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Thread: 3-way wiring switches

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Apr 2018
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    5

    3-way wiring switches

    I'm in the planning stage to upgrade my electrical from 2-wire varnished clothes to modern Romex with ground. Also upgrading switches and fixtures at the same time. Few questions.

    (1) I am using quite a few PD-10NXD Pro Dimmers and some of them are in a 3-way configuration. I don't want to rely on PICO remotes for additional locations and would prefer physical switches. I was hoping to use MA-S8AM as a slave... But when I called Tech Support today, I was informed that PD-10NXD only works with a "mechanical" slave switch... Can someone explain why would a digital switch not work as a slave? Seems like wiring would be the same. What's the difference?

    (2) Does anyone know of "mechanical" switches that look similar to the Caseta and Maestro lineups? Is it even possible to have a "mechanical" tap switch? I don't want a rocker next to flat Lutrons...

    (3) Lastly, just looking for a (sad) confirmation that there is no way to improvise wiring of MACL-LFQ (dual switch with fan+led) in a 3-way circuit?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by illusha View Post
    I'm in the planning stage to upgrade my electrical from 2-wire varnished clothes to modern Romex with ground. Also upgrading switches and fixtures at the same time. Few questions.

    (1) I am using quite a few PD-10NXD Pro Dimmers and some of them are in a 3-way configuration. I don't want to rely on PICO remotes for additional locations and would prefer physical switches. I was hoping to use MA-S8AM as a slave... But when I called Tech Support today, I was informed that PD-10NXD only works with a "mechanical" slave switch... Can someone explain why would a digital switch not work as a slave? Seems like wiring would be the same. What's the difference?

    (2) Does anyone know of "mechanical" switches that look similar to the Caseta and Maestro lineups? Is it even possible to have a "mechanical" tap switch? I don't want a rocker next to flat Lutrons...

    (3) Lastly, just looking for a (sad) confirmation that there is no way to improvise wiring of MACL-LFQ (dual switch with fan+led) in a 3-way circuit?

    Thanks in advance!
    (1) The traveler wire (blue wire) on the PD-10NXD is really meant for mixture with conventional switches. Changing the state of the blue wire (120 Volts or 0 Volts) changes the state of the PD10-NXD. It allows us to have as many switches as we want controlling the dimmer, but they can only turn the dimmer ON or OFF. The PD10-NXD does still provide the soft On/Off fades, but it is only dimmable from the one location or via Caseta controls (Pico, phone, etc...).

    (2) I'll defer this one to those that know the Lutron line better than I do.

    (3) No. There is not. That is not a 3-Way switch.

    (4) If you're starting from the ground up, I might recommend looking strongly at the RA2 Select line instead of Caseta. The Caseta line has a hard 50 device limit and no way to upgrade past that point. The RA2 Select line is a little harder to find, a little more expensive, but can accommodate 100 devices and has more in the line up.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
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    1,263
    You can only have 1 controller (dimmer, switch, etc.) per zone. The MA-S8AM and PD-10NXD are both controllers. There would be issues of when each one would be controlling the load. Could you rig something where the MA-S8AM controls the trigger on the PD-10NXD? Maybe, the function would be erratic and do you really want to be rigging electrical wiring and components?

    There is currently no Pico style mechanical switch. I have no idea if one is planned.

    As Gator noted, the RadioRA system allows you do what you want.

    The MACL-LFQ is a single-pole device. Since you are doing such a major renovation you could make it a 2-gang or (2) 1-gangs and have a lot more flexibility.
    LED, Incorporated
    Raleigh, NC 27614

  4. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Posts
    5
    Thank you for your replies and recommendations.

    I was mainly curious about the difference between mechanical and digital switches and why a digital switch wouldn’t work in place of a mechanical one. The fact that digital devices are “controllers” for the load within a single zone is a start, I can’t say that I fully understand, but I accept. Still would be interesting to learn the science behind it. As for the “rigging” comment, I call it “improvisation”, which is sometimes necessary to overcome bureaucratic logistic obstacles, although, admittedly, it doesn’t always work to change the engineering design.

    I am working on a smaller 2-bedroom house that really does not have that many circuits, so I was aware of Caseta’s 50-device limit and it did not concern me, otherwise I would have looked harder at RRA lineup or even possibly going all Zwave with HS devices. The reasoning behind LFQ dual switches was that I don’t want to cut new holes in the lath-and-plaster walls, I’d prefer to use existing switch spaces, might even be able to reuse the old metal boxes if they are deep enough.

    I already pulled the trigger and purchased all Lutron devices I thought I needed. Good thing that there is only one 3-way and one 4-way circuit in the house, the rest are all singles. So most of the switches I got will work as intended. I reviewed my plans and was able to move devices around, so that any mechanical slave switches would be mounted in 1-space locations, this way paddle-style switches won’t stand out next to tap-style switches (like they would in multi-gang boxes). I will probably just use a couple of Diva switches (such as CA-3PS) with a flat-mounted PICO for a 4-way solution. Would be cool to find some matching tap switches, but it’s not that big of a deal, plus it’s hard to beat Lutron’s feel and function.

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