Buzzing from LZW31-SN in 5 Way Switch with 3 GE AUX Add-Ons When Turning On

  • Inovelli red dimmer configured in settings for multi-way switch with three add-ons (5 way switch with 4 boxes)
  • GE/Jasco add-ons in each of the other 3 boxes
  • 5 lights, all identical Feit Electric 15w, 3000K, 770 Lumen, bpcepar30/930/led, 40 degree angle
  • (note this same bulb is used throughout my home with my other Inovelli reds without any issues with buzzing at the switch or light) EDIT - Found this inconsistent in my home as I have one circuit with 4 of the same bulb but no buzz and then another circuit with 4 of the same bulb with the buzz.
  • The bulbs are not buzzing
  • The add-on switches are not buzzing
  • Only the Inovelli red dimmer when in the on position
  • All other Inovelli reds I have installed with the same bulb do not buzz

I’ve switched out this unit with another brand new Red Dimmer, but it also buzzes, which leads me to believe it has something to do with the wiring and configuration. Since this is a 5 way and I’ve confirmed that swapping the switch with another reproduces the problem, this leads me to believe it has something to do with the 5 way configuration.

Any ideas or suggestions for further troubleshooting or a resolution?

Interesting . . . There are a number of possibilities. Unfortunately, some may be swap and try shots, as you’ve already started.

What hub are you using?
What firmware?
What are parameters 21 and 22 set to?

Do you have 5 identical bulbs that you can swap in? Extras or maybe from another location. One thing to eliminate is a bad bulb(s).

Thanks for the response…realize I should have included the answers to many of your questions in my original post!

What hub are you using?

  • ZwaveJS2MQTT via Home Assistant

What firmware?

  • firmware is on 1.48

What are parameters 21 and 22 set to?

  • Parameter 21 = 1 - Neutral
  • Parameter 22 = 2 Multi-Switch (Auxiliary Switch)

Do you have 5 identical bulbs that you can swap in? Extras or maybe from another location. One thing to eliminate is a bad bulb(s).

  • I’ll try to dig up 4 identical bulbs this weekend to test and see if that makes a difference.

  • However, I have this exact same bulb installed on most of my other Inovelli Red Dimmer switches, but the only difference is they’re all single pole. Will report back after I get a moment to test this.

Got it. I’m trying to eliminate the possibility of a bad bulb, not the bulbs in general, so swapping out all 5 is the best way to test.

Swapped out the 5 bulbs to some A19 Hue Colors (the only other set of 5 bulbs I have that are identical that are different than the ones installed). The switch no longer buzzed when turning on, but you can hear it buzz when turning off.

I need to clarify that the buzzing is only heard when I turn on the switch, not persistent while it is on. I’ve updated the title to reflect this.

As part of my testing with the other bulbs, I slowly added one of the originals back and tested on/off with each swap from the Hue to the Feit. Here’s what I discovered:

  • 5 Hue A19 600Lumen bulbs = buzz when turning OFF
  • 4 Hue + 1 Feit = buzz when turning OFF
  • 3 Hue + 2 Feit = buzz when turning OFF
  • 2 Hue + 3 Feit = buzz when turning OFF
  • 1 Hue + 4 Feit = buzz when turning OFF and ON - note this is when it went above 60W
  • 5 Feit = buzz when turning ON - almost 70W, but no longer have a buzz when turning OFF

As I mentioned above, this same Feit bulb is used in several other installations with this same type of dimmer switch. The only differences are that this one is multi-way AND it had 1 side of the heat sinks removed. It’s using less than 70W for LED, so I don’t believe the heat sinks are the issue.

Is this normal? Should I just expect a buzz when turning on at this point?

I have never had a dimmer buzz. Maybe others can comment.

I was hoping one of the LEDs was causing it. I understand that they are working in other places but I was thinking it was an individual bulb.

Even though you got slightly different results by swapping out the bulbs, I am not thinking that an individual bulb is the culprit. What is your wiring scheme? Do you have a line and load in the same box? If you do we can easily isolate the Aux switches to test and/or eliminate them.

I’m pretty certain it has line and load in the same box…it’s a 2 gang box (with another multi-way)…I the original wiring on this about 50 switches ago, so I’m looking through photos and trying to recall exactly.

What did you have in mind for testing? The GE Add-ons were new for this install and I was unfortunately forced to swap out the originals because it was time one of them was replaced anyhow.

So I would take the aux switches out of the equation and test the dimmer as two-way, which is easy if line and load are in the Inovelli box. Remove the traveler conductor from the Inovelli. I would also pull the neutral wire going to the AUX switches from the bundle just to be complete.

Change parameter 21 to a two-way and test.

Haven’t been able to pull apart the switches and configure in this manner yet, I will…just need some time with family gone since this breaker will cut power to some things I can’t have down when they’re here…

However, I did receive my new batch of dimmers and found that in another room on a single pole switch with four of the same bulb as discussed above, I get a buzz at the switch (not bulb) when powering on.

Do we really think this is bulb causing the switch to buzz?

Yes. A bypass should resolve the issue.

Could this be done at the switch? I have 4 recessed ceiling lights in this single pole and 5 in the 5 way switch.

Yes, if you have space to fit it from load to neutral then it would work. I am not an electrician but I’ll get a double-check from @Bry as he tends to speak more knowledgeably on that.

The traditional wisdom is to install the bypass at the light, but I can’t think of any reason you can’t put it in the box. Electrically is is almost the same. But that doesn’t mean it’s correct. I just don’t know.

The bigger question is do you have a deep enough box to cram in a bypass with the Romex AND the switch?

As an aside, buzzing at the switch is caused by a mismatch between the switch and the bulb, and overloaded dimmer wattage wise or a defective switch. I’m not sure that a bypass will overcome any of those, but I’ll defer to @kreene1987 re this since he suggested it. He may have solved that exact issue with a bypass, or know of someone that does.

I would first swap out for incandescents to rule out the switch as being defective. But that’s just me . . .

I’ve ruled out defective switches as support sent me a replacement a couple months ago to test and it reproduced in the 5 way circuit the same way.

And as for this new single pole circuit with 4 of the same bulb, I have tried multiple dimmers from the 10 pack I just received and it has the same buzz at the switch. So the net here is that I am under the impression that a certain quantity of this bulb causes issues per my testing above. They’re not over the wattage, but I really don’t know what else could but it does seem to be loudest when moving up/down in dimness.

It seems to me that some bulbs work better than others. Even within a brand some models work and some don’t. I would take a look at the bulb compatibity Wiki or scan the individual reports that populate it. Or just go try something else.

I’m sure others are using Hue here, perhaps they can comment on their experience.