What are your plans for lighting?

So aside from all the early issues, I’m pretty excited to grow my SmartThings system and lights are top of my list.

From what I gather, for a single switch light, the best way forward would be a momentary switch (though I can’t find anywhere that sells them!) and a z-wave dimmer insert to sit behind it. Am I along the right lines?

The place where I really start to get lost is with 2-way and 2/3/4 gang switches. No idea where to start.

Would really appreciate any advice on lighting from any Home Automation veterans, and if you are a fellow newbie I’d love to know what your plans are.

Cheers!

UK Lighting FAQ.

AEON labs makes a momentary switch specifically for use with their relay.

Also, if you like modern design, adorne from LegrAnd of France makes a really nice line of switches that are zigbee. Unfortunately they use a proprietary version and so you cannot connect them to smartthings. But there are some community members who have repurposed the hardware and combined them with the aeon or fibaro micro relays for some really nice looking results.

@Mike_Maxwell recently posted a video on this, but I don’t remember exactly where it is. Perhaps he’ll chime in.

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legrand adorne paddle hack:

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Not extremely helpful, but here in the US I rely primarily on Z-wave switches from GE Jasco (what’s sold on the ST site (and cheaper on Amazon ;)))

I like have a physical switch for the family (wife and kids) when something isn’t automated…since I am growing my home currently anticipation of a new house.

You really need to determine if you want a “smart” house or an connected one. I am opting for the latter to start and build to the former. Meaning…I have to work for awhile to figure out how I can go without needing to interact with switches, so right now, I have a combination of both automation and connectivity (some go on automatically, while others at night I can shut everything off at once).

I find for people want to have a higher acceptance factor, connected switches are the best bet. Physical interaction but never “disconnected” so always controllable. Just my .02 on strategy, can’t really add anything in terms of products.

Good luck…

@bravenel, sure this makes sense if you’re in love with the “decora” form factor, which I’m quite a bit over with.
Using an in wall dimmer/switch module you’re free to use whatever device switch and faceplate that you want.
Remember in the UK (and most if not all the EU) their device back boxes are a completely different form factor than ours.

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You likely missed that this is a new category specific to the UK and Ireland.

(@bravenel is one of the community’s lighting experts, and answers a lot of posts.)

Different wiring, different switch boxes. Very rare to find zwave switches that fit these no matter what they look like in front, and most of the zwave manufacturers don’t even bother to make wall switches in the European frequencies.

So almost all European homes with zwave are wired with in wall relays, not replacement zwave switches.

Also, the terminology is different. What the US calls “three-way” the UK calls “two-way.” A"three-way" in the UK would be called a “4 way” in the US. So we’re trying to stick to UK terminology in this new category.

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MK astral is the only Z-Wave lighting system I’m aware of for the UK. BUT… my understanding is it’s locked in it’s own ecosystem somehow and cannot be paired with other non astral controllers. I don’t know if that’s true or just a marketing trick. The other issue is they seem quite expensive.

Would love to know if anyone has played with them.

MK Astral is indeed an expensive system, really intended for commercial lighting installations like hotels or an entire apartment building. Not so much homes. I believe it does require a neutral wire at The switch.

It is a certified Z wave system, but it’s what’s called a “lighting scene controller system” and consequently uses some Z wave command sets which SmartThings does not support. In particular, it requires controller replication. So the devices probably wouldn’t work with SmartThings anyway.

TKB make some wall switches for use in the UK, but they also require neutral at the switch. They cost a lot less than the MK Astral but they’re still probably close to £40 per switch. They are sold for individual homes, and you could find them, but unless you’re doing a full renovation with new wiring, they won’t work in most UK homes.

You can always check the official Z wave alliance site to see exactly what products have been certified for your region. Then you have to track down a retailer for them.

when looking at light switches, read the conformance statements. If The device is called a “scene controller” or if it lists “controller replication” in the supported commands, it probably will not work with SmartThings, or at least not the way you expect it to.

If it is called a “binary switch” or “multilevel switch” or “dimmer switch” or “multilevel dimmer” there’s a much greater chance that it will work with SmartThings.

Table Lamps will work for some homes

Of course, if you’re already using table lamps, then you have a pretty wide choice of plug-in modules for either Zwave or zigbee that will work well with smartThings. Sometimes that’s the simplest route.

My house, in the States, was built in the 1950s and actually has very few ceiling light fittings. So I use a mix of plug-in modules and smart bulbs. I started out using the plug-ins, but after I got the Amazon echo working I really liked it for light control, and I switched to a lot more smart bulbs. Different things work for different people.

My one universal recommendation, regardless of the country that you’re in or the type of device you’re buying, is to only buy from retailers with a good returns policy. I personally don’t buy electronics from eBay in the United States. Too many counterfeits without warranty. But other people are willing to run the risk to save the money. So again, a personal decision.

Aeon labs are meant to be releasing a range of combined controllers and switches shortly. These should be a bit easier to fit in smaller enclosures that their existing separate controller and switch. I’m personally waiting for these as it’ll give me everything I want for the rooms that don’t suit the current range of Hue bulbs.

The rooms that I do have Hue bulbs in I’m planning on getting the new Hue dimmer switch: http://www2.meethue.com/en-us/the-range/hue-wireless-dimming-kit/ as a z-wave switch isn’t the best way for me to trigger those. I have a couple of the Hue taps that I use for “remote” access to the lights when I’m sitting down or in bed as this is faster and easier than using any app or web app. You do need to use the 3rd party Hue Tap App to make the Taps actually worth having. Out of the box they only support a single action (on for one button, off for another) per button but with the App you can assign a dual state action to a single button (on and off on a single button). This means I can have four different things controlled by the Tap.

I currently use openHAB to tie in other vendors light controls (e.g., wemo, IR based lights via Harmony) but will switch to SmartThings to do this once it stabilizes. This means I can turn on all lights regardless of vendor in sync with the Hue bulbs. I think this cross vendor support is important at this stage as it is difficult to stick to one vendor for all use cases.

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The Aeon labs switches sound interesting, where did you hear about those, would love to know more.

I looked at the new Hue dimmers as well, they don’t quite fit my needs as they don’t replace the current wall switches. When I first heard about them I had hoped they were going to be a range of wired switches and not just remote controls mounted on a wall. I’m sure they’ll be ideal for some people and purposes, sadly not for me.

Aeon labs are meant to be releasing a range of combined controllers and switches shortly.

Any idea when shortly is? I’m impatient! I can’t see anything about this from a google search, is there any more info anywhere online.

I was tempted by Hue and the new dimmer switch looks good but other people would still insist on using the main switch which would render them useless.

I’m going to go down a few different routes depending on what makes sense. My father-in-law is an electrician so that’ll be handy.

Since most houses (including mine) in the UK don’t have neutral wires going to the switches, for some, I will see if I can put one of the in-line z-wave relays (like: http://swarmautomation.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=79&gclid=CLvZtfyL-8cCFUu6GwodJikKBQ) actually in the ceiling rose (depending on the fitting, the ones in the kitchen have a big enough plate to fit one of these in) since the neutral does go to the light itself and the wires go to the switch from there too. From what I’ve read, most of these support both momentary and toggle switches (the manuals say they detect the type of switch during setup). Yes ok, it’s a little funny that the physical switch could be in the off position but the light could be on but I’m not bothered. I also already have some really nice switches in my kitchen already which I’d prefer not to get rid of.

For the outside lights I have a 4 gang switch on a double backbox and I think I can fit a couple of these: http://swarmautomation.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=30_23&products_id=37

Assuming they’ll work with ST. Fortunately, my father-in-law and I installed these lights and a neutral runs right past the switch so we can easily pull one in.

Otherwise, I’m going to go down the smart light route (Hue or otherwise)… It might sound crazy (or a bit expensive given what it’s doing) but it might be possible to use one of the above relays so that it’s not actually switching a light but you use the state change of the switch in a SmartApp to control a smart bulb. So the bulb would be powered all the time and the act of switching the physical switch tells the relay module to change and then ST reacts to it. Just a thought…

I also have 4 downlighters outside my front door:


(Ignore the coiled cable, that’s gone now and the superfluous courtesy light)

They are currently turned on by a sensor in the middle but I wouldn’t mind finding a way of making sensor tell ST to turn on some smart bulbs instead.

I’ve got a double garage also and intend to put electric roller doors in place of the current manual up and over doors. When I do this, I want to hook it all into ST and also put a RGB LED light strips inside a LED extrusion around the edge of the opening on 3 (left, right and top) sides or each door so they can light up the surface of the door at certain times of the day, but also, when the door is triggered to open (using a multi sensor so I can tell when it’s open/closed but also when it’s moving and in which direction), the strip will change to red while the door is moving and then flash green once it’s finished opening/closing.

I’m also going to make these things have a Christmas mode… we always put lights outside the front at Xmas, so having the garage door lights and the front door lights cycling pretty colours would be nice :smile:

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No idea, will be soon I think: http://aeotec.com/z-wave-wall-switch

Just a heads up, these guys have had “coming soon” products for years on end at times…

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I was going to say the same thing as Mike about Aeon labs/Aeotec.

They’re famous for interesting design, terrible documentation, and “dribble releases” where a few pieces of a new model are sent to retailers, then the model becomes unavailable for months again and it goes back to “coming soon” status…

And they’ll repeat that three or four times. I don’t know if it’s because they try to design for so many different countries, or if it’s something else, but they’ve done this with several devices, including the siren and the doorbell. By the time you get the email that it’s available, it’s sold out again. And the window film has been “coming soon” for at least two years.

But once the device is finally in regular wide release, it typically becomes very popular and is a solid choice.

So their devices continue to be worthy candidates for many situations, but only the ones that have been available at Amazon for at least five days in a row. :wink:

Anything else should be presumed to be still in development.

I think I’m going to hedge my bets on some behind the switch modules and Scolmore momentary switches.

2 things I’m not sure of:

  1. For a light with 2 switches, can the module go behind either switch? Or is there a master switch of the two? From looking at my wiring they seem identical.

  2. For a light with 3 switches (1 either side of an intermediate switch) can it go on either switch?

Cheers!

I’ll take a shot, though I’m not familiar with UK wiring…
The AEON devices require constant input power to operate, there is likely only one junction box that has the un-switched feed for the lighting circuit. This is where the AEON goes, this is true for 2,3,4 or n way…

Where did you get the Scolmore switches from? After a lot of thought I’m going to go with the same solution as you

I´m trying to decide what is the best way to get my outside patio lights to follow schedule.
Currently they are just normal unconnected LEDs with no smart-ness between them.

Please keep in mind this in UK Specific forum and I have European V2 ST hub.

My goal is to have my outside lights come on when it gets dark and turn off when it gets brighter. Likely I am going to use scheduler instead of light level (I dont have a sensor for that). For the record I don´t have any lighting solutions yet, so I´m starting fresh.

In total I have 4 e27 outside lights I need to make follow said shedule. I see my options as (and please correct me if I am wrong):
-Install Philips Hue White (the new version, was previously called LUX, 4 bulbs, no idea on EU price yet. Do I need the Hue Hub?
-Install Osram Lightify Tunable White or Classic bulbs, 4 bulbs, price around 30€ per bulb. Again do I need to have Osram hub with these?
-Install LIFX White 800 bulbs, 4 bulbs, no idea about EU price. Is hub required?
-Install Fibaro Universal Dimmers on my switches that control outside lighting (3 in total), price around 70€/dimmer. This should work directly with ST and I could use any bulb I want. Also range would not be issue, nor having the bulbs break due outside conditions. I can do a schedule based lighting solution with dimmers too right?

Any advice on how you´ve done it? Dimmer seems most sensible, but it is also most expensive solution and requires some electricity work. I would also like to keep the light control working in local network, so my lights would continue working if internet connection goes down, do any of the smart bulbs support that or are they all cloud to cloud?

Sorry for noobish questions, I´m new to setting these up.

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