Curiosity About Switch Minimum Loads for Non-Neutral Wiring

I was looking into Inovelli switches (mainly the red/zwave, but I think the blue/zigbee is similar), in part because they work without a neutral wire as my old house doesn’t have them at most / all the switches.

As mentioned in the specifications, I believe they have a recommended minimum load of about 25W when used with LEDs (and I think I’ve seen a few posts around here that mention even that is not exact and have had trouble when exactly at that amount), otherwise a Bypass is needed.

I’m curious, what it is about Inovelli switches that require that minimum load amount compared to some other switches I’ve seen on the internet? For example the Jasco Enbrighten seems to claim it works with LEDs down to a 2W minimum, and the Aqara Smart Wall Switch goes down to about 5W minimum from what I read.
Is it because Inovelli has a lot more that goes into the switch (LED bar, power monitoring, etc.)? Is there something that I missed about those other switches that means that they don’t actually work well with low-powered LED bulbs at that minimum load despite what they claim? I just want to learn more about how / why these things work the way that they do.

From the manual of the other products you linked to, I only see that it is the minimum load as stated by the specification, not the minimum for non-neutral loads (and FWIW, I see 5.5 W for LEDs on the GE switch and 3 W for Aqara). I actually can’t find “non-neutral” information listed separately for either switch but would suspect they’d have something higher as an effective requirement for this configuration, like Inovelli does. That being said, I’ve never used them so can’t say for sure.

I’ve had better luck with lower-wattage loads on the Blue Series compared to the LZW30/31 (Gen 2) Red Series. I haven’t done as much testing with the new/gen 3 (VZW31) Red Series devices yet, but I’d expect them to be similar to the Blue Series since they are from the same manufacturer and reportedly nearly identical beyond the wireless chips — so likely better than the gen 2 values you’ve seen advertised. (But — and perhaps like the others, from what I can find — it seems like maybe they don’t want to commit to an absolute bare minimum “no neutral” value since your luck might depend on various other factors, too?)

That being said, I can’t tell you why there is a difference … just that it’s not only a difference between brands. :slight_smile:

I see the 2W LED mentioned on the website but they didn’t mention what brand of LED or style. I’d think it with a grain of salt and selective marketing. Perhaps they made a particular bulb just for testing and it worked as a 2W LED.

Non-neutrals are tricky because the circuitry has to bleed through the switch. Some diodes get excited with very little voltage present. Some even more excited depending on brand.

Just my $.02.


Those are good points, I just saw “no-neutral switch” and “2W minimum load” and got excited without digging much deeper :sweat_smile: .

I’m just trying to solve the two-9.5W Home Depot LED bulb fixtures issue for most of the fixtures in my house :disappointed: (I know the Bypass is an option, but a dozen switches that I want to do is already expensive and so I don’t really want to add the bypass to most of them).

I guess I could ask an electrician how much it would be to run the neutral wires to the switches, but the last time I brought it up while he was doing something else for me he said it would be something along the lines of “expensive and destructive”, so I was trying to find other options.

Probably not but I’ll ask. Does your older home have rigid piping to each box that you could snake a neutral line to?

You could get away with using incandescent bulbs if it’s an area that won’t see a lot of hours.

You may get lucky with your new bulbs and not have any strobing or dimming issues. If so make sure you let the community know brand and model.

No idea aside from the stuff that’s exposed/was put in places like the garage recently, but the house was built in 1950 so I feel like it’s unlikely to make things convenient in that way.

Also the attic is full of insulation while the basement is mostly finished, so I suspect some house disassembly may be required in places :building_construction: .

EDIT: Looks like someone answered the question on this bulb for me, it doesn’t work in a non-neutral setup :frowning_face: : Compatible Bulbs for Dimmer Switch (Gen 2) - #63 by jbilodea

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