Planning for your Z-Wave light switches
“I’m automating 5 lights, I currently have some 2-3 gangs switches. How many Z-Wave Wall switches do I need to purchase?”
I realised I’ve been answering this kind question a lot in email and I think I should provide a guide here.To answer this question, let us first understand what are available in the market.
For Z-Wave, the maximum number of gangs supported by a device is 2. And this device is Fibaro 2 x 1.5KW relay switch. This switch doesn’t come with a switch cover. Which means you will need to retrofit this relay switch behind a normal 2 gang light switch. I don’t have a video on how to install it but this video showing you how to install a dimmer module should give you some idea. Just imagine you are installing the relay switch behind a 2 gang switch.
There is another switch which many has mistakenly thought that it can be used to replace a 2 gang switch. The TKB Dual Paddle Wall Switch.
In fact you can only control one light (or load) to this switch and turn on/off using the left paddle. So the question is, what about the right paddle? It is actually a remote control paddle. This means that if you have another light in the house that is already connected to a Z-Wave switch, you can use the right paddle to remote control that light as well.
With the above understanding, let us take a look at the following common scenarios and the common options. I’m assuming you already have neutral wires laid to the switches and I’m trying not to have different switch covers presented to the users.
Replacing 2 Gang Switch
Option 1 : Use a Fibaro 2 x 1.5KW relay behind the 2 Gang Switch in the pattress box
Option 2 : Split the 2 Gang Switch into 2 pattress boxes. Use a TKB Single Paddle Wall Switch in each pattress box
Replacing 3 Gang Switch
Option 1 : Split the 3 Gang Switch into 2 pattress boxes. Use a Fibaro 2 x 1.5KW relay with a 2 Gang Switch in one pattress box and a Fibaro 1 x 3KW relay and a 1 Gang Switch in the other pattress box
Option 2 : Split the 3 Gang Switch into 3 pattress boxes. Use a TKB Single Paddle Wall Switch in each pattress box
Replacing 4 Gang Switch
Option 1 : Split the 4 Gang Switch into 3 pattress boxes. Use a Fibaro 2 x 1.5KW relay with a blank switch cover in first pattress box. Use a TKB Dual Paddle Switch for the second and third pattress box. In this way, the right button of each of the Dual Paddle Switch can remote control the Fibaro 2 x 1.5KW relay
Option 2 : Split the 5 Gang Switch into 5 pattress boxes. Use a TKB Single Paddle Wall Switch in each pattress box
Replacing 5 Gang Switch
I hate this configuration! Ok by now I think you’ve got the idea. The solution to a 5 Gang Switch will be a mixture of the solution to replace a 2 Gang Switch and a 3 Gang Switch.
Unfortunately for Z-Wave, since the insert module typically fill up the space of an entire pattress box, the most straightforward way to plan is just create a pattress box for each load of light you’d like to automate. I hope this article clarify and help you in switch planning.