zdw120 dead?

Hey Everyone,

I have had my vera setup for little over a year now and for the most part, basic set-up with a couple locks, handful of dimmers, and a camera.

Question is, I have a ZDW120 dimmer installed in my living room and the other night it stopped responding. I have had this installed since day 1 and operated perfect. Even better, went to go operate it manually and the light wouldn’t respond. Checked the light to see if it would power in another outlet and worked fine.

Does having this dimmer power a switched outlet have any effects that I should be aware of? The light is the only thing plugged into it, and like I said it has been working fine for a while. I tried switching out with another ZDW120 and that didn’t work either. Placed the “dead” living room dimmer from the living room in another location and it worked fine so its not “dead”.

I double checked all the connections and they are tight and show power when tested. Also ran a simple single pole switch and the light functioned fine.

I am running out of options and this is why I am posting.

Thanks for any insight somebody might have.


So, just to distill for troubleshooting purposes, you have tried the following:

  1. Light in another socket - Worked
  2. Dimmer Switch on another known good light - Worked
  3. Another known good Dimmer Switch on the bad outlet - Didn’t work
  4. Traditional Single Pole switch on the bad outlet- Worked

Is that correct?

All correct.

What I haven’t checked was the wiring at the outlet itself where the light plugs in. Something may have gotten loose there and somehow not powering the dimmer. But a single pole switch works just fine.

Appreciate the help.


Well, that rules out just about everything besides:

  1. The Wiring
  2. The Outlet

Since it’s pretty unlikely that your wiring went bad, I would think it’s somehow the Outlet. It’s a pretty strange problem. It looks like the ZDW120 is a 2-wire with no neutral required just like the GE Dimmers I use. They work by sending a small current across the fixture at all times to provide power to the radio of the dimmer switch. I could imagine this being problematic because if there isn’t anything plugged into the outlet, it would cause the dimmer to lose power. Only thing I can think of is that for some reason the outlet is messed up and is not allowing that small voltage to access the neutral. Perhaps there was a short that caused the resistance to go up just ever so slightly and is blocking that current.

I would recommend switching out that outlet and see if that helps. If you are in a home that has neutral wires at the wall switch, I would recommend getting a dimmer that has a neutral wire at the switch. That way the dimmer radio and circuitry can get power at all times directly at the switch instead of having to run through the outlet. If you do not have neutral at the switch, you could always buy a plug in lamp module and just wire that switch to always be on. If you still want wall control, throw a blanking plate over it and put a wall mounted controller in the switches place.

Thanks for the reply. I do have a neutral… what switch would you recommend? It is just weird that it worked fine for so long. So in the case that the switch is not getting that power means it wouldn’t even work manually? I have an order in for new dimmers.

You could try the zdw103 which is the 3-way dimmer. It uses a Neutral at the switch. I’m not 100% sure it will work without it’s companion switches, but I think it should. You should just be able to cap off it’s traveller wire. Perhaps someone else can weight in on that.

If the dimmer doesn’t have access to Neutral then it can’t get power for it’s electronics to operate which would disable the whole dimmer. To operate it manually at the switch would still require it’s built in electronics to have access to power.

So after a full inspection of the wiring everything seemed right. Like I said it was working with a single pole switch. So after taking the advice of a member and see why it wasn’t getting that trickle power, so I took a look at the light that was plugged in… sure enough, my wife switched the bulb to a cfl and this was causing all the problems of the switch night getting power… oh well… lesson learned.

Thanks for all the help.