be to turn off any LEDs and CFLs. Second look for magnetic transformers in attic or basement.
Attenuation from huge magnetic transformers would be a more realistic cause, not because it was in a 3 gang box with other devices. Noise from CFL and LED bulbs are documented to cause interference with other RF devices.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
First tip would be to turn off any LEDs and CFLs. Second look for magnetic transformers in attic or basement.
Attenuation from huge magnetic transformers would be a more realistic cause, not because it was in a 3 gang box with other devices. Noise from CFL and LED bulbs are documented to cause interference with other RF devices.
There are 2 problems with your assertions:

1) The aux switch does not work when the other lights are off. When I turn them on, then the switch works.

2) We are controlling incandescent bulbs here. Not CFL, not LED.
 

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Pool Shark
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There are 2 problems with your assertions:

1) The aux switch does not work when the other lights are off. When I turn them on, then the switch works.

2) We are controlling incandescent bulbs here. Not CFL, not LED.
Cool. Just remember....Any LEDs or CFLs in the house could cause interference, not just the ones you're controlling.

Zwave is strictly RF based not PLC right? So whatever your turning on it's acting as a booster to the otherwise attenuated signal.

Try turning off all circuits except the one that your trying to control to isolate the interference.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The zwave unit is functioning fine.

Its the aux (slave) switch that is not working properly. It's hard-wired to the master switch.

When I return to the job, I'll try turning off all the other circuits.

But it appears to be inductance interference from the same circuit that is causing the problems..... :blink:
 

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Pool Shark
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The zwave unit is functioning fine.

Its the aux (slave) switch that is not working properly. It's hard-wired to the master switch.

When I return to the job, I'll try turning off all the other circuits.

But it appears to be inductance interference from the same circuit that is causing the problems..... :blink:
Just wanted to know what you found out.
 
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