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Multiple dimmers help

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Multiple dimmers help
« on: October 10, 2016, 01:43:02 pm »
Hello,
I'm a new echo user. I have 5 different rooms (all are 3-way switches) that I want to change out to dimmers. Not sure what brand to go with, so let me know what you all recommend.

But let's say I go with Lutron. Do I buy one kit ($89) and then 4 additional switches ($59)? So it should be about $325?
Or do I buy 5 different kits? (one for each room - $445)

Looking to control with voice and phone.

Thanks in advance!




Re: Multiple dimmers help
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2016, 01:55:09 pm »
I'm a little confused.  You say you have 5 rooms, all with 3-way switches...so aren't you looking for 10 switches in total?

Re: Multiple dimmers help
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2016, 02:00:36 pm »
I prefer not to have to install 2 new switches in each room. Was going to leave the additional switch as standard.

Re: Multiple dimmers help
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2016, 02:28:28 pm »
I prefer not to have to install 2 new switches in each room. Was going to leave the additional switch as standard.

While there may be exceptions, all of the "smart" 3-way light switches I know of need to be paired with a compatible - and much cheaper - auxiliary switch, and will not work with a conventional switch.  I don't know which Lutron kit you're asking about, nor am I a Lutron user...so I'll use GE Link switches (which I do use) and current prices on Amazon.com as an example of what you'd need...

  • GE 45613 Z-Wave Wireless Lighting Control Three-Way Dimmer Kit - $61.95 x 5 = $309.75
  • A hub of some kind that can act as a Z-Wave controller.  I use a 2nd Gen SmartThings Hub - $96.03

So, $405.78 for all 5 rooms.  For most switches you'll also need at least one neutral wire in addition to the traveler wire you should already have.  If your home isn't terribly old it should provide neutral wires at all wall switch boxes.

Note that even for a Lutron setup you'd need either a Lutron Smart Bridge (79.95) or a Wink Hub ($64.97) to control the switches, just like the ST Hub acts as the controller for my GE switches.  Alexa would then interface with one of these vendors' cloud-based services in order to convert your spoken commands into instructions to control the switches.

Re: Multiple dimmers help
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2016, 02:43:03 pm »
Thank you, DParker! This helps greatly, but not sure what you mean by auxiliary switch. Are you referring to a single-pole switch?

My house is brand new. I would have to change out my additional switches to auxiliary switches?

Re: Multiple dimmers help
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2016, 03:02:46 pm »
Thank you, DParker! This helps greatly, but not sure what you mean by auxiliary switch. Are you referring to a single-pole switch?

My house is brand new. I would have to change out my additional switches to auxiliary switches?

With 3-way smart switch setups, one switch acts as the primary, so-called because it has all of the circuitry that gives it the "smarts", and it's the unit that actually controls power to the light.  The secondary (or auxiliary) switch acts as just an extension of the primary switch, sending signals via the traveler wire to the primary, which then performs whatever action you're initiating.  That's why when you buy them separately you find that the primary switches are far more expensive than the secondary ones.

So, you'd need to replace both conventional switches in each room: One using a primary smart switch, and the other using a compatible secondary switch from the same vendor.  That's why they're usually sold in kit form, containing one of each type of switch.  Just remember that you need to buy switches specifically marked as supporting 3-way operation.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2016, 03:04:54 pm by DParker »

Re: Multiple dimmers help
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2016, 03:13:01 pm »
OK, got it! Thank you for your help!! 

Re: Multiple dimmers help
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2016, 03:18:21 pm »
Glad to do it.  Good luck.