A Cautionary Tale

Hey All…

I am new here but wanted to share my cautionary tale. During a recent remodel, I started to transition all of my light switches to smart dimmer switches. I thought I did my due diligence and decided to go with Inovelli Red switches… and bought about 15 of them. I had a professional electrician install the first handful, as there additional electrical work needed throughout the home.

Fast forward to the installation, we installed brand new recessed lighting and fixtures with LED throughout the home. One one switch that has 4 LED recessed lights, the lights turn off inconsistently starting at 25% dim… on another; on another switch with 2 fixtures, 1 light works properly and the other flashes light a disco any time the dim is below 50%.

When I asked my contractor about it, he immediately blamed the light switches… I disagreed. I reached out to Inovelli 3 months ago. First, it took me over a month to hear from them, but when I did, they suggested I just post it on their community board because “they were too busy.” I pushed back and asked for basic customer service. Another month passed… I finally heard back with a singular question… did they use a neutral wire in the installation. I answered in the affirmative and have never heard back from them… EVER!

When you take a chance to invest in a new up-and-coming company, the best you can hope for is their product to perform as promised… the least you can hope for is basic customer service… Inovelli has failed on all fronts… don’t believe me… try to find any phone number for the company… you can’t because they are hiding from their failure! At least invest in a BS number that connects me to India so that you have the perception of an attempt at customer service. Please learn from my mistake… for your home, invest in products where the company stands behind what they sell… I am switching to Lutron.

Inovelli… I dare for you to respond!

1 Like

First off, welcome to the community. I saw your post over on ST and am glad to see you brought this to the community.

  1. Please PHYSICALLY confirm that your switches are set up using neutral.
  2. Please confirm that you are using the custom device handler located here: https://raw.githubusercontent.com/InovelliUSA/SmartThingsInovelli/master/devicetypes/inovelliusa/inovelli-dimmer-red-series-lzw31-sn.src/inovelli-dimmer-red-series-lzw31-sn.groovy and that the switch is using this DTH in the IDE (if you don’t know what I am saying, just ask).
  3. Please confirm you have, under settings, selected AC Power Type as “Neutral”, Switch Type as “Load Only”.

Confirm the level which the flickering starts when ramping down. Confirm the level which the flickering ENDS when ramping up.

Set the Minimum Level setting to the greater of the two (mine for my LED bulbs are at 37 for example). Note that this does NOT eliminate the dimmer level from 1-100, but rather sets 1 as 37 and then calculates each step difference to 100 (or max level setting).

Once complete, report back and we can further help!

Also, @Eric_Inovelli can likely speak to the support delays. It might be good to be a bit more transparent on the current support backlog.

Edit: Hold the phone. Are these SMART bulbs or dumb? I just realized I might be giving you bad information. If they are smart (zigbee/zwave through ST hub) then you need a completely different solution (disable internal relay, control level through scene control at the switch via Smart Lighting within smartthings).


Good afternoon @Abusingsoup – first, just wanted to say thanks for posting. While it’s never a post I’d like to read, it’s one that I can certainly learn from and work with the team to figure out what happened.

In looking at your support ticket, it does appear that we dropped the ball, however, I’m not sure about the 3mo scenario (unless I’m missing a ticket under a different email).

The first ticket was sent on March 17th and was as follows (redacted the full names, but I’m happy to un-redact them):

The next ticket that I’m finding was sent on August 4th to which you received an automated email. Your response was on the 5th, saying to contact you when we have time to which we did on the 10th. This is where we directed you to the forum. You replied on the 13th and we responded again on the 14th.

Here’s where it fell apart on our end in that we had an internal PM to each other that looks like it never got picked up on and for that I sincerely apologize. This isn’t the norm.

NOTE: Right click and open in new tab to read – sorry it’s automatically shrunk in the thread.

I’m happy to help you solve this if you haven’t already returned them and again, thanks for bringing this to my attention. I will speak to the customer service team about sending a Microsoft Teams message instead of using the internal ticketing system to tag someone as those notifications do not always come through.

Happy to answer any other questions here.

@kreene1987 – thanks for bringing this up – yes, the past 2wks there’s been a significant delay in responses as SmartThings transitioned over the remaining Classic app and this has caused a ton of support tickets on our end as a lot of our Gen 1 products had issues with the migration.


Inovelli dimmers use MLV (not TLV or ELV) dimming in their electronics (@Eric_Inovelli can correct me if I’m off there). Not all LED fixtures respond properly to all types of dimmers. It may not be a case where the dimmers are at “fault” so much as the dimmers and the fixtures are simply incompatible (or at least not compatible enough). The manufacturer of the fixtures should have clearly indicated in the product details (manual and/or website) the types of dimming that their electronics are designed to work with. I’d verify which dimming your fixtures are compatible with.

Unlike incandescent bulbs, LEDs, because of their internal driver electronics, require a compatible dimmer to function properly. Incidentally, that’s also why some LED lights can’t dim at all - it’s the electronic driver that doesn’t support it, not the LEDs themselves. When you dim incompatible, or non-dimmable LEDs, you get flickering/flashing, late starts, inconsistent behavior between fixtures at the same power levels, etc. Think about it like this, gasoline and diesel engines both run great on their own fuel; but they don’t run at all if you feed them the wrong stuff because not all fuel is created equal.


Hi @Abusingsoup -

I wanted to address the phone number issue. Firstly, we’re never going to outsource our customer service to another country. That’s simply not something we want to do and as much as possible we’d like to keep things internal to our team so that we have experts answering questions, not someone trained to read a script. Making up a fake phone number serves no purpose if people can’t reach someone with experience with our products.

I think most people (especially those outside of this forum who have never interacted with us) believe that we are a large company with 100’s of employees and that simply is not the case. At our HQ office in Michigan we have 5 people. Eric H (CEO), Nathan (CSO), Brianna (Marketing), Nate B (customer service) and myself (operations). Then we have Eric M (CTO) who is in Utah and Christian (customer service) in Washington.

We all try to jump into tickets as much as we possibly can. With the exception of Nate B and Christian, we all have separate jobs beyond customer service as well. I ship out every single package that leaves our facility. I deal with customs, I run project management, I do all our finance and pay our bills, etc. The same goes for everyone else - we are all juggling a lot of hats. Having a phone line would be a 100% full time job and at this time, we unfortunately cannot afford to hire for that position. The position would take a lot of work in training the employee about the products, how they work, electrical questions, etc.

You can choose to trust me or not, but I can promise you we wish we were able to have a dedicated phone line for calls. We have been working towards this along with a live chat feature, but until we are able to be staffed enough it just isn’t something we can do. We have always prided ourselves on great customer service and I think it’s something we are known for. I do apologize on behalf of everyone that we have let you down. You give us your money and you put your trust in us to make good products and to be there when you need help and we did falter on our end.

I’m sorry things turned out this way but hopefully we’ll see you as a customer again in the future. We will always stand behind every single product that we sell. Best of luck with Lutron.


Does this mean that you have 15 dimmers/switches that you want to sell? :grin:


I’m shocked by your tone-deaf (even embarrassing) response to complaints about faulty products and untimely support.

I absolutely concur with the original poster. I am having the same horrible product and support experience with $500+ worth of Inovelli switches that I’ve purchased. As of this moment, I have 17 (out of 24) on/off & dimmer wall switches that are not working due to defective airgap buttons (located on faceplate) – some trivial piece of plastic.

If you can’t afford a larger support team (unnecessary with property designed and manufactured products), why not provide an automatic email response to confirm the receipt of service requests issued through your website. And I’m sure that including an estimated response time wouldn’t bankrupt your company.

Hopefully, this post finds receptive ears at Inovell because dealing with Invovelli now is analogous to falling into a black hole.

The original post is almost a year old at this point in time. Could you elaborate on the problem(s) you are having? I wouldn’t say they are hiding from any issues, given there are threads trying to gather information about problems so they can be fixed.

Also, paging @Eric_Inovelli as there may be some ticketing system issues that need some attention. I believe most requests do get automated replies, so if you didn’t get one the system may not have captured your issue.

@misa – can you let me know what email you wrote your ticket under or what your order number is (so I can try to cross-reference it myself)? I searched the one you’re using for your user name and can’t find any tickets or orders.

I’m happy to help personally and very sorry for the experience you’ve received thus far.

Shoot me a PM so we can figure this out.

Edit: Never mind, I found you.

Can you help me understand how we’re considered a black hole when this ticket was written yesterday?

I realize the extent of the issue, but I also find it very hard to believe that 17 paddles are defective. I also am not sure we even have 17 paddles to send to you as these were Gen 1 switches as they were discontinued over 2 years ago.

In addition, I’m looking at your past orders and only see that 16 were ordered (all On/Off’s). Was there another order outside of the two placed on 08/13/18 and 08/16/18?

Finally, the On/Off switches do not have an air-gap – so, I don’t think it’s an air-gap issue.

Again, I’m happy to help and will help you, but I’m trying to understand where the hostility is coming from when it’s been one day and also how these are defective.


Swapping the paddle plate (with airgap) from a working switch to couple of the non-working ones fixed the problem. I didn’t pay attention to the type of switch and figured defective paddle plates were the problem with all the non-working switches. BTW, I would not have known to do this if you hadn’t sent out the replacement paddles when I contacted you with the same issue in the past (this is couple of years ago).

Here are the Inovelli orders I found in my Amazon account:

The switches that were just installed include 6 dimmers and 14 on/off switches. I just verified that 1 dimmer, and 2 on/off switches are working.

Thanks for sending over those order numbers.

Can you take a picture of your on/off switches? These aren’t supposed to have air-gaps on them, so I’m not sure why none of them are working.

We can try to find some, but as mentioned, these have been discontinued for quite some time and we don’t have any laying around the office. What you can do, if it truly is an air-gap issue, is put a dab of hot glue on the back of the air-gap, let it dry, and then put it back in. Basically, what’s happening is the air-gap isn’t engaging with a button on the switch. When it doesn’t engage with that button, the switch thinks the air-gap is pulled out, thus cutting the power to the light.

But let’s confirm first that you have an issue with the air-gap bc as mentioned, on/off’s shouldn’t have an air-gap on them.

Another thing you can try in the meantime, is to make sure the paddle is pushed all the way in. I know this was an issue on our Gen 1’s, but we’re talking about a 2-3% defect rate, where it sounds like you’re in the 90%+, so I’m wondering if your electrician messed with the paddles or something.

Hang in there, we’ll get you up and running, I’m just stuck between a rock and a hard place bc we don’t have any replacement parts.

You are correct, the on/off switches do not have airgaps. I simply happened to take the working paddle plate from the working dimmer and tried it on two nearby switches that happened to be dimmers. At that point, I incorrectly assumed all the non-working switches (including on/off switches) have the same issue with the airgap.

I’ve been using the same electrician for a long time; he also installed my original Linear switches. I tried swapping the paddle plates myself, so I’m confident the airgap is causing the dimmer issue. However, I don’t know why only 2 of the on/off switches are working.

Since inventory is an issue, is there a way for you to replace the non-working switches with the newer version? In fact, I could pay the difference for the model with the energy monitoring feature.

At this point, I think it’s best to figure out these one by one. I understand your electrician may have installed them, but we’ve gone from you needing 17 paddles immediately, to now 8 dimmers, and some on/off’s that aren’t working.

I’m happy to take this offline if it’s easier, but what I propose doing is going switch by switch and seeing if we can figure it out rather than you paying the electrician to come by to remove the old ones, and replace them with new ones (which may have different wiring if you’re wiring in a 3-Way).


  • Out of the 8 that you have, how many work and how many do not work?
    • Once I have a number here, we can address them one by one.
  • On the ones that do not work, does the blue LED light turn on at all?


  • So, you’re saying that 14 On/Off switches do not work at all, correct?
  • When you say they’re not working, is the blue LED on at all?

Yes, it would be simpler to take this offline. You can reach me at the email address provided in my service request.

Please use direct email for all future communication regarding this matter.

The core issue remains unchanged; I have 17 non-working switches. As I explained, I mistakenly assumed all 17 had an airgap issue, and you’ve pointed out that the airgap cannot be the problem with on/off switches. Following is the status of the newly installed switches.


  • 1 dimmer works.
  • 5 dimmers do not work with their paddle plate. Blue LED does not come on. Note: these dimmers work with the paddle plate from the working dimmer.


  • 2 on/off switches are working.
  • 12 on/off switches do not work. Blue LED does not come on. Pressing on/off paddle does nothing.

With Inovelli’s failure rate at less than 1%, it’s extremely unusual that your failure rate is 70%. :thinking:

These don’t have air gaps, so they are Gen 1’s? How old are they? Gen 1’s haven’t been available for quite some time. I’m curious about how long the warranty is for a Gen 1 switch.

Were the switches working before you tried replacing the paddles?

For the record @misa, I’ve responded to your ticket – just want to make sure you see it.

Yes, I received you email.