New to Vera and need help with lights + more

I just got bought a Vera 3 kit with a few hard wire outlets, plug in outlets, screw in bulb controllers, door locks, and thermostat. I have most of everything installed and working well but am finding little use for the hard wire outlets, screw in bulbs, and plug in outlets. The main thing I would like to start with is controlling my lighting in my house. With the screw in bulbs the light switch has to be left on, and they are massive. I saw a few dimmer switches but they are pretty expensive, plus I just bought the house last week and it has CF lights in every single room. Also there are multiple switches for each light in every room.
I would like to start with the living room. On one wall it has an on off switch for the light and a round knob with 3 or 4 potions for the fan speed. on another wall it has an on off switch to control the same light. What would be the cheapest way to configure this? What site or store could I get them from? Also I keep seeing stuff about IR blasters but cant find one for sale anywhere. I have a theater room and a few new directv boxes I would like to control.

Thanks in advance for all your help!

I use the Leviton Vizia RF Switches for lights and fans.
Their Light Dimmer works well for my incandescent and LED lights.

NOTE: CFL will NOT work … even the dimmable ones! They might if you play games … there are threads on this. If you have these … and want to turn these on/off you will need the right kind of switch.

They have a 3 speed Fan control as well that I use.
They have the ability to add remote switches to all of their Z-Wave switches … assumes you have the right wiring … The remote switches are cheap … around $10.00 each … and are available to compliment the Z-Wave On/Off, Dimmable Light, and Multi-Speed fan controllers. I think you can have 4 remote switches for each Z-Wave master switch. The remotes are either On/Off or Dimmable to correspond to the master switch.

I am not seeing any 10 dollar switches. They are all like 50 or 60 bucks. I dont need scene controllers or anything like that, I can do that all on the software side (i plan to control my home with smartphones and tablets). Basically I am just looking to change my current setup over to switches that become z wave nodes. They dont have to be fancy or anything, just on off. Ideally it would be nice if they made modules that could go behind my current switches or fixtures and just make them controllable from my tablet.

Is this ( what I am looking for? Does anyone make this any cheaper?

Leviton Vizia switches (“[tt]VR*[/tt]”) won’t be cheap, but they’re reliable. What @RichardTSchaefer is referring to above relates to the use of Leviton switches in 3-way configuration…

In this situation, the matching “Remote” switch (“[tt]VP*[/tt]”) , the one that isn’t controlling the load, is fairly cheap. In n-way configuration, you have one load-controlling Z-Wave device (like a VRI06 Dimmer) and one or more hardwired Matching Remote switches (like a VP00R)… like at the ends of a hallway.

The link you posted is for GE, and has a matching pair of a Load Controlling and a Remote end.

There are functional differences between the various brands, tables like this one might help you:

If you want cheaper switches go with the Insteon devices and use the Insteon gateway.
But the Z-Wave devices are the primary focus for the Vera controller.

There are in-line Z-Wave and Insteon modules … I think these are just relays and not dimmers. They are not much (if any) cheaper … and they are not small and will not likely fit behind existing switches unless you have really big wiring boxes. They REQUIRE access to the neutral (white) wire … witch is not always available in normal house wiring. Actually so do some of the Z-Wave devices.

I would recommend that you open up the switches that you have (power off first!) and see how your house is wired. This can impact which types of devices you can use … and if cheap repeaters are available for use … or if you have to use expensive scene controllers to get your 3-way lights to work.

I think you will be sorry if you did all the work to change out switches and did not get dimmable capability at the same time, at least for your primary living areas …

There are a few places I do not have dimmable lights … like bathrooms, and vanity lights, and under cabinet lighting, and my shop … dimmable every where else.

Actually the ceiling lights in the master bath are dimmable …

What about these guys for my regular switches - and these kits for my 3 pole switches - the first one say they work with some CFL lights but I am ready to swap them to incandescent if they do not. Thats really not a big deal I guess. From my initial count I have 4 sets of 3 pole switches and 17 regular switches. That would pretty much get the whole house done minus a bath room or 2. These 2 products look good and are fairly inexpensive but are they decent products? I know a little about wiring, a lot about computers, but very little about z-wave. I will be taking some covers off today to see what I got as advised. Thanks for the help by the way, the chart really helped. The main reason why I asked about these products because that is the site I got all my other stuff from and it seemed like they had good prices. I think the main thing that threw me for a loop is you can by the plug in and screw in modules for 25 bux but the hard wire stuff starts at 50-100. The red neck in me was just tempted to make pig tail cords and plug some stuff into a plug in lol.

The link I added above shows some of the tradeoffs you make by using the different models of switches. Some of these tradeoffs are more important to people than others.

For example, the Leviton switches I use have a “paddle” that toggles on-off, instead of a more conventional switch access. Some people really don’t like that (you get used to it)

In the case of the GE’s, they must be polled for Vera to “see” the change in state (On/Off), which results in delays, and they cannot [directly] participate in Z-Wave Scenes (they can, but only when told by Vera to do something).

Depending upon your use, this may or may not be important to you… To me, “instant” status reports, and independence of the controller (Vera) were important to me, so I went with Leviton.

If these aren’t important to you, then the cheaper switches may be an option. Many people have the GE’s here (there was a big sale a while back)

Also consider getting gear that supports status updates when you change the device state locally, i.e. when you turn on/off the light with the switch. E.g. Leviton. This is an expensive, licensed feature, so you won’t find it in many devices, like e.g. Evolve.

Doesn’t mean that you won’t get status updates from those other brands, because there is a workaround in Vera; but I doubt it works in all cases.

Edit: this is the same remark as @guessed just posted, with some additional info.

Ok, that makes sense now… I am not trying to be cheap per se, I am really trying to get the best value for the functionality I require. I plan to wire the entire house, so guest baths, closets, everything. The main thing I am going to want to know is what is on and what is off. So I can turn a off the bedroom light I left on, or turn on my daughters bedroom light from down stairs. Maybe set up times and that kind of stuff. Would it hurt to buy a few of each and try them out in different rooms? Or am I gonna want to use all the same kind once I get going?

Also, Where are you guys buying from? Do any retail stores carry any of this?

You can mix and match any z-wave device. There is no need to brand match. I prefer Leviton, great quality and reliable switches. I am glad I paid a little more for them. Where are you located? In the US? I buy all over, but I also like to deal with ASIHome which is located in PA. Great customer service and the prices are reasonable.

  • Garrett

I am in Katy Texas, a suburb of Houston. I was wondering if a lowes or homedepot or anything carry them. I didnt see any at my local lowes and nothing came up on their site but wasnt sure if any other retailers carried them.

Radio Shake use to carry GE z-wave devices but got rid of their stock at huge discounts. You will not find many if any retailers carrying z-wave. I believe some lowes do, but I have never seen any.

  • Garrett

I live in Austin … I found my Schlage locks at Lowes. The Schlage locks came with some plug-in wall modules … I use those too … Fry’s has Z-Wave stuff … but I never really compared their price … I did all the rest of my shopping on-line. I have Leviton for the majority of my house. But need 24 switchable plugs for lighting in the shop … I found a great deal on the web … I think they were like $20.00 a piece in bulk. Everything works together.


You mind sharing the link where you bought your switches in bulk or pointing me in the direction of the site? I dont mind buying online, I just was wondering if any local stores carried it because its nice to be able to grab them of the shelf and put them in one day after work or something. I will defiantly check out frys, I am in there all the time for PC stuff.

[quote=“garrettwp, post:11, topic:170799”]You can mix and match any z-wave device. There is no need to brand match. I prefer Leviton, great quality and reliable switches. I am glad I paid a little more for them.

  • Garrett[/quote]

You can mix brands but you probably won’t want to. I suggest you buy a Leviton switch and a GE switch from someplace like where you can return things. Try them both before you buy a large quantity, and return the one you don’t like. I am a big Leviton fan when it comes to electrical devices (all my non-Z-wave switches and receptacles are Leviton) but I did not like the Leviton Z-wave switches. As Garrett pointed out they have a single paddle that you toggle to turn the lights on/off, not a separate on and off paddle like standard switches. I could not get used to that. I also found that the paddle on the Leviton stuck out so far that I couldn’t see the LED under the paddle when standing anywhere near the switch. Made it hard to find in the dark. But like all Leviton products the quality is great.

I got the GE switches because they have a normal up/down rocker paddle, were a lot cheaper, and my wife likes the blue LED (hey, it made it easier to get her to agree to change all the switches to Z-wave :-[).

Just my $0.02.

Automated outlet now has a store in Houston. I buy from them in N.Dallas and they seem to have ok prices and lots of inventory.