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Wiring two smart switches in parallel to the same load


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#1 Desert_AIP

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Posted 14 January 2021 - 07:57 PM

Been a while since I've been on the forum.

 

I have a question about wiring two smart switches (using different technologies) to the same load in parallel.

So that if either switch was activated the load would operate.

If I wire the load sides of the switches together, so that either one can feed the load independently, would the switch in the "off" state be harmed when the other switch turned on?

 

I'm not trying to set up a three-way or remote situation, but use different technologies to operate the same load independently.

 

These would be dimmer type switches, not relay switches.

 

Thanks  



#2 ano

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Posted 15 January 2021 - 12:21 AM

Been a while since I've been on the forum.

 

I have a question about wiring two smart switches (using different technologies) to the same load in parallel.

So that if either switch was activated the load would operate.

If I wire the load sides of the switches together, so that either one can feed the load independently, would the switch in the "off" state be harmed when the other switch turned on?

 

I'm not trying to set up a three-way or remote situation, but use different technologies to operate the same load independently.

 

These would be dimmer type switches, not relay switches.

 

Thanks  

Relay switches maybe, but definitely wouldn't do it with dimmer switches.  Just run another wire and add another bulb in the fixture. 



#3 sic0048

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Posted 15 January 2021 - 02:36 PM

Desert_AIP, on 14 Jan 2021 - 20:02, said:
If I wire the load sides of the switches together, so that either one can feed the load independently, would the switch in the "off" state be harmed when the other switch turned on?



Yes. The switch would have 120v coming into it from two different wires which puts 240v to the switch and it would instantly fry it's components.

 

Desert_AIP, on 14 Jan 2021 - 20:02, said:
I'm not trying to set up a three-way or remote situation, but use different technologies to operate the same load independently.


This is the solution however. 

 

Safely hooking the switches up in parallel is what 3/4 way switches do. So unless you want to swap both switches out for a matched pair of smart 3/4 way switches, you aren't going to be able to do that. However, as long as both switches have a hot and common wire, we can make it work just fine. This is because you are going to set up a "remote" situation.

The thing you have to wrap your mind around is that only one switch will control the load and the non-load switch will simply trigger the switch with the load. Because the non-load switch is only acting as a remote for the load switch, the non-load switch will not have anything hooked up to it's local load wire. We only need to use the non-load switch's ability to communicate. There are two questions that have to be worked through IMHO. First, if the two switches are of different technologies, how will they communicate and trigger one another? Second, how do you keep the two switches "synched" together?

Question 1 - If by some miracle the two switches share some sort of communication protocol then use it, but because the two switches are of different technologies I think it is unlikely that they can communicate with each other. However, as long as they can both communicate with a common system like a MQTT broker or some other automation system, we can use that common system to handle everything. However, without some sort of common system that both switches can communicate with, I don't think you can get the switches to work as desired. If you don't want to run MQTT or some other automation system, then I think the best solution is to replace one of the existing switches to the other switch's technology so that the two switches will talk to each other directly (assuming the switch technology allows for this).  Again, these switches do not need to be 3/4 way switches for this to work.  Normal smart switches will work fine as long as they can communicate with each other.

Question 2 - Once you get the two switches speaking to the same automation system (or to each other), then you can start figuring out the logic to keep the two switches in sync. If the switches don't have status LEDs on them and you don't want dimming functionality, then you basically just need to set up a trigger to toggle the switch with the actual load anytime the switch without the load is toggled. This should be easy to set up, but is dependent on the particular system you are using. If the switches have LED status lights or dim, then you probably need to set a trigger up that toggles the opposite switch than what is actually pressed. This way both switches keep synced with each other. Again, the specifics on how to set this up are going to be dependent on which automation software you want to use to have the switches communicate with. And yes, this works even with dimming light switches as long as the switches and common automation software can receive and transmit the dimming status.

I do this "sudo" 3 or 4 way switches a lot with my lighting system. It's easier to find decent regular smart switches vs smart 3/4 way switches and a lot of times its cheaper to buy two regular smart switches vs a pair of 3/4 way smart switches. Even in locations that are wired for regular 3/4 way switches using traveler wires, you can just use 2 of the 3 wires to send hot and common to the 2nd switch to ensure it has power. The third wire is simply not used in this scenario.

The only downside to this strategy is that if the automation system goes offline for some reason, the switch without the load won't control the switch with the load. This is one reason that I like the Tasmota software (an alternative firmware for certain wifi devices) so much because it handles this common communication between the switches and ensures reliable operation as long as the switches have power and wifi connection (for the switch to switch communication). Even if my larger home automation system goes down, the switches will still communicate with each other and these sudo 3/4 way switches will still work as expected.  That being said, any switch protocol that handles switch to switch communication would work the same way however.  So even if the switches are Zigbee or something else, they would as expected without a larger automation system.

Hopefully that makes sense.


Edited by sic0048, 15 January 2021 - 03:38 PM.


#4 ano

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Posted 15 January 2021 - 05:49 PM

Yes. The switch would have 120v coming into it from two different wires which puts 240v to the switch and it would instantly fry it's components.

 

We'll that really isn't true unless the two switches were on opposite phases 120V phases.  In any case, placing 120V on the load wire of a switch is against good practice and electrical codes.  



#5 Desert_AIP

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Posted 15 January 2021 - 08:30 PM

Hmmm...
Gotta figure this out a different way.

Thanks

#6 ano

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Posted 15 January 2021 - 11:56 PM

Hmmm...
Gotta figure this out a different way.

Thanks

You didn't mention the "two technologies" but today you can find a bridge between anything and anything else. 



#7 42etus

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Posted 16 January 2021 - 12:37 AM

What he said ↑



#8 Desert_AIP

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Posted 16 January 2021 - 12:45 PM

My Omni Pro II installation and my house has all UPB devices.

I was able to integrate voice control via Amazon Echo through a Raspberry Pi using Fauxmo to emulate a wemo device. With that i could issue voice commands and the Pi would send UPB commands out its serial port. This worked well.
Then the Echo stopped recognizing the Fauxmo Pi as a device.
(I assume because of a firmware update)

I also had HomeSeer running, and using the Alexa skill and HAI plug in was able to use that method.
But when I changed to cellular internet from my anemic DSL, Homeseer can no longer tunnel out to connect with "myhomeseer", so I can no longer control it and the Echo no longer recognizes it. Homeseer refused to provide any tech support. I think it's how they implement the VPN. Cellular spoofs the IP address. My Sense and Ring cameras work fine on my cellular internet. So I tabled any action on that.


So I was thinking, can I control something like my security flood lights via my HAI panel as I have done since 2010, and have a parallel smart switch that is compatible with the Echo operate them by voice.
The only Echo UPB bridge I've seen is selling for a ridiculous $650.

I see that Fauxmo has a 2019 update, I may circle back and try that.
I'm also trading in my gen 1 echo for a newer model, so there may be firmware improvements in it as well.

I don't want to replace 70+ UPB devices and I don't want to replace my Omni panel so I'm kind of stuck in this limbo of older and newer tech and trying to integrate them.

#9 Desert_AIP

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Posted 16 January 2021 - 01:18 PM

As a kludgy work around specifically for the security flood lights, I think I can link up a cheap Echo compatible switch to a 120V relay, and have the relay dry contact output feed an Omni zone. Then have the Omni issue UPB commands.
That works for one set of lights, or one scene, but quickly becomes unwieldly.

#10 ano

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Posted 18 January 2021 - 04:22 PM

There is the Home Assistant on Raspberry Pi connected to Amazon via a Skill, then also OmniLinkBridge on the Raspberry Pi syncing with Home Assistant.  That $650 Echo UPB bridge will only connect Echo to UPB. Your better off connecting the Omni to Home Assistant. You can connect UPB to Home Assistant as well, but if HA connects to the Omni, then it can control UPB.



#11 pete_c

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Posted 18 January 2021 - 04:57 PM

I think I can link up a cheap Echo compatible switch to a 120V relay.

 

Here doing similar integrating an "el cheapo" generic WiFi relay switch using Tasmota firmware / MQTT for my the hardware PIR on my Hikvision video doorbell that speaks MQTT via an ONVIF to MQTT plugin.

 

The trigger / event has been done with Home Assistant or Homeseer. Easy peasey stuff.  The doorbell button is connected to one OmniPro zone via Elk Doorbell / debounce circuit (recently added a current sensor).

 

Doorbell

 

Trying something different here as I have a tiny OpenWRT microrouter inside of the OmniPro 2 can.  Last adding more play space to the OpenWRT router / OS adding a 32Gb mini USB stick to it.  Installed Python 3.X and Paho-MQTT on the microrouter last week and using one Python script to trigger the relay which will be connected to one zone on the OmniPro 2 panel.

 

 

BusyBox v1.30.1 () built-in shell (ash)


  _______                     ________        __
 |       |.-----.-----.-----.|  |  |  |.----.|  |_
 |   -   ||  _  |  -__|     ||  |  |  ||   _||   _|
 |_______||   __|_____|__|__||________||__|  |____|
          |__| W I R E L E S S   F R E E D O M
 -----------------------------------------------------
 OpenWrt 19.07.5, r11257-5090152ae3
 -----------------------------------------------------

 

 

~# df -h
Filesystem                Size      Used Available Use% Mounted on
/dev/root                 2.5M      2.5M         0 100% /rom
tmpfs                    29.3M     68.0K     29.2M   0% /tmp
/dev/sda1                28.1G     60.1M     26.6G   0% /overlay
overlayfs:/overlay       28.1G     60.1M     26.6G   0% /
tmpfs                   512.0K         0    512.0K   0% /dev
/dev/mtdblock6            3.9M      1.8M      2.0M  47% /rwm

 



#12 pete_c

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Posted 18 January 2021 - 07:08 PM

I also had HomeSeer running, and using the Alexa skill and HAI plug in was able to use that method.
But when I changed to cellular internet from my anemic DSL, Homeseer can no longer tunnel out to connect with "myhomeseer", so I can no longer control it and the Echo no longer recognizes it. Homeseer refused to provide any tech support. I think it's how they implement the VPN. Cellular spoofs the IP address. My Sense and Ring cameras work fine on my cellular internet. So I tabled any action on that.

 

Here never have utilized the myhomeseer cloud features.  Here just recently updated my failover cellular CPE modem.  That said I only utilize LT2P / IPSec and OpenVPN servers on my firewall and am able to connect to the Omnipro 2 panel, Homeseer and Home Assistant.  I am noticing lately here too when using VPN services on my laptops that I cannot get to many sites these days which I think are starting to block the VPN servers.

 

I can utilize my VPN service via the CPE modem but it is really slow.  Same if I use a VPN client calling home via the CPE line.  Pretty sure that my cellular provider is massaging and throttling all of the internet traffic in or out.

 

Just a suggestion:

 

Use either L2TP / IPEC or OpenVPN server on your home firewall to call home and directly connect to your Homeseer box via a Homeseer Touch client or the Homeseer web gui interface.  I have no ports opened on the firewall these days.

 

Curious why you are using a VPN service to go to the internet with your CPE?

 

I use Maxmind / PFSense PFBlocker on my firewall.  Seeing a lot of IPs being blocked in the last few months and guessing that these IPs are VPN server IP's.

 

I do not think that Homeseer is implementing VPN at all relating to their myhomeseer cloud interface. 



#13 Desert_AIP

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Posted 20 January 2021 - 08:52 PM

I'm not using a VPN, but assumed that is how services like Ring and Sense are getting out into the cloud.

So I assumed the find.homeseer.com/findhomeseer/ site was doing the same.
It won't find my SEL, so I don't know where to start.
My SEL has been collecting dust for a year.

Edited by Desert_AIP, 20 January 2021 - 09:22 PM.


#14 pete_c

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Posted 21 January 2021 - 07:34 AM

Yes Homeseer does not use VPN for the find.homeseer.com piece.

 

Just make sure that myhomeseer dot com is enabled (typically by default) and UPNP is enabled by default.

 

Here do not have those two services enabled.  

 

I've never used it.  Never used myhomeseer dot com.  Enabled it this morning and it works fine.

 

Here also do not utilize default port of 80 for Homeseer.  I use port 9999 for Homeseer.

 

A typical Windows or Linux OS these days use port 80 unless you shut off the OS web services.

 

Many VPN services / servers are being blocked these days.  IE: Ring for sure.

 

IE: this is where you use a VPN service to get to the internet.  Typically this is an openvpn client running on your box.

 

Here use VPN servers on my Firewall to call home.  The clients work fine on my laptop, tablet, phone when outside of my house.

 

The clients allow me to see everything on my home network.  IE: Homeseer, Home Assistant, CCTV, et al.

 

 



#15 pete_c

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Posted 21 January 2021 - 08:04 AM

Here went to Linux on two Homeseer 3 boxes.
 
On the smallest box (Atom based mini PC) that came with Windows 10 on a 64Gb eMMC did the following:
 
1 - Using MiniTools partition manager shrunk down the Windows 10 partition to a minimal size.  Thinking that was around 28 Gb or so. Never did update Windows 10.
2 - using an Ubuntu boot stick installed Ubuntu on the mini PC with a default boot of Ubuntu.
3 - updated Ubuntu and installed Mono on it.  Also installed Webmin and Remina server for remote access to desktop.
4 - Installed Homeseer / Omni Plugin on the Ubuntu box.
5 - Installed Oracle Virtual box with a Windows 7 32 bit instance - Installed multiple speaker.exe's on this VB and Windows Homeseer on this VB.
6 - Installed Home Assistant on Ubuntu and OmniLinkBridge
7 - Installed MQTT broker on the Ubuntu OS




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