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Remote Pool light switch - UPB or ZWave?

Choots

Member
I'm trying to use either a Zwave or a UPB relay to switch on a pool light, that is powered from a location that is remote to the switch - no connection between switch and relay/power box. The existing setup uses an old X10 switch and relay - the switch has failed.
 
I have a Lumina Pro and UPB installation in our basement home theater, so I could do that, but I also have a Zwave/Zigbee hub running on Home Assistant on a VM on my ESXi server. The question is if I use a UPB relay module to switch power, how would I control that with a UPB switch, given there is no wires between the switch box and the relay location? Or would a Zwave relay with a Zwave switch be a better option?  Or would I have to involve some programming to say "when the switch is turned on, switch on the relay"...in either the UPB or ZWave cases...?
 
I'd like to automate and control the light using remote control/home assistant, primarily to ensure it gets shut it off at the end of an evening, but the main need right now is to have a physical switch that remotely controls the light, so my family can use it.  The X10 switch no longer works.  Again, while there is power available at the switch box to power a switch, I don't believe that is connected to the remote pool light circuit wiring (and relay for the light), which is about 40 ft away in a small exterior electrical panel where the circuit breaker is for the light.  That's why I assume some solution involving  controller will be required.
 
I also have a variable speed pool pump motor and pool heater that I want to automate/control remotely, but will start with the light.
 
I've currently got mostly HAI UPB switches, dimmers, scene controllers, and three Omnistats in the house, and a couple Simply Automated relays in my basement, along with the Lumina Pro panel, but admittedly haven't done more than the basics with it.  I'm into either option, but probably would end up preferring a ZWave solution if it makes sense.
 

Choots

Member
X10 was in there for the last 15 years...but I'm also asking about UPB options in addition to ZWave.
 
Thanks
 

RAL

Senior Member
You didn't say which X10 devices you were using. When you say "there is no wires between the switch box and the relay location," do you mean you are using wireless X10 devices, or are the switch and relay both wired, but on different circuits?
 
If X10 wired devices worked, UPB should also work. zwave could be more hit or miss depending on your other zwave devices and their ability to receive and repeat signals if the switch and relay are too far apart for direct communication.
 
Another option would be Insteon.
 

LarrylLix

Senior Member
Some newer Insteon devices have an option to disable their RF, or powerline signals.
 
X10 does not use RF signals for most wired devices and may work perfectly, while I have seen a few attempt to put RF devices into metal pool controller boxes, resulting in total failures. In addition to the metal box shielding the signals from getting on or out, some were 12 x 18" boxes, and with a 2:3 dimension ratio, can make a perfect resonance chamber for the RF frequencies, possibly damaging the RF transmitters, and other equipment inside the box.
 

pete_c

Guru
There are many folks still using X10 modules with the OmniPro panel and they work fine for them.  Personally here went from X10 to UPB and have not had any issues.
 
I also utilize Home Assistant and there are HA Plugins for X10 and UPB.  Personally like to keep the lightning automation to the panel that works no matter what.
 
I also have a Zigbee / ZWave module connected to the OmniPro panel and have only tested with them.  Recently have been tinkering with WiFi switches modded with Tasmota.  These switches are not controllable via the OmniPro panel.  I use MQTT for controlling them.
 

Choots

Member
RAL said:
You didn't say which X10 devices you were using. When you say "there is no wires between the switch box and the relay location," do you mean you are using wireless X10 devices, or are the switch and relay both wired, but on different circuits?
 
If X10 wired devices worked, UPB should also work. zwave could be more hit or miss depending on your other zwave devices and their ability to receive and repeat signals if the switch and relay are too far apart for direct communication.
 
Another option would be Insteon.
 
I don't have any experience with X10.  I had assumed it was a wireless technology, didn't know that it also sends it's signals over the wire, like UPB.  After searching I think the X10 switch in use is the "X10 PRO Transmitter base", plus a 1-buton keypad.  There is an exterior pool light/spa subpanel, which has a separate breaker for the pool light, and the last time I looked there is some kind of X10 remote module inside.  I believe the module would be a X10 PRO inductive Fixture module but will have to confirm - haven't looked at this recently.   As far as the wiring, since the pool was installed during a remodel, and the light switch is in the garage which is separated from the pool light supply in a separate exterior panel on the back of the house, these are on different circuits.  And I don't know whether the X10 switch or the module failed - the light is just not working.
 
I see what you mean about ZWave, though I am looking to incorporate more of these devices in the home now that I am running Home Assistant with ZWave and Zigbee dongle.  So maybe that won't be a great option as I'm just getting started with that an the module would have to be in an exterior metal box.  I'd kind of still like to know what's needed and how to do it though.
 
As far as UPB, I knew that would work, I'm just at a loss on which devices to use, and how it actually gets configured.  Second, I wasn't originally thinking of adding on to my UPB system since I don't have it enabled for remote/mobile control, and I find it hard to locate additional devices (other than some from Pulseworks or Simply Automated- I have mostly HAI devices).  However, I'm into using it if I can get some help and extend my existing system, connect it to Home Assistant (Omnilink Bridge?), and make it more mobile/remote control friendly for my wife.  Maybe that would also be a good option as well for master pool pump/heater on/off switch (a 240V module).  I was originally going to replace the existing X10 devices, but don't really want to have a third  (fourth?) technology in use and have to get an X10 PIM or whatever for the Lumina Pro panel.
 
Thanks
 

Choots

Member
pete_c said:
There are many folks still using X10 modules with the OmniPro panel and they work fine for them.  Personally here went from X10 to UPB and have not had any issues.
 
I also utilize Home Assistant and there are HA Plugins for X10 and UPB.  Personally like to keep the lightning automation to the panel that works no matter what.
 
I also have a Zigbee / ZWave module connected to the OmniPro panel and have only tested with them.  Recently have been tinkering with WiFi switches modded with Tasmota.  These switches are not controllable via the OmniPro panel.  I use MQTT for controlling them.
 
 
Thanks Pete_c,  I do want to link my Lumina Pro to Home Assistant in future, so I would be fine with UPB on the Panel, as long as I can reach a button on my HA dashboard to shut of the light, or automate the shutoff, say, if it's on after midnight.  I've also been testing the Shelly 1 WIFI device on a four way switch but can't quite get it to work as expected. I mean I can make it work but if someone shuts the light off with the other (non-local) switches, then the Shelly becomes unavailable.   I haven't tried to hook that up to HA yet using MQTT.
 

pete_c

Guru
Yes here use the OmniPro 2 panel to keep the heartbeat of the home going...
 
Connected to the OmniPro 2 panel is a Volp TW-523 emulator (X10 on steroids), HAI UPB PIM, HAI Zigbee ZIM and HAI Leviton ZWave VRCOP.
 
I mix and match stuff.  All is 100%.  I use X10 for my Christmas lighting, UPB for my inwall switches and tinker with Zigbee and ZWave.
 
I use Homeseer / HA software to get a bit more granular with the automation.
 

sic0048

Senior Member
I'd also recommend looking at the wifi switches that are available today.  Most of them (but not all) require a neutral wire, but at least they don't run on yet another automation protocol that you need some sort of bridge to tie into a larger system.  Specifically I would look at Tasmota which is a 3rd party firmware that is compatible with many of the wifi switches produced today.  Using the Tasmota firmware removes the reliance on the "cloud" (any outside internet connection) and allows much better local control than most of the OEM software.  You can build in a lot of automation type commands into the Tasmota system itself (meaning it always works without reliance on a larger system), or use MQTT and tie it into a larger automation system. I actually do both. My Den has several sets of can lights that are on different switches (ie not tied together in 3 or 4 way switches) and I have Tasmota turn them all on/off whenever one of the switches is changed. This will work even if I move and remove all my automation hardware (but obviously leave the switches). I also have my larger home automation system turn stuff on/off based on triggers and time schedules.

I've had about 3 smart switches in my house (that previously controlled the lights in my Den), but never really bought into any one system because I never wanted to spend a lot of money on switches, and I never really liked the protocols being used that required a separate mesh style network to work well (ie they didn't work well with just a few devices).  In the last year, I have replaced a bunch of switches in my house to wifi plugs and really find them great to work with.  Most of these wifi switches fall into the $15-35 range and wifi plugs are around $10.  I'm much more inclined to swap switches out at that price range than the $75-$150 price range that was so common not too long ago for other smart switch technologies.
 
PS - I've been using switches from a brand called "Jerry Martin".  They have been great and have a look that we have been very happy with (we are using some of the older style swiched).  They can be purchased on Amazon for between $15 and $20 usually.  https://smile.amazon.com/Dimmer-Martin-Jerry-Compatible-Neutral/dp/B07Y53VZ17?ref_=ast_sto_dp
 

Choots

Member
sic0048 said:
I'd also recommend looking at the wifi switches that are available today.  Most of them (but not all) require a neutral wire, but at least they don't run on yet another automation protocol that you need some sort of bridge to tie into a larger system.  Specifically I would look at Tasmota which is a 3rd party firmware that is compatible with many of the wifi switches produced today.  Using the Tasmota firmware removes the reliance on the "cloud" (any outside internet connection) and allows much better local control than most of the OEM software.  You can build in a lot of automation type commands into the Tasmota system itself (meaning it always works without reliance on a larger system), or use MQTT and tie it into a larger automation system. I actually do both. My Den has several sets of can lights that are on different switches (ie not tied together in 3 or 4 way switches) and I have Tasmota turn them all on/off whenever one of the switches is changed. This will work even if I move and remove all my automation hardware (but obviously leave the switches). I also have my larger home automation system turn stuff on/off based on triggers and time schedules.

I've had about 3 smart switches in my house (that previously controlled the lights in my Den), but never really bought into any one system because I never wanted to spend a lot of money on switches, and I never really liked the protocols being used that required a separate mesh style network to work well (ie they didn't work well with just a few devices).  In the last year, I have replaced a bunch of switches in my house to wifi plugs and really find them great to work with.  Most of these wifi switches fall into the $15-35 range and wifi plugs are around $10.  I'm much more inclined to swap switches out at that price range than the $75-$150 price range that was so common not too long ago for other smart switch technologies.
 
PS - I've been using switches from a brand called "Jerry Martin".  They have been great and have a look that we have been very happy with (we are using some of the older style swiched).  They can be purchased on Amazon for between $15 and $20 usually.  https://smile.amazon.com/Dimmer-Martin-Jerry-Compatible-Neutral/dp/B07Y53VZ17?ref_=ast_sto_dp
 
Thanks - I've considered Wifi switches, I've bought a couple to play around with - for limited use, but the Martin Jerry's look interesting and a good value.  My concerns with Wifi devices is having yet another technology in use, overcrowding of the 2.4GHz WiFi band (I already have a significant number of WiFi devices), and the security of WiFi devices connected to the Internet/Cloud.  This is particularly true for me given I already have two hubs - the Lumina Pro and the Home Assistant Server - that can address multiple technologies.  I'm not saying I won't try out some WiFi devices, it's just that I'm prioritizing some other approaches first.
 
Thanks
 

Choots

Member
So if I were to use UPB for this application, what would I have to do to get his working?   Honestly, I haven't spent much time with the Lumina Panel, and while I setup the switches and devices, and hooked up the panel and got it running with the keypad, I find instructions little obtuse and hard to follow. 
 
What switch and which relay/control module should I use?  I do have a spare Simply automated Dimmer Wall Switch with 8 Bar Buttons (SAUS28B40W) that I could use. I also have a Simply automated UPB 12A relay installed in a location that's not being used. I could try those out...  What would be involved in configuring it? I do have Dealer PC Access software, but I haven't installed it and tried to work with it.  I don't have a spare UPB PIM to use on the PC side.  I've done a fair amount of searching and reading of the Lumina Pro applications guide, and I'm guessing that I'd have to setup a "link", which I assume is connecting a button on the switch to the functionality of the relay (turn it on an off).  So if I try this, I have these other questions:
 
1. Do I need PC Access, or Upstart?
2. Do I need a separate PIM?  I do have the serial PC to PIM connector adapter and cable.
3. Do I set up the Simply Automated devices in HAI mode?
4 I should create these in a separate room - like "Garage" or "Pool" I guess?
5. How do I program the "link"?
 
If there are some other references or forum posts that I should check on, let me know.  Thanks all for the help.
 

pete_c

Guru
1. Do I need PC Access, or Upstart?
 
Yes.  Its free now. I have posted a link above for the OmniPro manual and PCA.
 
2. Do I need a separate PIM?  I do have the serial PC to PIM connector adapter and cable.
 
Yes
 
3 - Do I set up the Simply Automated devices in HAI mode?
 
You can if you want.  I use my UPB switches in UPB mode.
 
Easiest to use Upstart (available for free) to program the UPB switches and links and control the switches / links with the UPB switches and or Omni panel.
 
4 - I should create these in a separate room - like "Garage" or "Pool" I guess?
 
It is optional to create rooms.  My kitchen has multiple ceiling cans with groups connected to UPB switches.  I linked the switches but did not always use the links.
 
You would do the same with software automation.
 
5. How do I program the "link"?
 
Using Upstart
 
Here starting to tinker with WiFi switches that have been converted to Tasmota in house #2.  House #2 does not have an OmniPro panel.
 
In this house have installed some test WiFi switches (4 - fan/light switches).  Tinkering with connections to the OmniPro panel here using ESP based devices.
 
You cannot directly control WiFi switches with the OmniPro panel.  You can control relays connected to ESP devices with MQTT rules for Zones or WiFi lights.
 
I am currently tesing a hard wired PIR that talks MQTT that is indirectly connected to an OmniPro panel zone.
 

pete_c

Guru
I'm trying to use either a Zwave or a UPB relay to switch on a pool light, that is powered from a location that is remote to the switch - no connection between switch and relay/power box. The existing setup uses an old X10 switch and relay - the switch has failed.
 
Guessing that the pool lights are 12VDC powered and the relay / power supply are 120VAC powered.
 
Fastest solution would be to replace the X10 powerline switch / relay with same or UPB.
 
My old neighbors pool / pool pump / heater / 12VDC pool lights PS was some 40 feet from the pool and adjacent to the house as was my FL pool and connected hot tub.  Old neighbor built a pool house next to the pool ...1/2 was the pump and filters and power (100 feet from the house) and the other half of the pool house was for pool guests...shower, changing room and pool toys.  The FL house used RF remote controls for everything which was built around 1999.
 
That said the automation controllers were adjacent to the pool filters / pump or pool house and or pool heater and or low voltage lighting.
 

Choots

Member
pete_c said:
I'm trying to use either a Zwave or a UPB relay to switch on a pool light, that is powered from a location that is remote to the switch - no connection between switch and relay/power box. The existing setup uses an old X10 switch and relay - the switch has failed.
 
Guessing that the pool lights are 12VDC powered and the relay / power supply are 120VAC powered.
 
Fastest solution would be to replace the X10 powerline switch / relay with same or UPB.
 
My old neighbors pool / pool pump / heater / 12VDC pool lights PS was some 40 feet from the pool and adjacent to the house as was my FL pool and connected hot tub.  Old neighbor built a pool house next to the pool ...1/2 was the pump and filters and power (100 feet from the house) and the other half of the pool house was for pool guests...shower, changing room and pool toys.  The FL house used RF remote controls for everything which was built around 1999.
 
That said the automation controllers were adjacent to the pool filters / pump or pool house and or pool heater and or low voltage lighting.
 
Thanks Pete - the pool light (only one) is a 500W 120V Amerilite fixture with an incandescant bulb.  I'm look at converting over to LED, but that's also ridiculously expensive.  In any case, my main concern is to get the light functional again, and then be able to apply some automation later.  The subpanel is on the exterior of the house about 30 feet from the pool and nowhere close to where the switch is located.  It's setup this way because of the way the contractor wired the pool light, hot tub and spa lights, all done for the previous owner, far away from the garage where the door to the pool is. 
 
On your advice, I have acquired another UPB PIM so I can program using Upstart from my PC and leave my Lumina Panel and PIM intact.
 
I'm planning on swapping the X10 powerline relay that is in the subpanel with UPB relay - I have a Simply Automated 15A relay I will try out.  But now I'm trying to figure out what UPB switches would even work for this - again, this switch is remote and not directly driving the load.  It's merely communicating with the relay to trigger it on or off.  So I suppose I could use an HAI/Leviton switch, but I would have to buy one of the regular UPB switches. I have a Simply automated Dimmer Wall Switch with 8 Bar Buttons (SAUS28B40W), and could try that but it seems overkill. 
 
What about an HAI/Leviton Auxiliary switch?  Would that work?  I have a couple spares of those.  Since I don't need to control a load - all I need is to trigger a link to be fired - could that be programmed with Upstart/PC Access?
 
Also, in a note above you mentioned you had put a link to the software which is now free, but I don't see that above - can you clarify or post that again?
 
Thanks,
Choots
 
 
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