I live in the UK and am looking at making my home smart… obviously
SmartThings seems to be the most sensible and compatible option. I am a developer so I will be happy to create custom handlers etc.
I don’t like the fact that SmartThings needs internet access for some things but as long as I have manual overrides e.g. on light switches then that shouldn’t be a problem.
Anyhow, the light switches in my house are all expensive chrome things so I don’t want to change them and the knockout boxes are standard (70 x 70 x 25). Some rooms will have simple switches but others will be dimmable.
My walls are mostly plasterboard (drywall) and my light switches, or at least the one I unscrewed, do have neutral wires.
Anyhow, I have a few questions:
Some of my switches are very crowded but I realize I can put any sonoff / fibaro device in the drywall next to the box. This is obviously going to be much easier if I can extend the current wires using more flexible ones. Would it be safe to do it that way?
What is the difference between Sonoff 4CH and Sonoff 4CH Pro when using TASMOTA? ANSWERED:
ESP8285 + STM32
4 isolated relay
5VDC power supply
It seems like the Sonoff 4CH R2 would be almost ideal for triple light switches or is there something like a Sonoff 3CH? Would it make more sense to use a Sonoff Dual and Sonoff Basic instead? Maybe it is possible to somehow hack a Sonoff dual into a Sonoff Triple? ANSWERED: The 4CH makes the most sense although it won’t fit inside a British knockout box.
The Fibaro dimmer seems very expensive but seems to work well. Is that the dimmer people still recommend or is there another option? ANSWERED: Yes, they are the best and most reliable dimmer modules.
One of the things that is making me think twice is that I have heard that Groovy and the existing online interface is on the way out. Is there any official information about this? ANSWERED: Groovy will remain working for a long time yet but we know it is going away eventually and no official timeline has been given for when that will be.
My switches are rocker switches in chrome. These obviously won’t work with a dimmer so is there a chrome dimmer switch available? ANSWERED: Order a retractive light switch from a hardware store.
I have a couple of cheap wall mounted fans that I also want to make smart… I would need to keep all of the buttons on the fan working in case of internet outage:
On / off
Swing on / off
Fan speed (low, medium, high)
Is there a controller that could be used to make it smart? The buttons are all just microswitched if that helps. ANSWERED: I will need at least two TZ06 (two dry contact relay) totaling around £60.00 but that isn’t too bad.
As far as dimmer switches go, if you use a dumb retractive/momentary switch, which is kind of like a typical doorbell button, combined with a fibaro in wall dimmer, then these use press and hold for the dimmer function.
Unfortunately, I am not aware of any smartthings – compatible options for variable speed fan control in the UK.
If your fan has an IR remote which is compatible with a Logitech Harmony Hub, you can get one-way integration that way, but if someone changes the fan at the wall switch, smartthings won’t know about it.
On your point 5., It would probably be more accurate to say we know groovy is going away eventually, and no official timeline has been given for when that will be.
Historically, smartthings has sometimes removed features with only a few days’ notice. It seems unlikely they would do that for the groovy cloud, but there’s no guarantee.
This is one of the reasons that a competing (tiny) company founded by former smartthings users has developed a hub which runs entirely locally except for third-party integrations. It would continue to run both smartthings smartapps and their own automations even if both companies went out of business.
There are some community members now who have added it as a secondary to their smartthings systems to provide local operation and back up. It is available with a UK frequency Z wave stick, and I know a couple of people in England are using it.
It’s a very new product and needs to be considered as basically an ongoing beta. And it’s designed more for people who want preset automations, for example, there is as yet no mobile app. It also requires a high degree of technical skill at the present time. But it’s certainly worth looking at if a long-term horizon for groovy smartapps is a requirement for you.