Dimmer Module for traditional switches?


(Greg) #1

I think I already know the answer to this after endless amount of searching, but figured I would ask just in case I’m missing something.

Is there anything on the market that will replace the standard dimmer module in your dimmers, that works with Z-Wave. I’m not after the Fibaro Dimmer module as they won’t fit behind the switches (35mm backbox + LED dimmer + Fibaro won’t fit)

I’m after an actual dimmer module that can be configured to dim a group of lights without reducing the power to them. When I say a dimmer module, I mean:

The idea being 2 fold:

  • It can control standard lights by simply reducing the power to the circuit as a normal dimmer module does, but this can also be done remotely. Touching the dial would have to reset it to its natural state.

  • The second that it can control a set of smart bulbs. Scenario here being Philips Hue bulbs for example. They don’t work with dimmer switches, but you could assign the module to the light, and using the dimmer would control the brightness of the light without reducing the power to it.


#2

Doesn’t exist. There are various technical reasons for why not, but essentially a traditional dimmer switch is an analog device and it just doesn’t fit into the message construct of a Z wave system for a multilevel switch.

Remember that when it comes to Z wave, you can go to the official alliance site and see literally every product currently certified for zwave. ( finding one to purchase may be a different challenge, but at least you can see what exists.)

http://products.z-wavealliance.org

As for the Fibaro, remember that this, like all micros, doesn’t necessarily have to go in the switchbox. It may fit in the ceiling rose or somewhere else on the circuit. But you’re still not going to get an analog circle dimmer switch for it. Press and hold is the best you can hope for.


(Greg) #3

Does the Fibaro work like that? If I have a bulb in, can I dim it via either SmartThings or the dimmer switch. I didn’t think that was possible. I can’t see it fitting into the ceiling rose either

Also, with LED technology, they use digital signals, not analog. The whole IoT system is missing the point that there are still a lot of people who want to implement this stuff with the ability to still control them (even restrictively) from a traditional switch, and not everyone wants a mismatch of switch designs in their house to accommodate this.


(John Crighton) #4

Yes, that’s absolutely possible. That and much, much more.

If you don’t want a mismatch, fit dimmer 2s and momentary switches throughout the house :wink:


(Greg) #5

Interesting…

So how does this work:

I’ve got a double dimmer in my lounge, one control the spots, the other controls the rose. They’re running LEDs.

What I want to do is have the ability to control the brightness of my spots using the dimmer switch and my phone if I want. I can’t fit the Fibaro behind my dimmer, but I could probably put it inline before the first spot in the chain.

How exactly would this work, as turning down the dimmer would reduce the power to the circuit.


(John Crighton) #6

Yes, it would reduce the power. This means you’d need to get rid of the dimmer and have a momentary/bell push style switch (effectively always off but you can push it to make the connection and send signals to the Fibaro, like tap for on/off, tap and hold to brighten/dim, double tap for max brightness, etc).

I was determined to get all of my modules behind the switches, so I had the wall bored out and new backboxes fitted where they were too shallow. I appreciate that’s not a solution for everyone.

It’s absolutely possible to put the Fibaro in line with the lights, and effectively use the live/switched live as the signal cables (S1/Sx). This isn’t something I’ve done, but there’s no big reason not to. If you can bring a neutral wire into the equation, all the better, as that should increase the likelihood of working out of the box with LEDs. If you don’t have a neutral you might need a Fibaro Bypass 2.


(Greg) #7

This is what will cause the problems, hence my initial question.
Lots of people still want the traditional style dimmer control, if I removed them for the push and hold, i’d hear no end of complaints.

Got any examples of what it is you mean? We’ve currently got Chrome faceplates all around the house


(John Crighton) #8

Well, as @JDRoberts says, if you want analogue style controllers then you’re out of luck. I can imagine how one would be composed, but it would be a bit of a feat of engineering and probably very expensive. I have never seen one.

I use chrome switches also, with black inserts. This range is installed throughout my house: https://www.etcelectrical.co.uk/schneider-gu1412rbpc-1-gang-retractive-switch-polished-chrome-black-insert.html

I also have 2 gang/4 gang equivalents where necessary.

A neat trick of the Dimmer 2 is that it has the facility for two switches. You can just use S1, or you can use S1/S2 and have a rocker style dimmer (so press up for bright, down for dim). Or, you can use S2 as a smart switch with a bit of wizardry, and control any other device connected to ST (like a smart bulb in a lamp). I have now done this in a couple of places.

The setup is very intuitive, no visitors complain, and they seem to take to it like a duck to water.


#9

gshep, I’m currently developing such a product for the UK market.

The product is a complete retrofit unit with a dimmer module and integrated switch which can work off 2-wire installation (no neutral). Tests so far show positive performance with good dimming control on CFL & LED light sources.

While my current enclosure solution doesn’t match the form factor of your application I could look into this as an option for a wider market. I do have momentary and rotary switching options developed.

Current downside for your application though is that I’m not using Z-wave, I’ve selected another protocol although in hoping to add a 2nd wifi radio into the device.

To help me develop this product further have you any wish list items that a product like this must achieve? Dimensions, performance, efficiency??

Thanks


(Greg) #10

Did you ever develop this?


#11

Hi Greg - my switch is still in development although the product has moved on somewhat since my note to you.

I have more information on a website if you want to take a look, www.rhoob.com.

Let me know if you have any thoughts.

Thanks,

Neil