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61 posts

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Topic # 150625 28-Jul-2014 19:54
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I've been doing a bit of research into Z-Wave dimmers because I'd like to add that functionality to the lights (We'll be going LED) I'm getting installed in our renovation. However, it seems when I look at the common ones around like the Fibaro and the Aeon Labs, they seem to require that the switch itself not be a toggle switch. They say that the switch needs to be an actual momentary type switch.

Does anyone know if there are Z-Wave dimmers that can work on your regular type of switches. I'd like to add that I guess I could go Zigbee if I had too but I'd prefer to go one system and Z-Wave seems to be the one to go with.

Cheers
Aaron


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53 posts

Master Geek
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  Reply # 1097438 28-Jul-2014 20:25
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I can't comment much on the Fibaro (am sure Ben can chime in), but I know the Aeon labs can be used with either toggle or momentary switch. If you go toggle then you get on/off but dimmer functionality only via Zwave control. With the momentary switch you can do on/off as well as dim from the wall switch as well as full control via zwave. When you first install it holding the button on the device a few seconds will toggle between setup for momentary vs toggle.

The bigger issue is finding LED lights that will properly dim with them (compat list here). I believe the Fibaro ones support a greater range than the Aeon labs ones.

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  Reply # 1097449 28-Jul-2014 20:29
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Hey Aaron,

I am using one of the Fibaro Dimmers in my ensuite (http://www.smartthingsnz.co.nz/store/product/fibaro-dimmer/) with a normal bi-stable switch (PDL600 series). The dimmer has a configuration option which allows you to use either a mono-stable (i.e. push button) or bi-stable switch.

Using a bi-stable switch means you can turn the light on/off and (depending on other config options) it will either resume from the level it was previously, or resume to full brightness.

Works well - although I have a Fibaro Motion Sensor in the ensuite as well, meaning I hardly ever have to worry about the switch. But it is there if I need it. I built my house 3 years ago before I knew anything about ZWave or home automation, so all this stuff has been retrofitted.

Any questions sing out.

Cheers,
Ben



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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1097470 28-Jul-2014 20:55
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Shimmer: I can't comment much on the Fibaro (am sure Ben can chime in), but I know the Aeon labs can be used with either toggle or momentary switch. If you go toggle then you get on/off but dimmer functionality only via Zwave control. With the momentary switch you can do on/off as well as dim from the wall switch as well as full control via zwave. When you first install it holding the button on the device a few seconds will toggle between setup for momentary vs toggle.

The bigger issue is finding LED lights that will properly dim with them (compat list here). I believe the Fibaro ones support a greater range than the Aeon labs ones.


Thanks Shimmer. So are you saying that even if I have a toggle switch with a dimmer, then the Aeon Labs unit will basically render the dimmer portion inoperable?


SumnerBoy: Hey Aaron,

I am using one of the Fibaro Dimmers in my ensuite (http://www.smartthingsnz.co.nz/store/product/fibaro-dimmer/) with a normal bi-stable switch (PDL600 series). The dimmer has a configuration option which allows you to use either a mono-stable (i.e. push button) or bi-stable switch.

Using a bi-stable switch means you can turn the light on/off and (depending on other config options) it will either resume from the level it was previously, or resume to full brightness.

Works well - although I have a Fibaro Motion Sensor in the ensuite as well, meaning I hardly ever have to worry about the switch. But it is there if I need it. I built my house 3 years ago before I knew anything about ZWave or home automation, so all this stuff has been retrofitted.

Any questions sing out.

Cheers,
Ben


Hi Ben. I'll likely be using standard PDL 600 switches as well which is why I was concerned when I saw they might not be dimmable. However the Fibaro (You're using the universal dimmer I assume?) sounds like it might actually be what I need. While I have you I have a couple of other questions.

1) If I have too little load in a room (Our dining room may just have two LEDs) I'll need one of the dimmer bypasses correct?

2) Do you know where I can find a list of compatible NZ lights? 

3) In NZ, do we have to have a qualified electrician to install these things?


Many thanks.


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  Reply # 1097482 28-Jul-2014 21:11
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1) There is a minimum load but you might be ok with 2 LEDs - what wattage are they? Shimmer might have had experience with smaller loads but I have 4 of the Fibaro dimmers in my place, all of which are running with 4x6W LEDs on each circuit and they work just fine. So that is less than the 25W minimum stated in the Fibaro manuals, albeit only just. I would try a dimmer without the bypass and see if it works, if not then you can look at adding the bypass. You will probably find it will be ok without but YMMV. The bypasses are pretty cheap tho.

2) Shimmer posted a link to a list of compatible LEDs in Oz. I don't know of anything equivalent for NZ unfortunately. I use these (http://lzled.co.nz/products-page/gu10-mr16/gu1050-2/) and they are great but I am sure there are others out there that will work ok. Might be a matter of trial and error I am afraid!

3) I can't comment on the legalities of whether you are allowed to or not, but I have installed all the devices at my place and it is relatively straight forward. I have a mate who is a sparky who ran his eye over my work to make sure it was ok. JUST REMEMBER TO SWITCH OFF THE MAINS BEFORE DOING ANYTHING! If you are not comfortable then get a professional to do it. Someone did tell me once that you are within your rights to make changes to the wiring in your own home - but I am not sure if that is true or not?

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  Reply # 1097584 29-Jul-2014 01:10
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AzaK:

Thanks Shimmer. So are you saying that even if I have a toggle switch with a dimmer, then the Aeon Labs unit will basically render the dimmer portion inoperable?


Correct if installed as per instructions. You may be able to wire in parallel and just not use the wall switch inputs on the aeon lab dimmer. Downside would be if you turned it on at the wall the zwave status wouldn't update, and the wall switch would over ride the zwave off command).

Once your automation is setup correctly as pointed out you don't need wall switches only if your HA system falls over. Funnily enough as I typed that last sentence I had a coughing fit and my VR took that as the command to turn on the air con...so yeah ok I guess sometimes it's nice to have the manual option

Had a quick look in the Aeon manuals I had still around and it doesn't mention min load, but I seem to recollect it's 40w. The two I'm using are running multiple lights. One has 5 Dimmable CFL's and the other 16 halogen (ghastly chandelier thing) so well over the min.

When looking at LED's look for ones that support leading edge dimmers as used in both the Fibaro and Aeon Labs. Then trial and error after that as to how well they dim and last.



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  Reply # 1097599 29-Jul-2014 06:50
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Shimmer:
AzaK:

Thanks Shimmer. So are you saying that even if I have a toggle switch with a dimmer, then the Aeon Labs unit will basically render the dimmer portion inoperable?


Correct if installed as per instructions. You may be able to wire in parallel and just not use the wall switch inputs on the aeon lab dimmer. Downside would be if you turned it on at the wall the zwave status wouldn't update, and the wall switch would over ride the zwave off command).

Once your automation is setup correctly as pointed out you don't need wall switches only if your HA system falls over. Funnily enough as I typed that last sentence I had a coughing fit and my VR took that as the command to turn on the air con...so yeah ok I guess sometimes it's nice to have the manual option

Had a quick look in the Aeon manuals I had still around and it doesn't mention min load, but I seem to recollect it's 40w. The two I'm using are running multiple lights. One has 5 Dimmable CFL's and the other 16 halogen (ghastly chandelier thing) so well over the min.

When looking at LED's look for ones that support leading edge dimmers as used in both the Fibaro and Aeon Labs. Then trial and error after that as to how well they dim and last.


Thanks. Shame there's such variation in the market but such is life I guess. It's all quite exciting to be honest.

I probably wouldn't do the parallel thing as I'll need manual override simply because most of the time my wife and children will just use switches. Whilst it'd be extremely awesome, I think I'm a ways off from never having to manually turn on and off a light.




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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1097665 29-Jul-2014 08:58
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AzaK:
Shimmer:
AzaK:

Thanks Shimmer. So are you saying that even if I have a toggle switch with a dimmer, then the Aeon Labs unit will basically render the dimmer portion inoperable?


Correct if installed as per instructions. You may be able to wire in parallel and just not use the wall switch inputs on the aeon lab dimmer. Downside would be if you turned it on at the wall the zwave status wouldn't update, and the wall switch would over ride the zwave off command).

Once your automation is setup correctly as pointed out you don't need wall switches only if your HA system falls over. Funnily enough as I typed that last sentence I had a coughing fit and my VR took that as the command to turn on the air con...so yeah ok I guess sometimes it's nice to have the manual option

Had a quick look in the Aeon manuals I had still around and it doesn't mention min load, but I seem to recollect it's 40w. The two I'm using are running multiple lights. One has 5 Dimmable CFL's and the other 16 halogen (ghastly chandelier thing) so well over the min.

When looking at LED's look for ones that support leading edge dimmers as used in both the Fibaro and Aeon Labs. Then trial and error after that as to how well they dim and last.


Thanks. Shame there's such variation in the market but such is life I guess. It's all quite exciting to be honest and I can't wait to get somethings up and running.

I probably wouldn't do the parallel thing as I'll need manual override simply because most of the time my wife and children will just use switches. Whilst it'd be extremely awesome, I think I'm a ways off from never having to manually turn on and off a light.




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Master Geek
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  Reply # 1097702 29-Jul-2014 09:44
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This was interesting. I don't know this guy's credentials but it seems to talk like he knows what he's on about :) In short he says there's nothing really reliably available as the Fibaro and Aeon Labs are both leading edge dimmers and LED's require trailing edge dimmers. They might work but will likely reduce the lifetime of the bulb. 

I'll note that the Fibaro one does say (On it's website) that it's universal but that could mean "works with lots of types of lights" as opposed to "universal dimmer support"

http://www.smartliving.com.au/forum/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=177#p756


Ben, do you have a PDF of the manual for the thing that I could read? EDIT: Found one, but nothing on leading/trailing edge.

Cheers


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  Reply # 1097710 29-Jul-2014 09:53
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Yep - dimming LEDs isn't an exact science - and much of what that guy says is quite possibly true. However as mentioned I have 4 different circuits all dimming quite nicely and haven't had any issues. Might get the odd flicker every once in a while, but nothing worse than I was getting with the LEDs on a normal non-ZWave dimmer, and barely noticable 95% of the time. The lifespan of the LEDs could suffer, but in all honesty, these LEDs are likely to be 1/4 the price in a few years and will probably be much better supported in terms of dimming. So if you want this sort of fancy tech now you will probably have to suffer the consequences ;)!

PM me with your email address and I can send you the Fibaro dimmer PDF. 

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  Reply # 1098279 29-Jul-2014 23:54
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Think this might be useful http://sound.westhost.com/lamps/dimmers+leds.html Be careful with using LED lights and anything else with an electronic power supply with a leading edge dimmer. You can easily get peak currents (and really bad power factors) That can destroy a dimmer with a load of only about 50W.



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  Reply # 1098392 30-Jul-2014 09:38
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Aredwood: Think this might be useful http://sound.westhost.com/lamps/dimmers+leds.html Be careful with using LED lights and anything else with an electronic power supply with a leading edge dimmer. You can easily get peak currents (and really bad power factors) That can destroy a dimmer with a load of only about 50W.


Thanks for that link, it was a great read. So basically it's buyer beware at the moment, especially regarding these Z-Wave dimmer controllers, which all seem to be leading edge. I'm now reconsidering whether I bother doing this at the moment, or maybe go with something like the Hue which is expensive. (Oh, LimitlessLED, why don't you have status functionality in your bulbs!) 

That article seems overall really down on dimming LED's no matter what but I can't imagine that there's not some really great combinations of dimmer and bulb as people install things things all the time nowadays.



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  Reply # 1098395 30-Jul-2014 09:41
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Yep - Fibaro + LZLED works for me - but who knows what effects it may have on the bulbs expected lifetime. In the end I don't really care however, since the functionality is awesome to have...hit play on XBMC and the lights in my living automatically dim down. Even the wife loves it! And as I said earlier this tech will improve over time so by the time these bulbs do expire there will be something much better available, at probably a fraction of the price.

Entirely up to you though - I realise it is a big investment - and there will always be something better 'just around the corner'...



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  Reply # 1098398 30-Jul-2014 09:44
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SumnerBoy: Yep - Fibaro + LZLED works for me - but who knows what effects it may have on the bulbs expected lifetime. In the end I don't really care however, since the functionality is awesome to have...hit play on XBMC and the lights in my living automatically dim down. Even the wife loves it! And as I said earlier this tech will improve over time so by the time these bulbs do expire there will be something much better available, at probably a fraction of the price.

Entirely up to you though - I realise it is a big investment - and there will always be something better 'just around the corner'...


I want to go Z-Wave anyway so the cost in the controller (Probably the ZStick) is something I have to do anyway, and I'm happy to have a sacrificial bulb to test with :)

Ben, have you any experience with one of the Fibaro dimmers attached to a switch with a manual dimmer? In our home we want to have the manual dimming option and be able to control remotely. Is this even possible?

Thanks


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  Reply # 1098403 30-Jul-2014 09:51
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The only way this is possible is by using a mono-stable (push-button) switch. This is what I have in my home. You have a single 'button' on the wall for each circuit. Various combinations of presses do different things, i.e. double-click to turn on 100%, click and hold to dim up/down, single click to turn off/on (to previous dim level). It works very well, although I must say we barely ever manually adjust our lights. It is definitely good to have them tho for the occasions you do need to.

But you can't use a normal analog dimmer. 



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  Reply # 1098406 30-Jul-2014 09:59
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SumnerBoy: The only way this is possible is by using a mono-stable (push-button) switch. This is what I have in my home. You have a single 'button' on the wall for each circuit. Various combinations of presses do different things, i.e. double-click to turn on 100%, click and hold to dim up/down, single click to turn off/on (to previous dim level). It works very well, although I must say we barely ever manually adjust our lights. It is definitely good to have them tho for the occasions you do need to.

But you can't use a normal analog dimmer. 


Ahh, so the Fibaro universal dimmer is the thing that is doing all the things you mentioned; not the switch itself with it's own controller/dimmer already installed with the Fibaro piggybacked off it? I was hoping they could be piggybacked and have the best of both worlds :)

Sorry for all the questions but what mono-stable switch did you use in the end then? PDL has an IMPRESS range of push buttons I see and you used PDL right?

Thanks

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