Light Switches - where to start? (UK)

Sharing my light switch findings

Continuing the discussion from VFAQ: Lighting Control Options for UK SmartThings:

I have the answer.

Well, I don’t, logitech does.

Pop.

Have you seen? All we need now is for them to be able to cover the current light switches somehow, but the logitech pop seems to be exactly what the original poster, and myself, have been searching for.

Do we need the Logitech bridge that comes in the starter kit or will the switches work direct with Smartthings?

I really dont want another bridge /hub

I suspect the bridge will be needed - but I’ve got the starter kit coming today so I’ll let you know if I can set it up without.

The bridge is wireless though, so no need to ethernet it up to the router, you can just find a spare plug socket out of the way and leave it in there. That’s my plan! :slight_smile:

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How did you get on? Any update…

Do we need the bridge?

The Logitech POP bridge is required for the SmartThings integration.

Thats a shame. I assume the hub needs to plug in the router? So my hub would be quite a distance from the switches.

Whats the range like and do they create a mesh?

No mesh. The pop buttons are Bluetooth to the wall wart and the wall wart is Wi-Fi to your router.

So the wall wart can be anywhere in your house that it receives Wi-Fi. The buttons have to be within Bluetooth range of the wall wart, which will depend on your local architecture. I’m getting about 15 m.

Is that the hub???

Yes, the Logitech pop bridge. (It’s technically not a hub, it’s a bridge just like the hue controller is the hue bridge.)

I’m sorry, I don’t have a UK picture for it, but the UK version is about the same size.

Here’s the UK link:

Yes sorry the bridge is required - these are all set up inside the Logitech app rather than inside the Smartthings app.

I have found the buttons not always responding correctly - it’s almost as if they go to sleep and need a button press to wake up before actually doing what they are supposed to do, but only sometimes. The double click doesn’t always work properly, depending on how you press it. Pressing too quickly or too slowly can be an issue. It needs to be just right.

And the main reason I bought them, to trigger automation routines - it doesn’t work with. They can only turn single items on or off. So whilst you can group all the items you want together, it can’t change Mode to Night for example, and turn on the security Armed (Away/Home) etc.

I’d like to have one at the top of the stairs to press to turn on the alarm at night, but it’s not possible.

Actually… It is possible. But you have to use the IFTTT integration, just as you would with echo.

On the SmartThings side, you assign a virtual switch to run a routine, and that routine can change the mode. Or arm smart home monitor.

Then you have your IFTTT applet turn on the virtual switch when the pop button is pressed.

Here’s the FAQ for how to do that. Although this is discussing echo, it’s the same process for the pop switch.

Of course this assumes that the IFTTT pop service/channel is available in the UK, and I haven’t confirmed that. please let us know if it isn’t. The UK page I link to above which describes the specifications for the pop switch does say it has IFTTT integration, so it should work. :sunglasses:

For a UK light switch solution, look at Energenie MI Home.

https://energenie4u.co.uk/mihome/the_range

I’ve just installed one of their brushed chrome light switches in the kitchen to control dumb downlighters. Works fine from Alexa/app with occasional lag. Also has on/off manual button and status led. You’ll obviously need a hub so either buy an energenie hub on its own or hub & plug adapter kit too… Main thing is it’s pretty cheap! I have experienced some random lag with some of the plug sockets though… But light switch seems fine. Allows you to convert dumb UK lighting to smart lighting at least! Oh and make sure you install it as a light switch in the app, it looks just like the relay picture but the images are out of date, it is definitely a light switch!

Here’s the product page - https://energenie4u.co.uk/catalogue/product/MIHO026?adnetwork=af

Oh and be careful with the wiring. Live goes to L, neutral to L1, slave unused!

There is no slave switch available yet for Energenie.
I believe there might be one coming.
Lightwaverf are another series of switches.
These like the energenie need there own hub for ST integration.
With Lightwaverf though, you can integrate with a raspberry Pi to act as a server and then integrate with ST to give minimal lag for automation.

I have Energenie here, albeit the plugs (not sockets). I added the Device Handler, and now run from ST with minimal lag, its all working quite well, and the Handler does a great job.

I also have LightWave, had them ever since B&Q started stocking the Siemans model years ago. Sadly I cant get that working through ST, no matter how many times I tried, so gave up. I’m sticking with them though, as their dimmers are great, sadly quite a lag through Alexa though as you’re always treated as remote. I really don’t want to go down the route of PI, even though this would remove it. I simply don’t want yet another hub :joy:

Apparently Energenie will be releasing more products this year, I’m holding out for this as their pricing is pretty good in comparison to others. :+1:

Cheers

Maybe I am missing something, but wouldn’t the simplest solution to the two/three wire problem be a light switch with a built-in battery to accept commands when the switch is off? Thereby bypassing the need for the neutral wire.

There are some good battery powered switches, but they don’t actually control the current flow. They just act as wallmount remotes. In the U.K., Devolo and Popp make nice versions of these that will work with SmartThings. But then there has to be some device which actually does cause the lights to go on and off. It could be that the lamps themselves are smart or it could be and in the wall micro, not battery-operated, installed in the ceiling Rose where there typically will be a neutral. So the switch sends a message to the SmartThings hub which then sends the message on to the device that does control the brightness of the Lamp.

Note, though, that all of those are “surface mount” devices which are mounted on top of the wall, not inside it.

The reason why we can’t just hook a battery to the radio that is inside the wall is that pretty much any battery-operated device inside the wall becomes a fire hazard. Safety codes generally prohibit that in both the US and the UK.

Thanks, I have seen those, however, the problem as I understand it is that UK 2 wire systems leave the switch with no power when the switch is open, hence it cannot “listen” for the command to turn on the light. If a battery was incorporated into the switch to power the zwave device when the switch was open, it would solve this problem. Allowing a “normal” current control. The Lightwaverf dimmer seems to be the only other option apart from a device similar to the Fibaro universal dimmer and potentially deepening the patress. However, the Lightwaverf dimmer is only rated to 250w, I have 8 x 40w on one dimmer. I was simply exploring the feasibility of a 2 wire switch controlling the current with a built-in battery handling the zwave.

That’s correct, that’s why there has to be an additional device involved, either an in wall relay at some point on the circuit where there is a neutral, or by using a smart bulb such as a Phillips hue.

The Fibaro in wall dimmer micro can be used with just two wires, so it’s a popular solution, but as you noted, it’s not just the neutral that’s the issue, it’s also the size of the pattress box.

a battery was incorporated into the switch to power the zwave device when the switch was open, it would solve this problem.

Putting a battery inside the wall solves the problem of powering the radio, but if you burn down your house it’s not really an effective long-term solution. :wink: Our goal is never just to make a single light turn on–it’s to safely incorporate home automation controls into your overall electrical system.

The Lightwaverf dimmer seems to be the only other option apart from a device similar to the Fibaro universal dimmer and potentially deepening the patress. However, the Lightwaverf dimmer is only rated to 250w, I have 8 x 40w on one dimmer.

There are some additional options. A common one is to put the micro at the ceiling rose rather than at the wall switch. There’s almost always a neutral there.

Another option is to use the energie or Lutron switches with one of the community created methods, although at present both of these require also using a “man in the middle” server device, typically a raspberry pi, and that requires more effort and technical set up than many people want to do.

Just this month at CES 2017 and official SmartThings/Lutron integration was announced, with the lutron staff saying they expected it in place by March. If it does arrive in that timeframe, that will provide another set of alternatives.

But for now, the most effective may be just to consider putting a micro at the ceiling Rose. That will give you a choice of more brands, as well.

Thanks, micro in the ceiling seems to be the most effective and easiest way to go.

As an aside, why would a battery (removable) in the light switch be a fire hazard? Surely it’s no worse than a backup battery in a smoke detector.