I have been looking for a smart wired light switch solution for use in the UK for many, many years which meets the following criteria.
- Supports HomeKit (and ideally also other platforms since sadly Apple are doing a poor job still)
- Offers 1, 2, 3 and 4 gang light switch fittings
- Allows mixing dimmers and switches side by side
- Supports 2 or 3 way circuits i.e. staircases
- Looks good
- Supports pull cord switches for bathrooms
- Does not require neutral wires
For the US market Lutron Caseta is apparently perfect and literally meets all my requirements. Sadly Lutron stubbornly refuse to do a version for the UK/EU. Since Lutron do make a version of their Homeworks and Radio RA2 product lines for the UK/EU which use the same hub, the same proprietary Lutron wireless technology and obviously works on 220v. The fact they have the chipsets already available and ‘only’ need to design switches makes this continued refusal utterly bizarre.
Until now LightwaveRF has been the closest option but it is ‘aesthetically challenged’ and only has dimmers with no switches.
Insteon micromodules would be close but they discontinued the previous HomeKit hub and despite a letter from their CEO claiming renewed plans they look more likely to wither away completely before a new hub is released.
I did just over a year ago as the first Covid-19 lockdown was beginning, hear about the intended UK launch of a product line then already available in some other countries. With the pandemic things got significantly delayed and I heard nothing more. However a Google search has revealed official information about it, confirming it is real and apparently now available.
It is as I expected, more expensive than LightwaveRF or Lutron Caseta or similar ‘consumer’ DIY products. It also appears to only be available as a professional install option but frankly that is no bad thing. It is still much cheaper than high end solutions like Crestron, Control-4, or Lutron Homeworks QS. It looks like a fair proportion of the product range needs neutral wires - however I had long ago accepted this as a possible requirement and planned to do this as a major whole house renovation project which would have involved a significant amount of electrical work anyway. (This also makes the need for professional installation a no brainer.)
It is from Legrand, a French company who some time ago bought Netatmo, another French company who started off making smart home products and were early HomeKit supporters. It is the Legrand Arteor with Netamo range. It is based on Zigbee and supports Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Apple HomeKit.
I wonder if/when they might upgrade it to be ‘Matter’ compatible. They could take the same approach as Philips Hue and achieve this simply by upgrading their gateway.
For those interested they also do smart wall mounted power sockets as part of this range so you could also convert all your wall sockets.
Are there any drawbacks? Maybe. Obviously I have not yet bought it or even had a chance to contact Legrand or a reseller but from their website I get the following - possibly incorrect impressions.
- It looks like a switch is one module wide but a dimmer is two modules wide. This means a standard square UK/EU faceplate could only accommodate a single dimmer or two switches and a double width faceplate four switches or only two dimmers. (A double faceplate could in theory do 2 switches and one dimmer.) This is rather disappointing, it will for me involve a lot more work. I could imagine for some people it might result in an absurd amount of wall space being covered by faceplates e.g. if you needed 4 dimmers in one location.
- It looks like as I expected a bathroom light would be best done using a micromodule but it is not clear if their micromodule supports being connected to a wired momentary switch. (As an example the Fibaro and Aeotec Z-Wave micromodules do as do the Insteon micromodules, but some brands do not.)
- Their website does not make it at all clear how they implement 2 or 3 way circuits for staircases. Some other smart products require using a wired switch in one location and wireless switches at all the other locations. I would prefer wired switches at all locations which communicate with each other as the whole point to me of wired switches is to eliminate batteries. The aforementioned Fibaro, Aeotec and Insteon micromodules avoid this issue as you have one micromodule for the entire circuit with multiple (dumb) momentary wired switches linked to those micromodules.
Sigh! - If only Lutron Caseta was available.