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Author Topic: Remodel problems  (Read 14816 times)

Hoonose

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Remodel problems
« on: November 28, 2007, 04:39:53 PM »

We just did a whole house remodel and the electrician proved to be worthless!

I need to figure out how to 3 way switch several rooms, keeping the dimmers. Wirelessly, using those decora type ivory colored switches.
I need to figure out how to get back some of my wall plug control, as he left out some wiring in 2 rooms. Again wirelessly using the ivory decora switches. These would not have to be dimmable.
Lastly I have one room with 5 ceiling cans, all on one dimmer. I need those 3 wayed, and would like to separate them out 2 and 3 cans on separate switches.

Any help would be appreciated as I am not yet even a novice at this!
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Boiler

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Re: Remodel problems
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2007, 09:48:29 PM »

We just did a whole house remodel and the electrician proved to be worthless!

1)I need to figure out how to 3 way switch several rooms, keeping the dimmers. Wirelessly, using those decora type ivory colored switches.
2)I need to figure out how to get back some of my wall plug control, as he left out some wiring in 2 rooms. Again wirelessly using the ivory decora switches. These would not have to be dimmable.
3)Lastly I have one room with 5 ceiling cans, all on one dimmer. I need those 3 wayed, and would like to separate them out 2 and 3 cans on separate switches.

Any help would be appreciated as I am not yet even a novice at this!

Hoonose,

First, welcome to the forum.

I'm struggling a bit with your use of the term "wireless".  If you are looking for a battery operated decora style wireless transmitter - I don't know of any devices.

However, items 1 and 2 could be handled if you have a "desired switch location" with access to power.  This switch location would become a transmitter (Virtual 3-way) and would not be physically connected to the circuit that it controlled. 

Item number 3 will depend on the physical wiring on your can lights. 

Let us know whether your "3-way" location has access to power and we'll go from there.

Boiler



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Hoonose

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Re: Remodel problems
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2007, 09:22:04 AM »

Thanks for the quick response.
I guess you're telling me the 3 way switch can't just be placed anywhere.
I could place the 3 way switches in spots next to other active switches, so could I grab power there?
The 5 can lights seem to be wired essentially all as one light.
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Boiler

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Re: Remodel problems
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2007, 12:18:23 PM »

I guess you're telling me the 3 way switch can't just be placed anywhere.

Correct, Your "trasmitters" can be placed anywhere they have access to the power line (even on the other side of your house).

I could place the 3 way switches in spots next to other active switches, so could I grab power there?

Yes, you could pull the old outlet box and stuff in a larger unit.  This can be rather messy with new drywall.  Other options include:
  • Replacing one of the existing switches with a controller.  Smarthome makes a Keypadlinc that could control the existing light circuit and communicate with up to 7 other devices (other "virtual 3-way" cicruits).  This device is a Keypad however, not a decora units.
  • If you have a duplex outlet in a convienient location, you could install a switch above it using a "remodel box".  This isn't all that bad an install on an inside wall (no insulation).

The 5 can lights seem to be wired essentially all as one light.

Here's where we'll need to get into how the lights are physically wired.  If the switch input comes in a one end of the light chain and is "strung" to the other, there's not much you'll be able to do (for a reasonable expense).  If the switch input enters at the "middle" of your light chain, we have a fighting chance (second figure below).



Let us know your preferences (keypad controller, expanded box, new box) and your can light wiring configuration and we'll start getting into specifics.

Boiler
« Last Edit: October 25, 2009, 05:29:56 PM by Boiler »
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Hoonose

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Re: Remodel problems
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2007, 08:41:10 PM »

I can place the 3 way switches either beside or in combination (expand the box in some cases) with other existing wall switches, and I guess use their power. The 3 ways must be dimmable, maybe from both sides if that's possible.
I also have places for some wall switches to run some outlets, if that can be done.
I want to stick with almond decora style switches and outlets if possible.
I don't know how the cans are wired, but can't imagine it would be anything but the simplest in-line wiring based on other electrical screw-ups. Like your first can light diagram. But separating them out by the 2 and 3 seems less important compared to 3 waying them.
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Boiler

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Re: Remodel problems
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2007, 03:13:45 PM »

I can place the 3 way switches either beside or in combination (expand the box in some cases) with other existing wall switches, and I guess use their power. The 3 ways must be dimmable, maybe from both sides if that's possible.
I also have places for some wall switches to run some outlets, if that can be done.
I want to stick with almond decora style switches and outlets if possible.
I don't know how the cans are wired, but can't imagine it would be anything but the simplest in-line wiring based on other electrical screw-ups. Like your first can light diagram. But separating them out by the 2 and 3 seems less important compared to 3 waying them.


Your last post specified "almond".  My current home has almond as well and that rules out X10 brand hardware (only available in white and ivory).

The following components are Insteon devices from Smarthome.  Insteon communication is relatively new, more robust method of networking switches.  They are also backward compatible to X10.  These are not inexpensive components. 

Remote controlled outlets - replace your existing outlet with a 2473 (new device-available 12/17) and control it with a 2476 relay switch.  The switch will not need to be physically connected to the outlet, it "transmits" ON/OFF commands across your wiring with X10 or Insteon communcation.

                  2473 Outletlinc Link                                                    2476 Link                           

3-Way Lighting (dimmable) - replace one of your existing dimmers with a 2476 Dimmer (direct connected to the load).  Add a second 2476 dimmer (transmitter) in another location to create a "virtual 3 way" circuit.  Both locations will have dimming control of your lights.


            2476 Link       

3 Way dimmable with a controller: This is actually an easier install than the above.  Replace one of your existing dimmers with the 2476 (as you did above).  Replace a second dimmer with the 2486 (it can dim a connected load).  Use the secondary buttons (smaller buttons) to control other "virtual 3way circuits (outlet, dimmable lamps etc).  Not decora, but it combines multiple functions, it's easier to install (don't have to "enlarge" switch boxes), and it may well be cheaper than multiple decora dimmers.

                                       2476 Link                                               2486 Link                   

Signal Linking: You may want to figure in a pair of SignalLincs as well.  Your house is (likely) supplied with two phases of 120V power.  Roughly half of your home will be on one phase and half on the other.  Both Insteon and X10 communication have trouble "crossing" from one phase to the other (devices on the same phase communicate but can't reach the other phase).  Insteon uses a RF link between the SignalLincs to establish communication across these phases.  Note - you may not need these if all of your devices are on the same phase.  Also, if you are planning on using the X10 compatibility mode (I have done this) the signal coupling equipment will be different.

2443 Link

Given your requirements (almond, decora) I believe this is the most cost effective solution.  Leviton does make a X10 line of switches that would also work (I have both Leviton and X10).  Problem is, the Leviton X10 decora transmitters are quite expensive and they are more prone to signal problems ( X10 noise susceptibility).

Have a look, generate a shopping list ($$) and get back with any questions.

Boiler
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Hoonose

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Re: Remodel problems
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2007, 03:41:56 PM »

I will only be controlling a light or outlet in a room from a new switch installed right in or very near that same room. I won't be controlling a light from the other side of the house. And by the way, due to remodels over the last 25 years, we now have 3 electrical panels in the house.
Do I still need the phase link connecting items?

How does each new switch know which light or outlet to control? Is there some internal setting or code, or do they just come as a pre-programmed set?
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Boiler

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Re: Remodel problems
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2007, 04:38:44 PM »

I will only be controlling a light or outlet in a room from a new switch installed right in or very near that same room. I won't be controlling a light from the other side of the house. And by the way, due to remodels over the last 25 years, we now have 3 electrical panels in the house.
Do I still need the phase link connecting items?

That depends entirely on how your wiring was implemented.  I have switch boxes that have side by side switches on opposite phases. 

Here's a link that may help : http://www.x10community.com/forums/index.php?topic=13964.msg77555#msg77555.  The problem being addressed was an X10 problem, but the method for determining the phases is the same.

How does each new switch know which light or outlet to control? Is there some internal setting or code, or do they just come as a pre-programmed set?

Insteon uses a "linking" method to program the switches to communicate with one another.  For a 3-way circuit you'll need to cross link.

  • Press switch 1 for 10 seconds to place it in linking mode.  Press switch 2 for 10 seconds to complete link
  • Cross link (reverse order) - Press switch 2 for 10 seconds to place it in linking mode.  Press switch 1 for 10 seconds to complete the cross link

It's actually easier to link the switches in Insteon mode than in X10 mode.  For X10 mode you would need a separate controller (mini controller, etc) to send the address to the switch.

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Hoonose

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Re: Remodel problems
« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2007, 04:40:52 PM »

Thanks for the help.
The wall outlets link using a similar method?
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Boiler

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Re: Remodel problems
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2007, 04:57:24 PM »

Good question (I had to look at the manual).  The answer is yes.  There is a "link" button on the front of the outlet.
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Hoonose

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Re: Remodel problems
« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2007, 05:14:49 PM »

Thanks!
Now to look for the best prices on 4 sets of 3 way dimmers, 2 sets of switches with wall outlets, and probably 2 (?) phase linkers?
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Boiler

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Re: Remodel problems
« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2007, 07:56:28 PM »

Thanks!
Now to look for the best prices on 4 sets of 3 way dimmers, 2 sets of switches with wall outlets, and probably 2 (?) phase linkers?

That's a lot of hardware! I had no idea your "remodel" was that extensive.

Are you sure it wouldn't be easier to have your electrician "make things right".
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Hoonose

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Re: Remodel problems
« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2007, 12:47:49 PM »

This is only a very small part of all the electrical mistakes! Some were in fact dangerous.
But I won't bore you with my list of literally dozens of electrical screw-ups!
Never again....
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steven r

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Re: Remodel problems
« Reply #13 on: December 01, 2007, 02:22:42 PM »

This is only a very small part of all the electrical mistakes! Some were in fact dangerous....
I hope you reported the electrician to the BBB! Please save others from the same fate.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2007, 02:28:13 PM by steven r »
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Hoonose

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Re: Remodel problems
« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2007, 02:48:28 PM »

The State Registrar's office was officially notified last week. Inspection scheduled for 12/6. My new electrician will meet with them to show them the disaster.
Something's not right (of course). But the electrician has been around for over 20 years here, has no complaints on record, and cannot be reached by anyone for months now!
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