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Updated April 14, 2008 0600pm EST

I have a Harmony 890 Pro and the Vizia RF Z-Wave Programmer/Controller RZCPG-BSG. I wanted to make the Harmony 890 Pro the secondary controller and learn from the Vizia, which is the primary. Is this possible?

Unfortunately, Logitech has been going backward with its Z-Wave capabilities since the original launch. The last I heard from a Logitech forum was the latest release of 890 firmware removed Z-Wave capability completely. Depending on what firmware release you are on, you may be able to replicate the Leviton primary over to the 890 as a secondary. To do this, you must include the 890 as a controller using the Leviton RZCPG. When the RZCPG includes another controller, static or portable, it copies all of the network information over to it. Once the 890 has been included, you can use the Update Controller function on the RZCPG to send it updates if you add or remove devices from your Z-Wave system. 

How do I find an authorized representative to install Z-Wave products in my area?

Each manufacturer of Z-Wave products maintains its own list of trained and authorized installers. I would start by selecting a few products to work with and then contact that company to get information on installers in your area. You can also contact some of the larger on-line retailers of Z-Wave products and see if they have lists of installers that they work with. Look into the following companies: Worthington Distribution, Home Controls, Z-Wave Products, HomeSeer, and Automated Outlet.

I live in France and would be interested in Z-Wave products for my house. The only manufacturer I’ve found is “ACT,” but their aren’t many products to choose from. Do you know when new modules will come to market, like thermostats and security solutions?

There are many new products being launched for use in Europe over the next few months. Companies like Danfoss, FAKRO, Merten, Aspalis, Horstmann, Hawking, Modstroem, and others are all working on Z-Wave products for use in Europe.

Is Z-Wave open source?

No, the standard is available to customers of Zensys Inc., under NDA only.

I have no neutral (white wire) in my light switch boxes. Will I be able to use Z-wave lighting controls (Leviton Vizia-RF) in my home? Also, is there a slight delay after commands are sent to Z-Wave switches?

Most Z-Wave lighting control companies have what they call a Two-Wire, no neutral dimmer in their product lines for just this application. In most instances there will be no perceptible delay in sending commands to Z-Wave devices. If you are sending an All Off to a whole house full of devices you may see some very short delay, less than a second or two for all devices to respond.

Any special provisions I should be making to facilitate automating the light switches for new construction? Right now, I’m just planning on running hot, neutral, and gnd to all switches with standard switches. Then I will retrofit the switches across the house one-by-one as my budget allows.

If you are planning on retrofitting over time you are going about it the right way. Some people use lighting controls to reduce the number of switches, gang-plates, on the wall. They remotely mount the actual switches and dimmers in a mechanical space and then only mount multi-button keypads in the actual rooms. This way you can control up to six devices or scenes from a single gang device and cut down on wall clutter.

Mark Walters, our resident Z-Wave expert, is vice president of the Z-Wave Alliance

 

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