Help understanding lighting...

Hi all, I have read every post in this forum but still have some questions…

I am trying to purchase lights for my 1920 bungalow… I have minimal wattage/amperage requirements, no leds (though I may for my exterior lights) and a very small amount of square footage.

After lots of reading, I still can’t understand why the “instant update” feature present on Cooper and Leviton dimmers isn’t absolutely critical…

In addition, it seems both leviton and cooper have like 6 different Dimmers and I can’t for the life of me figure out which I should get!

1000w, 600w, low voltage, etc… Can someone shed some light? I have mostly edison bulbs and other incandescent/halogen bulbs throughout the house as I prefer the color to CFL and LED.

I cannot imagine that I have even one circuit with more than 3 bulbs attached, meaning even if they were 100 watt (they’re not), I’d only need 300w right? So the 600W switches should be plenty?

It seems everyone is worried about beaming encrypted signals, but maybe someone can clue me in as to why people are equally concerned with instant updates? I would love to purchase the evolve or ge switches but it seems the extra 30/switch is worth it to know my lighting statuses are correct…

Can someone point me in the direction they would go for light switches if they were to redesign their system from scratch?

Thanks in advance!

So confused!


I too did quite a bit of reading before I got started with home automation. I started with a Trane TZ400AB thermostat and a vera 2. That worked fine. I then choose Insteon light switches and they work well and I’m very satisfied with them. They require a neutral connection in every light switch. Newer homes have a neutral in every switch location. If your house was built in the 1920’s you would want to start looking into your existing electrical box for a possible upgrade.

I think you’ve answered your own question about the switch wattage. Sounds like a 600W switch will work for you. Just watch out for the de-rating factor when you have multiple dimmers in one switch box.

I don’t think you’ll find a consensus about the “instant” feature being critical. If you need Vera to take some immediate action based on a switch change in state, then you want “instant”. Otherwise, Vera will poll the switch and find out its state within a few minutes. Like anything that is purchased, you need to figure out the value of different features to determine what you’re willing to pay. Leviton is the Cadillac and Cooper is the Ferrari of Z-wave switches…when it comes to pricing. You may or may not find the Taurus or Accord brands to be satisfactory. If money is no object, buy the expensive brands.

A possible alternative to “instant” status is a scene controller. The way they’re normally configured, they don’t turn on the lights directly, but transmit to Vera which makes the lighting change, so Vera is immediately aware (for scene activation).

Well… it appears I don’t have neutral wires so i guess the GE is the only switch that does not have a neutral but that will still beam encrypted signals… 45612 it is!

How large is your home? You mention a small amount of square footage. If Vera wouldn’t be too far from the locks, beaming encrypted signals isn’t so important, since Vera can reach them directly.

You can use Leviton dimmer (VRI06 and VRI10) which don’t need a neutral, and these do support instant status updates.

Unfortunately, the Levitons are more expensive, and have a different “feel” than the GEs.

Actually Cooper ( and Leviton) have switches that do not require neutral. Limitation is that you can only use incadescent loads since small amount of current needs to pass thru the load even when the light is OFF to power Z-wave electronics/relay inside the switch.

Nice comparison chart exists in HomeSeer web site…

Instant status is a big deal to me but if you don’t care about any actions based on switch being controlled locally and are OK with delayed polling that might work for you (I am trusting vera does this - I don’t have one so I don’t know but someone on the thread implied this).

Do notice that in 3/4 way settings you might need to sync up all switches thru actions in your controller (I learned that the hard way and I use Cooper … master/accessory switch LED do not sync up unless I build events in my controller that trigger on switch turning on/off). In that case instant status is really nice (but again not must since you can just wait and do it after the polling discovered change).

Amazon has the leviton VRI06 dimmers right now for $48 which is a great price and do not need a neutral.

[quote=“SteveZ, post:7, topic:172135”]Amazon has the leviton VRI06 dimmers right now for $48 which is a great price and do not need a neutral.[/quote]And an additional 20% off of that! Makes for a good deal. Just $38.54.

is vera 3 compatible this VRI06 ???

[quote=“Piwtorak, post:9, topic:172135”]

is vera 3 compatible this VRI06 ???[/quote]Yes,. they are compatible.

  • There is a bug report when programming Leviton scene/zone controllers when the dimmer is set to 100%, but you can easily set it to 99% and get all the functionality.

Alternatively, see also this post.

Actually, for the workaround @PurdueGuy is suggesting, I’d recommend using 98%, not 99%, to prevent issues around scene active indication.