Lighting Switches and Sockets - what to get? (UK)

I’m renovating a house I’ve bought and realised I was about to install all traditional sockets and lighting etc and am I’m trying to move across to something smart, but I’m almost out of time as the electrician is back in tomorrow to do the walls.

So Smart Things is definitely what I want to use - I do already have a Hive, Logitech Harmony and Alexa but I’ll want to add stuff that they can’t do.

I’ve already ordered and received all the light switches, most of the lights are GU10 dimmable LEDs and they’re already cut into the ceilings.

The light switches can be sent back unused, but I don’t know what to buy and I’m really short on time.

Ideally I want to have dimmer switches and simple switches, and I want to be able to control them by hand and by Smart Things. Does something exist that won’t put me into a position where I’m switchig it off at the wall and stopping the app being able to turn it on etc.

I’m in the UK if that helps!

If you’re not sure what to buy, stick to the official device list to minimize issues.

I only saw two dimmer switches on that list. I cannot find them for sale in the UK. I do not know if they do what I want. I don’t know if they will work in the UK.

Hi @Velociraptor what your asking for is what I have in my home (also in the UK). Although I don’t use ST anymore (HE for me) the set up is the same. 1st as long as your sparkly wires the loop down to the switch (also a electrician BTW) that will put you in a good place. Next make sure they use minimum of 35mm boxes, if you have plasterboard walls the boxes are 35 anyway but it would allow for 47mm if needed. For the light I use Fibaro dimmer 2 z-wave dimmers they are fantastic and do exactly what you’re after. Next your switches, the great thing about the Fibaro dimmer 2’s is they have inputs so it allows you to choose your own switches. Personally best stuff out there at a good price take a look at “click scolmore” I use there deco range but they have loads that you can use with their “minigrid” setup. With this you can mix and match any switches I have 2 way latching, push to make and centre off retractive switches in the house, depending on the situation.

In my bedrooms I have the dimmer behind the switch wired to some down lights. This is triggered by a push to make retractive switch via S1 then another push to make connected to S2. The S2 push switch turns the ZigBee smart lamp in each room on/off up down and different colours/ temperatures per mode. Then next to that I have a center off retractive switch which is connected to my blind controller. All on a 1G plate but with 3 switches.

Side note any reason why you went GU10 route and not built-in LED? A few years ago GU10 is all I would have suggested but now the built in are much better and cheaper (if you buy the good stuff)

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Can those Fibaro dimmers use a regular click on, click off faceplates or do you need more expensive push-button momentary switches?

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Thanks @borristhecat

The quick things for tomorrow are to get him to change all the lighting back boxes to 35mm deep if they aren’t already, they are metal backboxes so probably won’t be and to fully wire them.

Broadly speaking I understand how those switches work - they’ll sit behind the switch in the back box.

What I’m baffled at is if they will allow me to get to where I want.

I want to have a dimmer switch that works when I turn it and also can be controlled by app. I don’t understand if those devices will allow that.

I think it’s more important that I’m able to dim the bulbs with a dial than it is with an app, even if I get it all sorted with voice commands etc.

Would these devices work with a dimmer switch, I’ve got some that arrived on Friday but they’re still packaged so can be sent back for a refund.

I went GU10 because I’m incredibly short of time and I’m in a rush to get everything done. The entire house is being renovated, including removing the joists, rewiring new central heating system and boiler, new bathroooms new floors, insulation everywhere, new kitchen etc and I’m struggling to cope with working out what I need to do. I’m trying to avoid making a mistake I would later come back to and regret. So I was aware that I could proper IP rated spots for the bathrooms and kitchen as GU10 spots and I have them where I live just now, so I just went for them and made sure I got dimmable bulbs.

I do normally like to fully research things but I’ve completely underestimated how long all this planning and research takes and now I need to give instructions to people tomorrow and I don’t want to end up later regretting it.

Yeah they use anything you want but retractive will give you more options.

More expensive? Again check out click price point is very competitive.

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Those are the dimmer switches that I’ve ordered and have arrived. I’m happy to buy something else and send those back.

Correct hence the 35mm deep boxes and also why I went with “deco” range rather than flat plate as you get abit more if needed.

100% these do this.
The reason your getting lost is being your thinking of a analogue rotary dimmer just like the ones you’ve ordered below.
These are digital dimmers with a input connection so your switch will look like normal switches but the will “bounce back” press for on or off hold for up or down. Depending on if you need the S2 input to control something completely different on the system you get 2 push to make switches or one center off retractive switch. Center off is easier to understand top for on/up bottom for off/down rather than one button for all ON/OFF (depending on light state) and up/down hold once for one way release and hold again for other. I have the later because I want the second input to control something completely different.

Again 100% especially on ST with no local control through the system. These switches would work all the time without internet because the inputs are directly processed within the units then the state sent to the hub.

Unfortunately not that would be a dimmer controling a dimmer. Personally I hate rotary dimmers I just find them ugly and big :face_vomiting:

Almost all built in LEDs are IP and rated fire rated due to the fact that they are built in. So would have been easier they are also less chunky due to this. your helping hand here is your sparkly he or she should be able to let you know what they use and think are good. I personally like the colinwood switchable white downlights (can change the Kelvin from quickly turning the light off and on) but there about £15. If your after standard fixed colour then the rexel Senet “white label” downlights are good. If you going smart then Arora has a amazing range.

But GU10 cans will do all the same thing just not as well (bright and last as long) if you have already brought them.

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I already have the GU10 fittings in the ceiling. It’s the fittings rather than the bulbs that I went for the IP65 rating on. It’s really just a lip that covers the edge of the bulb and might have a gasket inside to stop water ingress etc. I’ve ordered 75W equivalents and they’re for rooms that aren’t my bedroom or living room, so I’m ok with the light colour. I’d ordered all this stuff before the spark arrived.

The dimmers you’ve described sound to be what I’m looking for them - if I’ve picked you up correctly. I don’t want rotary dimmers per say, I just want dimmers, so if these newer kind that send a signal rather than set the brightness do the job then great.

I’m going to have to read that in the morning and see if I can make sense of it :slight_smile:

What I think we’ve got to now is that I need to get proper modern dimmers and then I can insert these little devices into them.

Stick with smart switches (and dimmers), not smart bulbs. Smart bulbs need to be continuously powered. Smart switches will one-to-one replace your dumb switches and operate normal, dumb, lights.

The main thing you’ll miss doing this is control of bulb color.

The main thing you gain is that everything works like dumb switches so you don’t have to have an instruction manual for spouse and guests!

[Update, skimmed over that you’re UK. Don’t think Zooz devices will be an option]
I’ve been happy with the Zooz switches and dimmers I’ve installed. They’re very economical, especially in 3-ways because you only have to replace one side. Their dimmers have a lower power limitation than some other brands but, assuming you’re going all LED fixtures, that won’t be a problem.

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Not sure If this is too late, but I did also want to mention that in addition to the official “works with smartthings” list which @sidjohn1 linked to, SmartThings now allows device manufacturer partners to create their own integrations and have those appear right in the smartthings app. It is the responsibility of the device manufacturer, rather than smartthings, To aid with any support issues for these integrations.

One brand which comes up under this option which you might want to consider is lightwaveRF. You do have to get their hub as well as the smartthings hub, but it’s a very nice system for the UK and one of the only ones which has sockets as well as switches.

@borristhecat gave you excellent advice on the back boxes and all that, and all of that would still apply, but this would give you another range to consider, particularly as it includes sockets. :sunglasses:

Their heating line does not yet have a SmartThings integration, but the Gen2 switches and sockets do.

https://lightwaverf.com/

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The switches you linked to aren’t going to work very well with most inwall micros because they are “rotary dimming.“

Instead, you’ll generally choose a momentary switch where you “push and hold“ for dimming.

These are all dumb switches which are then combined with one of the Inwall micros we’ve been discussing. (In contrast, the lightwave RF is in “all in one“ device, their switch has the radio built-in so you don’t use the micro with those. You just replace the dumb switch with the smart switch and you’re done. :sunglasses:)

See the following UK discussion thread:

Help - UK "Momentary" vs "Push" Switch

Which features the following popular line:

https://www.rbstarelectrical.co.uk/products/

In the UK these are often called a “retractive“ switch.

Here’s an ugly one, but it will give you the idea. The longer you press, the brighter the lights will get if they are dimmable.

image

And here’s some more attractive ones, but there are lots of different ones available. Again, remember these are all just dumb switches which you are going to combine with a smart micro. On some you press at the top, on some you press at the bottom. In the “3 position momentary” style you usually press on the top for on and on the bottom for off. And there are some styles made specifically to use with micros which have two buttons. it’s just an aesthetic choice, they all work the same way as far as the micro is concerned. :sunglasses:

image image

image

If you get a 3 position momentary style, it will work in a manner similar to the lightwave RF all in one switch Where you press and hold the top to make the lights brighter and press and hold the bottom to make the lights dimmer. It’s not a rotary dial that you turn, but most people seem to find it intuitive to use.

This is the lightwaveRF user guide, I think it makes the functionality clear:

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Vesternet.com Is a seller of smart devices which happens to have excellent technical support and a lot of really good guides on different aspects of using the devices that they sell.

Here’s their guide on how different types of dumb light switches work with the Fibaro inwall devices. :sunglasses:

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Thanks @JDRoberts it was late last night so didn’t have time to find some pictures :slight_smile: . Although im not as keen on the light wave stuff, it looks good but it’s not a mesh so this limits you quiet quickly in a house, but it is another option.

In reference to sockets have a look at aroura they do ZigBee 3.0 ones that are supported by ST.

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That’s is what the OP is looking to do. He is after a dimmer to drive the dumb lamps.

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The digital Z-WAVE dimmers dim the lights just like a normal rotary dimmer but they also send there state to the hub so everything is in constant synchronisation. This means you can turn it on or off up and down through both the app and the switch. If you LIKE rotary dimmers switches then also look at Aurora lighting, again these are supported and are ZigBee. The good thing about these is they work with other dimmer PLATES so if you don’t want white you buy the plate from another company then fit their module.

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I really appreciate all the help folks. A huge amount of info to digest.

One thing I haven’t really picked up on when I scanned through this is what to do for simple light switches for rooms that I’ve not installed and don’t want dimming lights.

So, I’ve managed to get things worked out.
I’ll go lightwave rf for all the dimmers. They’re not super cheap and they’re expensive when you need 2 + gang dimmers but for all of my rooms I only need a single dimmer socket so they’ll be fine.

I will get just standard non-smart switches for the other rooms - two hall, laundry, office and I don’t really know if I’ll ever get them to go smart or not, but I don’t feel like I’m wasting money because a standard light switch doesn’t cost much.

Again I really do appreciate the help. All this renovation stuff is super stressful and I keep running out of time!

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As long as you have deep boxes and power at them you can always decide what you want to do later :slight_smile: . So no need to rush on alot of it. The only thing you may need to wire and add in if required is motion sensors and door/window contacts.

My doors and windows are wired back to a location and my motion sensors are wired back to a point where I currently have a 12v power supply but could be converted to mains if required. I believe a ZigBee mains version is on the cards.

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