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Home Automation Lighting with Z-Wave

Inteligent 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.

What Z-Wave Offers

Z-Wave has a number of features that make it ideal for wireless home automation and lighting control.

Light 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.

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.

Status Updates

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.

Mesh network

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

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).

Extendable - Z-Wave works with other systems

Z-Wave can easily work with other home automation system such as Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Apple Homekit, IFTTT, Philips Hue, Nest etc. All the Z-Wave controllers have plugins that enable other systems to be used together with Z-Wave.

  • Philips Hue - Use Z-Wave lighting control alongside Philips Hue, getting the best from both. More information is shown in our Using Z-Wave with Philips Hue guide.
  • Nest - Have your Z-Wave lighting work with Nest smoke sensors and Heating control.
  • Amazon Alexa - Have Alexa control your lighting from your voice commands.
  • Apple Homekit - Control your Z-Wave Lights easily within the iOS 'Home' app.
  • Google Home - Integrated control from Google Home

Considerations

Adding 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. More information is in our Installing a Module application note.

Bulb Types

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. More information about 2-way lighting is available in our Lighting Circuits Wiring guide.

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.

Modules - Dimmers

The Z-Wave dimmers 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, some 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.
  • Qubino Flush Dimmer Plus
    Allows you to control the brightness and On/Off state of lights up to 140W and can be controlled via Z-Wave or from a manual switch wired to the dimmer module. Must have Neutral.
  • Qubino DIN Dimmer Plus
    Installed into main circuit breaker box, controls the brightness and On/Off state of lights up to 200W and can be controlled via Z-Wave. Must have Neutral.
  • Aeotec Nano Dimmer
    Allows you to control the brightness and On/Off state of lights up to 144W and can be controlled via Z-Wave or from a manual switch wired to the dimmer module. Does not need 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 RGBW Dimmer Plus
    Low voltage module (12/24V) to control multi-coloured LED strips (RGBW) or four separate circuits up to a total of 13A. Can be controlled via Z-Wave or from manual switches or sensors wired to the module's inputs.
  • Eutonomy euFIX DIN adapters for Fibaro
    The euFIX DIN adapters are designed specifically for Fibaro modules, allowing them to fitted into DIN rail enclosures. For more information take a look at - Eutonomy euFIX Fibaro DIN Adapters.

Modules - Relays

Z-Wave Relay modules allow you to turn lights On and Off. They must have neutral.

  • Fibaro Double Switch 2
    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 Switch 2
    Single switch module can control up to 2,000W. Can be controlled via Z-Wave or from a manual switch wired to the relay module. Requires Neutral.
  • Qubino Relay x2 Plus
    Double switch module can control two independent circuits of up to 1,000W each. Can be controlled via Z-Wave or from manual switches wired to the relay module. Requires Neutral.
  • Qubino Relay x1 Plus
    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.
  • Aeotec Nano Switch with power metering
    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.
  • Eutonomy euFIX DIN adapters for Fibaro
    The euFIX DIN adapters are designed specifically for Fibaro modules, allowing them to fitted into DIN rail enclosures. For more information take a look at - Eutonomy euFIX Fibaro DIN Adapters.

As you can see there are a variety of Z-Wave modules to choose from. We have a very good guide that can help you select the most suitable devices for your application - take a look at our Choosing a Z-Wave Module guide.

Z-Wave LED Bulbs

These can replace existing light bulbs - simply change to a Z-Wave bulb and you have control of your lighting via Z-Wave.

Wall Switches

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).

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.
  • Aeotec Smart Switch 6
    Stylish small plus that controls the lamp as well as measuring its power consumption.
  • OOMI Z-Wave Plus Wall Plug
    UK style Z-Wave Plus wall plug controls lights (on/off) and measures the power being consumed.
  • Popp Dimmer Wall Plug
    Great all purpose dimmer plug that is suitable for all types of dimmable bulb, including LEDs.
  • Fibaro Wall Plug Gen5
    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.

Inline Switches

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.

Sensors

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 2 Gen 5
    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.
  • OOMI Multisensor
    Multisensor includes motion, temperature, light, vibration, UV and humidity sensors.
  • OOMI Door/Window Sensor
    Used for doors, windows, cabinets - basically anything that can be opened.

Take a look at the full range of Z-Wave Sensors.

Controllers

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 Secure
    Top-end VERA controller supporting Z-Wave, ZigBee and Bluetooth technologies, as well as having integrated 3G communication, siren and back-up batteries.
  • VERA Plus
    Flexible controller with an easy to follow User Interface (UI), supports Z-Wave, ZigBee and Bluetooth technologies.
  • 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).
  • Athom Homey Smart Hub
    Homey is a versatile controller with a really easy-to-use interface (UI). It features 7 other wireless technologies (like ZigBee and LightwaveRF) next to Z-Wave, and has an open platform for extended capabilities.
  • Devolo Home Control Starter Kit
    Features the easy to use Devolo controller, a multisensor and Devolo wall plug.
  • Homeseer Gateways and Software
    Homeseer offer the most advanced home automation software and gateways available. The HS3 software is available to run on a Windows PC and is also included in all the Homeseer hardware gateways.
  • Indigo Software
    Indigo is the advanced smart home Software for Mac OS X, compatible with hundreds of Z-Wave and other smart devices. Over 100 plugins to other devices make it the most powerful software solution available for Mac.
  • nCube Home Controller
    Smart Home Controller and App integrates support for Z-Wave, Wi-Fi, Ethernet, Bluetooth, Sonos, Philips Hue, Nest and many more.
  • OOMI Cube and Touch
    Z-Wave Plus controller with an integrated camera works directly with Alexa, Google Home, Nest and Philips Hue. Together with the OOMI Touch you have finger-tip control of your home.
  • Piper Z-Wave Controllers
    The Piper Z-Wave Controllers include a camera and integrated motion, temperature, humidity, sound and light sensors giving you an all-in-one smart home solution.
  • Zipabox Gateways
    Cloud-based controllers featuring an intuitive user interface and 'rule-creator' scene builder and unique range of expansion modules.

More information is available in Getting Started and Choosing a Z-Wave Controller.

Additional Information

These guides and videos show how these various systems can be integrated with Vesternet's home automation products.


Copyright Vesternet 2017

Updated: 22/11/2017

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