Initial Vizia Feedback...

shenandoah75

Active Member
OK,

I installed got 6 dimmers and a coordinating remote yday... Overall love it. I have another batch and the elk zwave interface on order.

Pros
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1) Easy to install, surprisingly had no issue getting those deep units into the gang boxes even with all the wires in the 3/4 gangers.

2) Simple to use (my 3 little ones (6 and under) figured it out fast), my wife as well - she was very happy just to have a dimmer in the dining room (9 light chandelier) at all.

3) will integrate nicely when i put in non-rf versions of the vizia switches in same jboxes...

4) bang for the buck/value. Wife doesn't mind the cost at all. And she hasn't even seen what we can do with automating upon entry / while on vacation, etc...



Cons
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1) As in recent discussions, the lack of ability for a device to serve as controller and/or scene/zone controllers to have on board dimmers and the apparent 4 controller limitation per device. I still haven't ironed this out, but with the remote, the elk controller i plan on only having 1 or 2 scene or zone controllers (1 zone in the middle of downstairs, and maybe 1 zone in the master bedroom that would control main living areas plus a scene controller in master bath as i have 7 lighting circuits there) anyways - limitations mentioned by many others...

2) The doc for the remote controll/programmer sucks. I'll go through the training tonight, but so far see no where to create scenes and a passing comment in the manual refers to pages that don't exist (i.e. dev properties, page 22 - only goes to 20).

3) the remote seems to only allow choosing scene or direct on/off for area/device on the main keypads. The only way to directly dim is to go into device listing and use 2OFF which is NOT intuitive - maybe i'll spot something else in training sessions, but as of now, not impressed. Ideally the remote is simply a programming tool, but i currently have no plans for touchscreens, etc...

4) The Biggie - the setup of the dimmer/controller in hard-wired 3way setup didn't work from get go and appears to be getting worse. Both locations initially turned on and off the lights under load. Dimmer could dim and down, but the controller could only dim down, not up. Today after i eat lunch, it gets worse, wifes pages me in the office and says she can't get the kitchen to turn off at either switch. She can dim, but they immediately go back to near full. I think she nuts and mistakenly say i'll be up to "fix it". She wasn't nuts. Main dimmer won't respond to anything, the programming remote though it shows level decreasing off off device manager, doesn't change and immediately reflects level back in the 80's. The only way i could get it to shut off was to use coordinating remote to dim to minimum and click the on/off at same time.

Anyway, i only bought one coordinating remote in first batch, but have more on order and new ones have leds. Hoping it's a fluke in the remote unit only. In some setups, it's clear they want you to wire one of the devices before the load, but that is not mentioned in mine. I have the non-led remote at the load connection. I may switch to see if it helps, but in the non-led version, i clearly wired as shown.



5) Hunter Fan claims as they do in the doc that on the Original series, the only fan speed control you can use is theirs. I called to confirm. I think this is liklely just marketing. Anyone know why one couldn't install the vizia fan speed instead? The Original draws less than 1amp on High which is under the rating of the vizias. Would really like all my 3gang boxes to be consistent :lol:

6) Exterior use The relay switches from leviton are only rated at 15 amps, i plan on adding at least 4 20 amp gfci circuits in the yard for christmas lights, etc. Overkill, maybe but it's still the plan. I did see a zwave enabled pigtail device somewhere, but don't want to buy a ton of them (gotta big lot). I'd rather not have to use UPB switches/relays just for this purpose. I'd be willing to use standard relays if i could get the Elk to be a node not just controller, assigned to a zone and when that zone kicks on, elk kicks on the relays.

7) Buzzing... as in other posts i get various noises, mostly buzz or high ptched wine from normal bulbs. I don't notice it from recessed floods, but that may be because they're up higher? I only noticed the buzz while installing during lunch when no one else was home. As soon as i walked in the house for dinner, didn't notice it, but there is a barely audible buzz form the dimmer any time its not off or at full. But the lights are also making noise. I will try Chris's recommendation here and see if it goes away with a higher priced philipps bulb or something. Regardless, with 4 kids, this buzz is a mute point 99% of the time.

8) Lack of polling on the Elk. Read many older threads where it was hinted this may eventually come... (not critical for me at all, but would help alleviate the isuses in trying to insure sync mentioned in point #1.)


Anyway - still playing, learning... overall i don't regret it - just hoping the 3way issue is a one time deal.


-brad
 
So no buzzing sound from the dimmers at all? Even if you get your head close to the switch and it is at 25% dimmed? On my setup, this causes a very audible buzz from the siwtch that I've yet to track down. This happened with both a Vizia RF and Vizia non-RF dimmer.

I have one of the 1000W dimmers ready to install to see if it is any better (even though I was only trying to dim 200W worh of lights).

Thanks,
Scott
 
shenandoah75 said:
7) Buzzing... as in other posts i get various noises, mostly buzz or high ptched wine from normal bulbs. I don't notice it from recessed floods, but that may be because they're up higher? I only noticed the buzz while installing during lunch when no one else was home. As soon as i walked in the house for dinner, didn't notice it, but there is a barely audible buzz form the dimmer any time its not off or at full. But the lights are also making noise. I will try Chris's recommendation here and see if it goes away with a higher priced philipps bulb or something. Regardless, with 4 kids, this buzz is a mute point 99% of the time.
Insteon devices have the same basic results as far as dimming goes.

The insteon lights will buzz when not fully on or off, and buzz louder (or perhaps at a higher pitch) as you increase the current until the light is fully on.

The switches themselves also have a less apparent buzz when on. I had one switch that buzzed loudly and replaced it.

From reading many other posts on the buzzing, most people claim this is a side affect of the triac in the switch.

Anyway to keep on topic I believe the dimming mechanism in Insteon is the same/similar to Vizia RF.
 
shenandoah75 said:
I have another batch and the elk zwave interface on order.
You may already be aware of this, but to my knowledge although the Elk will be able to control the zwave devices, it won't be able to respond to local load changes except through slow polling of the devices.

I'm also not sure how well the Vizia RF two-way communications hold up with other linked devices when the Elk changes a devices state since the Elk does not support the Vizia RF 2 way communication.

So for instance if you have a Vizia RF switch that is part of a scene/zone with a related LED on another device, if the Elk changes the switch's state, will the other device's LED respect the change?
 
Yep, was partially referring to that limitation in last part of #6 /#8... good question on whether the level leds would reflect... I presume that on the physical remote controllers in a 3-way, they will (still waiting for those to be delivered on friday), but maybe not.... But in the cases where i will be using a virtual three way setup (i.e. only had single pole in one entry into dining room, adding a RZCZ1 on the other as a single zone dimming controller) - i suspect not... i'll find out friday night though and live with the consequences either way.

That said, maybe i should give a breif comment that i am probably not the typical user here... Regarding the elk's zwave interface, my planned usage is probably rediculously simple which is why that doesn't bother me so much... I just intend for it to make it look like i'm home when i'm not and to give some basic lighting when we arive home at night (if not on for some reason - i.e hall light from the garage)...

Although i read the Quirk/homeseer threads with interest, i just don't see me going to that level of sophistication. It seems cool, but i hate the instability of windows and wouldn't trust a PC to run (nor even interface) to my house (main reason i bought the Elk as i'm a big fan of hardware based things). Never say never, but... This is probably also the reason i'm struggling with whether i want a zone or scene controller. Sure scenes sound great, but am i really going to have 4 lighting conditions for the living area downstairs or simple on/off and fade? If i lived in a house with 10 lighting circuits in the kitchen/nook, maybe... but i have one in each room for the most part...

To me, the only purposes i can really think of for wall mounted controllers is:
1) turn all the chrismas lights on (leaning zone)
2) turn all living area lights to 20% (leaning scene) when baby cries at 2:00am
3) turn the whole house (save bedroom) off when we go to bed

i guess i could get all three with 1 scene controller (need to see if the training show how to set up cause as per above, doc sucks!)

Anyway, after months of debating between insteon/upb/zwave and watching all the threads here, i think i made a good choice for my needs. Now it's on to deciding on whole house audio (been struggling with that decision for just as long - another post later) and also finally building kitchen cabinets...

-brad
 
Well, I just installed one of the 1000W Vizia switches and am MUCH happier. My faith is almost restored!

There is a very minor buzz from the switch at the lowest dim level, but I can only hear it if my hear is right next to the switch. This is much different than the 600W switch that I can hear an audible buzz from several feet away.

The final test will be tomorrow when I move it up to the bedroom (where it is VERY quiet), but I'm pretty sure I won't hear it.

The 1000W switches are built differently than the 600W switches. They are a little bulkier and are wired differently (they don't have screw terminals, the wires are built in).

Scott
 
OK i think i have reached a point of frustration.

9) went through the training, and it appears to me that only areas can be defined in the Vizia remote, not scenes. If this is true, this sucks because it means i need a physical wall mount scene controller to even setup a scene (unlike the example in elk's zwave manual where it can be created in the remote and assigned to an elk task = which is what i want (i.e. down&upstairs at 20% when i hit F5 on the master bedroom keypad at 2am)

Am i missing something? Any options? I guess i could buy another zwave remote like the HomePro, but i lose one of the available controllers in that case right? Also if the Zivia remote is the primary and the Home Pro is a secondary controller, how would i get the scene created in the homepro into the Leviton unit for when i replicate to the Elk? Or would this be automatic?
 
OK - it seems like i may be able to create scenes in the remote, by setting up a profile, assigning a button to an area and defining the action as Scene X. Of course without the elk, i can't be sure that will be exported as a true scene, but here's the problem i see:

a) i define button 1 to map to kitchen area and save with dimmer at 20% with action listed as scene 1

;) i define button 2 to map to dining room with dimmer at 80% with action listed as scene 2

At this point no issues, using off/on for those buttons corrcetly bring to correct level. But the whole point of a scene is to have different devices at different levels. So if i assignboth buttons to "scene 1" action, you might think that they hitting eithe rbutton would bring up the entire scene. But because they arelimited by "area" this is not the case and it seems to be completely independant.

I don't know what gives... I can problem use this for my needs by adding all devices to anarea and setting entire area to 20% for the scene (assuming these "scenes" will transfer to the elk controller, but it clearly seems limiting.


-brad
 
Pros
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5) the ability to create a three way switch without rewiring (provided hot/neutral exist where you want it). You can tie off a nearby outlet, use an exiting Jbox, etc but at least you don't to run 14/3 wire through a ceiling to get between two opposing walls.



Cons
------
4/10) Limited operation in a standard 3-way setup with travelers... It appears you CAN NOT use lighted coordinating dimmers with the Vizia RF devices, but only the non-zwave devices. And my fluke with the non-lighted coordinating dimmer may not be a fluke as well:

An excerpts from the single Pole zwave device's manual (plus the fact ligheted remotes aren't mentioned):

Use only one (1) Vizia™ RF dimmer in a multi-location circuit with up to 9 Vizia™ coordinating remotes without LEDs or Vizia™ RF controllers. The remote(s) will turn the light on at the brightness level selected at the dimmer.

Not sure if that explains why my coordinating remote eill dim but not increase. I rewired last night with the dimmer on the load side and still have the same behavior.


But it does tell me that my purchase of lighted remotes was a bad one as they can't be used. I tried it before i saw the above text and i really can't even explain the results to you. But one thing that happened was that the dim up/down didn't dim at all on the remote, but it simply served as a momentary on/off button when hitting up or down.


In short, with the RF line, if you want 3-way functionality with dimming AND indicator LED on both ends, you must use a 1 zone controller and convert the dimmer into a single pole setup. This is disappointing both because i already bought several lighted remotes that i can't use and because the 1 zone controllers are 3x more expensive.

-brad
 
shenandoah75 said:
In short, with the RF line, if you want 3-way functionality with dimming AND indicator LED on both ends, you must use a 1 zone controller and convert the dimmer into a single pole setup. This is disappointing both because i already bought several lighted remotes that i can't use and because the 1 zone controllers are 3x more expensive.
The downside of that is that you use one of your five controller slots on the 1-zone controller.
 
Yep, agreed (but that limitation is per node/slave as noted in your kitchen post in another thread - i.e. each dimmer can be contorlled by up to five controllers, but you can have more controllers than that in the house).

I'm willing to live with that (i only plan on having the Elk and handhand as general controllers so even on the 3way setups, i'll have 2 more available if needed)... I may add a couple of 4 button scene/zone controllers later...

For now, I plan to use a couple of the F1-6 keys on the Elk keypads to achieve the same functionality where i currently want it. I bet we could find multi button decora style switches that are momentary in nature somewhere too. If so, we could just wire low voltage wiring from those directly to an input on the elk and fire off tasks to issue scene/zone commands.

Not trying to change your mind, but I think the expansion capability you want is there (if you leverage the elk in the process) for a lot less that the cost of what you'd pay for Lutron RA (the in-wall devices seem to be about 3 times as much when i looked) ...


P.S.
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(at that price differencial, you could actually just buy the scene/zone controllers for 100 bucks each, rip the zwave guts off the back and wire the buttons to elk inputs and the LEDs to elk outputs fpr status). If you generally relied on those controllers for accessing the lighting, you also overcome the limitation that z-wave only relays status to the initiating controler in the process. All your controllers would equate to the elk as a single controller at that point so although the elk wouldn't know individual device status for certain, it would know the on/off of each scene / zone. (Not sure how to get that dimming button to work given the elk rule engine, but i'm thinking it could be done?)
 
Figured out scenes on the remote (finally!!!!)

Note that what wasn't explicit in the following is that after you get the following message, you can individually change every level of every zone to a desired level. Hitting button 1 at that point saves all those levels in the scene. Note that because the scene is forced to be linked to the devices by area/zone, you need a dedicated area(zone) with all devices you wish to specify in the scene.

I still say doc sucks and this is not intuitive and i didn't think other products required a zone to be defined on which to base the scene.

thx
-brad



Email from Lutron
===========
An area can be a group of devices up to 32, or a single device. There are 16 profiles total that you can create in your remote with 4 areas to each profile.

Illustration: If you create profile 1 you then can associate area 1 to button 1 area 2 button 2 and so on. Each one of these created area can have up to 32 devices grouped in that area or have a single device. Once your profile is created and you have linked areas to each button if you press and hold button 1 ON for 15 sec you will get a display that says ADJUST LEVEL FOR THIS SCENE PRESS 1 ON WHEN DONE. You can repeat this for all button in that profile.
 
Scott12v said:
So no buzzing sound from the dimmers at all? Even if you get your head close to the switch and it is at 25% dimmed? On my setup, this causes a very audible buzz from the siwtch that I've yet to track down. This happened with both a Vizia RF and Vizia non-RF dimmer.

I have one of the 1000W dimmers ready to install to see if it is any better (even though I was only trying to dim 200W worh of lights).

Thanks,
Scott
Update on Vizia Buzzing, non RF style, Leviton is having a quiet hurricane over this issue and is trying to stem the damage. Most Elec supply houses I deal with have told me that the complaints are piling up fast. Leviton tech support is blaming the light bulbs, they are telling people that the filaments are too thin and that heavy duty (rough service) bulbs are the answer. NOT IN THIS LIFE. I tried several rough service bulbs, even a 130 volt bulb and the issue remains unchanged. I submit that Leviton has known about this issue and went ahead to production anyway.
What to do.... return the devices before it's too late. Contractors: Never use these in a bedroom, or your customers will hunt you down. BAD ENGINEERING IN, BAD ENGINEERING OUT. :) There is NO solution. I am going to try various dimmers and will refort later.
 
AspireRF said they will be shipping in June. They have a really nice look. You might want to give one of them a try. My wife has complained about one of our Vizia switches humming in the bathroom. I only hear it when the lights are dim but I beleive that you guys are having a real issue. Make sure you send your complaints to the manufacture.
 
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