Leviton’s Decora Smart Wi-Fi 4-Button Controller is sort of a miniature nerve middle on your residence’s lighting, supplied your property’s lighting is managed by different Decora Smart Wi-Fi units (e.g., switches, dimmers, retailers, plugs, and ceiling-fan controllers). It can management multiples of those different units, it will probably set off multi-room lighting scenes, or it will probably merely perform as a distant toggle change for them.
It’s an uncommon gadget, nonetheless, in that it will probably’t management an area load. As such, you wouldn’t use it to exchange an present change or dimmer. That makes it most helpful for brand spanking new building, though an expert electrician or a educated DIYer can carry out a retrofit set up. In that case, you’ll want to tug Romex cable from someplace, reduce a gap within the wall the place you need the controller to be, set up what’s often known as an “old work box,” after which make your wiring connections (you’ll join solely the road, impartial, and floor wires). Leviton tells me they’re engaged on a second model of this controller that will have the ability to management an area load.
An actual problem-solver
I simply occurred to have an identical multi-button controller that was put in once I constructed my home again in 2007. But it by no means labored the way in which it was alleged to and has been one thing of a vestigial eyesore ever since. But like Leviton’s product, it was wired with only a line, a impartial, and a floor wire, and it didn’t management any load itself. Leviton’s 4-Button Controller was not solely precisely what I wanted, it additionally solved one other downside that’s bedeviled me since we moved in.
The mild on my again porch is managed by a single change in my solar room, which is adjoining to my main bedroom on the far aspect of my residence. When I’m in the principle a part of the home at night time and want to show that mild on, it’s an extended stroll to get to that change. My earlier resolution was to put in a Z-Wave good change there and join it to my Vivint good residence system. That enabled me to regulate the change with my smartphone at first, after which with a voice command once I deployed Amazon Echoes round the home. But there have been occasions once I didn’t need to bark at Alexa, and it’s not at all times handy to stroll over to an Echo so I can use whisper mode.
When I put in Leviton’s 4-Button Controller, I changed that Z-Wave change with a Decora Smart Wi-Fi change and assigned one of many controller’s buttons to toggle that mild on and off. I can nonetheless additionally use voice instructions, however I solely must stroll a number of steps to press a button. The controller’s buttons also can do far more than toggle lights, and in some eventualities, every button can management multiple distant gadget.
Programming the buttons
You have three selections for programming every of the controller’s 4 buttons utilizing the My Leviton app: First, you may set every button to toggle a single Decora Smart Wi-Fi gadget—a light-weight change, dimmer, ceiling-fan controller, outlet, or good plug—on and off if you press the button. Second, you may program every button to “control” a number of units (turning on a ceiling fan at a predetermined velocity—low, medium, excessive, or max—turning a dimmer on at a predefined brightness—on a scale of 10 to 100 p.c—or turning a change on). Alternatively, you may program the button to show any of these units off. The third choice is to have a button run an “activity” if you push it. Activities are sequences of occasions—turning a number of dimmers on at a predefined brightness, for example.
I discovered the toggle perform to be essentially the most helpful choice. Think of it as a distant management for another Decora Smart gadget you have got put in in your house. You can flip a light-weight on earlier than you head to a different room, in order that the room is already lit if you get there. And in case you forgot to show a light-weight off if you left a room, you are able to do it remotely from the controller.
You’ll must know what state the gadget is in earlier than you press the button, although, as a result of there’s no suggestions loop. A inexperienced LED beneath the button will mild up if you press it, nevertheless it doesn’t keep lit to inform the managed units are on. The LED on the fourth button might be programmed to remain lit as a location help at nighttime, or you may go away it turned off in case you don’t need the sunshine air pollution.
The toggle function can be helpful for controlling porch, patio, and storage lights from the middle of your property or from a bed room, so that you don’t must stroll out to a fringe wall the place the first change might be positioned. This could be a matter of security in addition to comfort, as a result of it might permit you to keep away from strolling previous a window in case you’re anxious an intruder could be lurking exterior. What the toggle perform can’t do is about a dimmer’s brightness degree. When it activates a light-weight managed by a dimmer, it merely turns the sunshine on on the degree the native dimmer it’s wired to is about at.
The management choice that works with a number of units could be far more helpful if it might toggle units between states in the identical means, however it will probably’t. The button can flip a tool on or off, and it will probably set a dimmer to an outlined brightness degree or a ceiling fan to an outlined velocity, however the gadget will stay in that state till it’s modified by way of another motion—urgent the button on the native change, for instance, or controlling it from inside the app. So, in case you program the button to activate six units without delay, you’ll want to show all six units off one after the other (until you program one other of the controller’s 4 button to do this). This choice might be helpful for a “panic” scenario: If you hear a bump within the night time, you could possibly press one button that will flip all of the lights on inside and outdoors your property.
The ultimate choice, actions, can management a number of rooms, a number of units, or a mixture of the 2. As such, it’s most helpful for creating lighting scenes. I created a “good night” exercise, for example, that turned off all of the lights and the ceiling fan in my residence which can be managed by Decora Smart controls. You would possibly need to create a “movie night” exercise that dims all of the lights in your house theater, turns off the overhead lights in your kitchen off, however leaves the lights on over your kitchen counter, so you may are available in later to make popcorn. As with the management choice, nonetheless, you’ll must create a second exercise to modify the state of all of the units again to off. You don’t essentially must assign both of those programming modifications to a button, nonetheless, you could possibly simply as simply pull out your smartphone or pill and execute them that means.
It’s value noting you could create comparable routines with primarily any good change or good bulb and a sensible speaker. Amazon, for instance, calls these “routines” in its Alexa app. The largest benefit to utilizing good speaker routine over utilizing Leviton’s app is that good audio system are model agnostic—you may combine Leviton’s Decora Smart controls with, say, Philips Hue good bulbs and a Lutron good shade controller. The argument in favor of utilizing Leviton’s software program is that its app—being purpose-built for its personal units—is extra intuitive to make use of and a complete lot quicker. Leviton’s Decora Smart line can be appropriate with IFTTT if you wish to program the buttons to regulate non-Leviton units.
There are two options I want Leviton’s 4-Button Controller had—along with the power to regulate an area load, after all: First is the power to regulate the brightness of a dimmer that’s assigned to one in every of its buttons. If this labored, you’d solely have the ability to management the brightness of a dimmer utilizing the toggle perform (the primary of the three management paradigms described above), however it will be helpful. The buttons are rocker switches, so I believed this function was already there and I simply couldn’t determine find out how to do it. It’s not.
The second desired function is having some strategy to label the bodily buttons, so you may see how they’re programmed. Leviton has a four-button zone controller in its Vizia RF+ (Z-Wave) product line that has detachable buttons. When I evaluated it a number of years in the past, it got here with a bag stuffed with buttons with preprinted labels: Kitchen, Porch, Utility, and so forth. You might pop its clean buttons off and substitute them with the appropriately labeled ones, so that you didn’t have to recollect what every button did.
My workaround was to print my very own adhesive labels—“B” for bed room, “E” for entry—and stick them on the quilt plate to the correct of the related button. It’s not the prettiest resolution, and I’ll want to exchange the labels every time I reprogram the buttons, nevertheless it’s higher than making an attempt to recollect what every button does. Speaking of canopy plates, Leviton supplies one with no seen screws (it snaps onto a subplate that you simply screw into the controller). Oh, and in case you’re questioning: Leviton says you may deploy as much as eight of its four-button controllers in a single residence.
The proven fact that Leviton’s Smart Wi-Fi 4-Button Controller isn’t designed to regulate an area load makes it a extremely specialised gadget. If you’re not changing one thing comparable, as I did, putting in it in present building can be plenty of work. If you’re not an skilled DIYer, you would possibly need to usher in an electrician to do the job.
Programming it to regulate different Decora Smart Wi-Fi units with the My Leviton app, then again, is a bit of cake. Leviton’s app (I used each the Android and iOS variations) is snappy and responsive, and so are all of Leviton’s Decora Smart Wi-Fi dimmers, switches, and fan controllers. I haven’t tried the corporate’s good plugs or good retailers, however I’ve no cause to consider they’d be any much less glorious.
The backside line is that the Leviton Decora Smart Wi-Fi 4-Button Controller will deliver a welcome degree of sophistication and comfort to your good residence like nothing else can.