Ceiling fan control switch. Why can't this be done?

There doesn’t seem to be a good switch for ceiling fans but it seems it should be simple because the pull chain of a ceiling fan uses a switch like you use with a lamp with a 3-way bulb:
Pos 1 = off
Pos 2 = output 1 on
Pos 3 = output 2 on
Pos 4 = output 1 and 2 on

It should be a simple case of adding 2 switches in concert and having #1 go “off,on,off,on” and #2 go “off,off,on,on”.

So the ultimate question is: How do I get them to do that together and show up as one 4 position switch in the Vera app?
I’ve picked up some Vision ZL7431US modules that will fit in the ceiling box. Now I just need to hackity,hack,hack the code side. And I’ve never written any code/macro for Vera so I have not a clue how to do it.
Ideas or examples?

You must be new around here. :slight_smile:

The Vera mobile apps have fixed user interfaces for a fixed set of their defined, known devices, and if, for example, you developed a plugin with a custom device to control your two switches as one, even if you successfully design a four-position user interface on the web side (likely just four standard buttons that your plugin controls to operate like radio buttons–only one on at a time: off, low, med, high), that interface will not make it to the mobile apps: they will show no interface at all, just a device name and icon with an otherwise empty dashboard card.

That said, the Switchboard plugin has a virtual scene controller device that can display your four button UI. You could then use Reactor or a similar tool to react to changes in the current button state and in response send the appropriate commands to turn the relays on or off in the correct combination. No code required.

Since the virtual scene controller is a custom device for Switchboard that the mobile apps know nothing about, it does not show in the mobile apps, as I said above.

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If you produce a static Json, the mobile app will show the buttons, at least on iOS. That’s the trick used by @reneboer in its wonderful harmony huh plugin.

Are you just trying to control the speed of the fan? (not the light and not a smart fan that doesn’t use the 4 positions)?
There are a few z-wave switches out there that work. GE makes one: https://www.amazon.com/GE-Enbrighten-Required-SmartThings-14287/dp/B06XTKQTTV
HomeSeer also just introduced one, Enerwave has a in wall light and fan speed combo. And there is a nice light and fan control combo from Inovelli that I hadn’t seen before. But I would go with the GE since it says it works with Vera.

Doesn’t work on Android.

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Well, it’s even supported on the (abandoned) Windows 10 app, so this adds insult to injury.

Yeah, and then of course, there’s Alexa and Google…

The problem with the GE switch is you have to have the wall wired for a separate switch. Tearing up drywall to add a second isn’t really a great option. I had a Zigbee Hampton Bay module that worked with Wink but obviously Wink shot itself in the foot and the module’s reset function doesn’t work so I can’t find out if it could work with Vera.

The Vera Android app suffers from a rather inflexible interface with a lot of wasted space that is really a hindrance on a small screen. It would be nice to be able to more directly control how the devices are displayed and remove dead space.

OK so are you saying you have 4 wires in a 1 Gang (one for set of wires for light and one set for fan). Or are you saying that you only have 2 wires for both light and fan and that some combo does magic?

The Enerwave control fits behind a standard switch or in the ceiling box and controls both light and fan seperately so will work.

And the that new Inovelli isa 1 Gang with two switches (one for ligh one for fan)

Not sure how compatible either are with Vera. But look promising.

Oh, I am now definitely recommending you look into the Inovelli control from their RedLine… looks very slick and exactly what you are asking for! It has both a 2 wire switch, and a model that site in the ceiling box of the fan to do the light and fan seperately. And lists OK with Vera :slight_smile: https://www.amazon.com/Inovelli-Z-Wave-Control-Independent-Controller/dp/B08665WJ2B/ref=sr_1_17?dchild=1&keywords=inovelli+fan&qid=1601063889&sr=8-17

I just found this on another forum: https://bondhome.io/product/bond-bridge/. Seriously considering it. I have 4 ceiling fans and this is real close to nirvana without major surgery on the fans. I think others have programmed RF devices to communicate with Vera, but I think I’ll research this a little.

Anyone have any experience with Bond? This was the only information I found: Bond iO RF Bridge.

Good day,
this is off topic, but does reactor need an internet connection for any thing?


TL;DR: Reactor doesn’t require Internet access to work, except for geofence conditions and some notification actions. Caveat: long-term loss of Internet breaks may break Vera’s clock and cause all automations (Reactor and otherwise) to malfunction. Read detail for more info and mitigation strategy.

Logic and automations are all standalone within Reactor except for those things which naturally require Vera’s cloud or other outside cloud service. This includes things like geofencing and notifications and should be no surprise.

There is a catch on the Vera side with wide-ranging effect, including into Reactor: Vera hardware doesn’t have a real time clock. That means it needs to synchronize time to external time servers, usually in the cloud. If your Vera is up and running and your Internet access drops out, that’s usually not a problem, for a while. After a little while (an hour or so), Vera may reboot, and that’s when things really come a gutser. If Vera reboots when there is no Internet access, it comes up with a default time and date (that is very wrong) and runs with it. This will make any absolute-time-based logic malfunction: if you have something that happens at 2pm every day, it may happen at what is really 1:30am because of the broken clock. If a task runs on Sunday, it may run on what is really Tuesday. When Internet access is restored, the clock will sync again — time will appear to leap forward, and any delay tasks will immediately fire because the delay period has gone through a time warp to expiration.

Reactor attempts to detect a bad clock and has facilities you can include in logic to warn you when Vera’s clock is invalid. There is also a setting you can set to just have Reactor not run at all if the clock is bad. The Reactor documentation describes all that. In any case, this poor clock handling affects all subsystems within the Vera, not just Reactor (if you have time-based native scenes, they also won’t work correctly, for example). At least with Reactor you can detect it and choose to do other things, or nothing at all.

If you routinely lose Internet access for long periods of time, I recommend that you change the clock source on your Vera. You can, for example, very cheaply add a hardware RTC to most cheap micros (RPi, ESP8266, etc., and some models already have it on board) and make it your local network’s time server — configure everything in the network to sync to it. Your mini-clock will sync to the cloud and everything else will sync to it; because the mini-server has a hardware clock, if the Internet drops out and it can’t reach cloud servers, the hardware clock continues with the last-known-good time until it can sync later (and it’s usually then only off a second or two), even if power fails (hardware RTCs have their own batteries, typically).

One would need 4 Z-Wave Relays and 3 Capacitors of proper size to do this. I see a market for a miniaturized set up for this but the funds to produce it are a whole other thing.

The Inovelli Red fan switch is an actual solution! (I thought I was going to have to start setting up a HA hub to work with.)

There is only a single Romex from the wall switch to the ceiling fan so all the control has to be remote with the actual switching (including speed control) done in the ceiling. The Inovelli has a remote controlled unit in the ceiling that is controlled by the wall switch unit and z-wave so it does it all plus adding a wall control.
I had bought an Inovelli wall switch to test and it seems to be a nicer unit than the Zooz that I had used before.

Crazy thing is not sure how long this solution will be in place before I tear up the ceiling. The ceiling has stapled in acoustic tile with no drywall! :anguished: I’m going to add drywall with a raised center section that has a fiber optic star field in it and at that point the ceiling fan will have to become a corner mounted ducted fan so there aren’t shadows crossing the ceiling.

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