Light Switches - where to start? (UK)

Hello all,

Very new to all this, picked up my hub a couple of days ago, i have some sensors around the house for movement and doors etc and I also have some Hue light bulbs, But im getting a little lost with Light switches, and im not sure if its me thats missing something (probably) or…

is there a replacement light switch out there that will allow the light to be turned on via smartthings etc and by use of the switch, eg if the room switch is off it can still be powered of by smartthings ??

I find the Smartthings amazing its what i have been looking for along time, the motion and door sensors we are using for safeguarding the foster kids that we have, there is a risk for them being in each others rooms due to the abuse they have suffered, so being able to trigger a light or alarm if more than one door is opened during the night or there is movement in the kitchen at night (food scavenging is another big issue) is fantastic, but i just dont seem to be able to get past the issue that the light has to be left on at the switch and the kids cannot turn it on or off ?

or is there a battery powered button that i can fit in palace of the switch that will trigger smartthings ?

Thanks all :slight_smile:

Matt

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Yes, there are many different zigbee and z-wave switches that works simultaneously as a dumb switch and a smart switch

The ST store sells several (though you may be able to find a better price elsewhere)

As @kevintierney said, you can go straight the store and get either ZeeBee of Zwave versions of a few different the GE switches.

I personally use Leviton that you can pick up at Home Depot. the Dimmers work great. The switches are a hard relay, so there is a relay POP when it turns on or off.

Really there are alot of options for in wall switches. If you feel adventurous, I would encourage you to search the forums for other options as well. Search Amazon or other locations for the type and style of switch you want, paste that model number into the “magnifying glass” at the top of the forum page and you will get a list of relevant posts. ensure you find some current references and you can get a feel for if that switch will work for you.

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Thanks all,

it seems there are loads of options in the US but here in the UK there is not the same options unless im missing something, and the switches that have 2 switches built in one is for power and one for a trigger ??

I have to commend you for taking on fostering children, my wife works with children and a big part of her population have very sad back stories.
I use a motion sensor in the hallway and a second one to turn on a small power watt talk lamp after dark and a similar setup in the kitchen. I also use the “Flasher” smartapp for a motion sensor that is by the main door that flashes my desk lamp if it is triggered.

If you are putting connect sensors on all the interior doors, I might humbly suggest not using surface mount, but using something like the Aeon which would be less tamper resistant.

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ohhhh… UK… ouch, that that does change things. I am not sure where to start, since you have different frequencies and voltage and whatnot.

Sorry didn’t realize your in the UK.

Seems there’s no switches listed on the compatible list.

This seems to be the most active UK device thread, but again no working switches

I’m loving them ! and i have just found them on the UK Amazon ! thanks for that !!! :slight_smile:

One of the simplest things one can do is just to use smart bulbs and put a baby proofing switch guard on the switch plate. You can either get ones that will prevent the switch from being moved it all, or ones that will allow the switch to be moved to a hole in the side, but good reminders to not turn it.

I use these at my house. I am quadriparetic and have home health care workers, and occasionally the agency sends a substitute, so I need something very obvious.

These come in different colours, materials, and at different costs. I wasn’t worried about the look very much, so I got inexpensive ones, the equivalent of about three for €10. Amazon carries quite a variety and many local shops will have them as well.

Here’s one of mine:

The price of the Phillips white bulb just dropped significantly with the release of their new models, and the lights are also a bit brighter than the previous “Lux” generation. These very reliable and work very well. If you want to get one of the more expensive multicolor ones, there’s also work exceptionally well as notifier’s, because you can have different colors mean different things. But the additional cost may not be worth it.

The other option for the UK is to use micro relays. The relay itself does require a neutral, but it can be placed at the light fitting rather than at the switch-box. Then you just use the regular switches you have, and the micro cuts the current at the fitting itself. However, the wiring can be quite complex, and each micro is more expensive than one hue white bulb.

If you think the switch guards would work, I would probably go with the bulbs instead.

Otherwise, there is an FAQ on using the micro relays in the UK category.

The Fibaro dimmer switch works well in this situation, and most importantly, doesnt need a neutral wire in the switch location.
You may find, as I do in the UK, that there isnt much space behind the switch faceplate and internal patress box, so I fitted an external box, and then the faceplate, with momentary switch, on top.

There are also US Zigbee switches that are battery powered and can be used to trigger events that way. Zigbee devices use the same Frequency across the world. As noted, Zwave doesnt.

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Thanks ‘Andy_Godber’ , interested in the idea of using battery powered US Zigbee switches, as I too am getting very frustrated by how the UK seems to be being left behind in terms of connectable devices (I have a Lowes Iris system in the US and there are loads of excellent switches for example, - and keen prices : $35 for a GE wall switch) . Can you point us in the direction of possible ZigBee candidates please ?

I use the smartenIt 3 toggle zigbee battery-powered switch with SmartThings. It works well for me in the US. Unfortunately, I don’t believe they have a UK distributor. The company is very responsive if one writes to them, so I would ask and see. It’s very intuitive for guests and visitors, which is a plus. (The following clickable link includes photos.)

It’s definitely frustrating that there aren’t more devices already available. All I can say is that this particular one does work for me.

There are also two new battery operated zigbee switches that just came out last month, I believe both are available in Europe. Neither works directly with SmartThings yet, though.

However, it is possible to use them as a parallel means of control with smart bulbs that are also controlled with SmartThings. I have one of these and it works fine for that. It does mean that SmartThings may take about five minutes to realize that the bulb has been turned on or off and update the status on the mobile app. That isn’t a big problem at my house, but it might be for some people. (The light itself turns on right away when the button is pressed, it’s just that SmartThings doesn’t know the switch button was pressed and won’t update status in the mobile app until the next regular poll. )

Also, because there’s no full integration with SmartThings yet, these switches can only be used to turn smart LED bulbs on and off. Unlike the SmartenIT 3 toggle that I mentioned previously, one cannot use them for other SmartThings-controlled devices or to change mode.

These two switches look very similar. They are a small vertical strip with four buttons: on, off, brighter, and dimmer. There only intended to work with smart LEDs like Philip Hughes or Osram Lightify that use the ZLL profile. Each switch can control a group of up to 10 bulbs with one button press.

One is from Phillips and is called the “Hue dimmer switch.” It is sold by itself or in a kit with one white bulb. It can also be matched with an existing hue bridge, which allows it to control one scene if that’s preferred. This one is definitely being sold in Europe, it was released there first.

The other is from LUTRON, and is called the “Lutron connected bulb remote.”

Both come with a wall plate and the remote can be taken off the plate and used as a handheld or tabletop device. The Philips remote has magnets on the back of the wall plate, so I actually have put mine on my refrigerator so that it will be lower down (I use a wheelchair).

So these two are not as good a solution as the ones that can be fully integrated with SmartThings, but they can definitely serve a purpose and they are both less expensive and likely to be easier to find.

Edited to add

This is frustrating: Amazon.co.uk is now showing a stock date of November 30 for the Phillips hue remote, even though they were carrying it earlier. So I’m not quite sure what’s going on with that. It may be that early stock levels didn’t match Demand.

JD - Do you think some clever coder will be able to create a device type for these? or are they propitiatory to the HUE “signal” for lack of a better word?

Clever people such as @sticks18 are already working on community contributed device types for the two new zigbee remotes. Progress is being made, but it’s not always clear what will be possible in the end. There are some topics where the code is being shared the people who are interested in those kinds of projects.

The Phillips switch, particularly, is mostly being discussed in the following topic:

Other people in the community have been working on the Lutron switch. Although the two devices do look almost identical, the internal engineering is different.

There’s this too… It’s a remote that drops into a wall mount holder. If that’s any use. I haven’t tried one for compatability.

http://www.vesternet.com/z-wave-nodon-wall-switch-1810 (Std switch style)

K

The NodOn’s look like nice devices. I checked the conformance statements at the Z-wave Alliance site and both are scene controller remotes, not just simple switches. That’s a technical difference that means they probably won’t work out of the box with SmartThings, but it might be possible to build a custom device type for them.

@Duncan , does the new hub support the “central scene” Command set?

The hub just passes through most all z-wave commands, so it shouldn’t be a problem to make a custom device handler for it.

It would be something like this (untested):

def zwaveEvent(physicalgraph.zwave.commands.centralscenev1.CentralSceneNotification cmd) {
	Integer button = cmd.sceneNumber
	if (cmd.keyAttributes == 2) {
		createEvent(name: "button", value: "held", data: [buttonNumber: button], descriptionText: "$device.displayName button $button was held", isStateChange: true)
	} else {
		createEvent(name: "button", value: "pushed", data: [buttonNumber: button], descriptionText: "$device.displayName button $button was pushed", isStateChange: true)
	}
}
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So the hub can recognize the difference between the long press and the regular press specific to the lifeline association group?

In simple . . . NOPE :frowning: there is no clean option for UK Sockets & Plugs based on our industry standard fitments like below:

A real shame, but the first company to make a EU Zwave or Zigbee one of each of these in our standard " White / Chrome / Brushed Aliminium " will likely make themselves a fortune as it is the only major missing part in UK smarthome accessories if you ask me…

As for Fibaro modules, as stated above they are impossible to make work without very deep back boxes on your switches otherwise this would be a viable option for everyone . . .

As for adding battery switches, baby guards over existing switches or using american style switches in place of uk ones, i dont see this as a solution just a nicely offered mid way fix . . . However in IOT world if there is to be a real adoption in the UK this NEEDS to be addressed and sharpish or it will loose ground quickly, the brits are fussy as a nation its worldwide knowledge hahaha !!!

Hopefully @Ben & Samsung will identify this gap in the market and include them in a future product lineup (be it a year or two been realistic)

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