Nodon Z-Wave Controllers REVIEWED at Vesternet
Battery powered wall switches, wall controllers and remote controls have always had mixed reviews from the team at Vesternet.
Some, for example the Aeon Minimote, turn out to be great devices that work well in the majority of Z-Wave Controllers. Others, like the Z-Wave.me WALLC, look great on paper but are an absolute nightmare to get working well, even for die-hard techies like ourselves!
We've campaigned for a long time to Z-Wave device manufacturers to insist that they test their devices in all the common Z-Wave Controllers to make sure that they achieve the greatest real-world compatibility. Unfortunately this plea falls on deaf ears in the vast majority of cases.
When will they learn? It's all very well developing a "technically compliant" device that ticks all the boxes on the way to Z-Wave or Z-Wave Plus Certification, but if that creates a product that doesn't work with any Z-Wave Controller, exactly how many are going to sell?
What makes Nodon special?
Enter the Nodon Z-Wave Plus range, a new suite of battery powered devices from the French company Nodon.
So what's different about Nodon then? Surely their devices will be just another bunch in a long history of stuff that never works properly or in some cases won't even Include correctly in your Z-Wave Controller in the first place!
Fortunately not, Nodon were smart and approached Vesternet for help during the development stages on the way to bringing their Z-Wave devices to market.
And it was a good job they did as the first version we received didn't work very well at all! Yes, it was technically compliant and had received a pat-on-the-back from the Z-Wave Plus test labs, but it didn't work in any of the most common Z-Wave Controllers.
Over the space of several months we worked closely with Nodon, helping them implement firmware that would work with real-life controllers. This took some time and iterations, but it means the products weren't relegated to the long list of previous failures from other manufacturers. The end result is a fantastic range of Z-Wave remote controls that work in the real-world.
Check out all those green dots on our Compatibility Guide :-)
What do they do then?
All of the Nodon devices use the same firmware so their functionality is identical.
They can all be used to control other Z-Wave or Z-Wave Plus devices directly using Association in stand-alone mode (without another Z-Wave Controller being used). This is a great feature which would allow basic usage with a Z-Wave dimmer or relay for simple lighting control.
When combined with a Z-Wave Controller such as Fibaro or Vera the Nodon devices really show their full potential. Each button can be configured independently for Association, Scenes or All-On / All-Off functionality.
This makes them incredibly flexible and allows the end-user to combine multiple functions simultaneously - want to control a dimmer from a pair of buttons, implement an All-Off button and Trigger a Scene from another button? No problem, Nodon has got you covered!
And because Nodon heeded our advice during the development stages, they've implemented configuration options that allow the devices to work well in all of the common Z-Wave Controllers.
A closer look at the hardware
So lets take a closer look at the various models in the Nodon range:
One complaint we regularly received about battery powered wall switches from other manufacturers is that they have a cheap feel to them and that the switching action is flimsy with switch paddles that wobble or twist.
There's no such problem with the Nodon Wall Switch, upon closer inspection the engineering is outstanding with quality bushes used on all the moving parts! This leads to a very smooth switch action and a satisfying click when pressed.
The wall switch ships with two paddles allowing you to configure as two separate gangs (on / off, up / down, dim / brighten, etc) or you can set things up with the underlying buttons behaving separately as mentioned above.
Mounting the device is simplicity itself either by screw holes (that will align with a standard UK / EU sized single gang wall box) or by adhesive pads, the latter being our preference as it makes for such a simple install.
Available in white or grey it's definitely a case of function over form but in our opinion this is still a great looking device!
When we first opened the box of the Soft Remote, we admit to being a bit perplexed as to what purpose it could serve. With the same functionality as the other devices it really did seem a bit of an odd-ball, but then we picked it up and, well, it just felt "nice" to hold!
Available in multiple colours to suit any décor and with a lovely soft feeling to it we can see it going down well with both children and adults alike.
The high build quality continues with this device too and it's also splash-proof so would suit those areas that are prone to getting wet, maybe a pool-side music controller for those of us that have a holiday home in France ;-)
Octan Remote Control
We've saved the best till last, this device is an absolute gem!
Again, the build quality is outstanding and the Octan feels great in your hand. It has a magnet in the rear too so that it can be stuck to any magnetic surface, handy to be able to slap it on the side of the fridge in the kitchen to stop it getting lost amongst the usual counter-top clutter.
The wall mount is also great addition, this is moulded to take the exact shape of the Octan and allows you to use it as a wall mounted controller. This can be attached with screws or stuck with adhesive pads in the same fashion as the Wall Switch or mounted on a magnetic surface as there's another magnet in the wall mount too!
Get your Nodon!
We really like these devices, they ooze quality and most importantly they actually work!
The Nodon range will sell out fast, so make sure you check them out and get yours on order quickly.