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ZWave Zone Controller Programming Details


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#1 wolfdown

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Posted 10 July 2012 - 06:13 PM

I'm planning on getting a zone controller for my Leviton VizaRF+ dimmers, but I want to clarify a few things first. I'll be using a Leviton VRCPG programmer, if it matters.

1) Can you assign a dimmer switch to more than one zone? For example, can I make a zone of "ALL" dimmers and then have sub-zones, like "KITCHEN", "PATIO", etc? When you turn on "ALL" zone, do the sub-zones, also report as being "ON"? When you turn all sub-zones off individually, does the "ALL" zone show that its now "OFF"?

2) What happens when a zone is "ON", and then I turn off one of the dimmers locally? If I go back to the zone controller switch, will it turn the remaining zone lights "OFF"? What if I turn off all the dimmers manually? Will then zone controller then switch the zone to "OFF" state", or does it still think the zone is "ON"

3) Can you mix a zone with dimmers and switches? If so, what happens when you use the dimmer switch on the mixed zone? Is it correct that the dimmers will still dim/increase, but switches stay "ON"?

4) Can you set the fade time on a zone to instant on and instant off, or does the fade time match what is programmed in the dimmer switch, when using the zone? For example, can you have some lights in a zone fade on/off, while others are instant on/off?

Any other quirks I might have not thought of? Thanks.

#2 etc6849

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 02:01 PM

1) Can you assign a dimmer switch to more than one zone? For example, can I make a zone of "ALL" dimmers and then have sub-zones, like "KITCHEN", "PATIO", etc? When you turn on "ALL" zone, do the sub-zones, also report as being "ON"? When you turn all sub-zones off individually, does the "ALL" zone show that its now "OFF"?


No, there is no support for "sub-zones." I'm not sure why you would need it, but you could mimick this behavior using a VRC0P and a PC pretty easily. There are many PC options that would allow for scripts to be triggered by the zone controllers buttons, then the PC would send commands to the lights. Premise is one such free program and the open-source VRC0P driver for it also supports scenes. The advantage of scene support is that all lights could come on at the same time and rate. Groups are also supported by the Premise driver. Groups are similar to scenes, but are a Leviton specific command that lets a collection of devices trigger based on a group command (such as group on, group off, group dim etc..) Groups do not offer global "fade rate" support.

2) What happens when a zone is "ON", and then I turn off one of the dimmers locally? If I go back to the zone controller switch, will it turn the remaining zone lights "OFF"? What if I turn off all the dimmers manually? Will then zone controller then switch the zone to "OFF" state", or does it still think the zone is "ON"


I believe so, but I don't remember for sure. You are correct in that the Vizia RF+ zone controllers will give you status of the devices that a button is associated with. I only associated the buttons with lights once to test, then I associated the buttons with my PC instead. Associating buttons with a PC allows you to control other non-z-wave devices and is much more powerful for automation purposes. The only drawback is the LED indicators cannot be controller by third party devices (e.g. your PC) with the exception of the MiCasa Verde. This means, the LED status lights mean nothing, but the buttons can trigger macros (one macro for on, one for off). This gives a total of 10 macros (includes the dim/brt buttons) in my PC that can be triggered.


3) Can you mix a zone with dimmers and switches? If so, what happens when you use the dimmer switch on the mixed zone? Is it correct that the dimmers will still dim/increase, but switches stay "ON"?


Yes. Again it is the buttons on the zone controller that are associated with each light (dimmer or switch). If you dim a light at the dimmer, other switches associated with the zone controllers buttons would do nothing. If you dim the lights at the zone controller, all the lights would stay on and all the dimmers should dim.

4) Can you set the fade time on a zone to instant on and instant off, or does the fade time match what is programmed in the dimmer switch, when using the zone? For example, can you have some lights in a zone fade on/off, while others are instant on/off?


I believe so since it's NOT a scene controller. If you study the VRC0P protocol programming guide from Leviton's site, you should see that fade rates are only applicable to individual devices and to scenes. Groups (which is what I think the zone controllers use), do not support a fade rate.

Edited by etc6849, 11 July 2012 - 02:02 PM.


#3 wolfdown

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 03:00 PM

Thanks for the responses. That clears up a lot. I realize adding a PC might give me more options, but for now I'm trying to keep it simple.

I did think of one more question. Since I'm planning on buying multiple zone controllers. Can you associate the same zone (e.g. "KITCHEN") to two different controllers? Basically turning the zone controllers into a three-way switch.

#4 etc6849

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Posted 11 July 2012 - 05:01 PM

You should ask this question on leviton's knowledge base or at least call Leviton or your distributor so that they can call Leviton's engineering dept.

http://communities.l...iew=discussions

I think it should work fine, but I bet there is a limit to the number of groups a single device can be in.

Also please let us know of any nuances once you install your zone controllers.

#5 wolfdown

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Posted 14 September 2012 - 03:16 AM

I finally got my leviton programmer, so I can answer some of these questions now.

I'm planning on getting a zone controller for my Leviton VizaRF+ dimmers, but I want to clarify a few things first. I'll be using a Leviton VRCPG programmer, if it matters.

1) Can you assign a dimmer switch to more than one zone? For example, can I make a zone of "ALL" dimmers and then have sub-zones, like "KITCHEN", "PATIO", etc? When you turn on "ALL" zone, do the sub-zones, also report as being "ON"? When you turn all sub-zones off individually, does the "ALL" zone show that its now "OFF"?


Yes, you can have a switch assigned to multiple zones. I haven't verified exactly how the controller marks the zone, but I believe as long as one light is on, the zone should show as "on". I think with the multi-zone case, I've seen a few times where only 1 of the zone is marked as on, and other left off. So it might be a timing thing. I haven't noticed any times when all the zones were off, but the controller stilled showed one on. I can test more if anyone is interested. Basically, it works like it should in most cases. Even if you confuse the controller, when you send and "on" or "off" event, the controller will send out the command, even if it thinks the lights are all already in the desired position.

2) What happens when a zone is "ON", and then I turn off one of the dimmers locally?


The light goes off, but zone is still marked as "on"

If I go back to the zone controller switch, will it turn the remaining zone lights "OFF"?


yes

What if I turn off all the dimmers manually? Will then zone controller then switch the zone to "OFF" state", or does it still think the zone is "ON"


yes, it appears that when the last light in the zone goes off the controller marks the whole zone as "off".

3) Can you mix a zone with dimmers and switches? If so, what happens when you use the dimmer switch on the mixed zone? Is it correct that the dimmers will still dim/increase, but switches stay "ON"?


yes, mixing works. dimmers dim, and switches just stay on.

4) Can you set the fade time on a zone to instant on and instant off, or does the fade time match what is programmed in the dimmer switch, when using the zone? For example, can you have some lights in a zone fade on/off, while others are instant on/off?

Any other quirks I might have not thought of? Thanks.


By default fade time is programmed on the switch. So switches that are instant on/off will do that, while fade ones fade. For events, you can set the fade time, but that is kind of a different feature.

Also note, the lights come back to their last level when turned on. So if you had one dimmer at 100% and one at 20%, when you turn the lights back on, the dimmers will not change. The dimmer from the zone will lower each switch linearly, so you would have to go to full bright or full dim to get the lights at the same level.

Edited by wolfdown, 14 September 2012 - 03:19 AM.





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