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  • strange problem with z-wave switch

    Hey all,
    I've installed a z-wave dimmer switch on a set of lights in my master bathroom. There are four switches in this same box, and one of them controls the bathroom fan. Here is what is happening...

    1) I turn on the lights with the z-wave dimmer switch

    2) I turn on the fan (which is just a normal switch) and the lights that are on the z-wave dimmer turn off.

    This happens no matter what if the lights are on first, and I turn the fan on or off. Any ideas on why this happens and what I can do to solve it?

    Thanks!

  • #2
    Which Z-Wave dimmer switch did you install? I can tell you I have an older X10 switch in my bedroom and when I turn on the fan using the manual controller my lights dim and come back on as well. I'd like to know if there could be some voltage being leaked by the fan switch to cause this.
    -Rupp
    sigpic

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    • #3
      I would look at the connections on the switches first. At the end of the day, electricity is a simple thing - if there is a completed cirucuit, light goes on, if there is a break in the circuit, light goes off.

      Is the fan switch a 3 way switch by chance. Maybe you are connected to the wrong terminal? Did you somehow tie the zwave switch into the power after the fan switch?

      Now

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      • #4
        Crazy thing is I just noticed the same thing last night and was going to post about it. I have a GE 2-way dimmer in the same box as a fan control switch. Power feed is coming into the switch box then feeds via 2 separate 12/2 romex feeds to the light and fan.

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        • #5
          Maybe the fan powerline noise somehow disrupts the dimmer??

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          • #6
            Originally posted by heatvent View Post
            Maybe the fan powerline noise somehow disrupts the dimmer??
            likely, I just checked my other dual gang switches that are wired the same. Result - the other one with a fan speed control switch does the same thing but another one that has just a fan on/off switch works properly (actually a little flicker occurs).

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            • #7
              Originally posted by heatvent View Post
              Maybe the fan powerline noise somehow disrupts the dimmer??
              I'm guessing this is true for the X10 switch in my case but I wouldn't have expected this in a Z-Wave switch.
              -Rupp
              sigpic

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              • #8
                Time to switch to Insteon.

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                • #9
                  vlepore- is your light dimmer a GE/Jasco switch?

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                  • #10
                    Ok, I had some time to do some troubleshooting tonight. Confirmed everything is wired properly. Tried to replace my fan speed control switch with a normal toggle switch, problem persisted. Then I decided to try one of the GE master 3-way switches and found it was a little more tolerable than just the normal 2-wire switches meaning the lights didn't shut off "every" time as it did with the 2-wire.

                    The problem seems to be the GE dimmer switch sensitivity and unfortunately I am having this problem with 2 rooms. I don't have any other brand switches to try right now but I would guess they will work fine. If I can remember tomorrow, I plan on calling GE to see if they are any help. Maybe you all should call too..
                    Last edited by mhog; January 17th, 2011, 10:32 PM. Reason: spelling

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                    • #11
                      The GE "Master" 3-way switches use a neutral, whereas the GE 2-way switches do not. The 2-way switch - with no neutral - always requires a little current running through it. I have one where if I take the bulb out of the light in the circuit, the LED on the switch goes off - because the 'trickle' can no longer go through the switch. I'd have to see how you wired it - with a 4 gang box there are lots of possibilities - but it ***sounds*** like the switch is losing power and then getting it back. Weird - can you post a pic or diagram of the wires?

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by SouthFloridaMatt View Post
                        The GE "Master" 3-way switches use a neutral, whereas the GE 2-way switches do not. The 2-way switch - with no neutral - always requires a little current running through it. I have one where if I take the bulb out of the light in the circuit, the LED on the switch goes off - because the 'trickle' can no longer go through the switch. I'd have to see how you wired it - with a 4 gang box there are lots of possibilities - but it ***sounds*** like the switch is losing power and then getting it back. Weird - can you post a pic or diagram of the wires?
                        I am going to reply even though I am not the OP. In my tests I did wire the neutral when I replaced the 2-wire with the 3-way switch.

                        Anyway, I only have 2 switches in a dual gang box and am experiencing the same thins as the OP with 4 gang box. That aside, here is my wiring.

                        Wire 1) 12/2 feed comes into the dual gang box
                        Wire 2) 12/2 goes from box to can light fixtures
                        Wire 3) 12/2 goes from box to ceiling fan (no light in ceiling fan)

                        In the dual gang box-
                        3 neutrals are tied together
                        The hot feed pigtails off and connects to top terminal of the fan switch and the light switch respectively
                        The remaining black wires from Wire 2&3 are on the connected to the bottom terminals on the fan switch and light switch respectively.


                        Also when both switches are replaced with normal toggle switches with the exact same wiring, everything works properly.
                        Last edited by mhog; January 17th, 2011, 11:15 PM. Reason: spelling

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                        • #13
                          I just checked and confirmed I can duplicate this on ALL my switches in dual gang boxes when they are beside a fan switch. Some of them it takes 3 on/off cycles of the fan but it will shut the lights off. I thought they were fine but am really wondering about the quality of the GE switches. With some of them taking 3 cycles that should rule out any improper wiring scenarios, wouldn't it?

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                          • #14
                            I'm having the exact same issue!!

                            I've had no issues using this model dimmer at other locations in my house where there was only a single switch (think term is single-gang??). So today I went and installed it in my bathroom next to the bathroom fan switch (double-gang I guess?). Everything is working well, with just one exception: My existing fan switch is "turning off" my replacement light-switch(GE 45606)! It happens both when I am turning on the fan, as well as when turning off the fan. If the lights are on, they go off. Another point that may be helpful for troubleshooting is that if I turn the fan on first, I can turn the lights on w/o issue until I turn the fan off, when the lights go out with it. The fan is on the older side and is getting loud, so perhaps it's causing some anomaly on the circuit that the GE 45606 is responding to by shutting off?

                            I have everything wired exactly like mhog. Hoping someone has a solution as it's pretty frustrating .

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                            • #15
                              Workaround?

                              I wonder if I could program around this somehow until we figure it out. Usually I am turning on the light and fan at about the same time... so I wonder if I could detect situations where the light was turned on and then goes off again w/in a few seconds. I could then turn it back on.

                              The other thing I've been considering is using a GE on/off switch to replace the existing fan switch. GE certainly tested that, I hope.

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