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!

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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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