I just came across some Feit Smart Dimmers (from Costco) at a very attractive price. Somehow very little information is available as these seem relatively new. Amazon/Alexa detects and controls them, but no bindings in OpenHAB yet. Anyone knows how to get those to work with openHAB?
I’ve been ‘playing’ with these over the past two days, and here is my experience so far:
- They can be used either as single pole (to control lamp from ONE location) or 3-way (to control lamp from multiple location).
- In single pole setting, they work fine
- In 3-way, when combined with a regular switch, they ‘struggle’ i.e., do not work too well
- Dimming goes from Max to a MINIMUM of ~30%, not below. I’ve seen others (made by TP-Link) that have an adjustment dial. These do not. The lowest brightness is not dim enough.
- They do require both a neutral wire and ground wire. I wired mine with neutral only
- I need to try the 3-way installation with 2 such smart switches at both locations, and see what happens.
I went back to get few more today but somehow Costco is totally sold-out. As such, I am not sure they are very popular, or somehow Costco stopped selling them for some ‘dubious’ reason.
I will add more comments based on what else I’ll learn from them, while using them in multiple configurations.
After another day playing with these switches, here is my ‘final’ verdict.
- They do work, but have to use some non-conventional wiring (one traveler always hot)
- Lowest dim level is not low enough … though I rarely dim my lights.
I approached these with my ‘conventional’ wiring know-how for lights with switches from multiple locations … I was wrong. The smart switches can be used in 3 configurations:
- Single pole, for controlling one single light
- 3-way (2 locations), with 1 smart Feit switch + 1 regular (single pole) switch - can adjust dimming from one location only
- 2 locations with 2 smart Feit switches (can adjust dimming from both locations)
My preferred is #4, there, the wiring is ‘non-conventional’ as one of the runners (wires between switches) is always hot. In a sense, the 2 runners are not used in a conventional way.
It was a head-scratching 2 days … but I learned 2 things:
- runners can be used in ‘novel’ ways (at least to me)
- always read and understand the schematics BEFORE anything else
My final verdict: These are phenomenal switches, WIFI+3-Way+Dimmer and barely $12.50 each … if only Costco still has them. The only place that sells them is Menards … and I’m heading there to get 2 more.
The next challenge is to get these to work with OpenHAB … any volunteers?
One more update. I have 4 lights in my home that are controlled from 3 locations each. For such setting, one needs two dimmers, one to replace each of the 2 three-switches. These switches cannot replace a 4-way switch. So, in conclusion:
- For lights controlled from 1 location, need only 1 smart switch
- For lights controlled from 2 locations, need either 1 or 2 smart switches
- For lights controlled from 3+ locations, need 2 smart switches.
Of course, all such options need a neutral wire (typically tucked in the back of your gang box).
Also, the limitation with the lowest possible dimming depends on the light bulb being used:
- For dimmable LEDs, the lowest setting is about 30% of max
- For incandescent bulbs, lowest setting is almost 0%
Have you got these to work from 3+ locations? I tried using one dimmer on the incoming AC-Line side with no luck.
I plan to try this on a mock-up setup, where the wires are clearly labeled, and not going through walls. I’ll update once I have findings.
Costco is once again fully stocked with these. I just grabbed 4x 2-packs yesterday. They sell for $29.99 for a 2-pack.
I tried a couple of iterations (single dimmer vs 2 dimmers) and was not able to get it to work when having 3+ locations. I mis-spoke in my earlier post when I wrote that these work. They do not. For 2 locations only, they do work. For 3+, they do not. Sorry … my understanding has ‘evolved’ since I wrote that earlier post.
Also, rather than dealing with ‘uncertain’ wires behind walls. I got a 3-gang box from Menards, connected three switches in the following configurations
- Dimmer (Mains Side) + 4-Way + Dimmer (Load Side)
- Single Pole (Mains Side) + 4-Way + Dimmer (Load Side)
And attached a lamp at the end of the switches’ contraption … My findings: 1 and 2 worked only for one position of the 4-Way switch. Once I flipped the 4-Way switch, the circuit did not behave as expected (sometimes lights flickering, sometimes not responsive at all).
If you’re after 3+ locations, then the ‘only’ choice I’m aware of is the Lutron Caseta, which requires 2 smart switches at both ends, and as many ‘remote’ switches as needed. Those however tend to be rather pricey.
I tried for 3+ and they kind off work. If I turn on from the smart switch then it turns on and off, from any other switch it turns on but doesn’t turn off unless I turn off from the smart switch.
I also have the same problem with 2 switch (1 smart and 1 regular) how does one wire it to make it work.
Any reference would be great
As you mentioned in one of the post, how does one use the two runners?
Actually I found the answer. As you mentioned in your previous post, the key is to read the instructions carefully.
The key is that you must open the other plug and change the 3 way connection on the regular or dummy switch and join the live with T1.
It took me some time to realize this.
Anyone got them integrated with Openhab?
Correct, it seems the dimmer (near the Load) measures the difference in voltages between the two travelers, and that is how it decides the status of the first switch (near Mains). Too bad such logic somehow does not work with 3+ installations.
If my suspicion (above) is how the switch actually works, then it should be fairly ‘easy’ for Feit to upgrade the dimmer to work in a ‘dynamic’ mode. When you toggle a 4-way switch (in a 3+ installation), the difference in voltage between the two travelers gets flipped ‘instantly’. By monitoring such difference dynamically (i.e, change occurs over a fraction of a second) it should be, in principle, feasible to make the switch work in 3+ installations … all that is needed is a ‘smarter’ firmware update … this could be a patentable idea … Thoughts ?
Not yet … not fully up to speed with OpenHAB yet. They do work with both Amazon and Google devices though.
How about flashing the bulbs with Tasmota FW and connect them to an MQTT broker?
There is a project in Github that allows to flash Tasmota into Tuya devices. The project is tuya-convert and the link is https://github.com/ct-Open-Source/tuya-convert and some Feit devices are compatible (check the project’s wiki).
One thing to consider is that you need openssl 1.1.1 or later.
Not sure … the bulbs are all ordinary (not smart) dimmable LEDs. The switches however are smart. Can you elaborate a bit more on how/if one can flash the switches with a different firmware ?
If one is really ambitious, how about re-writing the internal logic of the switches to ‘augment’ their usability.
Sorry for mentioning “flashing the bulbs”, I meant the switches.
One way to integrate those switches with OH is by using a custom firmware that supports MQTT and a local MQTT broker connected to OH.
My concern with stock firmware is privacy and network security. It has been documented that “smart devices” have security issues on one side and on another I don’t want the provider to snoop into my activity (when the lights go on and off or when I at home or leave).
I’ve been using OH for several years now and everything is constraint within my local network. No cloud services are accessed by the “smart devices”.
That is why I re-flashed them with custom firmware. All my devices are based on the ESP8266 chip and I build the firmware from source and in this way I know what’s inside in each of them.
To have access to my OH instance from the Internet I use a VPN, having a secure connection.
Thank You. Looks like I need to experiment with (i.e. sacrifice) one smart switch only and see how well this works.
Now, to make sure I got this right:
- Once the smart switch is flashed with such 3rd party firmware, it will no longer work with the Feit/Original App.
- The only way then to switch lights remotely (away from home), is to do a VPN and connect to my OpenHAB.
Are the above statements correct?
Answering your statements:
- Correct. Once flashed you will not be able to use the original Feit App
- A VPN is not necessarily the only way to access the switches remotely. Let me explain below.
Another way to access your OH remotely is by using the openHAB Cloud Connector (https://www.openhab.org/addons/integrations/openhabcloud/)
Setting up a VPN is not a trivial exercise. It involves:
- You need a way to locate it. Using a (free) dynamic DNS service is required (deSEC is one of them).
- You need to install and setup a VPN server inside your network.
- Once your network is reachable by name you need to set firewall rules in the router to allow access to the VPN server (I assume you have a router to isolate your local net from the Internet).
A WORD OF CAUTION:
Flashing and configuring Feit dimmer switches is not a trivial task. Once flashed the configuration procedure involves identifying the communication between the micro-controllers which can be tedious and error prone.