Zigbee Fan Canopy Module | Project Cheryl

That I am aware of, it is a AC fan. We subbed in the canopy module for the remote receiver the fan came with and it just worked. Though I realize now it was Lutron, not Leviton.

What is the model of the fan?

The fan itself would be set on high, this would control the speeds up to the high setting locked in on the fan itself. Would not use the speed reduction of the fan itself.

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Not sure what the fan model is, and not about to take it down to find out. The controller canopy module is MA-LFQHW which only appears to be compatible with AC fans.

A three-speed AC fan CAN operate at more than 3 speeds if the canopy module supports more than 3. The typical AC ceiling fan has 3 speeds selected via a hard-wired rotary switch on a pull chain.

When these fans are speed-controlled via canopy module or wall switch, the fan motor is set to Hi-speed (full power) and left at that setting. The canopy module or wall-switch is then responsible for reducing the power to the fan to lower its speed. Therefore, a canopy module (e.g. project Cheryl) or wall switch (e.g project Zephyr) could support more than the 3-speeds built in to the original motor.

The issue is that more speeds usually requires more hardware (usually capacitors ) in the controller which takes up precious space in the canopy or gang-box. I believe the VZM35 Fan Switch is limited to 3 speeds for this very reason (can’t add more capacitors due to space limitations). I don’t know if Project Cheryl could be designed for more speeds (ideally VARIABLE speed) while staying within the size contraints. But if possible (using the most current technology perhaps) that would be fantastic.

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I have heard the same thing about ruining a fan motor but more so if the switch was designed for lighting and more specifically the old turn knob dimmers being very bad for fan motors. I would definitely yield to anyone with expertise in this.

Anyway, I double checked my fan and I was slightly mistaken. The switch I have and another 4 speed canopy module that I have add a speed between low and medium. So I end up with the same low, medium, and high as the pull chain, but an additional medium-low setting.
Here is a link to the 4-speed Leviton z-wave switch I crammed into my canopy’s:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08GQJWSRG

Here is the other 4-speed wifi controller/canopy module I have. Speeds match the Leviton switch.
Hampton Bay Wifi 4-Speed
Just looking around a bit more, and Hunter sells a 4-speed (dumb) wall switch as well.
Hunter 4-Speed switch

Anyway you choose to go, I’m definitely picking these up for all my fans.

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This really sucks about no dc fan support. Maybe inovelli can team up with the bond bridge ppl and get something done? I have a band bridge that controls my dc fan wonderfully, but i really wish it has a wall control like the lzw36.

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A bit more on this (from my long ago electrical engineering days, roughly correct I think, but there maybe some more nuances). . .

A typical AC ceiling fan motor uses two capacitors during operation, a “Start” capacitor which is need to give the motor a “kick” and get it rotating, and a “Run” capacitor which adjust power phase to the motor windings. This “Run” capacitor also has the effect of setting the speed of the fan. An optimally sized run capacitor will give you high speed; non-optimal and the speed is slower.

A speed controller for these types of fans changes speed by switching in / out different capacitances to be used as the “run” capacitor. There’s an optimal capacitance that is for the “highest” speed, and less optimal capacitances that set low and medium speeds.

Typically capacitors for these fans are somewhat large devices – for rough scale, about the size of your pinkie from the tip to the first joint - that doesn’t sound too big, but you need several for a multi-speed fan (Start, Run-Low, Run-Medium, Run-High), so they take up space in a casing. It seems that most controllers have settled on 3 speeds being enough, but there is no reason you couldn’t have more speeds - you could have 100 speeds if you had room for all those capacitors, but you typically wouldn’t due to physical size limits.

Here’s an example of one of these 3-speed fan capacitors: https://www.amazon.com/YJZR-CEILING-CAPACITOR-CBB61-4-5uf/dp/B074TFZKRB/ref=asc_df_B074TFZKRB/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=309805330052&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=15081790954824221058&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9009745&hvtargid=pla-712200513117&th=1

The capacitance in use for this would be chosen from an external switch ( the pull-chain thing).

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See my prior post about how capacitors are used in AC fan motors to control speed.

To enable reverse, you need another switch element to which windings get the “start” capacitor and which windings get the “run”. The LZW36 didn’t include this switch (maybe an oversight when the design was being specified) , so it can’t reverse - I’d say that was a missed opportunity. I’d love to see this new canopy module include this feature - it would need a relatively simple / cheap relay to implement - so hopefully it gets put into the specification before engineering starts.

Here’s a wiring diagram for engineers as to how this gets wired in a traditional fan setup:

This is from this article: How To Replace a Capacitor in a Ceiling Fan? 3 Ways

Am I the only one frustrated by this product announcement?

The LZW36’s are currently going for $250+ on eBay. They were successful, but were EOL’ed for some reason. The R&D was done, the manufacturing was completed. Why not spin that back up?

It was clearly a successful product. I have 5 and want 1-2 more, with the ability to pair multiple canopy modules to a single switch so I can control multiple fans. Seems like something a firmware update could accomplish. This is to go along with ~40 Red Series dimmers and ~10 Red Series switches I already have installed in my house. I’m a fan of the product and the company, but sometimes it seems like the Inovelli team innovates for the sake of innovating and abandoning they current products.

Instead, Innvelli is spinning up a net-new project, with a 6+ month timeline to deliver a product they’ve already developed, but in ZigBee.

What am I missing?

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We are no longer working with that manufacturer, so either way we would have to create the product from scratch again. They will not release anything to us and will not produce products for us anymore. (Long story, but if you’ve been around you probably know).

Also, the LZW36 has had major defects the entire time it has been released! You are lucky if you are one of the people who did not experience any issues. We only produced 6000 units of this project (probably the lowest amount ever for any of our SKU’s) and I would say at least 50% of them were defective in some way.

The RF module and z-wave switch connection is very finicky. Many people have had issues with them never connecting. The problem was never resolved by the manufacturer since they decided to stop working with us.

We also had issues with people losing the medium speed on the fan after awhile - also a defect never fixed by the manufacturer.

We also initially had an issue where people had units that would make their lights blink. I think we did get that fixed but that was about it. It was a great product but technically failed on a lot of levels.

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Also, as far as this goes - I can definitely see how it seems that way. I can assure you though we never make anything with the intention of abandoning it, but we’ve been through a lot of financial turbulence and at one point decided we needed to scale down to the most successful products we’ve made, while also trying to expand to a larger market.

We used to sell sensors, bulbs, plugs, light strips, etc but have had to move away from those things to focus on where 99% of our money is made - which is in switches. That’s why you will now see us innovating in basically only the switch category. You may see other types of innovation again in the future, but when money is so tight we can only innovate and spend cash on the things we know will make us money.

We do look forward to bringing the fan/light switch back - it is easily one of our top selling and most requested products, even though we made so few of them!

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Hmmm… :thinking:
I hear you. And it is interesting how we have opposite reactions to the same thing.
The only reason I’m excited about this announcement is my love for the LZW36.

Try to look at it from this perspective: What we love about LZW36 is the concept of a fan and light switch and its design.

If Inovelli can pull this (canopy module) off and give us the ability to pair this module with Project Walt, and Project Walt give us a two button switch with engraved plates, then we will have the exact same concept and look and feel that we love so much with a much superior product (fan and light switch).

And since it has all the reasons to work really well this time, there is less chance it will hit end of life as quick as the LZW36 did.

Let’s hope for the best.

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Yeah agree – from what we’re told, there are a couple of reasons we couldn’t do DC:

  1. There are a lot of different brands that use different parts and have a lot more wires than AC (I know the DC fan I purchased had 6 wires, not including line and neutral) whereas AC just has fan and motor (plus line/neutral) and it would be hard to create a module that worked with all DC fan companies.
  2. The drivers/ballasts are different for each fan company and they need to know how to not only spin the motor, but understand the RPM and positions. Since the methods used to determine these are proprietary, it would be hard to create something that understood those methods.

I agree though, huge opportunity and with more fans going DC, it makes me wonder if I’m crazy sometimes to come out with this product and if I’m the only one who sees the opportunity for retrofits because other smart home companies aren’t making a canopy module. But, I’m willing to take the chance because of the success of the LZW36.

Nice, thank you for the explanation, I think I may get it so bear with me.

Are you saying that the fan has these capacitors built into it (in the 3-Speed case, there are 4) and the switch itself would somehow tell the switch which capacitor to choose from?

So, if we put 5 capacitors in the canopy module (Start, Run-Low, Run-Low-Medium, Run-Medium-High, Run-High), how would the fan interpret which capacitor to run based on the canopy module?

Sorry, my marketing, non-engineering brain is trying to comprehend!

Again, help me out here (sorry, I’m trying, I really am) – how would the canopy module be wired in here to make this work? I’m understanding the switching part of the schematic, but I’m getting confused how the module would make this happen.

Also, at the fan, it looks like you have 3 separate wires outside the line/neutral/ground. In all fans I’ve tested, there’s typically just a motor and light wire. What is the third wire in this diagram?

It looks like @Courtney_Inovelli did a great job answering this – I’m happy to expand on it if you’d like and trust me when I say I share your frustration. Nothing like flushing $100k+ worth of tooling, engineering fees, certifications, etc down the toilet.

I loved the LZW36 and wish we still had it as well. Unfortunately, as Courtney mentioned, our manufacturer changed strategies and only wants to work with the Ring’s of the world and basically told us to pound sand.

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Put me down for April 1st, 2024 in this latest “when will it ship” pool, and you can also use the same date to announce the Z-Wave equivalent Canopy Module… :rofl:

Would it not be possible to have a canopy module that can learn RF commands instead of dealing with the wiring? Or even incorporate the rf into the actual switch itself if there were space… seems like that would be easier then having to worry about wires… just keep things the way they are electrically, but just duplicate existing remote commands… THIS is what id much rather have.
I understand that if you use the existing remote, then there is the possibility of things being out of sync. But i wouldnt even use the remote if i had this switch. I would use the switch or smartthings app…

One can dream.

Not sure I understand, but this module will receive commands (via Zigbee) to pass to the fan. The only way it can pass things to the fan is to hook the module to the fan’s wires.

If the fan presently has a remote, it’s probably a DC fan and won’t be compatible with this module. So fans that this will be compatible with won’t have a remote, more than likely.

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This is more or less what the beloved LZW36 did with a bi-directional RF link between the canopy module and switch, and many buyers know the grief/problems that it caused…

Im asking for a module that can just “learn” an existing remotes controls… like a harmony remote, or even the bond bridge.
Like… hear me out… the canopy adapter only is for power for the module itself… so only a neutral and hot.
This zigbee canopy module can learn RF commands from an existing remote controller… picture a bond bridge that you tuck into the canopy.
Then have the fan+light switch connect to the hub through zigbee aswell… then do the actual controls through routines… or if the module and switch could connect directly through zigbee aswell without a hub, that would be cool too…

Another concept which would be better

If i remember correctly, the issue with the lzw36 was that the canopy would lose connection with the switch because they would talk to eachother like that… but what if maybe instead, lets get rid of the canopy module all together… no module in the canopy, and squish an rf learning module inside the switch itself.
No relays in the light switch. You click the fan button, and it sends a remote command.

Again, these are for DC fans… not ac.
300-450mhz rf sender + receiver built inside the fan+light switch. No physical relays. This can also be easy for ppl without neutral because the system would need to be on all the time anyways to receive remote commands.

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As I understand it, the capacitors would be in the canopy module. The fan motor doesn’t interpret anything - it is a dumb device and can only react to what is connected to it --= i.e., the “start” and a “run” capacitors. The canopy module chooses which of its capacitors to attach to the fan motor as the current “run”. So, for example, if the canopy module could present 5 different capacitances as the “run” capacitor, there would be relay modules or other switch devices within the canopy to correct the right one for the right selected speed. At least that’s how I understand the operation.