Home Automation Lighting with Z-Wave
Z-Wave is a wireless home automation technology that has products available from many vendors (50+ on Vesternet). This means that whatever type of device or thing you would like to do, there will be a Z-Wave device available.
Z-Wave Lighting Control
There are a huge range of Z-Wave devices available to control every aspect of your lighting. It can change the look and feel of your lighting at a single button click - bringing true automation to your home's lighting.
How it works
Z-Wave has a number of features that make it ideal for wireless home automation and lighting control.
All Z-Wave devices work in a system (sometimes called a network), at the heart of the system is the Z-Wave controller. All devices are 'added' to the system so that the controller can see them. You're then able to control and monitor them from a computer, phone or tablet. Sensors allow your lights be automatically activated on motion, temperature, light level and the time of day. More information about the basics of a Z-Wave system are shown in - Home Automation System Overview - How it Works.
Two-way wireless communication
All commands and message are automatically acknowledged, so you always know if the light actually turned on - even if you can't see the light or even at home. If a message is not acknowledged it is repeated up to four times to ensure the message is received correctly.
Every device reports its status, so you always know which lights are On or Off, and at what brightness they're set at - even if someone manually changes them.
Z-Wave automatically repeats signals through mains-powered devices and decides on the best route for the signals to take. This helps eliminate dead-spots and enables it to cover a wider area (range).
Smartphone and Remote Access
The Z-Wave controller connects to your Wi-Fi Router allowing you to control the lights from a smartphone or tablet while you're at home or even away.
Scenes allow you to control a number of Z-Wave devices all as one group. The scene can set dimmers to different brightness levels and some devices On and others Off. So a movie scene could change the lighting so the main room lights turn off and the table lamps dim down to 20% (as well as turning on the TV and Blu-Ray).
ConsiderationsAdding Z-Wave control to your lighting is straightforward. It uses standard lighting wiring, so there is no need to rewire your home. However, before going ahead, there are a few things to consider or double check.
2-Wire Lighting System (No Neutral)The majority of lighting systems do not have neutral available at the light switch, we call this a '2-wire' system. It's important to check which system you have, as many products such as Z-Wave switches and relays must have neutral. If in doubt we always recommend using dimmers, as they can work in a 2-wire system. Check these guides for more information - Understanding 2-wire and 3-wire Lighting Systems and Why Z-Wave Switches need Neutral.
Back Box Depth
The Z-Wave modules, switches and dimmers are slightly deeper than standard light switches. We recommend that you use 45mm deep back-boxes to accommodate the Z-Wave component plus all the wiring.
This is an important point when looking to use Dimmers - they must be used with dimmable bulbs such as Incandescent, Halogen and LED. They cannot be used with non-dimmable bulbs such as CFL (Energy saving), fluorescent, or non-dimmable LEDs. Using the dimmers with non-dimmable bulbs can damage the dimmer and bulb. Z-Wave switches, relays and wall plugs can be used with any bulb type.
2-way and Multi-way Light Circuits
Generally Z-Wave switches and dimmers can easily be used in 2-way light circuits - these have one light circuit controlled by two (or more light) switches, such as a landing light that can be controlled from upstairs and downstairs. If you are looking to use a Z-Wave dimmer or switch module, you only need one module as this is a single circuit. Some other systems, such as LightwaveRF, need additional slave dimmers to be installed to work in a 2-way circuit. This is not the case for Z-Wave.
Components - what they do
To add Z-Wave home automation control of your lighting you can start with as few as two components and expand your system from there. These are the products we've tested and believe work very well for lighting control.
The Z-Wave modules can be fitted behind a light switch, in the ceiling space, or anywhere that you have access to the lighting wiring. They are incredibly flexible, allowing you to control every aspect of your lighting. And, the dimmer modules work in a 2-wire system, making them ideal to fit behind any light switch.
- Fibaro Dimmer 2 Module
Allows you to control the brightness and On/Off state of lights up to 250W and can be controlled via Z-Wave or from a manual switch wired to the dimmer module. Does not need Neutral.
- Fibaro Dual 2x1.5Kw Relay
Double switch module can control two independent circuits of up to 1,500W each. Can be controlled via Z-Wave or from manual switches wired to the relay module. Requires Neutral.
- Fibaro Single 1x2.5Kw Relay
Single switch module can control up to 2,500W. Can be controlled via Z-Wave or from a manual switch wired to the relay module. Requires Neutral.
- Fibaro RGBW Controller
Low voltage module (12/24V) to control multi-coloured LED strips (RGBW) or four separate circuits up to a total of 12A. Can be controlled via Z-Wave or from manual switches or sensors wired to the module's inputs.
- Qubino Dimmer Plus Module
Allows you to control the brightness and On/Off state of lights up to 200W and can be controlled via Z-Wave or from a manual switch wired to the dimmer module. Requires Neutral.
These can replace existing wall switches. But be careful - they need neutral, which is not available at the switch in most light systems, this is why we always recommend looking at Dimmer modules first (see above).
- MCO Touch Panel Switch - Two Load
Stylish touch panel 2-gang switch that can control two independent circuits and can be controlled via Z-Wave. Requires Neutral.
- MCO Touch Panel Switch - Four Load
Stylish touch panel 4-gang switch that can control four independent circuits and can be controlled via Z-Wave. Requires Neutral.
Wall Plugs and Sockets
Z-Wave wall plugs simply plug into the wall socket and quickly give you Z-Wave control of lamps or other appliances. Wall plugs are available in Switch (On/Off), Dimmer and Power monitoring versions.
- TKB On/Off Wall Plug
Simple plug for On/Off control of all lights and appliances up to 3,000W.
- TKB Switch/Meter Wall Plug
Combines On/Off control of the lamp as well as measuring its power consumption.
- Popp Dimmer Wall Plug
Great all purpose dimmer plug that is suitable for all types of dimmable bulb, including LEDs.
- Fibaro wall Plug
Gives you On/Off control of the lamp and measures the power consumption. It also includes an LED bezel that changes colour based on how much power it's using - perfect for a quick check.
We have a wide range of Z-Wave Wall Plugs available, be sure to check out our Choosing a Z-Wave Wall Plug guide.
The Inline switches can be wired into any lamp cable, giving you quick and easy wireless control.
- SwiidInter Cord Switch
Replaces the lamp's cord switch or wired into the lamps cable, gives you Z-Wave or manual control of the lamp.
We have a huge range of Z-Wave sensors, way too many to many to list here, but all can be used to automatically control your lighting.
- Fibaro 3-in-1 Motion Sensor
Tiny Motion sensor that also monitors temperature and light - can be used to turn your lights on when movement is detected, or light level, or both.
- Aeon 6-in-1 MultiSensor
Versatile sensor for motion, temperature, light and humidity - control your lights automatically from any of these sensors.
- Fibaro Door/Window Sensor
Versatile door and window sensor can be mounted anywhere and controls lights when the door is opened.
- Aeon Door Sensor Gen 5
Door sensor mounts in the actual door, so that it's almost invisible.
Take a look at the full range of Z-Wave Sensors.
The controller, sometimes called the hub or gateway, controls your Z-Wave system. It enables you to add and configure devices and to create and run 'scenes' that enable the system to do things automatically, such as turn on lights based on motion or time. The controller also allows remote access via the Internet or smartphone even when you are away from home.
- VERA Edge
Low cost, very capable Z-Wave controller with an easy to follow User Interface (UI).
- Fibaro Home Center 2 (HC2)
Flexible Z-Wave controller with an intuitive User Interface (UI), dedicated panels for heating, alarms etc and advanced LUA programming capabilities.
- Fibaro Home Center Lite (HCL)
Based on the same UI as the Home Center 2, but has a restricted feature set to offer a lower cost entry-level controller (see feature table for more details).
Already own Z-Wave or Hue - Then read our guide on Using Them Together.
These guides and videos show how these various systems can be integrated with Vesternet's home automation products.
- Introduction to home automation Lighting
- Understanding Lighting Terminology
- Overview of a home automation system
- Choosing a Z-Wave Controller
- APNT-111: Installing a Fibaro Dimmer 2 module in a Wall Switch
- APNT-211: 2-way Lighting Using Fibaro Dimmer 2 Modules
- APNT-17: Controlling Lights with Fibaro Relays
- APNT-23: Understanding 2-wire and 3-wire Lighting Systems
- APNT-115: Using Fibaro Dimmers with LED Lights
- APNT-25: Momentary Switches
- APNT-26: Motion Activated Light Using Fibaro Home Center 2
- APNT-28: Sunset-Sunrise Lighting with Fibaro Home Center 2 >
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