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VFAQ: Lighting Control Options for UK SmartThings

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(Kenneth) #144

Hi all, Just got into Smartthings so still a bit confused.
Tried the Carousell link above, but seems like the item is already all sold out.

Was looking through the compatible devices page https://www.smartthings.com/uk/compatible-products and found the Fibaro Universal Dimmer. However, i couldnt find the item on the Smartthings App. Hence, is the item still compatible?

Also, If i have a 2 gang switch, does it mean that I need 2 dimmer or use a relay?

Thanks!


#146

The one gang switch (non-dimmer) connects easily via zigbee to smartthings out of the box and you can just use the default zigbee switch. I haven’t tried the dimmer. But I suspect it should work.
It doesn’t need neutral.
I have 4 of the one gang switches at my home.


(Ben Francis) #147

Thank you for that detailed explanation @JDRoberts.

Sorry if this is straying off topic (we can start another one), but my understanding of the ZigBee Home Automation profile is that it does specify standard device types with defined “clusters” of commands.

Chapter 7 of the spec outlines 41 device types (including on/off switch, door lock, smart plug, dimmable light, temperature sensor…) and definitions of which clusters of commands they support. I understand that a single “thing” can support multiple device types, but why is not possible to detect standard device types and support their standard set of commands out of the box, without requiring device specific integration?


(John Lockwood) #148

Ok my head is hurting a bit but I have read most of this and the linked threads and I think I have narrowed down my choices to two.

Note: Like most here I am in the UK and only have 2-wire circuits.

I would have ideally liked to get the Lutron Caseta which does work with 2-wires and does dimming but the damn Americans have refused to do a version for Europe despite the fact Lutron do other products in Europe and despite the fact it has been out nearly three years. :angry:

The two options that I am looking at are -

  1. Dumb switches with Fibaro dimmer module
  2. Possibly the Gen 2 Z-Wave from Carousell as mentioned by @CSC

I do have a few questions about each approach

If I use the Fibaro dimmer module is it compulsory to use a momentary switch rather than a standard on/off switch?
Is there any type of physical switch one can use with Fibaro to also make it dim up and down?
I would like a choice of 1-gang, 2-gang, and 3-gang switches all in a square standard size and matching style, plain white would be preferred.

Am I right in thinking that the Carousell switch will both receive Z-Wave commands to turn lighting circuits on and off, and also provides a physical button for on and off?
Am I right in thinking that the Carousell works with 2-wires and does not need an additional device e.g. dimmer/relay?

If dimming on the switch in either approach is going to be difficult to achieve I am prepared to give up on that and just have on/off.

Am I right in presuming that both approaches will work for both standard single switch e.g. living room, and dual-switch i.e. stairs installations?

Links to UK resellers would be very much appreciated.


#149

Since this is an FAQ thread, I suggest you start your own topic under the Projects Section of the forum, and that way people can give you individualized responses based on your own set up and preferences.

https://community.smartthings.com/c/projects-stories

As far as vendors, Vesternet has a good selection of Fibaro products on the U.K. frequency and a helpful technical support department:

http://www.vesternet.com

There are additional vendors in the FAQ


#150

The switch support Zwave command and physical touch to on/off.

It with with 2 wire but you need to install a bypass at the lights, the bypass come with the switch.


(Paul) #151

@JDRoberts is spot on here with regard to Vesternet, note that I have no ties to this company but I fully rate the guides they publish and I personally use them because they provide great help and support.

With regard to this question:

If I use the Fibaro dimmer module is it compulsory to use a momentary switch rather than a standard on/off switch?

I believe the answer is no you don’t, have a look at the guides at Vesternet, start here for a single switch:

http://www.vesternet.com/resources/application-notes/apnt-111

and look here for 2-way:

http://www.vesternet.com/resources/application-notes/apnt-112


(John Lockwood) #152

Some additional switches for the UK.

Firstly some momentary switches suitable for use with the Fibaro z-wave dimmer modules. See - http://zwave-products.co.uk/epages/c52574ce-7814-4e39-8602-e19657ce0eaf.sf/en_GB/?ObjectPath=/Shops/c52574ce-7814-4e39-8602-e19657ce0eaf/Categories/3/Dimmer__Switch_Inserts/Faceplates

I particularly like the Click Polar range which is available in 1, 2, 3 and double 2 = 4 gang versions. Being momentary switches you only get on and off control even though you are using a Fibaro dimmer module. Being that you are using the Fibaro dimmer module you can use just two wires. If you use low power LEDs you might also need the Fibaro bypass module as well.

Second, some UK Z-Wave wall switches. Being actual Z-Wave wall switches they do not need the Fibaro dimmer module. As far as I can see the mains powered versions do require three-wires but uniquely so far as I have found they actually can do on/off and dim up/dim down! All the other Z-Wave wall switches I have seen are simple on/off only. They also have a battery powered version which might work with two wires. These are from MK well known for doing UK electrical products who I have discovered are owned by HoneyWell. See http://www.mkelectric.com/en-GB/Products/WD/Astral/Pages/default.aspx they also have a handheld remote control and a gateway for working with iPhones. I suspect this gateway is redundant if your using a Smartthings Hub.

I am starting to consider getting all my lights rewired for three wires :grimacing: as it happens I am going to need to install some additional wiring so might kill two birds with one stone.

The one thing with the MK Astral range that disappoints me is the lack of a 3 gang version.


Any light switches for 2 wire that work direct with ST, no extra hub?
#153

There are quite a few Z wave switches available for the UK which do allow dimming from the switch, typically with a “press and hold” mechanism. The longer you hold, the greater the change. This includes switches from TKBhome, MCO, popp, and others. They do all require a neutral wire. Vesternet has a good selection of these.

In general, if the wallmounted Switch device is identified as a “dimming Switch” or a “dimmer” that should allow for wall control of dimming.

The battery operated devices, whether they are from MK or any of the other brands, do not control the load to the fitting. Instead, they are essentially a wallmounted version of a handheld remote. Consequently, the fitting or the bulbs in the fitting have to themselves be “smart” and be able to accept wireless commands. If you just get the battery operated wall switch, it won’t be able to turn the dumb lights in the fitting on and off, let alone dim, by themselves. There has to be an additional device to receive the wireless commands and then change the status of the lamps. So the battery operated devices are used either with a micro in the ceiling rose or with smart bulbs so that there is still a wall switch mechanism.

For this reason, it doesn’t matter whether there is a neutral wire or not as far as the battery-operated device is concerned–but if you are using the battery operated device to send requests wirelessly to an in wall micro, then it may matter for the micro. If you are using the battery operated device to send requests wirelessly for control of smart bulbs, then no neutral will be required.


#154

Also, to clear up one more bit of confusion, you can dim from the switch when a momentary switch is used with a Fibaro dimmer module. Again, it’s a “press and hold” mechanism where the longer you hold, the greater the change. You release the button when the light is at the brightness level you want.

http://www.vesternet.com/resources/application-notes/apnt-11#.WJi9s8s76hA


(Paul Ockenden) #155

They say: If your lighting control point has no neutral wired to it and you are switching Compact Fluorescent and LED lamps, Low energy, fluorescent or LED lighting with separate ballasts You may need to fit a Low Energy Lighting Adapter.

So it sounds like they’ll work with something like the Fibaro bypass.

This is a good spot. I’ve been looking for proper UK switches for a long long time. In the standard UK light-switch size. I expect these will do very well.

P.


#156

MK offers “switches” (binary on/off only), and “dimmers.” There are different compatibility restrictions for the two different device classes.

Unless I missed it, none of their dimmers will work with LEDs or CFL’s. Only the binary switches will.

That would be similar to the US market, where it is possible to get a two wire Z wave switch, but it is only rated to work with incandescents or halogens, not LEDs or CFL’s.

The quotation you listed about the lighting adapter was from one of the binary switch models.

Did you see an MK Astral dimmer model that said it would work with dumb LEDs?


(Paul Ockenden) #157

The main PDF document says “Compatible with most types of lamps - including standard incandescent, halogen and compact fluorescent” but on looking further this system is VERY old. 2009 or earlier. Which I think predates LED as a major bulb type.

But I also found this: https://www.mkelectric.com/Documents/English/Astral%20Documents%202012/50066450_A%20-%20Data%20Sheet%20-%20FL%20Dimmer.pdf


#158

That says it’s a “ballast dimmer,” so I don’t think it would work with individual dumb LED lamps. The wiring diagram shows the Z wave device controlling a “analogue dimmable ballast.” That Ballast changes the physics involved. This is not a device intended for dimming control of individual dumb LED lamps.

It also says:

The Fluorescent Dimmer requires a Neutral connection.

So the MK Astral LFD51U Device is intended for control of old-style fluorescent tube fittings which have A ballast with a transformer which can be controlled by an analogue dimmer. That’s not what most people will be looking for for residential lighting. Maybe in a workshop or some kitchens that were redone in the 1980s.

I think the MK part numbers tell the story. The LD models are dimmers for typical residential lighting, but will not work with dumb LEDs. They were designed for incandescents and halogens.

The LF models are designed for use with fluorescent lights that have ballasts that can be controlled by an analogue dimmer. (Typically tubes) They require a neutral wire.

The LS models are binary switches. No dimming. They can be used with dumb CFL’s or LEDs, but may require a “low energy lighting adapter” in a two wire setup.


(Paul Ockenden) #159

To be honest, that’s perfect for me. I don’t want dimmers on most of my lights - just simple switches.


(John Lockwood) #160

Damn! :disappointed:

I rang MK and discovered that they had discontinued their MK Astral range some time ago. The person I spoke to in their technical department said they had asked the marketing department to remove them from the website many times.

They back then did have two types of dimmer module one specifically for fluorescent lights. This might have meant that the other module would work with dimmer compatible LED bulbs. As @PailOckenden pointed out this product range predates the wide use of LED bulbs.

I did find a couple listed on eBay but I would have needed many more to do the entire house.

Bummer.

Thanks @JDRoberts for the Vesternet link. Having followed that it looks like the Scolmore mini grid with the Fibaro dimmer module and bypass module might be the way to go. Anyone able to comment on a dimmer capable switch i.e. three way switch from that list of three?


(Henry) #161

@cedrictang
I tried to pair the 2 gang switch to ST, but unfortunately it didnt show on “add a thing” even I press the Prog key on the Schneider 2 gangs switch.
Do you know how to pair it up? without handler.

thx very much


(Philippe s) #162

Did you manage to get the schneider dimmer to be recognize in @L_Henry


(Maz) #163

I went for these retractive switches and they seem to be pretty good.

My personal favorite is this which is a 2 way so 2 controllers can be connected to one switch with a up down toggle

Since they are modular you can create any combination with 1,2,3,4 gang grid plates and face plates

There are also 2 options for the face plate to choose from white and metallic finish.

Hope this helps someone.


(Simon) #164

That is not a neutral. its the switched live returning to the lamp. A typical UK lighting circuit will have live and neutral looping around all the lights on the same circuit, with the switch dropping down from the ceiling rose. If you open up the connection at the ceiling you will see 3 red wires together. two black ones with one lamp connection and then a single black one connected to the other amp connection.

You could put a module such as the Fibaro Dimmer 2 behind that switch as the Fibaro does not need a neutral. you can also retain the existing switch.