UK Lights/switches


(Dunning) #1

Probably a basic question, but please help!!

Im having outdoor lights (frot of house and garage) installed and want to be able to link them to smarthings (schedule them, welcome home etc). As the garage is quite a distance from the front of the house (but within wifi range) these will operate on 2 different switches/circuits

Can anyone tell me the best way to do this:

a. I was considering simply plugging the 2 set of light in to Samsung UK smart sockets and letting that turn them on/off via the app? Is this a good solution? Obviously they are really built to be hard wired to an on/off switch, so does this work?

b. Is there a UK wall switch that I can connect them to and then use that to set the lights via the Smarthings App?

I was looking at HUE lights, but Im not bothered about different colours etc, just the standard LED lighting that comes with the external fittings Im using and wanted to stick with Smarthings connectivity

All help gratefully received…

Scott


#2

I’ve moved this to projects so that you can get an answer specific to your own situation. Different people have different preferences for how to do a project like this, and there are many different good ways to do it.

If the lights can be wired to a plug and that plug does work (including matching load specs) that’s a very good way to do it. Simple and easy. That’s a typical method for strings of fairy lights at Christmas, or strings of garden spots like the Osram model.

From a lamp’s point of view there’s no difference between a networked pocket socket going on and off and a wall switch going on and off.

What’s the exact model of the lights that you are intending to use? And how many will there be on one switch?

The question of the wall switch is more complicated for the UK because many homes do not have a neutral wire at the wall switch. (A “3 wire” set up.) but there are some in wall micros that you can have wired into just about any light circuit that will then work with a regular switch. For those questions, it’s best to see the UK lighting FAQ:


(Dunning) #3

Thanks for your help!

The lights will just be a relatively standard up and down external light in one (probably B&Q etc standard).

If its possible to put a plug on the end of these, then I can just plug them in to a smart plug socket and control them that way?

An electrician is coming to fit everything , so shouldn’t be a major issue in actually fitting stuff.

If I did go for a wall mounted smart switch…do you know a good one available in the uk?

Thanks again

Scott


#4

Things are limited in terms of switches in the UK, and can depend on your wiring. Although not the same situation I did start out with Fibaro dimmers BUT I then found that most of the back boxes in the house where not deep enough at the switch level so instead I have decided just to go down the route of just using Hue bulbs.

If the switch exists that your looking for you will find it here: http://www.vesternet.com/smart-home/lighting/switches-dimmers


#5

Wall switches are discussed in detail in the VFAQ linked to above. :sunglasses:


(Dunning) #6

So, a Z-Wave paddle switch (I have an electrician coming to fit so should be fine?) can be connected to any lights as a “standard” on/off manual switch, but will also speak to a HUE bridge or Smarthings Hub so I can control and set up schedules also?

If there is no socket at all and the electrician is fitting from scratch (he is putting in some brand new sockets/switches anyway), is this a major job…I don’t really understand about the extra wired etc required?

Also, do you know how far the smarthings or HUE bridge can scan…my garage is about 30ft away from where the hub will be. If no good, is there a way to boos signal?

…probably basic questions sorry…but Im new to this

Thanks again

Scott


#7

As long as you have a neutral wire at the switchbox, and the Patress box is deep enough to hold a Z wave device, then you can use any of the “three wire switches.” This gives you a lot more choices.

If you only have a two wire set up (no neutral at the switch) then you have to use one of the in wall micros instead. Or smart bulbs.

The reason is that the neutral is used to power the radio in the zwave device so that it will be able to hear the next “on” command from the network even though the switch looks like it’s off.

And some houses it’s easy to change the wiring to a three wire set up at a particular switch, in other houses it is not. The electrician will be able to tell you whether you have three wires at the switch you want to use and if not what it would cost to change the wiring.

Vesternet is a reputable online dealer with an excellent selection of Z wave switches and very helpful customer service. (They also offer several other protocols, like enOcean, but only the Z wave switches will work with smartthings. )

www.vesternet.com

If someone is doing a reno, The usual recommendation is three wire at any light switch you want to use in your home automation, and deep patress boxes, preferably 47 mm. That just gives you the most choices when you go to select devices. If you don’t have that, there will still be some devices that work, but not as many.


#8

It’s not likely that you will be using Hue bulbs outdoors. They are only rated indoors. If you do use Hue, the bulbs speak to the hue bridge and the hue bridge talks to the smart things hub.

Selecting switches to work with Hue bulbs is a bit tricky, because the bulbs need to always be on power. This is one of the few situations where the UK actually has nicer devices in the US, because there is a line a battery powered switches available from Popp or Devolo Which work extremely well for this purpose. You put a switch lock or box cover over the original switch and leave it always powered on, then add the battery powered switch on top of the box or on the wall next to it for control of The smart bulbs. Works very well. Again, detailed discussion of this option in the VFAQ linked to in my first post.


#9

Zwave is a “mesh network” topology (as is the zigbee used by Hue). You don’t “boost” signal, as each device is already working at its maximum. These are intended to be very low powered devices.

But mesh means that messages are passed along from one device to another, in a kind of relay system. This is what allows you to cover longer distances.

Read the following and it will explain

Max distance for one hop is typically about 40 feet, but it just depends on architectural factors such as insulation in the walls, rain in the air, etc.


#10

A mains powered zwave switch Will work just like a regular switch even if your home automation system is down. It has a radio inside which is what allows it to talk to your smartthings hub.

The battery powered zwave switches have a similar radio so they can communicate with the SmartThings, but they do not control electricity going to the light fitting. So if your home automation system is down, that switch won’t do anything.

That’s why most people using battery operated switches keep the original switch as well, so that they still have control over the lights if their Internet or home automation system is unavailable.

Here’s a very nice looking box cover project:

But again, if you have a three wire set up at the switchbox, you can just use a mains power switch and you don’t have to worry about a cover.


#11

I’m tired today, but hopefully other people will answer any other follow-up questions that you have. Good luck with your project!


(Jamie Murphy) #12

LightwaveRF switches are the best you will find. There is an integration you can run cloud>cloud but its is very slow. There is a better one you can run on a small linux box like a raspberry pi that connects directly to your local lightwaverf link box. This makes it responsive and works well.


(Dunning) #13

Hi all,

Just thought I’d update on my mini switches issue/project.

Thank you for all of your input & comments!

Ive installed the following:

TKB Home light switch - Controlling 2 outside lights on a single switch
Wemo smart plug in garage - Controlling 3 outside lights on the garage

Both devises paired immediately to the smarthub (the Wemo switch via the Wemo app…easily installed).

I have set 2 routines so that all outside lights come on 5 mins after sunset and go off at 12 pm (Ive done this on 2 routines…sunset and lights out…hopefully thats the most sensible way?)

Now just trying to work out how to switch the lights on after 12pm (lights out routine) if a presence sensor arrives (easily done) but then lights go off a few minutes after?

Thanks all


#14

New how to page in the community-created wiki: how to create a virtual timer for a light. Uses the official smart lighting feature. :sunglasses:

http://thingsthataresmart.wiki/index.php?title=How_to_create_a_virtual_timer_for_a_light


(Dunning) #15

Genius! Thank you [quote=“ScottD, post:1, topic:51818, full:true”]
Probably a basic question, but please help!!

Im having outdoor lights (frot of house and garage) installed and want to be able to link them to smarthings (schedule them, welcome home etc). As the garage is quite a distance from the front of the house (but within wifi range) these will operate on 2 different switches/circuits

Can anyone tell me the best way to do this:

a. I was considering simply plugging the 2 set of light in to Samsung UK smart sockets and letting that turn them on/off via the app? Is this a good solution? Obviously they are really built to be hard wired to an on/off switch, so does this work?

b. Is there a UK wall switch that I can connect them to and then use that to set the lights via the Smarthings App?

I was looking at HUE lights, but Im not bothered about different colours etc, just the standard LED lighting that comes with the external fittings Im using and wanted to stick with Smarthings connectivity

All help gratefully received…

Scott
[/quote]


(Dunning) #16

Great…just one thing, how do I set the “timer” and we’re does the power save option show?

Sorry…


(Dunning) #17

Ok…so figured out the power usage bit. How do I get the real device to follow the virtual device?


#18

Short answer:

Open smart lighting automation, select the virtual switch, say you want to turn it off (not on), then when asked how choose the power allowance feature.

Long answer (Look for the black outline on each screen, that’s what I’m going to select next)

.1.

.2.

.3.

.4.

.5.

.6.

.8.

.9.

.10.

.11.

.12.

13.


Skybell not turning on lights in SmartThings (want a timer)
#19

In the smart lighting automation, select the real switch as the one to turn on, then when asked how you want to turn it on say by switch and then select the virtual switch from that second list and at some point in there it will say “turn off as well” and choose that option.


(Dunning) #20

Sorted! Thank you so much!!