Fan Switch | Project Windy City - ON HOLD

Introduction
As mentioned in the 2019 Product Roadmap topic, this thread serves multiple purposes.

  1. Allows us to keep you updated on the project status (either good or bad)
  2. Allows you to participate and help us develop amazing products with you
  3. Enjoy each other’s company and have fun talking home automation

How this initial post will be laid out is in five sections:

  1. Project Overview
  2. Initial Hardware & Software Requirements (edited to remain up-to-date)
  3. Timeline (edited to remain up-to-date)
  4. Pinned Ideas & Shout-outs (edited to remain up-to-date)
  5. Weekly Recap

Housekeeping

  • DATES & FUNCTIONS ARE NOT SET IN STONE: Just a reminder that all dates and functions are sometimes fluid. We have to make choices based on feasibility, opportunity costs, and overall timeline. I will be as transparent as possible on these decisions, but just a heads up, they may not always be exciting.
  • NO IDEA IS A BAD IDEA: Ok, some are, but honestly throw out anything that you can think of. If we use your idea, we’ll credit you and send you a free device, so take that shot!
  • VERSION 1 VS VERSION 2: Some ideas may be fantastic, but may not make the cut for the first version of the product. Once the product is locked in from a function standpoint, we’ll keep a tally of V2 ideas and then once the product is produced, we’ll move the ideas over to the Suggestions & Wishlist section.

Ok, let’s get this party started!


Project Overview
The purpose of this project is to provide an alternative to the fan switch that’s currently in market and take the ideas we have around our Red Series Dimmer Switch and create a stand alone fan switch.

So not only will this be a dedicated fan switch, but we’re setting out to create the Next Generation of smart switches. A switch that not only looks visually appealing, but one that can control your entire house at the click of a button. Or one that can visually notify you if your garage door is left open past 10pm. Or how about one that you can adjust without needing a HUB? Did I mention it should monitor energy as well? Pretty sweet!

This is a huge project, but we’re excited about it and finally we’ll be able to create something from scratch that is truly community built as most of the features we’re requesting are driven from you!

Project Name - Windy City

“Windy City” has a double meaning as well, which I’m sure you can guess. @anon14959390 is from Chicago, which is nicknamed the, “Windy City” and a fan switch produces wind. I wish there was a cooler meaning, but that’s all we’ve got.


Windy City - Hardware Requirements
Here are the initial hardware asks we came up with. Pretty decent start!

Hardware - Initial Mockup


NOTE: This will match our Dimmer Switches in look/feel.

Hardware - Dimmer Switch (Look / Feel)

  • Responsive Paddle: rests in a neutral state (tap up = on // tap down = off & hold up = dim up // hold down = dim down)
  • Config / Favorite Button: button should be used for configuration of the switch as well as scene control.
    • Should be able to be held (for config)
    • Should be able to be tapped (for scene control)
  • RGB LED Bar: should measure the % of how much the switch is dimmed
    • LED’s should be RGB
    • LED’s should also be able to be dimmed
  • Colors: dimmer switch will be offered in white, but the paddle should be able to be replaced to change colors (almond, brown, red, black, grey, etc)
  • Slim Design: depth of switch should be as slim as possible so that it can fit into metal boxes.
  • Air Gap: UL requirement

Hardware - Features & Capabilities

  • 700 Series Z-Wave Plus: use the best Z-Wave module on the market
  • 3-Way / 4-Way Ready: should work in multiple different settings in a 3 & 4 Way setting
    • Should work with an auxiliary switch
    • Should work with an existing dumb switch
    • Should work with another smart switch
      • 08/07/19: Due to the complexity here, we have to push this out to V2. Most fans are single-pole installations and this is what drove our decision at this time. If you have a 3-Way setup, we suggest using our remote in the meantime.
  • Power Monitoring: switch should measure the power consumption
  • Z-Wave Distance Estimator: should be able to estimate the signal strength of the Z-Wave signal and notify via the LED bar (see Appendix - Section C)
  • Instant On: when tapped 1x (and scenes aren’t used), switch should turn the bulb on instantly (no delay)
  • CFL & LED Compatibility: minimum buzz and flickering
  • Non-Neutral: switch should work without a neutral wire

Windy City - Software Requirements
Below is what we came up with for the software requirements. Welcome to the next level!

  • Z-Wave Scene Control: 11 scenes (Z-Wave Central Scene Command)
    • 10 Scenes via Tapping the Paddle up or down
    • 1 Scenes via Tapping the Config Button
  • Notifications via RGB Bars: RGBW Bars should be able to change colors based on events set up by customer (ie: if window sensor is opened, RGBW bar changes to red)
    • User can choose to sync the bars or have them show separate notifications
  • RGB Bars Config: bar should be able to change colors and also dimmed to the customers favorite level
  • Auto Timer: switch should have a timer that shuts the switch off after a certain amount of time
  • Easy Config: switch should be able to be configured via the config/favorites button.
    • There should be infinite customization via parameters in the firmware, but also set customizations for HUB’s that do not allow parameter changes (ie: Wink)
  • Internal Relay Disable: internal relay should be able to be disabled locally and via Z-Wave
  • Set Min/Max Level: minimum fan level / maximum fan level
  • Ramp Rate Configuration: ability to change how fast/slow light turns on
  • Default Fan Level: ability to set the default fan level based on time of day
  • OTA Ready: ability to update firmware via OTA
  • Associations switch should be able to be associated to other Z-Wave devices

Timeline
Ah, everyone’s favorite part. When is this flippin thing going to be released? Great question – here’s the high-level of what happens leading up to the first release of the timeline:

  1. We present a PRD (Project Request Document) that has all of the above info in it
  2. R&D (manufacturer) analyzes the PRD and we go back and forth until we can align on 90% of the product
  3. Initial Timeline is released and remaining 10% of product features are added/cut along the way

Again, just want to throw this out there – I don’t have a crystal ball so I can’t predict things that come up along the way. Trust me when I say we’re trying our best to get things launched on time.

Pre-Initial Timeline Milestones:

  • Present PRD: Completed 01/17
  • R&D Analyzation: Completed 03/12
  • Initial Timeline Released: Completed 03/12

Timeline (Estimated)

The initial timeline will be shown below and will be updated weekly (if needed).

  • Design Phase: Not Started (estimated completion date is 01/08/20)
    See Weekly Recap for notes around the delays
    • Structure Design (Rendering, 3D Mockups, and Printed Mockups): Not Started (est. completion date is 09/27)
    • Hardware Design (PCB Design & Testing): Not Started (est. completion date is 10/18)
    • RF & Antenna Design: Not Started (est. completion date = 09/13)
    • Firmware (For Basic Functions Only): Not Started (est. completion date is 01/08/20)
  • Tooling: Not Started (est. completion date is 11/22)
  • EVT Phase: Not Started (est. completion date is 12/05)
  • DVT Phase: Not Started (est. completion date is 01/09/20)
  • Certifications: Not Started (est. completion date is 02/26/20)
    • Z-Wave Certification (Technical): Not Started
    • Z-Wave Certification (Marketing): Not Started
    • FCC Certification: Not Started
    • IC Certification: Not Started
    • UL Certification: Not Started
  • Mass Production: Not Started (est. completion date is 03/16/20)
  • Arrival on Amazon, Inovelli.com , etc: Not started (est. completion 03/23/20)

Pinned Ideas & Shout-Outs
Here are the ideas from the community. We sincerely appreciate them, we love them, and we couldn’t create the products we do without them. So, thank you for your input and let’s continue to innovate together and change the home automation category for the better (NOTE: if an idea is crossed out, it’s not because it wasn’t valid, nor was it something we didn’t consider – we’ve discussed it internally or with the manufacturer and unfortunately it was not feasible).

Hardware

Software


Weekly Recap
Every Wednesday, we have a meeting with our manufacturer to go over the various projects (status, issues, timeline, etc) and below I’ll provide a recap as well as edit the sections above so we can all keep track. If you have any specific questions you’d like me to ask, feel free to tag me and let me know so I can ask them as well. The weekly cadence for updates will be Thursday mornings.

October 3, 2019: This project is slated for a May 2020 release as we are prioritizing a remote launch for March/April and the remote firmware/hardware team is the same as the switch team. More to come, but there likely won’t be too many updates on this project until later this year.

July 16, 2020: Unfortunately, we had to put this on hold temporarily due to capital funding. This will be slated to resume after light strip and remote are finished or more capital is infused for R&D.

3 Likes

Bummer. I have a triple-gang box with two of your switches going in. The uniqueness of the design means I will have one oddball switch in the middle, since it controls the patio ceiling fan. Is it safe to use a basic on/off switch until you release the fan control? This is what it SHOULD look like when you finish Windy City…

Red%20Series%20mockup

I’m looking forward to seeing this hit the market! I upgradede one of my fan switches to the GE zwave fan control and love it. I’m ready to do the other ones, but I like these switches with the blinky lights.

I’d also vote for the breeze mode on this switch as I believe somone suggested in one of the other forums.

I appricate all the updates and the work you guys are doing!

Well, it’ll have to do for now. Need my fan controller in that middle slot. wah wah wah!

Looking good my man! Although, whew, we need to do something about those screws. I’m not a vertical screw guy at all, but I’d even settle for that setup in this case lol. Those things even messed Morgan Freeman up:

All kidding aside, yeah we need to get you that fan controller.

If it’s any consolation, my room looks identical. Still rocking the GE fan control in the middle.

1 Like

I’m hoping the vertical screws are only very temporary…HINT HINT! Get me my fan controller and it’ll be redone. :smile:

So, I’ve got a few of the GE/Jasco fan switches, and absolutely hate them. They’d be fine, if the fan could actually spin at full speed. For whatever reason; simply adding the GE fan switch in place of the normal on/off means that my “High” speed on the switch is about 70% (if that) of what it was with a normal single pole switch.

Will these new Inovelli fan controllers allow for full power on high speed?

You have the pull chain on the fan at full speed? If you don’t have the chain in the highest speed, it can only go up whatever level you have it on.

I’m pretty sure @mrutenbeck noticed this with the HomeSeer fan switch, too (and yes, the pull chain is at full speed).

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@BertABCD1234 is correct. I have the HomSeer switch on two fans and both behave the same way. I thought I was just imagining it at first but eventually did a hardwired test and saw the fan operate at the correct speed.

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Absolutely. It’s not my first rodeo. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:
And, like @mrutenbeck, I also thought I was imagining it at first. I removed the GE controller, and put the “dumb” switch back in place and the difference was actually quite staggering.

Is there any way we could change all the dates in all these product roadmap posts to use a consistent, standard and unambiguous date format, like 2019-12-13?

I keep getting caught up in having to interpret things. For instance, is 11/22 the 11th month of 2022 or the 22nd day of November? If the latter, which year? Is it a future date or a past date? Context usually tells me, but the context isn’t always immediately apparent and sometimes takes some searching.

Compare:

  • Present PRD: Completed 01/17
  • R&D Analyzation: Completed 03/12
  • Initial Timeline Released: Completed 03/12

Vs.

  • Present PRD: Completed 2019-01-17
  • R&D Analyzation: Completed 2019-03-12
  • Initial Timeline Released: Completed 2019-03-12

I read the former and think “ah, they finished the first one in January of 2017. Wait, how did they finish the R&D in 2012? How old is this product? Oh shucks, that doesn’t make sense so I’ll bet that’s March of either this year or last year. Well, if that’s March, then the first is probably January. So, let me read further (and re-read previous text) to find out what year they’re probably talking about…”

I read the latter without any of that extra cognitive effort and without having to reread previous text to find context.

6 Likes

This is going to look awesome next to the red series dimmer…

1 Like

change all the dates in all these product roadmap posts to use a consistent, standard and unambiguous date format, like 2019-12-13?

YES yes yes please do this. Especially since these discussions now span multiple years.

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Agreed. ISO8601 date/time format is a good thing.

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Looking forward to it!

Looking forward to pre-ordering 2 of these! Is this still the current ETA?

Actually read some interesting forum posts on this fan speed issue on Reddit with additional information posted on the Tasmota and Home Assistant support sites. It was explained that the reason these controllers don’t provide full power to mostly US fans is that he capacitors in the controllers are the wrong size for many common US fan units. It was also mentioned that by the time you add the fan controller using the recommended wiring, you are now inline with existing capacitors (hence the comments to make sure the pull chain is at its fastest speed) and you may experience an even further drop on delivered power. Some mentioned that they experienced only about 70% max speed versus hardwired - a significant drop.

There were a myriad of solutions ranging from soldering in bigger caps to some crazy rewiring of the controller. I wound up running a few tests and went with the path that gave me acceptable results with minimal work. While I am no stranger to soldering and circuit boards, I did not feel like spending an additional $12 dollars on new caps and then a hour or so de-soldering and re-soldering. This on top of the controller costs. I just bypassed the pull switch and caps in my Hunter fan and direct wired into the motor. I had to snip and splice some wires, but the end result is a fan that has an acceptable high speed and a low that actually had some revolutions. It is still not perfect as the caps in my controller were still too low compared to what I removed from the Hunter fan.

For the record, this was on a Sonoff iFan02 with Tasmota firmware flashed.

And some of those links for the curious - https://community.home-assistant.io/t/sonoff-itead-ifan02-fan-control-adjust-fan-speed-for-each-setting/76941 and https://www.reddit.com/r/homeautomation/comments/9romot/my_experience_with_the_sonoff_ifan02/

But I am hoping that as I switch out more of my 2.4 Wifi-based controllers for the corresponding Zwave controllers, that manufacturers like Innovelli hear and know about these capacitor issues and engineer their controllers with properly sized caps from the start. Can’t wait to get my hands on the fan controller to test.

I have a couple of GE fan controllers and have also noticed that the speeds don’t seems to be correct. Hope this can be resolved.

How’s Windy City coming along? I’m still saving room for one or two.

1 Like