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Thread: Companion Switch Necessary or can I bury "hot" circuit behind wall plate?

  1. #1
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    Question Companion Switch Necessary or can I bury "hot" circuit behind wall plate?

    Hello, all. First post here, new to forum.

    I am creating a system of Radio Ra 2 Select, incorporated with Alexa and Philips Hue bulbs. I hope to receive answers to questions and also to offer my opinions or advice, for what it's worth.

    Because my family is equipping its house with voice control, I figure that I can eliminate a few companion switches in some 3-Way setups in my house. Instead of a companion dimmer/switch, or a Pico, can I just wire the companion switch "hot" and bury it behind a blank wall plate?

    I hope I'm making myself clear. If not, please advise.

    Thanks a lot.

    Bdog

  2. #2
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    yes, you can.
    Simple automation when DIY isn't working
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    Quote Originally Posted by SDR-Mike View Post
    yes, you can.
    Thanks for the quick reply.

    I meant ' "hot" switch ' in my thread title, but glad you got the idea.

    I'll have to youtube how to do such a thing, but I'm sure I read about it somewhere online recently. Prob a matter of wire nutting the correct leads together.

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    I'm not sure exactly what you are meaning by your question, but I can see no need for any 3-way switches at all in a RA2 system. I can't even figure out why Lutron would offer the 3-way switch option? It seems like it could all be handled much better with keypads located as needed.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by ErikU View Post
    I'm not sure exactly what you are meaning by your question, but I can see no need for any 3-way switches at all in a RA2 system. I can't even figure out why Lutron would offer the 3-way switch option? It seems like it could all be handled much better with keypads located as needed.
    Some people prefer physical switches even though that lighting could be part of a scene. You end up installed a remote dimmer/switch that functions the same. For example, in my own home I have a long hallway that had a generic 3 way setup and even though I have scenes setup it its still nice to hit the switch when vacuuming or pulling towels from a linen closet.

  6. #6
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    My only concern is the "bury it behind a blank wall plate"
    If you mean install a blank plate in place of the current plate and device and leave it visible, yes you can.
    If you mean install a blank plate in place of the current plate and device and bury it in the wall and cover with drywall, No you can't.
    All electrical junctions must be accessible for future repair and inspection.
    I agree with ErikU and dvpvic. Why not have a physical device to push or a least a keypad . You may not always have someone in the house familiar with voice commands.
    Are you planning on voice hubs nearby or everyone caries a Iphone?

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    Having implemented Alexa devices in several situations, their voice pickup is pretty impressive. The one setup hassle is giving lighting devices "voice friendly" names. Not what your architect or electrical contractor might call the circuit. But what occupants would regularly remember to use to call for lighting control. The one situation where voice doesn't work is later at night if there are others sleeping. Where issuing loud commands and getting "ok" responses might wake others. If you're closer to a unit and remember to reduce it's volume it's not an issue. But if not then keypad buttons, Pico or 3-way companions are still plenty useful.

    My opinion is wire it up like there wasn't anything else and you'll still be happy with it if those services aren't available, change or go offline. Voice control is great, but trying to use it as an excuse to save money on devices is a mistake.

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  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ErikU View Post
    I'm not sure exactly what you are meaning by your question, but I can see no need for any 3-way switches at all in a RA2 system. I can't even figure out why Lutron would offer the 3-way switch option? It seems like it could all be handled much better with keypads located as needed.
    If there was a way to program a switch to follow a scene like a keypad does (the way you can with Insteon), I'd agree that companion 3-way devices wouldn't be needed. I've got exactly this issue in my garage... there's power up at the front, and I want a switch up there that can turn on/off the lights that are at the other end of the garage. With Insteon you just install a switch with no load and tie the real switch to it.

    Similarly the keypads won't follow switches... I've got two back porch lights, one has a keypad that I've set to turn on the local load and the far switch. But when I turn on the far switch, I can't have the keypad's load follow.

  10. #9
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    The companion dimmer is ideal for existing homes. You can use the companion to turn the lights on from the top of the stairs so you don't have to go down the stairs in the dark and turn the lights on. If you only need control of 1 light a companion is more efficient because you don't have wasted buttons and of course, price. I still use them in new construction for things like a bedroom hall. Why have 4 or 5 keypads when you just want to control 1 zone of light?

    As for the OP, the Caseta instructions actually tell you do do this. You bypass the 3-way/4-way switches and put a battery operated Pico in the location. If you really don't need the Pico, use a blank plate. This also frees up an RF address.
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