Discussion Around On/Off Vernacular

Had this typed up yesterday, forgot to press Reply

Yeah you sent me down the rabbit-hole lol.

Honestly it was just a way for the marketing team (aka: me) to come up with something that was easy for people to remember. Rather than calling it a Smart Dimmer with On/Off Lighting Capabilities, it was just easier to call it a 2-1.

The disadvantage of just calling it a dimmer is what @PreZ mentioned:

There are bulbs out there that can’t be dimmed and if you had one of those bulbs, you’d immediately disregard this switch and try to find an On/Off switch.

I know you, me and everyone in this discussion (and arguably most of our demographic of power users) understand that dimmer switches can turn on/off a bulb because they can set the ramp rate to instant, but that’s oftentimes not something a new person inherently knows, so we have to use vernacular that they’re familiar with, which would be that the switch can turn on/off lights and can be used with

This is a perfect example actually and I think @MRobi outlined my thoughts perfectly:

This is the predicament I’m always in and it’s very difficult. I, like you guys, am a power user who enjoys technology. I love the intricacies of the switches and everything you can do with them from a customization standpoint.

And 99% of the time, I actually agree with you all in your pushback. It’s just how do I balance what I agree with you on, with what I believe the mass market understands and is used to. Most of the time, it’s a fairly easy solution, but sometimes, like this one, it’s not.

In fact, believe it or not, I am equally as upset at the manufacturer for pulling a cloak and dagger on us with the On/Off not being like our Gen 2 that was able to control an inductive load (still not 15A, but whatever). I agree this was a missed opportunity and when we caught onto the fact that it wasn’t like the Gen 2’s, it was too far down the path that it would’ve delayed the project at least another 6 months and we would’ve had to play the dancing game with them over pricing and why there was a miscommunication, etc.

So, I had to not only think about what the target market was for this switch, but where we wanted to be (mass market – which is one of the main reasons this switch was created in Zigbee). Our target market is you guys, the enthusiasts who appreciate all the small details and love home automation and won’t settle for an average product. But the mass market target isn’t like that. They just want a switch that can remotely control their lights and they think that’s cool enough. I remember being in awe when I could press a button on my smart phone and my light bulb came on… like I thought that was the coolest thing. Of course, I’ve grown since then and know what to look for in a product and understand that not all products are created equal. But the point is I had to start somewhere.

This is why I chose to keep the On/Off vernacular in the title and putting in the disclaimers at the top about it being for lighting only. For people who are simply trying to find a switch to turn on/off their lights, be it dimming or on/off.

Hope that sheds some light (pun intended).


The simple relay on-off switch for things like bathroom fans and certain types of lighting is still missing from the portfolio or development. The fan switch has speed control but it will work for a bathroom fan, it’s just more costly than necessary.


There will be an on/off mode with the fan switch, but May be mimicking 0-100%.

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Is there an equivalent of “full sine-wave” mode?

Good question. I’m not sure to be honest. Perhaps with all the changes incorporated in the 2-1 switch will also me engineered in the fan switch. Obviously the internals are a bit different so it may be full sine wave ready.

I would be very surprised if a fan switch didn’t produce a full sine wave.

Eric – let me say that I respect you and the company a lot and am truly appreciative of the innovations you’ve brought to the market. I also love the way you interact with the community. Everything in this message comes from a place of goodwill and a desire to see Inovelli succeed – please understand that.

I think you should take a look inward and listen to what your users are saying on this. I haven’t seen a single person (other than Inovelli employees) say “yeah, this is a good and appropriate name for the dimmer/switch” – most of us feel that calling this a 2-1 Dimmer / On-Off switch is misleading, and we’re the ones that actually take time to read specs and visit the site and learn every detail of the product before we buy.

Most mass market users won’t bother to read the fine print (aka disclaimer) – they’ll see a switch from GE, a dimmer from GE, and a 2-1 Inovelli Dimmer On/Off switch next to each other on a shelf and incorrectly assume that the single inovelli can do everything both of the GE products can do. Some will inevitably install the switch with an inductive load and may even cause a fire, because they thought that when in switch mode, it would act like their GE switch does (heck, it even makes a clicking sound like the GE switch, so it must be ok!).

I know there’s no intent to mislead, but it’s misleading to most of us nevertheless. I would also submit that it’s dangerous, disclaimer notwithstanding. In true Inovelli fashion, you might consider making a poll for this to see what the community overall thinks.

As for how Homeseer chooses to market their dimmer, two wrongs don’t make a right – I think theirs is equally misleading.


I think those of us that are okay with the 2-1 name have just been quiet and enjoying reading the comments. I didn’t expect a $50 switch to be the miracle switch. There’s only so much crap you can shove into a switch box and I just admit this is pretty impressive.

Just my $.02.


As for how Homeseer chooses to market their dimmer, two wrongs don’t make a right – I think theirs is equally misleading.

I almost went on several rants about HomeSeer, but figured this wasn’t the place or time. :slight_smile:

Then you should be very surprised.

Now I will admit I’ve not disassembled a Blue series dimmer/switch. However the Reds (or at least the dimmer) used a Triac, not a Mosfet.

However in any case the issue with inductive loads is the current doesn’t want to stop flowing when the input sine wave is at zero volts. This causes the inductive load to actually create voltage to keep the current flowing**. This voltage must be handled in the circuit to keep the output device (Triac or Mosfet) operating within its capability.

** The energy for this voltage is in the magnetic circuit of the inductive load. As the magnet field collapses a voltage results.

Regarding full sine wave output for fan / inductive load.
While this is technically possible, there is not enough room in the dimmer to fit the components required to accomplish a pure sine wave output. Every “fan” dimmer operates by removing some of the sine wave. Sometimes the front is delayed, sometimes the end of the sine is truncated it depends on the output stage design.

Just to be clear, the 500 series Reds use Mosfets.

Thanks. I went back to my notes and the unit I dissected was a Gen 1.

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@JohnRob, thanks for the explanation of what the issue is with the inductive loads, and it totally makes sense. I hadn’t considered the whole collapsing field issue.

Just to make sure I understand correctly, when you say:

the current doesn’t want to stop flowing when the input sine wave is at zero volts

I assume you’re talking about the abrupt drop to 0 when the sine wave is cut by the dimming circuit, and not the regular zero crossing of a full sine wave, right? In which case, theoretically, the new full sine wave feature should prevent this?

I just want to hop on the record and say here I’m not an Inovelli employee, so when I stated earlier that I felt it was likely the best name to mass-market this device it was from an unbiased point of view. Know your target-market and design your branding to fit that market. In my opinion it’s simply good business.


the abrupt drop to 0 when the sine wave is cut by the dimming circuit, and not the regular zero crossing of a full sine wave

Actually kind of both.

  1. the input power is interrupted partway through the cycle. Field collapse will cause the inductive voltage spike.

  2. With a full cycle, if the output switch opens at zero input sine voltage, the current which is lagging will still result in an inductive spike.
    However if the outputs remain “on” it won’t matter.

Not that is matters to this discussion but you will seldom if ever get a “pure” sine wave voltage coming in from the line. I’ve never seen one that wasn’t distorted by the various loads in the home.

@MRobi and @harjms - Fair enough – you’ve both called me out on that statement; I stand corrected and should not have over-generalized. My apologies.

That said, I still think that (a lot of) the mass market, if they saw a GE switch, a GE Dimmer, and an Inovelli 2-1 Switch/Dimmer side by side by side, would believe that the Inovelli “2-1” product was able to perform the functions of both/either of the GE products. It does not, and if it’s misused due to the misunderstanding, can lead to dangerous outcomes. Sure - Inovelli may be covered by their disclaimers from a legal perspective, but if one person dies or loses a home b/c of a fire from the misunderstanding, they (Inovelli) may win the court case but lose the battle due to court costs and the reputational damage that would be generated.

Don’t get me wrong – Inovelli has a lot of cool features that really no one else has; in my opinion, they’ve raised the bar for the entire industry. It’s quite an accomplishment. I just view this product as a dimmer with many many features, but not as a switch.


My 2 cents, of course :slight_smile:


A related question that may not be directly on-topic…

I’ve preordered a five-pack of the Blue fan switch, under the assumption that it will control the loads that the “2-in-1” can’t. But now that I’ve read some of the thread about that switch, I’m a bit confused, because I see now that it’s actually a fan speed controller.

So will that switch be able to turn fans and fluorescent lights on and off? And if not, is there a Zigbee switch from Inovelli (existing or planned) that will actually just switch power with a relay to control arbitrary loads?

It will have the ability to control a fan to 3-pseeds, but you can just set it to only use full-speed in an on-off type mode. My comment was saying that it’s more expensive than a simple on-off relay switch would be to do that same purpose.

No, it will have 2 capacitors inside and connect them for speed control or directly to line power for full speed. It won’t be continually variable duty.


Interesting, so it’s not a “dimmer” for a fan but a discrete speed switch. While I understand the concept of using capacitors to control the speeds of some kinds of motors, I was under the impression these types of motors we “limited” ceiling fans and such could not be used in a typical bathroom fan.

I would also think the two “non-Full” speeds would vary by fan mfg and fan size.