I have an existing switch with no neutral. That switch controls some incandescent string lights and 4 Wyze smart bulbs [the reason for the smart bulbs is that I only have 1 switch but I want to be able to switch off the bulbs while keeping the string lights on]. I replaced the existing switch with a red series dimmer switch. The string lights go on, and 1 of the 4 smart bulbs is on, but the other 3 are off. When I put back the old switch, the smart bulbs are working again. Is there something I should configure on the red series switch to fix this problem? Thanks!
Is the dimmer on to 100%? (Or really Z-Wave level 99, the max.) Some smart bulbs might not like being on dimmers at all, but almost none like to be hard “dimmed” (i.e., by anything other than the bulb’s own software).
Yes - it was at 99 (I just checked on my Hubitat hub). I cannot figure out why 1 bulb was working. That bulb is on a lamp that has 2 sockets and the bulb on the other socket did not work.
So this does not go exactly to the root of your problem, but you should be aware that you CANNOT control receptacles with a dimmer. There are valid safety reasons that you cannot do this and that is why it is prohibited by the NEC in the US and in Canada. I am presuming that it is controlling a receptacle since you mentioned that you are controlling string lights with it.
Your immediate problem is that since you have a non-neutral, you cannot use an Inovelli switch with it. The solution is to change the connection in the receptacle box so that the receptacle is constantly powered and feeds both a hot and a neutral back to the switch box. Once you have a hot and neutral in the switch box you can use either the dimmer or the switch as a scene controller.
Wired in this manner, your smart bulbs will remain constantly powered (presuming they are plugged into the same receptacle formerly controlled by the switch) as they should be. You can then control them by scenes. For the string lights, plug them into a smart socket and control them with scenes as well.
Thanks - actually I cut out the plug of the string lights and connected the end of the string light inside a junction box. The junction box is getting the live and the neutral from the panel. I hear you on the cleaner solution (pull a new cable into the switch box), but that solution would be quite involved in my configuration (I considered doing that and ruled out that option). My alternative is to use a Z-Wave relay inside the junction box but I wanted to be sure that I was not doing anything wrong with the red series dimmer configuration. Thanks!
Got it. So the dimmer is controlling the junction box only? As long as there is not a receptacle on it that is good.
But I think you misunderstood on getting the hot and neutral to the switch. You do not need to pull a new romex.
So you have a hot and neutral in the j box and presumably a single two wire going to the switch. You take the switch capability out of it by simply hooking the white of the two wire in the j box to the neutral and the black to the hot. You now have a hot and neutral in the switch box. The Romex between the switch box and the j box is no longer a switched leg it’s a hot and neutral feed.