Still looking for a retrofit lighting option

I’m still looking for a workable option for retrofitting smart lighting to my house. I have solid walls throughout and a lot of lights with 2, 3 or even 4 gang dimmers, as well as lots of 2 way switches. I do have neutrals at the switches but this actually limits my options - Fibaro etc won’t fit in the backboxes (certainly not more than 1) and there it isn’t possible to wire via the ceiling rose as the wiring runs directly to the switches and only the switched live is in the ceiling.

I think I have four options - I’d like any feedback on these or anything I’ve missed. I’m leaning towards Aone for the dimmable circuits and will look for another option for the switches.

Aurora Aone dimmer modules

  • should fit even with >1 gang
  • can support 2 way switching, although you need dimmers at both ends
  • can use my own light switch surrounds (I like Retrotouch Crystal)
  • DIYable
  • not sure what to use where I don’t want dimmers; still need to find another switch for that

LightwaveRF (EDIT: corrected from Lutron)

  • can support 2 way switching, although you need Lutron at both ends
    +/- will probably fit, although the module looks to be the size of the backbox which might cause problems
  • DIYable
  • not a massive fan of the look
  • needs its own hub
  • not sure what to use where I don’t want dimmers; still need to find another switch for that

Hardwire lights an use battery switches

  • Allows me to fit Fibaro etc. in the ceiling
  • Should support 2 way via automation
  • DIYable
  • Loses the physical link between switch and light (e.g. no internet)
  • Need to change batteries
  • Can’t use my own switches, although some of the switches are quite nice

Rewire all the lighting circuits back to central bus

  • ‘Best’ solution
  • Not DIYable
  • Not sure whether circuits are joined at the distribution box (one module powers mutiple rooms) - if so it should be easy. If they are joined ‘inside’ the house then it will be impractical.

Thoughts?

You wrote “LutronRF.” Did you mean LightwaveRF? And if not, have you considered those?

Also, if you have a neutral at the switch, the TKBHome line is an all in one available in either dimmer or simple on/off relay, double or single gang.

I have two gang of these, not dimmers though they do do them

£29.36 | NEO COOLCAM 3CH Z-wave Plus Wall Light Switch 3 Gang Home Automation Wall Light Switch Touch Control Remote Control EU 868.4MHZ
https://a.aliexpress.com/8TSGlOlTl

1 Like

@CharlesElliott
I am looking for a similar solution to you. Here are my thoughts.

AOne - I am disappointed they have not done a switch solution to go along side their dimmers. Apart from this I might have considered them but without this I have eliminated them.

LightWaveRF - I share your view about their look, I describe them as ‘aesthetically challenged’ :wink: It is also not possible to mix switches and dimmers in the same wall plate.

TheDen - uses a proprietary system, cannot (yet) be linked to Smartthings, cannot mix dimmers and switches. However at least it looks better than LightWaveRF.

Fibaro, Aeotec, etc. i.e. Z-Wave micro modules - This is closest to what I want as it can mix switches and dimmers, can do 2-way circuits and so on. If I go this route I would get an electrician to do any required re-wiring and I think you should consider this.

Lutron Caseta - They stubbornly refuse to do a version for Europe despite significant potential demand. :disappointed:

Stitchy Zigbee micro modules - These are Australian. Being Zigbee they work globally unlike Z-Wave and also work with Philips Hue, Smartthings and Apple HomeKit. Unfortunately they do not sell to Europe at least yet. Other than availability I would regard these as being a better choice than Z-Wave micro modules.

Insteon micro modules - These use a combination of their own proprietary wireless signalling and a signalling that goes over the power cables. As such these might be better for you with your solid walls. They do require their own hub but can be added to Smartthings via a 3rd party DHT. They are supposed to be working on a new hub but there are worrying signs this will not be made in a version for Europe. Until the hub situation is clearer I would hold off choosing them.

I would not be a fan of a hardwired solution with wireless switches. This gets you in to a messy situation regarding legal electrical configurations.

Rewiring back to a central bus would be a big job and only appropriate if you are also going to use KNX or similar which is vastly more expensive. (I suppose you could use DIN rail modules from Fibaro but it will still be more expensive.) If you are willing to consider this level of re-wiring then you would be better doing the simpler re-wiring for Fibaro or other micro modules located in the ceiling.

There are some Z-Wave wall switches as per the example listed by @JDRoberts but the choices for 4-gang seem non-existant meaning you would have to use 2 x 2-gang. Also mixing dimmers and switches becomes impossible and 2-way circuits more complex. I am ruling these out.

(All micro modules would have the same space issues and all would therefore in my opinion be best in the ceiling so this applies to Fibaro, Aeotec, Insteon and Stitchy.)

Thanks John, that’s incredibly helpful. if Aurora did a switch companion to an AOne, then I think I would be sorted (ideally in a Euro module). I’ll let you know if anything else comes up.

@CharlesElliott
The sales manager for AOne frequents these forums. His handle is @AndyPrice-Aurora

It would be worth contacting him to add your request regarding this.

If Andy picks up on this comment - how about getting ‘Friends of Hue’ certification, this would enable HomeKit compatiblity for your products. It should be noted that Stitchy another Zigbee switch/dimmer solution made in Australia works with HomeKit via Philips Hue in this way. (Currently Aurora products don’t.)

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