Dimmer for 1.2kW? Automating my workshop

Hey there,

I’m looking to ‘remote dim’ my 1.2kW vacuum in my workshop. I built a central vacuum system and I want to be able to remotely start/stop and dim the vacuum (to adjust suction power). I have a basic version of this running with ‘dumb’ components (a current sensing relay to turn on the vacuum automatically on load and a 433mHz remote plus a cheap knob-dimmer).

I’ve come to like home assistant over the past few years for home automation, so now I wonder whether I can apply it in my workshop as well. The major issues I see right now:

  1. How to adjust the power of the vacuum turbine? Are there dimmers that support this much power?
  2. How to remotely turn on/off and adjust power? What kind of remote switch can be used?
  3. How to “auto-on” the vacuum when stationary power tools are used?

All of this as easy, robust and cheap as possible (obviously). And I’d like to use off-the-shelf equipment if possible.

Regarding 1.: I’m considering this power control: M028N Power control 110 - 240 V/AC, 4000 VA It can be controlled via PWM with an additional module. So I’d need some way to integrate this with HA.

Regarding 2.: I guess I could use any e.g. Zigbee remote switch with 3 buttons (on/off, power up/down).

Regarding 3.: I’ve seen e.g. Shelly current sensing relais that could be used.

Zigbee seems the way to go for the portable battery powered switches.

Any ideas and thoughts are appreciated! Thanks!

1 Like

Being a powerful motorized device I wouldexpect that zigbee & 2,4 GHz Wi-Fi signals could get swamped out by electromagnetic interference from the motor.

There are dry contact Z-Wave relays in some markets.

This will be your issue. You cannot use traditional ‘dimmers’ on inductive loads like motors. (Smoke happens, it’s not a fun time) This is the entire reason Jasco makes both a ‘dimmer’ and ‘fan controller’ in their Z-wave line.

You need to determine if you can locate a ‘fan controller’ that can adequately manage that vacuum motor. If no - you’re done, full stop. IF you can find that, then you need to determine if that fan controller can itself be controlled remotely somehow.

That all said, yes I read the specs (mostly said for completeness don’t want someone seeing ‘dim’ and 'motor; in the same thread…) You’re on to what ‘kind’ of device you’re going to need for that motor. You’ll need something that adequately handles the current and induction requirements, then on top of it can itself be controlled somehow. That one looks like it fits the bill IF it meets the motor’s requirements.

Next problem to solve is control. your motor controller can do this:
Auxiliary module: M150 - DC + pulse converter
When superposing this module, it also possible to control M028N with control voltages (1 - 5 V/DC or 3 - 12 V/DC or 6 - 24 V/DC) or with TTL pulses (optionally in each case).

Basically you just need to replicate that functionality with something. TBH, easiest will probably be some kind of ESP32 device - because if you can determine what signaling the controller uses, it should be fairly straightforward to convert that into a series of settings you can expose to HA and wire your own ESP32 to the motor controller in place of that module.

Finally I’m with Prod - I’ve never seen a motor that powerful that doesn’t shoot off crazy interference. It might drown out the signal. I’d definitely avoid Zigbee for this, but be willing to at least TRY WiFI on an ESP32

Good point, didn’t consider interference at all. What I can easily do is to just test it. I have some Wifi and Zigbee plugs with energy monitoring so I should be able to see how stable the signal is. I can even replicate my current ‘automation’ with HA to see how stable it is in use. Should that be successful (e.g. maybe because my workshop is fairly small, signal might be strong enough to not be affected by interference?), then I can always invest more to get to my power controlled.

Thanks for your answers so far!