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Glenn Broadway

Trying to work out if Fibaro WILL do what I need - dimming LED downlights

Question

I'll try to keep this very brief. House has very low ceilings and every room has 4, 6 or more LED downlights. Hallways have wall lights with LED G9 bulbs. Outside lights are combination of wall lights with standard bulbs, old driveway lights (sodium) and bright lights with compact flourescent. One outbuilding has LED panels.

 

I'm not desperate for full automation but I do want the ability to turn lights OFF automatically (especially when outbuildings are left on). I would like to also be able to dim the lights if possible. I DO want the wall switches to still work.

 

I wonder if Fibaro will allow me to do this at the switch with the Dimmer module? The first room I want to try it in has this. 1 x double switch - with the left switch  being a reduntant/unused switch  and the right being one of two switches which turn on the 6 x Halers H2 Pro LED downlights.(a room with 4 of these downlights has successfully been dimmed using a Varilight dimmer switch). [photo included]

 

I will of course get an electrician to come and rewire the switch - but I really want to know if the Fibaro product will do what I need? A couple more questions:

 

The switch back box is 50mm deep - is that enough room?

What do I need in terms of some kind of base station?

If I have a room with dimmers currently and I add Fibaro will I need to replace the dimmer with a switch?

 

Many thanks! Glenn.

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Hi Glenn, and welcome to the forum.  Here are some answers on the Fibaro dimmer, you can get all the spec's here: 

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1. It will switch on/off most types of lights (LED, incandescant, CFL etc), but only dimmable bulbs will be able to be dimmed (not all LEDs are dimmable - so you may need to replace bulbs). The device has a smart calibration setting that will select the best dimming mode to help with this.  You should check whether the sodium lights are supported - you might be better off with Fibaro Switch instead (check).

2. You can turn lights off by the wall switch, by the app on your phone, web interface, or by programming a scene (eg, turn outside lights on at sunset, then all lights off at 11pm)

3. You can use the existing light switches, but they will only work to turn on/off.  Dimming would need to be done via app. Just note if you turn light on via app, the switch on the walll will be "upside down".  (To avoid this, I replaced my switches with pushbuttons).

4. The dimmer module only dims one circuit.  So if you have two switches you'll need two devices. And if the load on each circuit is less than 50W, you'll need a Fibaro bypass as well, to stop the lights flickering.  These 4 devices probably won't all fit in your box.  A single device plus bypass might be tight, suggest mocking these up with scrap wood and seeing if they fit?  Otherwise you might need to enlarge the box.  I put my devices in teh roof (where I had access to the neutral).

5. Existing dimmers will need to be replaced, unless you simply use a Fibaro Switch instead to control on/off, and use existing dimmer on wall for dimming.  No bypass needed in this scenario.

6. Controller ("base station"): Yes you will need this.  Fibaro make 3: The Home Centre Lite (provides basic functionality, can't program with scripting, only predefined block scenes); the HC2 (has just been superseded, but pretty mature), and HC3 (new model, still has some bugs being ironed out, but is future proof).  HCL meets your immediate needs, but depends on how hooked you get and if you want to customise you'll want an HC2 or HC3. The controller sets up and programs the system; if for some reason it goes down, you can still switch your lights using the wall controls.

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  • 8 hours ago, Tim__ said:

    4. ...Otherwise you might need to enlarge the box.  I put my devices in teh roof (where I had access to the neutral).

     

    I don't mind putting the dimmers in the roof at all. My hallway wall lights (which don't dim) are hard to access in that way however, so I will have to do it at the switch. But perhaps replacing the switch with a Fibaro switch is my solution? (more below).

     

    8 hours ago, Tim__ said:

    5. Existing dimmers will need to be replaced, unless you simply use a Fibaro Switch instead to control on/off, and use existing dimmer on wall for dimming.  No bypass needed in this scenario.

     

    This seems really interesting to me. Can you elaborate? Is the fibaro another switch that sits next to (just before) the existing dimmer - does it have a wall plate? Will the Fibaro switch work in the UK (no neutral at the switch)? If I have an existing circuit which has no dimming (outside wall lights for example) is the Fibaro switch the way to go to allow them to be automatically turned on and off? My googling seems to lead to a fibaro product called a switch which is a module like the dimmer.

     

    8 hours ago, Tim__ said:

    6. Controller ("base station"): Yes you will need this.  Fibaro make 3: ... The controller sets up and programs the system; if for some reason it goes down, you can still switch your lights using the wall controls.

     

    Being able to still switch the lights using the switches if the base station goes down is very important. I presume this is robust. Also, elsewhere I have been recommended to consider other controllers - such as Indigo for Mac - but I think the HC Lite might do what I need.   

     

    Thanks so much for your detailed response - I really appreciate it.

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    22 hours ago, Glenn Broadway said:

    This seems really interesting to me. Can you elaborate? Is the fibaro another switch that sits next to (just before) the existing dimmer - does it have a wall plate? Will the Fibaro switch work in the UK (no neutral at the switch)? If I have an existing circuit which has no dimming (outside wall lights for example) is the Fibaro switch the way to go to allow them to be automatically turned on and off? My googling seems to lead to a fibaro product called a switch which is a module like the dimmer.

     

    Yes you are correct, there are several Fibaro modules, see

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    .  The Fibaro Dimmer 2 is the second iteration of the dimmer.  There is the new Fibaro Smart Module. Another is the Fibaro Switch, which comes in a Double version meaning you can control 2 circuits (on/off only).  However the Switch requires a neutral.  Whilst the Dimmer 2 does not, it's better to use a neutral if you can to avoid issues with flickering / light staying on at low brightness settings, which apparently occurs with some bulbs.

     

    I should also have said that if you want, you can put the dimmers in the switch box, and the bypasses in the roof (because they are smaller, you can poke them through the ceiling wiring hole).  NB You only need one bypass per dimmer (not one per bulb).

     

    I have a mix of dimmers and switches depending on function, eg outside and hall lights are just on/off, whilst living rooms are dimmable.

     

    There's a bit of labour involved in wiring it all up in an existing house, but in short - Fibaro will do what you listed. 

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  • Superb, thanks Tim__. I'm also considering the Shelly products, which are certainly cheaper but possibly not as robust. Is it possible to tell from my original photograph if I have neutral at the switch? I'm happy to put the modules in the roof space - presumably I will fit them through a 90mm downlighter hole.

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    On 7/31/2020 at 8:19 PM, Glenn Broadway said:

    Is it possible to tell from my original photograph if I have neutral at the switch?

    Yes...The black wires are most probably neutrals.

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