Recommendation: dual switch and dimmer (Spain)

Hi all,

I have few devices installed (sonoff zbmini, Arlo cameras, aqara leak sensor, hue motion sensor) and I want to buy some switches and dimmers now.

I have struggled integrating some of the devices above and I don’t want that anymore.

Could you please recommend some fully compatible dual switches and some dimmers which could also work locally with edge drivers?

I have done some research and Fibaro seems not supported as expected lately. Since aeotec is providing now the hub, I guess that could be reliable.

Thanks.

Excellent question. We do have a couple of questions we need to ask first.

  1. what country are you in? The device selection does vary.

  2. what do you mean by “dual switches“?

2a) Do you mean “2 gang” switches, where there are two controls are in a single light box and each one controls a different light?

This would be a US version. A two gang switch is about twice as wide as a single gang switch.

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And this would be a UK version. The outer dimensions of the square stay the same, there are just more buttons/toggles on it.

2b) Or did you mean a “two pole“ switch, which allows you to control two different circuits with a single switch. These are more common in an industrial setting than in a residential setting, but you do sometimes see them. You also see them in some older houses for a light/fan combination. Or sometimes for pool equipment. These will have four hot screws on the switch instead of two.

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2c) Or did you mean a switch for a “two way” set up where two different switches control the same light fixture. These are common at stairways with one switch at the top and one switch at the bottom each controlling the same light. ( this is called a “three-way“ in the United States.)

2d) Or did you mean a US style single gang size device but with two control buttons? (This is also sometimes called a duplex switch)

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Once we know those answers we can make some suggestions. :sunglasses:

I live in Spain.

Regarding the second question, I have to apologize for my bad English. What I need is to be able to control on/off lights without replacing the current non smart wall switches (I guess it’s called relay). The goal is being able to operate the lights by either the wall switches or automations/smart button.

Is this possible? How would the relay “know” weather the wall switch is open or closed?

In case it is feasible, it would be similar to the 2c scenario you presented.

Thanks a lot Mr. JDRoberts!

EDIT: that would be a 3 way relay (4 way relay would be even better)

Do you want to keep the original dumb switches because you like them or because you aren’t allowed to change anything about the wiring?

1. INLINE MODULES

If you ARE ok with changing the wiring, then there are “modules” that fit inside the wall behind the existing switch. These will work fine, it’s just that it is possible for the network to turn the module off regardless of the position of the dumb switch when you use the app or voice control. So if you have a push button switch it won’t matter, but if you have a toggle switch you might notice that the position is different than the way it worked before you added the module.

However, since it is common in a two way setup that sometimes you have to press up for on and sometimes you have to press down for on, depending on the switch position of the other switch in the two way, most people are fine with this.

These modules are available for both dimmer switches and on/off switches.

1a) Because SmartThings is in the middle of a big change right now, I would suggest zwave modules from Aeotec for Spain, as they are most likely to work easily with the new changes because of the partnership between the two companies.

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And here is the Aeotec website with more details:

1b. The Zigbee version of the Sonoff module is another option for the on/off switch. They are much less expensive. They do make a WiFi dimmer module, but it is more complicated to setup with SmartThings than the Zigbee version. I’m not sure if they have a Zigbee dimmer yet or not.

Here is the Zigbee on/off switch. This device is very popular.

(Note that “relay” is a word that only applies to a simple on/off device, which could be either a switch or a socket. So you can get either a relay module or a dimmer module depending on its purpose. )

2. DEVICES THAT DO NOT REQUIRE WIRING

If you do not want to do anything with the wiring, then you have to have a battery-operated device that physically moves the original switch or that fits over the top of it. Sometimes people who rent want these.

2a. A robot finger.

SwitchBot makes a little button pusher that works well with SmartThings. (You do also need their mini hub to get the SmartThings integration.) This is a cloud to cloud integration, not an Edge driver, so I don’t know if it meets your requirements.

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These look odd but work fine and are easy to remove later. So they can be a good choice for renters.

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2b. Smart bulb with a battery powered switch.

Another popular option for renters is to just replace the lamps with Smart bulbs, then use a battery powered or non wired switch. In this case you usually put a little plastic or wood box over the original switch to keep people from turning the power off to the smart bulbs.

Usually you buy the switch from one company and the cover plate from another.

Samotech makes these cover plates for several different styles of battery powered devices.

https://www.samotech.co.uk/products/sm215-light-switch-cover/

You can find other brands as well.

As far as the switches, if you get ones that work with a hue bridge you can use them for dimming any smart bulbs that are connected to that same hue bridge.

SmartThings will be able to control the bulbs, but will not know that the switches exist. But that won’t matter, the switches will just be a parallel method of controlling those lights.

These are expensive, but very nice looking, with different companies offering different styles.

And these do offer local operation, although it’s not technically an Edge driver.

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Or you can just get an inexpensive Zigbee button that works with SmartThings and use that with any smart bulbs that SmartThings can control. You can find some devices of this type that use Edge drivers.

This type of device WILL connect directly to a SmatThings/Aeotec hub, so you can use it to control any device that SmartThings knows about. You probably won’t get dimming, but you might be able to set up some scenes, like a single tap for on, a double tap for off, and a long hold for 50% brightness.

You get better dimming from a switch that works with a Hue bridge, but again those cost more and only work with smart bulbs connected to the same bridge.

SUMMARY

If you are ok with devices that have to be wired into mains power, there are a number of modules that can fit behind the existing switches. Some are simple on/off relays, some are dimmers.

If you don’t want to touch the wiring there are still some options to consider as mentioned above. :thinking:

Thanks a lot for such detailed explanation.

I want to keep original dumb switches because they are the same in the whole house and I just plant to make smart only a part of it.

I’m more than ok changing the wiring and considering the options I’ll go for aeotec dimmers and ZigBee sonoff on/off switches.

If I understand correctly, both can be installed on 2 way (us 3 way) setup. But, what about 4 way?

Thanks again.

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Aeotec says it MIGHT be possible to use their dimmer module with 3 or even 4 switches but it depends on exactly how your house is wired. Here’s their support article.

I don’t know about the Sonoff mini, hopefully someone else will.

Thank you very much JDRoberts! You’ve been extremely helpful.

Just waiting for someone that can confirm weather sonoff zbmini can be installed with 2/3 dumb switches or not.

Regards.

The following shows the zbmini in 3 way use:

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Hi Bralok,

I would think about using the sonoff ZBmini, since with the Edge drivers, which are going to be the future, they are causing problems, they do not work well for now.

You have several similar zigbee 3.0 like Moes, Samotech … and others that are the same device with a different commercial brand, which work very well with the edge drivers

And I would think much more about using double or triple switches, with the edge drivers they are unmanageable, at the moment to use in independent lights is very bad option. All switches are shown in the same tile an only switch 1 (main) can use a custom name.

I don’t see an easy edge solution for these multi-component devices, neither zigbee nor zwave.

I would try to use individual switches whenever possible, even though you have to install them in the interconnect boxes rather than in the switch mechanism boxes.
In addition, in Spain the mechanism boxes have little depth to install switches and rarely have neutral.

The OP isn’t planning to use multi component devices (“double gang“); there was a translation issue. They were looking for two switches controlling the same light, that is, a two-way set up. Each switch is just a single component, though, so that shouldn’t be an issue.

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The Aeotec nano dimmer module is one of the smallest modules made and does not require a neutral line, so that’s another reason I suggested it as a possible candidate for Spain. :sunglasses:

It’s harder to find plain on/off switches that don’t require a neutral, though: the physics are different.

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I will second what @Mariano_Colmenarejo said. The ZBMINI does NOT work well with Edge drivers and the Tuya based relays such as Moes do work well with the edge drivers.

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Aotec nano can be another good option in zwave and admits voltage in the input switch s1 or s2

Personally, as a user, I prefer zigbee if there are not large distances, easier to pair, unpair and the mesh is rebuilt much easier, in my experience. Tenicamenete they have no comparison, they are very different.

I was just warning of the problems that I currently see in multiple switches, with DTH they cannot work locally and in Edge they are grouped into an indivisible component, just like in Tuya app.

The sonoff ZBmini switches to make installations of combined lights need to modify the wiring since they do not admit voltage in the terminals s1 and s2, while the Aeotec,/zwave), moes, samotech and others admit voltage (Line) in the input of the switch s1 and therefore can be place in series with the last mechanism between the light and the switch output without having to modify the electrical installation

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This is an amazing community. Thank you all guys for sharing your knowledge and experience.

To be honest, when I said dual switch I referred to double gang but reding JDRoberts detailed explanation I realized that I was asking too much for a single device, so I’m fine with single switch now.

Zigbee is a good choice in terms of cost as well. I’ve found this device which is apparently based on Tuya and can be installed parallel to dumb switches circuit. Is it as good as it seems for less than 11€?

Thanks.

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This is similar to the sonoff, it does not admit voltage in the input terminals of the dummy switch.

You will know what type of electrical installation you have, but in my case, it is much easier to do the installation for switches combined with devices that admit voltage (L) at the input of the dumb switch.

I have used these Moes and they work very well and the shipping from AliExpress to Spain took about 10 days, they cost me € 7 with the coupons that you can use

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Great! I’ll take those.

Finally, is there a similar device for dimming.

Thank you.

In Moes shop there is this model.
I have not tested It.

Dimmer need push mechanism, it doesn’t work with toggle switch dumb.

Others opción for dimming is use smart bulbs instead dimmers

The Aeotec dimmer can work with a toggle switch, but it won’t dim FROM the wall switch. It will just toggle between its last dim setting and off. If you want it brighter or dimmer, you have to adjust it through the app or by voice or by routine.

As far as a Moes dimmer, the issue with all of the Tuya-based Zigbee devices, regardless of brand, is that they use some unique proprietary code, not just standard Zigbee. If you search the forum you’ll find many people saying they can’t quite get their particular model to work. And sometimes it’s the same model number that someone else has working, but the firmware has changed so the results are different.

They are still popular because of the cost, but they can be a lot more work to set up. :thinking:

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BTW, @Mariano_Colmenarejo is one of the community members who has been writing new Edge Drivers, so definitely an expert on their current practical use. :wink:

His channel includes an Edge Driver for the Sonoff ZBMini , so if he says it’s not working well, he would definitely know.

[Beta] Zigbee Edge Driver compatible with Lidl, Ecosmart, Osram, SmartThings & Others

Whether that’s going to be a permanent issue with that model or whether the problems are because Edge is still in beta is something we won’t know for awhile.

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Although some users only know how to demand and criticize, I think Drive Edge is a great job from smartthings for driving this platform forward.

His great work with the stock libraries makes creating Zigbee Controllers so easy that even a hobbyist like me can do it.

For manufacturers and developers who want to open this market to their products, they will have it much easier, if they want

Let’s hope they do !!!

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Let me try to sum up from acurremt edge point of view:

  • Sonoff does not work well
  • Tuya:
    • Switch works very well
    • Dimmer, we don’t know. In case it does, cannot work with dumb switches
  • Aeotec: switch and dimmer should work well. Dimmer can work with dumb switches.

Is that correct?

Regarding smart lights, I assume that need smart switch. Otherwise I should left dumb switch on, shouldn’t I?

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