Fibaro Dimmer Module 1 vs Module 2

Hello all,

Ive had a good hunt around and i cant find the answer to my question and im eager to know the correct answer incase i make a great expensive mistake with my next purchase . . .

Within the next week i plan to smarten every room in my apartments main lighting on top of all the nice mood lighting ive already done with hue products and fls ballasts + rgbw strips :slight_smile:

Due to having very shallow back boxes on my switches and various other reasons and options ive dismissed, ive decided to go for Fibaro Dimmer Modules ABOVE my light fittings in the ceiling and Momentary Switches on the walls as my solution (uk 2wire install) as a pose to having them behind the switches.

Now i have a few questions id like to ask before i jump in and attack this and potentially make any mistakes.

1.) what is the actual difference between the Fibaro Dimmer Modules 1 & 2, as the price point is still fairly identical on these in the UK?

2.) when installing the dimmer module above a light fitting as a pose to behind a switch, does module 1 or 2 suit the situation better or are they theoretically the same as one another in terms of install?

(I only ask this as i have a feeling i read somewhere not to use dimmer 2 modules above light fittings for some reason, however i may be wrong)

3.) the physical momentary switch, as well as turning on and off the lights on that curcuit, can this also dim the lights and would i be right to asume that this is done by holding the switch down for a period of time by which i assume the lights would raise and lower for the period its held down etc

4.) is there an approved device type for both modules yet or is 2 still awaiting this, if not is the community one fully working in a way everyone is happy for any users already using this.

Cheers in advance for the answers its most appreciated and hopefully helps anyone else a little unsure to the finer details of this.

Kyle

It appears that the new version (212) was created to meet new German and Swedish regulations for Carry separation. The new one is both physically bigger and carries a smaller load than the older ones, not the usual evolutionary direction for a new model unless new safety regulations coming to play. And it looks like the old model (211) is being discontinued at most stockists.

I don’t think there’s a device type for 212 yet that’s stable in the community, although people are working on it.

Neither Fibaro micro relay is on the official “works with smart things” list, although similar Aeotec inwall relays are.

My guess is that ST staff are probably looking at it in the compatibility lab, as a number of other Fibaro devices are on the official list. But nothing public mentioned yet.

From a wiring standpoint there is a very significant change, and that is that the new version can be wired using only two wires rather than three. However, this is not as simple as it sounds, because you will be changing the type of load that is carried through the relay. I am not sure that the same bulb types will work in both situations. You really need to know what you’re doing with the wiring to make this distinction.

As far as physical control, you have a choice of using either a toggle switch or a momentary switch.

If you use a toggle switch, the physical switch will turn it off, or turn the lights on, I think to 100% brightness although it might be to last setting. Check the documentation.

If you do momentary Switch, which is a pushbutton like a typical doorbell, the relay can be programmed to recognize the amount of time the button is held for, and consequently, you can get dimming from the physical switch. Again, see the documentation for details.

1 Like

Im always so happy when i see “JDRoberts replied to your post” haha, thanks a ton for that info :slight_smile:

In regards to ceiling installs as a pose to switch installs are you aware of any complications with the new 212 (v2) dimmer modules in a 2 wire setup or is this news to you and possibly false news at that :slight_smile:

Im excited to jump in and play but dont want to waste money and it go tits up as i didnt educate myself enough, my problem is i dont understand the electrical wiring jargon as my electrician friend would be installing them, but i dont want to waste his time by buying the wrong thing etc

Sorry to be a pain just trying to educate my wee mind over here hahaha damn uk problematic electrics and poor wiring options haha

(I’ve edited my post above to answer a couple of the other questions)

As far as whether these are safe to use in a ceiling fitting, I don’t know, and as you may have noticed, I don’t make connection recommendations on individual wiring set ups. Just the device specifications and the device class characteristics, which is where my primary interest is anyway.

I leave burning down the house to other people. LOL! :sunglasses: :zap:

1 Like

Your the man JDRoberts :slight_smile: !!!

And here’s the link to the topic where community members are working on a device type for 212:

At least some of those people already have the device installed at their home, so they should be able to answer some of your practical questions as well.

1 Like

Hello chaps,

Dimmer 2 succeeds and replaces Dimmer 1; Dimmer 1 is discontinued but many retailers hold residual stock.

Dimmer 1 utilised a triac to dim and thus only supported leading edge loads; Dimmer 2 is adaptive (supports leading and trailing edge loads). When you connect a Dimmer 2 it runs through a range of tests to determine what kind of load it is connected to, and calibrates itself accordingly.

Dimmer 1 was Z-Wave; Dimmer 2 is Z-Wave Plus (“series 500”). That means better encryption, increased range, over-the-air firmware updates and slightly reduced power consumption from the radio (the latter point is pretty negligible though really).

Dimmer 2 has active power monitoring built in (reports the power consumption of the attached load to 2DP). Dimmer 1 allowed you to declare a power consumption, and tot up the amount of time it was turned on, but it wasn’t true power monitoring.

Dimmer 2 also uses the power monitoring feature to notice sudden voltage drops from broken bulbs, damaged circuits, etc. and report them.

Dimmer 2 has larger terminals for up to 6mm sq cross section wire. Dimmer 1 only accepted 4mm.

Dimmer 2 has a max load of 250W. Dimmer 1 was 500W.

Some small physical differences, e.g. Dimmer 2 has an LED indicator built in, which provides visual feedback when including it to a network. Dimmer 2 is a bit fatter.

Any further questions, let me know.

PS. - hope to see full support soon, as Fibaro devices are the only ones which do not require a neutral at the switch. Aeon Labs, Qubino, etc. all require a neutral at the switch, meaning (in the UK at least) they are a “retrofit” product that can’t be retrofitted… :pensive:

1 Like

Ah, and two points I forgot:

  • I also won’t comment on individual wiring configurations, but if you’re putting them up in a ceiling make sure they’re in a box of some kind. The original “choc box” is a perfect fit for Fibaro modules.

  • Be aware that there is no “Dimmer Bypass” (shunt / simulated load) for the Dimmer 2 yet. That means you will have to meet the minimum load of 60W on each Dimmer or it will misbehave. Bypass 2 is apparently “coming soon” but definitely not available yet, so… caveat emptor and all that. Dimmer 2 has a lot to recommend it for, but the lack of a Bypass is a bit of a killer short term.

1 Like

Adam, that’s a great summary, thank you.

Until now I was under the impression that the bypass would work for either, glad I had that assumption corrected (although I also thought the minimum load was 50w).

I’ve heard of people using Bypass 1 with Dimmer 2, but Fibar Group explicitly advise not to - so if it goes bang you’ll be out of warranty. Bypass 2 is meant to have some “intelligence” built in to take advantage of the new features of the Dimmer 2, but whether that’s marketing speak or tangible differences remains to be seen.

1 Like

Adam quick question that you may or may not know the answer to… Does the bypass filter infer any limits other than a lower minimum wattage? Just assuming that they are a good thing to have from the get go incase I later fit Leds at the light fitting and forget to update the fibaro?

Hi Simon,

The primary function of the bypass is to simulate an additional load, but it can help in other areas too. If you don’t have a neutral at the switch (which most people don’t), some lights can dim a little unevenly without a bypass. It’s generally only cheap ones, it’s pretty negligable and really depends how particular you are about lighting design - most probably wouldn’t notice it, but I’m quite picky. The bypass smooths the dimming curve out a little bit and ensures you get nice, even transitions. The way in which we perceive light is logarithmic, but a lot of cheap LED driver circuits are set up for linear, so the top end of the brightness curve can appear to dim slower than the bottom end. Does that make sense? Kind of hard to explain without going off on a massive diatribe!

You’re absolutely right, though - by putting a bypass in, you future-proof yourself against future lighting upgrades. If you’ve got incandescents now and you upgrade to LEDs in the future, it saves you having to fish around in the backbox / ceiling cavity and add the bypass. If you plan to leave the system in situ when you move house, the bypass ensures it’s going to work with whatever lighting loads the new owners throw at it. If future generations of LED are even more efficient and every lighting circuit in the house ends up below 60W… you get the picture.

Is it cost-effective to install them day one? No, not unless you’re paying an installer for their time. Is it good practice? Definitely, if you can stomach the extra £7ish per circuit.

We’re told the new Bypass will include “extra intelligence” that allows it to work more effectively with the Dimmer than the old one… but I don’t have any verified information on that. Apparently it’s out in two to three weeks, but there’s no official launch date yet so assume longer.

Any more questions, let me know!

1 Like

Awesome thanks for the explanation which made total sense and yes got the understanding about logarithmic vs linear.

So can definitely stomach it, in the big picture of the renovations I’m doing it wouldn’t make much of a dint… Its just the release dates that might cause problems

So might have to replan.

Cheers for your help Adam.

No problem. Fibar Group are aware that most customers use LED when renovating, and that the Dimmer 2 tends to misbehave without a bypass on LED loads… so hopefully we will see Bypass 2 sooner rather than later!

Happy automating!

Stupid question here . . . if the DIMMER 2 max load is 250W, whats the solution if your lighting circuit is 400W (10 bulbs at 40W a piece) :slight_smile: – sorry im useless at electricals :slight_smile:

I have that problem actually, and I don’t think the solution is easy or pretty. One option would be to limit the max brightness somehow, another would be to split the lights into two circuits.

A further one of course, would be to enter the 21st century and buy some LED bulbs :wink:

The Dimmer 2 switches the lights off after about 10s if the draw is too high.

2 Likes

Not sure how it works in SmartThings - in Z-Wave in general you can use two Dimmers and associate them so that they behave as one.

We did a job where the client had a chandelier that drew a couple of kilowatts. We chased out the wall and whacked about ten dimmers in there!

Lots of people try to get round it by using a relay module, but relays have moving parts and are super prone to welding closed when subject to the inrush current of an LED. The high current causes arcing across the relay contacts and literally welds it closed.

Collingwood lights were telling us their 8W downlights have something like 150A inrush for a matter of microseconds… crazy. Doesn’t bother the dimmer triac but it’s enough to weld relay contacts.

Anyway, don’t fall into the relay trap - gang up dimmers or buy LEDs!

2 Likes

Continuing the discussion from Fibaro Dimmer Module 1 vs Module 2:

Any chance there was a raise/lower winch on that chandelier? I’ve got a location that could benefit from one and wonder which ones are better/worse than others.

It did, but we didn’t supply it unfortunately. From memory it was an “Aladdin” hoist.

Given the few numbers of times I’d ever need to lower a chandelier it’s not a high-priority item for automation. That and who needs the headache of some automation widget having been programmed ‘years ago’ that suddenly doesn’t want to play a decade later when you need to change bulbs.

Still, I’d imagine there’s other scenarios where folks might want to automate winch-driven gear, like those lowerable platforms for storage and such.