SmartHome Light Switches - the No Neutral!

Discussion in 'Electricians' Talk' started by Simon Marshall, May 1, 2018.

  1. truman29

    truman29 New Member

    And a good product by all account but I prefer a straight swap. No Hub, easy install etc. I'm not saying MiHome Energenie are a difficult product to set up but are a direct swap, no hassle etc. Just bloomin expensive!
  2. MGW

    MGW Screwfix Select

    I would say cheap compared with MiHome Energenie and likely a better option, however you need to tell all a little about them, I was disappointed to find MiHome Energenie only has three timers which you can select for which days of the week you want it to work for. I wanted four which you could get using IFTTT.

    So tell us how many timers has yours got? It states "a" so would assume only one.

    It says "Works with LED bulbs if supplied capacitor is fitted." OK where is that capacitor fitted? Does it increase the load so even when switched off your still using power? I know the MiHome Energenie switch works with a 5W LED as it comes out of the box.
  3. wwarby

    wwarby New Member

    Not sure if I'll have any luck reviving this but it's worth a go. I just bought a bunch of Philips Hue GU10s, and immediately returned them because my living room looked decidedly dingy after installation (my current bulbs are 860 lumens and the Philips ones are 300 - how much difference can that really make I thought? turns out, a lot). Anyway, I don't really want smart bulbs - what I want is a smart switch. I want to be able to control the lights with Alexa but I don't need to change the colour of dim the lights - I just want to turn them on and off in three groups, leaving a switch on the wall that so that I'm not locked into using Alexa or my phone all the time.

    The no-neutral problem seems pretty intractable and there don't seem to be any direct swap switches available except for the one company mentioned on this thread - The company that makes that switch just seems dodgy as sin to me - for a start it has no name and the switch is thus referred to be the URL of the page on which it is sold - the company looks to me like it's Chinese posing as English with a UK address and domain, but some tell-tale spelling mistakes, mostly fake-looking product reviews and a website that doesn't work properly (the switch says it's in stock until you put it in the basket, then it says it's out of stock).

    Anyway, at £40 if it works, it's a bargain compared to replacing every bulb or using a switch that requires another smart hub. Just curious really if anyone has any more experience with the mysterious switch. If it works as well as the product reviews suggest (and at least two of them seem genuine), it seems implausible that there wouldn't be an avalanche of copycat products on Amazon by now, and there aren't. Conceptually I don't even get how the product could work. It seems like it shouldn't be able to draw power from the live feed without a neutral, and the only other way I can think is with batteries, which it doesn't appear to be using.
  4. Draetsir

    Draetsir Member

    Not only is it a breach of the Wiring Regulations, but it is also prohibited by the Statutory Electricity Safety, Quality and Continuity Regulations. It is unlawful and illegal.
  5. truman29

    truman29 New Member

    You know your message makes a lot of sense to me. when I commented on the smart-home product it was because I had scoured the internet looking for a direct replacement light switch rather than actually purchasing the item. You see I WAS waiting for a Chinese knock off or similar to start filling Amazons selling pages or even on ebay. Now I have actually seen similar items for sale on ebay But I dont like the look of them. I had NOT considered smart-home to be a possible Chinese website.
  6. rogerk101

    rogerk101 Screwfix Select

    A few thoughts on this ...

    You ought to be asking yourself whether you're willing to risk burning down your house by using cheap Chinese knock-offs with fake CE markings on them just to be able to brag about being able to turn your lights on and off by voice.

    Few of us get enough exercise already, and yet we continue to seek out ways of doing even less exercise like not even getting up to turn on the light.

    Rather than going to a lot of trouble trying to voice-activate your pendant/ceiling lights, have you considered just voice activating some plug-in standard lamps or desk lights that just plug into your power sockets?
  7. wwarby

    wwarby New Member

    Yeah, it mentions on the website that the app is called "eWeLink" which is a Chinese name for an app if I ever heard one - not that I'd need any more evidence than the Chinese publisher name for the app itself in the app store: I work as a developer for a company that detects fraud in mobile app advertising so I know what I'm looking for, and we're seeing a lot of companies lately from Russia and China registering their businesses to UK or US addresses with a .com or domain to give themselves an air of legitimacy, and this company appears to be doing the same - it's a Chinese company selling a Chinese product at British manufacturing prices, I'm almost certain of that.

    If you read the reviews with a sceptical eye you'll see that the first four or five are clearly fake - generic "wow, what a great product" language in a single sentence, but that at least two of the more recent ones are obviously genuine. Knowing that, you have to assume that the company will delete any negative reviews, and I never put much stock in reviews posted on a product company's own website anyway.

    None of that means though that it is necessarily a bad product, just that it might be. The Chinese manufacture the iPhone, and I've bought many a Chinese product over the years at 20% of the price of more reputable competition. It's also probably wise to keep in mind with a product like this one that your ability to turn your lights on and off long term might be dependent on a Chinese company keeping their app updated for new iOS / Android releases which is far from assured. I'd think long and hard before replacing every switch in my house with these.

    I tried one once that looked similar to that - not a smart switch as such but one with a little remote control, but same design - sheet of glass with circular touch buttons. It was a piece of ****. It got itself confused about the state the lights were in, sometimes requiring two or three button presses and the dimmer function would stop half way through a cycle etc.

    The website mentions "Self consuming power: Less than 1mA". The term "self-consuming power" generally refers to power generated and consumed on-site, so the assumption here is that the switch generates it's own power and consumes it. One of the Philips Hue switches is powered by kinetic energy from the action of pressing the buttons, so such a thing is at least plausible and that has to be my best theory of how it works so far.
  8. wwarby

    wwarby New Member

    It's a fair point for sure and one that I need to give some thought to. I don't mind burning 40 quid on a punt to see if the switch works - I do mind burning my house down and as a non-electrician I'm in no position to properly assess the risk of that. Judging the company on the publicly available information they seem disingenuous at best and it seems unlikely that UK safety standards would have been applied in good faith. I do get plenty of exercise though :)
  9. Mr Rusty

    Mr Rusty Screwfix Select

    We have Hue - all as bulbs in sidelights, plus "play" lamps as top/bottom cabinet lights and we love the ability to change the room ambiance. ATM we also have the christmas tree lights in two rooms in the same "everything" alexa group through TP adapters. We considered making all the room main lights "smart" but decided to leave these on standard dimmers - these all have philips "classic" led filament bulbs in, which unlike many bulbs I have tried dim to either zero, or close to zero depending on how many bulbs on the circuit.

    I see philips have now introduced hue GU10 fittings and downlighters. I guess it is the downlighter you tried as it is only 320lm, but I see the spot fittings are GU10 and take any LED GU10 to 6W - that's pretty decent, especially if you have 2-3 in a fitting. In fact the Philips range of lamps and fittings seems to have suddenly grown huge.

    I like the philips stuff - it's a bit expensive but seems to be good quality, and I do trust it far more than I ever would a minor brand from ebay/amazon
    Tony Goddard and rogerk101 like this.
  10. truman29

    truman29 New Member

    So after a little research wifi smart home is an actual registered company @ 20-22 Wenlock Road, London, England, N1 7GU. Of course this means nothing really

    I agree Roger but I'm one of the unfortunate people that just love technology, it's nothing really to do with the ease of which your home can be automated but more to do with the latest home gadgets. I do however take onboard what you say about safety.
  11. truman29

    truman29 New Member

    One to miss then....
  12. Tony Goddard

    Tony Goddard Screwfix Select

    Not to mention bl**dy dangerous, for a start the earth is a bare wire, not insulated (the grey sheath is not classed as insulation), so suddenly you have a current carrying wire that is unsheathed - the convention of that wire always being earth means that even if it worked safely for years some poor chap in the future may think the other end is earth and get a permanent frizzy hairstyle.
    The earth wire, either a bare wire in T&E or a green and yellow insulated wire in other cables should never, never, never be used for any other purpose - it's unsafe and illegal as Draestir says.
  13. Tony Goddard

    Tony Goddard Screwfix Select

    Philips is good stuff, they started out making lightbulbs and are still at the forefront, for regular LED bayonet and ES lamps I only use Philips, Osram and GE (now gone back to calling themselves Tungsram in the UK) - all good quality and give nice light.
  14. wwarby

    wwarby New Member

    Sounds like we have a similar setup - I also have some Philips Hue strip lights behind my TV and on my kitchen cabinets and the Christmas tree lights on a smart plug. I want "Alexa, good night" to turn everything off at once.

    The Hue GU10s say 350 lumens on the side of the box, 300 lumens on the Philips website and 250 lumens on Amazon. The ones I currently have are 9w, 860 lumens ( and I can say from direct experience that the difference is huge - far beyond the point where I can tolerate it (I do like a brightly lit room). Quite honestly I don't really want to change my bulbs if I can help it, or the light fittings themselves - I have 14 of them in an open plan downstairs area and replacing the light switch seems by far the most economical approach to gaining smart control - but as pointed out by Roger that change really shouldn't come at the expense of safety. If Philips can make a switch that powers itself through Kinetic energy and some Chinese outfit appears to have made a switch that works without a neutral wire, then it seems technically feasible to do smart switches instead of smart bulbs and surely there's a demand for such a thing as it provides the smart control without the cost of the bulb replacements, which for spotlights is considerable. Just makes you wonder why it isn't a product that's widely available from a reputable company.
  15. Mr Rusty

    Mr Rusty Screwfix Select

  16. wwarby

    wwarby New Member

    Yeah that’s definitely my plan B. The trouble with that approach though is it’s not intuitive for guests - the switch won’t turn on the lights if the controller has turned them off, and if the switch is used to turn them off (as guests will tend to do) then the controller won’t turn them on. I could blank the switch and leave it wired permanently on, then get some kind of triple switch thats not wired and use it to toggle the lights with IFTTT but that approach is convoluted compared to replacing the switch with a smart one.
  17. Mr Rusty

    Mr Rusty Screwfix Select

  18. Mr Rusty

    Mr Rusty Screwfix Select

  19. greenback78

    greenback78 Active Member

    Try Lightwave. It caters for the lack of neutral but it only makes dimmer switches as far as I'm aware. Lots of integrated products like outlets too and other controllers but it's pricey.
  20. podgeandspecs

    podgeandspecs New Member

    7E39FB85-0349-4714-B843-0F1F61EC9621.jpeg 7E39FB85-0349-4714-B843-0F1F61EC9621.jpeg 7E39FB85-0349-4714-B843-0F1F61EC9621.jpeg I wish to replace the on/off switch for my outside lights with a smart switch . They have a dusk to dawn sensor but I don’t want them on all night long.
    Is this choice suitable to replace my existing switch.

    I’ve uploaded a picture of the back of my existing switch. There are two blue wires connected together. Any advice would be appreciated.

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