New Z-Wave devices seem to be coming thick and fast as we head into the Summer months, but sadly we no longer have the time to carry out full compatibility testing on new devices - there's just so many different variables nowadays across multiple mainstream Z-Wave controllers that many testing results can be out of date before we even publish them!
Of course we still host Compatibility data on the site based on feedback from the product manufacturers, Customers, third party testing and our own internal testing where possible and you can also reach out to the Community to ask questions directly on the product pages if you wish (just click the Q&A tab for example here).
But back to the Blog, where recently we've concentrated on writing more in-depth reviews of complete systems (such as EZVIZ) or hot new releases (such as the Panasonic NUBO Cam). Not to mention announcing numerous other improvements to the content and information on the site, such as our awesome new Wiring Diagrams section!
So with the Bank Holiday weekend fast approaching we thought we'd take a quick look at some of the shiny new Z-Wave bits that have caught our eye in the last few months. While we won't go into too much detail, we'll still give them a quick once-over in the Vera and Fibaro Z-Wave controllers, just to see if they work out-of-the-box or not.
Let's get cracking then ....
Wow, what a great looking device this one is - regular readers will recall us mentioning that the EZVIZ keyfob was probably the nicest we'd ever come across - until now!
We've probably all got a bit of a love-hate relationship with Fibaro for various reasons, but there's no denying that they can and do produce exceptionally good looking devices.
The Fibaro Keyfob is a joy to hold in your hand - it actually curves naturally to the way you hold it, a bit difficult to describe really, but definitely feels much nicer to hold than a normal "flat" keyfob. Then there's the six Sony Playstation style buttons which mean that each one has a unique feel under your thumb allowing easy identification even in the dark.
A robust key loop will help keep it attached to your keys and seems pretty sturdy - we speak from experience in losing keyfobs in the past so this is a welcome feature. The key loop ring is also *flat* which we thought was a bit odd at first, until we realised that it's exactly the right width to fit in the battery compartment holder slot to open it. Another great idea that should save the plastic getting chewed when attempting to open it with a screwdriver!
Of course, looks aren't everything so what does it do? Well, according to the manual those six buttons can be configured in multiple different ways - single click, double click, click-and-hold, etc and each one can be used for Scenes or Associations. Then there's also the "Sequences" that were introduced with the Fibaro Swipe last year - all in all the Fibaro Keyfob is a pretty powerful device!
But, does it work in the common Z-Wave controllers?
Well for Fibaro we'll make the assumption that it does - I mean, they'd be pretty crazy to release a device that doesn't, right? Just make sure that your HCL or HC2 is running the latest stable firmware (or bleeding edge Beta if you like taking risks) and you should be good to go.Athom Homey also appears to have support, just make sure you're running the latest version of the Fibaro App.
But what about Vera? Well we Included it simply enough but it added as a generic device, was a pig to get configured as a Scene Controller device and then was barely functional :-( Come on Vera Support, this is hardly a "new" device (few months old now at least) AND it's broadly the same as the Fibaro Button and Fibaro Swipe, so it's not exactly rocket science to get this working!
In the meantime, we do have some workarounds to tease Fibaro Keyfob into a semi-functional device, so contact us for further information if you've bought one from us already or are planning to :-)
It's been a long time since Aeon Labs (now known as Aeotec) released any new modules, sure we've seen plenty of sensors in the past year or so, for example the Multisensor 6 and Door / Window Sensor 6 (reviewed here). We've even had the long-awaited Smart Switch 6 Socket. All of these no doubt have been cracking devices, but there's been no modules - until now!
Aeotec have a long history in Z-Wave and it's safe to say they really know their stuff - Vesternet staff have always made good use of their devices in our own homes as the reliability has been exceptional.
They might not have had the smallest of modules, or the most feature packed, but they were stable and robust. One problem with the previous Dimmer module though was the lack of 2-wire functionality, but that's now resolved with the release of the Nano Dimmer. Oh and the word "Nano" in the product name should give you a hint to the fact that they're now competing in the same ballpark as Fibaro and Qubino when it comes to size - smaller is definitely better in the world of Z-Wave modules!
You would hope that being a "simple" dimmer device, there wouldn't be any compatibility problems and we were pleased to see that it worked perfectly in Vera with the latest firmware - smooth, flicker free dimming from 0% - 100% and reporting the power usage too by default.
For Athom Homey users there's the Aeotec App and while this doesn't specifically list the Nano Dimmer we wouldn't expect any issues.
Lastly Fibaro, where historically the support for other manufacturer devices has been sketchy at best so it's no surprise to see a bit of a mess with the Nano Dimmer! Strange additional devices were created on the UI with persistent "not configured" status messages, but thankfully at least the main dimmer control worked to actually control the device.
There's a whole host of new features and functions with the Nano Dimmer (including additional S2 input), so it's well worth checking out the extensive manual for more information. Plus, we're in the process of adding wiring diagrams that cover using the Nano Dimmer to our new Wiring Diagrams section, so now there should be nothing stopping you from sampling the new Aeotec modules ....
..... yes, we said "modules" .... plural .... and wouldn't you know it, you wait years for a new Aeotec module and then two come along at the same time!
And what a device the Nano Switch is too, featuring a dry-contact relay so that you can switch any load you want (up to the rating of the contacts of course). Plus it can be powered from 24V DC as well as 230V AC too, which makes it really flexible. Oh and there's the S2 input functionality like with the Nano Dimmer, allowing you to control other Z-Wave devices by direct Association.
Check out the manual for a full run-down of all the new features, but suffice it to say that these new releases are putting Aeotec firmly on a level footing with Fibaro and Qubino in our opinion.
And what about the dreaded compatibility question?
Well again for Athom Homey users we don't foresee any issues, just make sure you have the latest App. When we tested the device in Vera it Included perfectly as a Binary Light device allowing on / off control. And Fibaro, unsurprisingly, was a bit of a letdown again - while it Included OK with an on / off control on the UI which worked properly, there was also a spurious alarm-type device with the permanent status of "never triggered", no idea what that's for!
They say that three is the magic number and it certainly seems that Aetoc believe so, releasing their third new module in as many weeks!
This one rather oddly is identical to the Nano Switch, it just has Power Metering added. It's a bit of a strange move from Aeotec given that the Nano Dimmer *includes* Power Metering by default, so why have two versions of the Nano Switch?
It could be due to the dry-contact and 24V DC capabilities of the normal Nano Switch - we can't imagine how you'd do Power Metering via dry contacts, nor when powered from DC. Usually to measure power the module itself has to actually *supply* that power - this is why Fibaro recently moved from dry-contact on their new Switch 2 devices.
Maybe this version doesn't have dry contacts? But according to the manual (which appears to be identical to the normal Nano Switch), it *does* have dry contacts..... it's all a bit confusing to be honest.
So as it stands it's difficult to say for sure either way, because we've yet to get our hands on one of these - they've literally only just arrived in the country today!
We'll update this blog post as soon as we've had a chance to check out the Nano Switch with Power Metering, or in the meantime, if you happen to get one of these yourselves, please let us know what you find.
Up until now, the only way to have Z-Wave control of RGB and RGBW LED strips or directly control low-voltage 12V DC or 24V DC lighting was by using the Fibaro RGBW Controller.
That's no longer the case with the release of the Qubino RGBW Dimmer Plus!
Now, the Fibaro RGBW Controller is a great device and really flexible as it can be used in a variety of configurations, so it's good to see that the Qubino device matches a lot of the functionality of the Fibaro, but in a Z-Wave Plus device :-)
Check out the manual for all the gory details, we particularly like the pre-programmed colour Scenes!
On the compatibility side it's a little disappointing - the Fibaro RGBW Controller used the tried and tested method of exposing a simple "dimmer" control for each of the colour channels. While this is a bit old-school, it did mean that it worked in almost all Z-Wave controllers as you could simply set each channel to a dim value to get it to show different colours.
On the other hand, the Qubino RGBW Dimmer Plus really expects to be controlled by the Z-Wave "Color" Command Class directly, so the Z-Wave controller will need to support that implicitly for it to work out-of-the-box.
In Vera the Qubino only shows as a single dimmer control which seems to only control all the channels at the same time. It will need Vera to sort out the compatibility before it works properly. In the meantime there's a third party plugin which seems to do the trick and works really well.
We're not sure about Athom Homey support, the Qubino App doesn't have any mention of the RGBW Dimmer Plus, so you'll probably need to poke Athom Support and ask them to integrate the device or do it yourself.
As for Fibaro, well it's a familiar story unfortunately - why bother supporting a competitor product when you have your own equivalent! So you'll have to make do with the single dimmer control, like Vera, but with no third party option to help you get the full functionality from the device. We suggest that you voice your feelings to Fibaro on their continuing lack of support for non-Fibaro devices .....
So that about wraps up this blog post, we hope that you found it useful!
It's also well worth checking out our new guide - "Choosing a Z-Wave Module" - as we know that it can sometimes be a confusing choice when looking at the myriad of Z-Wave modules available.
The guide talks you through some of the most popular Z-Wave modules and their features & capabilities.
Bye for now!