Product Reviews

Dimmer Switch Has Hidden Talents

Posted January 18, 2017

When I first received the Intermatic Model HA02 Appliance Module to review it was not entirely clear what I would do with it. An average appliance is usually thought of as a refrigerator, dishwasher or clothes dryer and we could not see placing any of these on our network. However, I did come up with the perfect application almost by accident.

On the surface the Model HA02 seems to have the exact same purpose as its close cousin the Model HA03 Dimmer Switch. While they share the same basic functionality the core difference is that the appliance module is hard on or off control and has no middle ground. This is a necessary option for appliances because the HA03 Dimmer does not promptly shut off or on. It slowly dims off or on which would burn out a motor like the one found in a refrigerator or dishwasher.

Another use of the HA02 is that of controlling a fluorescent light, which we had. There is no motor to burn out like in an appliance but a fluorescent light also must not be on a reduced power source like an incandescent light on a dimmer. This is due to the fact that florescent lights burn a gas at a pulsating and very specific power setting that then causes the inside lining to “fluoresce.” Incandescent lights send a continuous power stream through a filament that can be set from 40 to 300 watts. Now that I had learned more about lights than I ever wanted to, I proceeded to install the module.

There was something subtly amusing about the Model HA02 documentation. Being a very basic, plug-and-go product there is little to be said. Within five sentences, 25 percent of the single sheet that makes up the manual, you learn everything you need to know about operating the module. The rest of the 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of paper contains FCC regulations and technical information, and a product description. There is also a title bar that says “Programming” followed by the direction “See the instructions for the MA07 Master Controller.” The amusing part is that the actual steps for adding the module to the network are two sentences long – the same space used to tell me to go dig for the other manual.

Like the Model HA03 dimmer switch, the HA02 appliance module is placed in the outlet and the [fluorescent] light plug is inserted into the module. The button on top servers as a manual on/off and the network installation is quick and easy — once I dug up the instructions for my controller, that is. There would be very little more to report on installation if it were not for a casual question asked by The Wife. “Do you have a Z-Wave thing that could turn on a furnace?” I have nothing (yet) specifically for the furnace but I realized that the Appliance Module could be used for the basement heater, which is a stand-alone appliance.

I unplugged the Appliance Module from the fluorescent light, deleted it from the network and started over. With the basement wall heater as my next target I ran into a little unforeseen trouble. Like the HA03 dimmer, the HA02 was built to be installed on the top plug of a standard duplex outlet and leave as much room as possible for the bottom plug for other devices. Unfortunately, the carbon monoxide detector that we have to monitor the propane heater was not built with the same consideration.

Figure 1: Stand-alone propane heater connected to a Model HA02.

The two devices fit on the one duplex but the detector would consistently fall out. We also discovered that none of our nightlights would fit either. Fortunately, there was another outlet within an acceptable distance of the heater and there are nightlight designs that will fit in the second plug. Even so, it would seem that there is a bit of a limitation as to what can be plugged into the lower outlet.

Figure 2: Plenty of room for a regular plug on the bottom not not much else.

Finally, we reconnected the HA02 to the Master Controller (see review), by the bed, and I created what we call the “Saturday Button.” Every Saturday morning at 6:45 AM our eight-year-old son likes to blast out of bed and stampede to the basement where he can play video games. In the past he would wake one of us up (usually The Mom) to escort him down the dark and scary path to the lower level. However, one touch of the Saturday Button lights the path all the way to the TV and now, thanks to the Model HA02 Appliance Module, turns on the basement heater.

Ratings

Overall Strength

Ease of Installation

Documentation

Value

Quick Reference

Product Name
Home Settings Appliance Module (HA02)

Company
Intermatic

Price
$39.99 to $57.00

Rants and Raves

Raves
Could not possibility be more easy to install. Plug-and-go in a few minutes. While the actual application of an appliance module is comparably small and specific it is a great option for those devices that require an instant on/off toggle.

Rants
Rather that printing the very short instructions for adding the HA02 to my HA07 network controller the installation document uses the same amount of text to tell me to go get the manual for the controller.

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