Yet another UK lighting Question

Many thanks - I’ll contact Vesternet and ask what product I’m looking for and whether it will work as expected.

Just a word of warning. Those “fairly deep” backboxes you’ve mentioned. They really need to be extremely deep when you are talking about the “micro” switches because they are anything but micro in size.

I was wondering - like you say, they look pretty big in the pictures and are probably bigger in real life.

This is a micro switch even after putting in a 47mm backbox. It was still a very tight fit.

If this is a “micro” just imagine what a non micro would be like!! :sweat_smile:

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yeah they recommend 45mm back boxes for most “micro” switches, from the pic above it looks like you can get away with less but you then have to have non flush switches, as the pic above would have most of the actual circuit within the front plastic housing, the flat to wall versions would have that extra 10mm+ in addition to the micro controller which are about 20mm+ big holes in small walls needed :confused: Nice clean job on the one in the pic though :slight_smile:

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@a4refillpad, may i ask what ‘micro’ switch you have in the photo?

cheers

That is the aeotec micro dimmer 2nd edition.

Hi,

I’ve just been in touch with aeotec and they’ve advised me that my light switches :

http://www.lutron.com/europe/Products/Pages/StandAloneControls/Dimmers-Switches/RaniaDimmer/Overview.aspx

are not compatible with their micro switches.

is there anything else that i can try?

thanks in advance.

@mrdo I have these switches too. Were you able to get them working with your setup?

I would expect you’ll need to replace those switches with basic Retractive / momentary switches, and pair each up with a micro dimmer or micro relay unit.

If you get three way Retractive you will have the same style control of press up to brighten and down to Dim.

I’ve done this with Fibaro 222 dimmers and MK grid switches combined with dimmable LED gu10 bulbs. Looks great and works well.

I’ve put a few of these around the house, they don’t do dimming, but simple on/off solution is all I needed and are a pretty cheap way of getting some smart lighting on existing ‘dumb’ bulbs.

£17 each and easily retrofit over existing switches. I already have an Energenie hub, as I have the eTRVs around the house.

I then integrated into ST using this smart app

Main issue is they are one way communication with ST, so if you turn them on manually, you lose sight of if they are on or off. So I guess it depends if you need to know if a light is switched on or not manually.

Having had a brief look at the installation guide for several types of Universal dimmer, the issue is that the dimmer module (which sits behind the switch) expects to take charge of regulating the level. All they expect to receive from the existing switch is a state (open/closed, or “triggered” for a momentary switch.

There’s no obvious way to pass through “half on” or “mostly on” as the original dimmer is now disconnected from any direct association with the current.

As others have said, a momentary switch would allow “hold to dim/brighten” operation (as well as double or triple-clicks. If you absolutely want a dimming control on the switch, then you’d need to find a z-wave/zigbee switch with a dimmer that can pass a command to dim to a different level on to the actual dimmer.

Hope that clears it up.

I have developed a device which may be of interest depending on your timescales. It is an integrated switch complete with dimming electronics and an energy harvesting (wireless & battery less) switch transmitter meaning that you can add additional switches to the same lighting circuit without installing additional cables.

It is designed for 2-wire (no neutral) lighting circuits which is not the case in this example and it is currently based on an EnOcean radio protocol but I’m working on a Zigbee version which will be compatible with smartthings.

Take a look at my website, www.rhoob.com, as I’m currently in the development phase I’m looking for market feedback. It would be great to get your thoughts on it.

Thanks. It certainly looks interesting, and you may have hit a niche in the market!

So, it looks like your product is in two parts:

First, a dimmer unit (I’m assuming similar in principle to the Fibaro dimmers)
Second, a wireless energy harvesting (Magneto-resistive) switch for communication with the dimmer.

In terms of technology, would I be correct in assuming you’re using the enOcean tech for the switch, then having a multi-protocol dimmer unit (or several options of dimmer unit) to utilise either enOcean or ZigBee?

If so:

Correct - although my design can work with low power loads without an additional dummy load.

Correct.

Almost, it is more cost effective to have a single protocol device. I have an EnOcean version ready to go and currently working on a Zigbee version so I can integrate with SmartThings and similar hubs.

Can I ask what you make of the aesthetics? Would the design put you off or draw you to the device? The rocker design is largely governed by the energy harvesting module therefore modern capacitive touch style rockers and flush face plates are not possible.

As a potential consumer could I ask what would you expect to pay for this type of device?

Personally, I’m not too worried about the design. It fulfills my wife’s key criterion: "Does it look like a switch?"
Generally I quite like physical switches where there’s a clear action attached (disclaimer: I do some web-based UX as part of my job, so have Opinions). It’s good to have instant feedback that you’ve done something.

To get subjective, I think you’re heading down the right track of “clearly a switch, but a nice-looking switch” - if I’m upgrading my home (I consider smart switches to be an upgrade) I want it to look no worse than it did before, and preferably better. I think these look better than the standard UK light switch:

(small aside: there may be people who want to keep the “traditional” small switches - would that be possible with a magneto-resistive switch?)

Ooh, putting my mouth where my money is…
OK. Given that Fibaro dimmers are around £40 at the moment and enocean switches appear to be around the £25 mark, I’d expect this to retail at a similar price point. I’d hope you could get a set for £60.

I appreciate that it’s the awful Catch-22 of “combining things nicely is worth something” vs “kits should be cheaper than standalone items” though!

Hope that’s helpful.

I know everything is personal preference but I did a lot of digging around this area and once I found that LightwaveRF did multigang switches and also slave switches, this is what I went with.
Just replace existing light switches.
Also means if you decide to move house you can either just leave them or take them with you.
They are stateless though which can be a good or bad thing.
I also ended up configuring a Raspbarry Pi to talk to the LWRF hub which shortens the response times to those expected for devices connected directly to the hub. No more cloud to cloud. :slight_smile:
They also look good.
As people say. Choice is good.

@Rhoob:
Just thought, the other thing that would be amazing would be some form of straight-up bridge between your battery-less switches and Zigbee. Would that be feasible?

@bobbles:
Yeah, I’ve done similar research. Not yet sold on LWRF switches, especially given the need for another hub. Currently just have the ST one and the Harmony hub, but that at least has a purpose beyond sitting waiting for data.

It is possible and I have seen a 3D print of a potential design but in truth the size of the energy harvesting module really restricts the options for a style which is non-european.

Another vote here for something that looks and behaves just like a traditional light switch. No buttons or fancy faceplates. Just simple rocker switches.