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wiringman
Starting Member

3 Posts

Posted - 03/13/2018 :  11:05:39 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I've had a couple of ideas for a while that I'd really like some opinions on. I don't see many 3-way Wi-Fi switches, and the 1 or 2 that I've found need every switch in the circuit to be replaced. I have a way to make a Wi-Fi-enabled 3-way and 4-way wall switch that only requires one switch in the circuit to be replaced; the remaining 3-way and 4-way switches can stay in the circuit.

So the question is: Is there a need for such a product?

It's cheaper with an easier installation - only 1 switch.

The second idea is related, a switch module that replaces all switches in the gang box with a single unit e.g., 1, 2, 3 or 4 Wi-Fi switches are on each the unit (and the unit's switches can act as standard on/off, 3-way or 4-way switches). Since only 1 switch in a circuit has to be replaced, you can replace one gang box of switches, making all of those circuits Wi-Fi enabled, without worrying about the other switches in the same circuit in other gang boxes (and the switch can also act as a standard on/off switch for single switch circuits).

This switch would have 1 Wi-Fi module for up to 4 switches (the 4-switch unit), making it cheaper and certainly easier to install.

Any thoughts, good and bad, for either idea are appreciated.

Tfitzpatri8
Administrator

USA
10575 Posts

Posted - 03/13/2018 :  12:29:57 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
For me, the biggest trouble with using WiFi for switches is scalability. Itís easy to end up with sixty or eighty or more smart controls in a home, in addition to all the computers, tablets, phones, streaming tvs, music devices, smart appliances, etc. competing for a WiFi signal. The situation can be even worse in multi-family housing. The typical home router isnít up to the task of managing so many WiFi devices.

Another issue with trying to use a single smart device in a multi-way circuit is that the mechanical controls arenít up to the task. Traditional 3- and 4-way switches are binary devices, they can only connect or disconnect a circuit, they donít have any way to signal that youíd like to brighten or dim the load the way modern electronic controls can.

Volunteer Moderator & Home Automation Enthusiast
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oberkc
Advanced Member

USA
3692 Posts

Posted - 03/13/2018 :  2:37:34 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
For me, the question is automation. Does your switch have any logic built in? Is is compatible with any hubs? Does it have open and published commands for control?

If your purpose is simply to have a switch which can be manually controlled by a smartphone or tablet, I lose interest (perhaps others would value this). Would it be apple homekit or google home compatible?

It boils down to what one can to with the wifi capability.
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dave w
Junior Member

USA
51 Posts

Posted - 03/27/2018 :  1:37:47 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by wiringman

So the question is: Is there a need for such a product?



Yes. I think there is. In either of these switch ideas, if the other three way or four way switches remain in the circuits, what happens if they are switched?

This aftershave makes me look fat.

Edited by - dave w on 03/27/2018 1:38:57 PM
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wiringman
Starting Member

3 Posts

Posted - 03/28/2018 :  2:09:31 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by dave w

quote:
Originally posted by wiringman

So the question is: Is there a need for such a product?



Yes. I think there is. In either of these switch ideas, if the other three way or four way switches remain in the circuits, what happens if they are switched?



Any switch in the circuit can toggle the light fixture (or socket) on if it's off, or off if it's on, so any of the 3-way or 4-way switches would work as would be expected. The Wi-Fi switch would also toggle the light fixture when engaged from the wall or from the Smartphone.
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