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Hardware needed to control ceiling fan and outlet via light switch


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#1 dzirkelb

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 06:34 PM

I am slowly getting my home automation working, and I currently have some upb dimmer switches, along with some x10 dimmer switches. This is working great for one room, however, i want to expand to others.

I have two situations where I need advice.

First is the living room. We curently have a wall plate that houses 4 on off light switches. They control the following:
1) Overhead lights (I will use a dimmer switch to control these)
2) Ceiling fan (what do i need to control this? I would like to have 3 or 3 speed control of the fan if possible)
3 and 4) These are switches that turn on and off outlets in the room. On those outlets I will install lamps, or whatever needed.

So, my dilema is the dimmer switches are rocker's in look, and the rest are just regular light switches. So, I need a rocker switch that just turns on and off power to an outlet, and a rocker switch that can give my ceiling fan 3 or 4 different speeds. Where do I go to find this? I would like to keep it as x10 if possible, but can go to upb if needed.

the other room is my bathroom where I have 3 switches. They do the following:
1) Lights above mirror (I will use a dimmer switch)
2) Lights above bathtub. These lights are funky in the fact that when I flip the switch, they slowly come to full illumination. I am not sure if that is the bulbs or what, not sure (bought house last year). I guess I could test with regular bulbs and see what happens....they could very well be non-instant on bulbs.
3) Bathroom fan

So, for the bathroom, I need a rocker that is simply on and off, i think.

Where do I look and what is recommended? My x10 interface is a cm15a...not sure what the upb is off the top of my head.

#2 JonW

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 06:53 PM

The standard UPB rocker switches will control everything you have listed. For the fan or any non-incandescent lighting, you need to go into UPSTART and just disable dimming for the rocker switch. It will then only do ON/OFF actions. From my experience, I don't think you will be able to control the fan speeds though. You'll need to do that directly on the fan or with the fan manufacturers remote.

#3 ano

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 07:01 PM

I am slowly getting my home automation working, and I currently have some upb dimmer switches, along with some x10 dimmer switches. This is working great for one room, however, i want to expand to others.

I have two situations where I need advice.

First is the living room. We curently have a wall plate that houses 4 on off light switches. They control the following:
1) Overhead lights (I will use a dimmer switch to control these)
2) Ceiling fan (what do i need to control this? I would like to have 3 or 3 speed control of the fan if possible)
3 and 4) These are switches that turn on and off outlets in the room. On those outlets I will install lamps, or whatever needed.

So, my dilema is the dimmer switches are rocker's in look, and the rest are just regular light switches. So, I need a rocker switch that just turns on and off power to an outlet, and a rocker switch that can give my ceiling fan 3 or 4 different speeds. Where do I go to find this? I would like to keep it as x10 if possible, but can go to upb if needed.

the other room is my bathroom where I have 3 switches. They do the following:
1) Lights above mirror (I will use a dimmer switch)
2) Lights above bathtub. These lights are funky in the fact that when I flip the switch, they slowly come to full illumination. I am not sure if that is the bulbs or what, not sure (bought house last year). I guess I could test with regular bulbs and see what happens....they could very well be non-instant on bulbs.
3) Bathroom fan

So, for the bathroom, I need a rocker that is simply on and off, i think.

Where do I look and what is recommended? My x10 interface is a cm15a...not sure what the upb is off the top of my head.


A few things here. If you are controlling a ceiling fan with a UPB switch, you can use the Simply Automated switches set to "non-dimming" or you can use HAI relay switches if you don't mind the "click." There are no multi-speed ceiling fan switches, and you should never use a dimmer switch to control a ceiling fan, but you can use the speed control built-into the fan to manually control the speed.

When controlling outlets with a switch, the codes are very simple, in that the switch has to be non-dimming, and has to be rated at least as high as the breaker and outlet. In most cases that means a 15A relay switch, and I think only HAI sells those. Otherwise, just make sure the UPB switch is rated for the largest bulbs which can be put in light sockets, and not just the size that you are using. If a switch supplies power to 10 sockets that each can have a 75Watt bulb, you need a dimmer that can power 750Watts, even if you use 25Watt bulbs.

#4 dzirkelb

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 09:04 PM

Excellent info here. Having the ability to turn my dimmer rocker switches into simple on / off switches helps a lot for the fans and the outlets, and the power needed.

Can I do the same with x10 switches as I can with UPB and UPSTART? If yes, great as I have a bunch of those lying around, if not, then I need to move a bunch of hardware around ;)

#5 Steve

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 09:10 PM

Excellent info here. Having the ability to turn my dimmer rocker switches into simple on / off switches helps a lot for the fans and the outlets, and the power needed.around ;)

That's not what was said. You should NEVER use a standard UPB switch (even set to non dimming mode) to control an outlet. For outlet control you should always use a relay switch.

#6 dzirkelb

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 09:15 PM

Gotcha...buy relay switches to control outlets (do they come in the rocker look?)

What about x10 with the non dimming mode? is it possible?

#7 Steve

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 09:23 PM

Yes, this is what you want. It wouldn't be a bad idea for ceiling fans either especially if you know it is going to be dedicated for a while. Sorry, I don't do (or know) x10 products. I would never use them for anything important.

#8 dzirkelb

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 10:01 PM

It looks like this:

http://www.smarthome...IW-WS13A/p.aspx

Could work for the x10 route (cheaper)..do you agree?

#9 JonW

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 10:31 PM

Excellent info here. Having the ability to turn my dimmer rocker switches into simple on / off switches helps a lot for the fans and the outlets, and the power needed.around ;)

That's not what was said. You should NEVER use a standard UPB switch (even set to non dimming mode) to control an outlet. For outlet control you should always use a relay switch.


I disagree. It might be code, but in your own home you can safely do this. I have a couple of lamps that are controlled by in wall switches. The outlet they are plugged into have warning labels on them that I created that say "LAMP ONLY".

If you go to a relay switch, you will lose the ability to dim the lamp. Also, the standard rocker switches when put into non-dimming mode are sufficient for running a standard ceiling fan. Most fans pull less than 1 amp. The standard rockers are rated for 7.5 amps!

#10 pete_c

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 12:02 AM

Personally I don't automate my fans. I do have switched outlets in all the bedrooms, living room and dining room. There are lamps plugged in on all of the switched outlets. I had a similiar setup in the old home. The switched outlets in both homes were put in by builders of said homes.

I use childproof covers on the switched outlets which are not being used. (low WAF).

This house / last home were wired in that fashion.

In FL the setup is similiar in the living room and the bedrooms with no automation on the fans. This outlet switches were put in by the builder as part of his standard build.

#11 cornutt

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Posted 06 October 2010 - 11:46 AM

When controlling outlets with a switch, the codes are very simple, in that the switch has to be non-dimming, and has to be rated at least as high as the breaker and outlet. In most cases that means a 15A relay switch, and I think only HAI sells those.


If the intent is to control lamps plugged into those outlets, a much simpler way is to use plug-in lamp modules. That way, you have dimming control and you don't have to worry about someone plugging the vacuum cleaner into the outlet. This has the additional benefit that, since you don't need the outlet itself to be switched anymore, you can bypass the wall switch, remove it, and then use the place where it was for a scene or macro switch. (Assuming you have a neutral in the box, but if it's a 4-gang box, you probably do.)




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