As mentioned in an earlier post “The Smart Home Vision”, I’ve decided to use the LightwaveRF system to control the house lights.
Tell me more about LightwaveRF….
LightwaveRF is a new player in the home automation market. They provide a revolution in heating, lighting and power control. LightwaveRF’s products include dimmers (LED compatible), radiator valves, sockets and sensors. They look stylish and work just like ordinary switches and sockets.
The switches and sockets come in a variety of finishes (white, black chrome, chrome, stainless steel), which will suit well in most home decor.
One of the massive advantages of the LightwaveRF system is that the products can be retrofitted in place of existing sockets and switches as they fit on standard back boxes (I’d say a minimum 25mm back is required) and as they are fully wireless (they use RF 433mhz) no changes to existing wiring is needed.
As part of the LightwaveRF range they have a WIFI Unit. This unit is basically what’s needed to be able to control the products from your phone internally and remotely. There are other ways to achieve this without using the LightwaveRF WIFI unit, I will discuss the other option later.
Why did you chose LightwaveRF?
The main reason for selecting LightwaveRF was due to its ability to be retrofitted in to place of existing sockets. If I went with wired options, I would have needed to rewire the switches.
I’m currently in the process of replacing all the current light bulbs with LED bulbs so I needed a dimmer which was LED compatible. LightwaveRF ticked this box too. Having a young family, I needed something wife and children friendly. I wanted something that can be operated like normal switches and which don’t depend on having a phone or a remote. LightwaveRF ticks this box too, as the switches can be used like normal switches. And they also pass the wife style test!
How do you control the switches?
I’ve managed to replace all the switches in my house with LightwaveRF dimmers, all rooms from the living room to the kitchen, from bedrooms to the bathroom, including the hallways and the porch lights. I’ve personally gone for the white finish as it matches the decor.
To control the products I’ve gone down the custom route rather then using the LightwaveRF WIFI unit. The reason for this is that the custom route gives more flexibility and you’re not tied down to just LightwaveRF products.
The custom route consists of a Raspberry Pi and a RFXCom RFXtrx433 and I’m using open source software called Domoticz. Domoticz provides the protocol to be able to control many products including LightwaveRF. This route is more technical and does require a technical mind set. I will detail how to set this up in a future post. If you just want standard control over the switches and just want to use LightwaveRF products then the WIFI unit if the way forward.
Installing the switches
Installing the switches was pretty straight forward, most of the places it was just removing the old one (remember to turn the power off!) and replacing it with the LIghtwaveRF dimmer. Some of the back boxes where not deep enough. I could have replaced the back box, but that would have meant potentially causing damage to the decor. After intensive research I came across the back box spacer frame. This goes between the switch and the back box hence increasing the depth of the back box.