Have a 3-Way Circuit for Less!
October 15, 2009 Leave a comment
I’ve received several calls from customers who have done remodeling, had obstructions in front of an existing light switch, or just wanted to control a light switch from a more convenient location, like from their couch. The addition of a second switch, without having to run any new wiring, is all that they wanted.
Well, we do have powerline products that use the X10 or UPB protocol, and even products that use ZWave RF technology, and though these three lighting control systems can create that virtual 3-way switching circuit that the customers are looking for, there is a certain amount of know-how to install the products, and of course, there is the price to consider. Keep in mind that the total cost of installing these products will be far less than the bill for having an electrician show up to run new wires and install a new switch, and for the drywaller/painter to cover up the access holes made by the electrician. Getting back to the price of the products, the least expensive X10 route will set you back a little on the south side of a hundred bucks.
So, is there something even less expensive than using X10 and that is easy to do? As a matter of fact there is, and that would be to install a wireless wall switch kit from manufacturer Heath-Zenith or Leviton. Both switch kits operate on the same principle. You replace the existing wall switch with an RF receiver switch from the kit, and you attach a second switch from the kit, this one a battery-operated RF transmitter where ever you wish (within operating range of the receiver, of course), and you’re done. No code wheels to mess with, no UPB UPStart programming, no issues with powerline noise or signal coupling, no expensive programming remote required, just add the batteries ( you have to provide them) and you’ll be 3-way’ing in no time at all.
The part number for the Heath-Zenith kit is HZBL6133, and LV6696 for the Leviton kit. If you need the classic flip-type, toggle switch, use the HZBL6133. If you need the flat rocker, decora-style switch, go with the LV6696. Load requirement for the HZBL6133 is 500 watts incandescent, and 300 watts incandescent for the LV6696.
One of the more creative uses for these switches that I’ve recently heard? A customer stuck the transmitter under his living room coffee table, out of sight, to control a floor lamp plugged into a switched outlet. Nice!