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4-gang z-wave panel? Help!


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#1 jaydubb1

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 07:13 PM

We just did the rough in, and I'm suddenly confronted with a major issue... I can't find a 4 gang z wave switch!


Does such a thing exist? I need a solution to this ASAP.

If not, can I use this and 4 of these? (It doesn't look like it will fit)

And if that's not the right solution, what is? I have 8 light zones that I need to control in and near my kitchen, and I really want them automated.

Kitchen:

Can lights
Cabinet task lights
Cabinet accent lights
Living Room lights

Dining Room:

Chandelier
Other accent lights
living room lights


Porch lights
Flood lights

Then I have a similar issue on the front door, with:

Porch lights
Foyer lights
Living room lights

Driveway lights
Landscape lighting
Flood lights

I can split some of these up into 5 separate groups if I have to, but in every spot I need at least 3 switches.

If there's a basic solution I'm missing, please clue me in. Thanks!

Edited by jaydubb1, 15 December 2011 - 07:16 PM.


#2 Dogman

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Posted 15 December 2011 - 08:12 PM

Not quite sure what your are trying to do but I know of no such 4 gang Z wave device. There are combo controllers that Leviton makes which can save you a slot so you won't need as large of a box but in general for each lighting circuit you will need a single gang switch or dimmer unless you use those combo controllers.. You can also use the scene controller buttons to controll other zones so for example if you had 4 lighting circuits in your kitchen and you also wanted to have some control over 4 lighting circuits in a living room you could assign one of the buttons on the 4 scene or zone controller in the kitchen to control your living room lights. If you use a scene controller versus a zone controller you have a bit more controll because you can specify a scene to activate on the controller instead of just turning a zone on or off. I would take a look at the Leviton website for the Vizia RF+ and look at all their options . Cooper Aspire RF has alot too but I am not as familier with their stuff since I have all Vizia RF+ and I have three locations where I have done these in three different locations where I use multigang switch boxes and a four button controller. Lastly you say you are roughing in? If you are truly doing new construction you might consider a hardwired lighting system in lieu of Zwave but it sounds like you are up against a schedule so changing now may be too late.

#3 jaydubb1

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 12:28 AM

X is where I MUST have a switch.

Attached Files



#4 Work2Play

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 01:44 AM

jaydubb - they don't really make 2/3/4 gang switches - but a 2/3/4 gang electrical box will hold 2, 3 or 4 switches respectively; then you just use the right size faceplate on top. If you're doing new construction, I highly suggest requesting the deep electrical boxes - they give you more room to work. Automated switches are a bit larger than standard switches, but normal automated switches are still designed to fit into a single gang spot.

And, you don't necessarily have to replace each switch either... for instance, in my kitchen above the sink, the sink light is automated; but I would never dare automate the garbage disposal switch! In others, I have a few automated switches with a scene controller included.

#5 Dan (electron)

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 01:58 AM

Also, keep in mind that when you put multiple switches together, they will be derated.

#6 rscott78

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 07:34 AM

Also, keep in mind that when you put multiple switches together, they will be derated.


Derated, as in: one is rated to control 600W by itself, but paired up with another it can only control 500W?

#7 Monk

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 08:41 AM


Derated, as in: one is rated to control 600W by itself, but paired up with another it can only control 500W?

De-Rated I think because the switches (at least the ones you linked to) use the aluminum portion of the switch as a heatsink. Some switches are "scored" on the aluminum where you must break off the side pieces in order to install two of them side by side or they will not fit. The less heatsink area there is, the less watts it will be rated for. Check the manual for the type of switch you intend to install.

#8 Dogman

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Posted 16 December 2011 - 10:25 PM

Dan is right make sure you derate your dimmers to whatever the installation specs say. Normally it is based upon if you have to remove one or both fins on either side of the dimmer. Most the time in reasonable sized homes it is rare that you would come close to the dimmer capacity. For example I have 75 recessed cans in my house and my kitchen has 9 cans but I am still under the derated wattage for my multigang dimmer. I have 4 other dimmers for task , accent lighting in the 5 gang box. Looking at your plans If you want to stay with Zwave I would go the multi button scene controller route if you can because you only need to hit one button to bring up a scene for all your various types of lights in a room , ie task, accent. If you don't need all of the lights on a dimmer then you can save one slot by using the multi button combo controller that has one single load control plus the ability to activate scenes with the other switches/dimmers that you associate to it. I have attached a photo of my kitchen 5 gang box. Ugly and large but that is what I have. Next house will have remote dimmer panels!Attached File  photo(1).JPG   30.04K   24 downloads

#9 pete_c

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Posted 17 December 2011 - 07:52 AM

Dogman,

How did you fit five switches in the 5 gang box. I've had issues here with more than one due to the metal mudplate covers.

I've decided here to go with double powered dual single switches such that I won't have to deal with as much wall clutter; but still now sure on the best methodology.

I am still migrating these from Insteon to UPB. Kitchen is similiar here with cans; plus 5 autonomous kitchen can switches.

Like right now the dining portion of the kitchen has two sets of double switches to either side of the table. Each one has a 3 way.

It bugs me to have like 10 switches right now in the Kitchen for just the lighting. Major switch/wall clutter I guess. I watch though till today relatives trying to figure out which switch does what during whatever family get together.

#10 Work2Play

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Posted 17 December 2011 - 12:19 PM

Pete - I think it's just the boxes you're stuck with. I have 4 gang boxes all over my house with 4 switches in them; and they required no snipping of tabs either. All the boxes in my house are carlon style plastic deep boxes and they were a cinch to work with.

Even without snipping, some of these require derating because of excessive heat buildup inside the box; I have a chandelier here (had a similar in last house) that take 9 bulbs - so it's easy to push the limits with those... but by going mostly LED in those big fixtures it's cut way back. Nowadays the only switch that's always warm to the touch is the master bath where there are 9 60w bulbs on one... but it's within spec.

I did the same thing Dogman did all over my house... the place has switched outlets and lights in every room, so in most places I capped the outlet to be always on and put a scene switch there. It's worked pretty well; though I haven't made full use of the scene switches yet since I haven't labeled anything.

As for company, when I have family gatherings, they rarely have to touch a switch; the whole downstairs is fully lit up in "party" mode; and the only people who would generally screw with things are the family members who are over often enough to know how things work. Even the guest bathroom lights are automated with a motion sensor (mainly for the kids who can't reach). BUT that's also why I keep most of the original natural-looking switch capabilities... I like the house controls to feel familiar to anyone who enters, but with extra functionality that we know how to use. For that reason I don't think I'd ever do the remote load controllers.

#11 pete_c

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Posted 17 December 2011 - 01:07 PM

Thanks Work2Play.

In the midwest all of the electrical is metal conduit and boxes with metal mudplates. Most of the boxes are double metal with now double duplex metal mudplates. There are only a few which are triple / quad boxes. Bathroom is kind of an automation nightmare a bit with 1 quad box for all of the lighting then 3 ways to each of the switches to the quad box. Mutiple cans, lighting everywhere (which is good in a way). Three breakers/circuits just to the master bathroom though.

The Chandelier has 1 main oversized switch with another switch in one box. Really too tight to put in another automated switch. The 4 other chandelier switches are just virtuals the primary. I have another primary to 4 other switches (hallway cans). in the same box as the primary for the chandelier. The electrician went overboard (which is good) with many 3-4 way switches in the kitchen and 1st and 2nd floor hallways.

It would be better to change over to LED lamps on the chandelier and easy because I have a lift on it; put in a dual voltage switch where the primary is at today. I do only have 60 watt standard clear bulbs in the chandelier; all facing up and dim them to 30% brightness when it goes on every night. I left the heat sink fins on the switch and it still gets warm. It would have to be a like for like swapout with the LED lamps.

#12 Dogman

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Posted 17 December 2011 - 08:27 PM

Petec: work2play is right . It is your boxes. However that being said I do have the same situation as you in my living room I have a 5 gang in there as well and had to use a conduit box with a mud ring due to the wall framing in a shear wall I couldn't put an extra deep box in. They do make extra deep metal conduit boxes and if you have the stud depth you can set it back a little further and get a deeper mud ring then the standard 1/2" mud ring to get a little extra depth. Not sure if you have already insulated and sheetrocked so you may be stuck. Lastly My dad was an electrical contractor for 50 years and I worked as an electrician for him when going to college so I did get pretty good at making up tight boxes . Do be careful though because the NEC does govern how many wires and devices you can put into a given size box. Each box has a cubic inch rating normally stamped in the bottom near the UL symbol. I got decent and making up the wires in tight spaces. Also I never use 12 gage wire in lighting circuits I only use 14 gage and 15 amp circuits since most of the time it is more then enough unless you really have a ton of high wattage lights. Lastly regarding family and company not being able to figure it out. I just enjoy the frustration and call it entertainment. Actually with the multi button scene controllers it makes it pretty straight forward.

#13 pete_c

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Posted 17 December 2011 - 09:20 PM

Thank-you Dogman.

#14 DeltaNu1142

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 02:41 PM

I changed out two 2-gang boxes and cut for 3-gang boxes so that I could add 4-button scene controllers next to the existing switches. I don't know where you are with this project, but it's pretty straightforward. I'm pleased with how they came out.

Four would be my limit. 5 and up starts to get ugly. I saw a finished 8-gang box once; that's WAY too many switches side-by-side.




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