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Inovelli Community

Red Dimmer Switch on Outlet

Hi folks!

New guy here–I’m trying to wire up a Red series dimmer to control a bunch of smart bulbs around a room. The current standard on/off switch I’m replacing is connected to an outlet. I don’t need to control the outlet directly (I’m planning on putting in smart bulbs to a lamp plugged into the outlet receptacles), and would actually prefer that the outlet remain live the whole time so we can plug other things into it.

I know that it’s against code to put a dimmer on an outlet, but I’m wondering if there’s a way to keep the outlet always hot with the Inovelli dimmer switch. I couldn’t find anything on this, specifically, so I’d love some advice, if at all possible!

@snichs - Quick question, does your outlet receive power before the switch or does it go to the switch first? If goes to the switch first, by any luck is there a 3-way romex there?

You could always power on the outlet with the dimmer (shudders) and disable the local control…but why a dimmer? You trying to control lamp lights?

@harjms yes I am! I want to be able to dim a bunch of lights in a living room, as well as have a scene that turns on Kitchen and Dining room as well when I walk into the house.

As for if it’s coming or going… not sure yet! Will have to figure that out when I’m home. Does that make much of a difference?

@snichs It can. Depending on what you say I would almost suggest using the dimmer as a no load switch and buy the Ilumin bulbs for the lamp. You get wire the outlet straight thru but use the dimmer to toggle scenes and control the Ilumin bulbs in the lamp. Otherwise we could look at alternatives in wiring. Just some food for thought.

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Is there a reason you prefer the dimmer over the switch? The switch would be to code with or without local control, but either could be used as basically a button device without actually controlling the load: both support disabling local (and/or remote) control, so pressing the buttons (or, if remote, even Z-Wave commands) do not affect the load. You get presses, holds, and releases as Z-Wave Central Scene events on the Red Series for either the dimmer or switch (on Hubitat and SmartThings, these get translated to button events; on any platform that’s open enough, the scene events should be usable in some fashion).

A dimmer at 100% (or 99 in Z-Wave terms) is not the same as a switch that’s on. Many types of loads will not like this. The dimmer itself is also not rated for some load types, e.g., motors/fans, so you’d have to be careful what anyone plugs into the outlet (bulbs should be fine but obviously this isn’t permanent wiring so you never know what may happen). If the reason for the dimmer is that you don’t have a neutral (at the switch), the dimmer is unlikely to work well here — it needs a minimum load without one that your outlet, even with smart bulbs, is likely to vary too much with to work well. If you just want to dim a smart bulb by holding the paddle like a smart dimmer, that — as mentioned above — would work just as well with the switch.

Just some other things to think of besides the above!

I got the dimmer because, well, I want to be able to dim the lights in my house. I already connected one Red dimmer to another area of the house and it works great, though that one goes right to an overhead light fixture.

Given all the code issues, I don’t actually want to dim the outlet, and I’d like to use it as a regular outlet if possible, I just was hoping to dim the (smart) lights that are going to be connected to the smart switch (I’m using a Hubitat). Is this possible with a non-dimmer switch?

And I definitely do have a neutral in the wall here! I ran a Kasa dimmer to the outlet before a vacuum bricked it…

@snichs - You can use a Red On/Off and program buttons in Hubitat to dim pre-programmed settings. E.g. Double tap up turns all assigned bulbs to 100%, Double tab down lowers to 50%, Triple tap up turns all bulbs to 75% etc… All that is possible with Hubitat and RED series switches.

I think the issue @BertABCD1234 and myself have is running the dimmer to an outlet even though it’d be at max all the time. If you want the dimmer, I would not connect the load and just tap off the line to feed the switch and go continue line to the outlet. Then I would pick up smart bulbs for the lamp to control. The alternative is using the On/Off in a similar setup, but therortically you could use it to power on the outlet. Some outlets have it split so that the bottom is always on and the top is controlled via the switch, thus a 3-wire romex (or 2 wire) can bring power up to the switch and then back down to feed the outlet.

Yes, if you’re OK with putting Hubitat in the middle: again, presses, holds, and releases of both paddle directions will be (in Hubitat terms) parsed as button events, which you can then do with as you please. When the up paddle is pressed, you can use the hub to turn on the lights; when the down paddle is pressed, you can turn them off. When the paddle is held in either direction, you can start dimming up/down; when it’s released, you can stop (assuming your bulbs/lights support this — on Hubitat, this would be the startLevelChange and stopLevelChange commands on the device; otherwise you can at least step the level up/down or use multi-taps to go to set levels or whatever you want).

You could do the same with a dimmer, but you don’t need one just to do that. One advantage the dimmer would give you is that you could use Z-Wave association for on/off and level of that if your bulbs are also Z-Wave and support this (as Inovelli’s own do). That takes the hub out of the picture, as the dimmer would communicate directly to the bulbs. For me, Hubitat is reliable (and fast) enough that I don’t feel the need to try this, but that would be the only difference I can think of if you are concerned (and even then, I think the switch should still be able to do it for on/off, just not level).

@harjms @BertABCD1234 Got’cha, that makes sense. Since I already have the dimmer switch, I can just use that as @harjms mentioned, right? How would I

Would I just use a pigtail to the “Line” on the Dimmer, and then connect the neutral? I don’t want anyone bricking the switch because they attach a vacuum or something similar into the outlet like last time!

@snichs - Exactly. Take the line and use a wire nut to tie in the outlet with a pigtail going to the switch. Same with the neutral. Do not connect anything to load or traveler. Include into your network and start the programming.

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Awesome! Thanks for the help, y’all!

Dang that was some great teamwork there @harjms and @BertABCD1234 - thanks for the help!

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@Eric_Inovelli - Lots of free time recently…Thanks Corona!

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Just wanted to update y’all–worked like a charm! Thanks for all the help!