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Choosing Vesternet Devices

Choosing Vesternet Devices

Why Vesternet Hardware Devices?

Vesternet Hardware Devices offer many advantages over products from other manufacturers, this guide will discuss some of these and provide a handy comparison chart on the features offered between different device models in each category.

Compatibility

Manufacturers are now working more closely together to ensure that their devices work with each other perfectly out-of-the-box. With more focus from the industry governing bodies such as the Z-Wave Alliance and Zigbee Alliance compatibility and interoperability issues are now much less common than they once were. BUT, they still happen, and there's nothing more frustrating than having to search and scour the web to try and find code and information in getting a new Smart Home device to work!

+ With self published drivers and native support for the main hubs (updated regularly), the Smart Home compatibility worry is gone forever.

- Typically you'll be on your own if a device doesn't work out-of-the-box.

Technical Support

Who you gonna call? As far as the device manufacturer is concerned, their device is "standards compliant" and as far as the controller manufacturer is concerned, their hub supports "standards compliant" devices ...... but the device still doesn't work!

+ You’ll receive a dedicated tech support email address with priority response times - any problems or questions about Vesternet devices are answered within the hour.

- Forums and online communities often become the best chance of help getting devices from other manufacturers to work.

Always Z-Wave and Zigbee Options

Why be limited to one or the other? We've all been there, you really love your choice of Z-Wave switch module and want to use it for a new application in an outbuilding, but the Z-Wave range isn't great out there. Zigbee coverage on the other hand is cracking, but the manufacturer of your favourite device doesn't make a Zigbee version.

+ Every Vesternet product has both versions available, so you get the same consistent aesthetics in each model if you're running a multi-protocol system. You’re then free to decide which wireless technology is right for you in any scenario.

- Most other manufacturers only produce devices for one protocol which can limit your choices in using the best device / technology for a given situation.

KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid

Why pay extra for a gazillion features in a Smart Home device that you'll probably never use? Sure, it might be cool if the device adds extra functions on top of the thing that you actually need, but ultimately if all you need is to switch on a light or control a few Scenes in your Smart Home Controller then what's the point of all that extra fluff bumping up the price?

+ Vesternet products have been chosen to provide the best functionality for their respective tasks and they do that by offering basic, core features without adding extras that you might not need. This allows us to keep their cost down and allows you to pay for what you actually need.

- Most other manufacturers have got caught up in a feature arms-race as such, adding ever increasing numbers of features to their device, often at the detriment to what their intended main use is supposed to be in terms of stability and reliability!

But that's not all, now let's take a look at some further advantages related to specific categories of devices.

2-Wire Capable Relay / Switch Modules

Relays are physical switches, they include a set of switch contacts that physically open and close allowing you to control the power supplied to the connected load. Relays are incredibly versatile, they can be used anywhere that you wish to turn an appliance or load on and off - lights, power circuits, pumps, gates, etc.

Relays are also useful for lighting circuits where you wish to control lights that are not suitable for control from a Dimmer such as fluorescent and high power outside lights.

So, what's special about the 2-Wire Capable Relay / Switch Modules from Vesternet?

2-Wire (without Neutral) or 3-Wire (with Neutral)

You'll often see us refer to 2-Wire and 3-Wire wiring configurations. This is an important point as many products, such as relays / switches, cannot work if installed into a 2-Wire system.

The simple explanation is that a 2-Wire system does not include a Neutral wire whereas a 3-Wire system does include the Neutral wire. Without a Neutral wire, a device doesn't have a "return path" from its connection to Live, so it can't function, unless it has been specifically designed to be able to share the return path that's provided by the Switched Live connection to the Load being controlled.

+ Vesternet 2-Wire Capable Relay / Switch Modules support 2-Wire or 3-Wire wiring scenarios for flexible installation possibilities.

- Most other manufacturer Relay / Switch Modules only support 3-Wire (with Neutral) installation.

Optional Bypass Accessory for FREE

A Bypass Accessory can help in 2-Wire installations as it provides an additional return path to Neutral when the return path via the controlled Load negatively impacts that Load, for example causing flickering of an LED Bulb.

+ Optional Bypass Accessory to stabilise operation when used with low load rating lighting is FREE with Vesternet Relay / Switch Modules, just add it to your basket along with the Module.

- In the rare cases that other manufacturers produce 2-Wire capable Relay / Switch Modules, they will then CHARGE EXTRA for the Bypass Accessory!

Sounds good? Let's see what Vesternet Hardware Devices are available in the 2-Wire Capable Relay / Switch Modules category.

2-Wire Capable Relay / Switch Modules - product choices:

Vesternet Z-Wave Switch Vesternet Zigbee Switch
  • Single Output
  • Momentary or Toggle Switches
  • Max load: 4.8A
  • 230V AC Mains Only
  • Configurable Power Failure State
  • Z-Wave Plus with S2 Security
  • Compatibility Guaranteed with Hubitat, Homey & SmartThings
  • Does not need Neutral
  • Might require Vesternet Bypass for low loads in 2-Wire configuration (FREE optional extra when ordering).
  • Dimensions: 45.5 x 45 x 20.3mm
  • Device(s):

High Load Capable Relay / Switch Modules

Switch contacts used in Relay / Switch Modules have what's known as a "Maximum Current Limit" which determines the maximum safe amount of load that the device can handle. Most Relay / Switch Modules are rated for normal types of load, typically around 4A - 5A which is more than ample for most lighting or small appliance requirements.

Some Relay / Switch Modules are rated for highter output levels, but even then this can typically be around 8A - 10A, so might not be suitable for appliances with higher ratings.

So, what's special about the High Load Capable Relay / Switch Modules from Vesternet?

Dual Output Connection supporting truly High Loads

The module has two output connections designed to be used simultaneously, allowing it to support much higher loads than other modules.

+ Vesternet High Load Capable Relay / Switch Modules have a maximum load rating of 16A, making for much more flexible load control possibilities.

- Most other manufacturer Relay / Switch Modules only support lower load ratings.

Power, Energy, Voltage & Current Metering

Save energy and reduce your bills by monitoring how much electricity your lighting uses. By comparing usage at different dimming levels you may find that you can lower light output with minimal effect on the environment but maximum impact on your monthly outgoings!

+ Vesternet High Load Capable Relay / Switch Modules come with Metering as standard and covers ALL aspects - Power (Watts), Energy (kWh), Voltage (Volts) and Current (Amps).

- Other manufacturers often don't include Metering at all (but maybe you'll get something you don't need like a temperature sensor built in). Some manufacturers offer Metering but only for Power (Watts).

Sounds good? Let's see what Vesternet Hardware Devices are available in the High Load Capable Relay / Switch Modules category.

High Load Capable Relay / Switch Modules - product choices:

Vesternet Z-Wave High Load Switch Vesternet Zigbee High Load Switch
  • Single Output
  • Momentary or Toggle Switches
  • Reports power, energy, voltage and current readings
  • Max load: 16A
  • 230V AC Mains Only
  • Configurable Power Failure State
  • Z-Wave Plus with S2 Security
  • Compatibility Guaranteed with Hubitat, Homey & SmartThings
  • Requires Neutral
  • Dimensions: 45.5 x 45 x 20.3mm
  • Device(s):

Dual Channel Relay / Switch Modules

What's better than a Single output channel Relay / Switch Module? A dual output channel Relay / Switch Module of course!

So, what's special about the Dual Channel Relay / Switch Modules from Vesternet?

Independently Controlled Output Channels

The module has two output chyannels that can be independently controlled.

+ Vesternet Dual Channel Relay / Switch Modules have two output channels that can be independently controlled both locally and over Z-Wave / Zigbee.

- Some other manufacturer Dual Channel Relay / Switch Modules have outputs that are only controlled as a single entity.

Two Switch Input Channels

The module has two switch input channels for connecting switches.

+ Vesternet Dual Channel Relay / Switch Modules have two switch input channels with each one controlling its respective output channel.

- Some other manufacturer Dual Channel Relay / Switch Modules only have a single switch input channel that controls both output channels as a single entity.

Power, Energy, Voltage & Current Metering

Keep track of how much power your appliances are using, allowing you to fine tune their control in order to reduce your monthly energy costs!

+ Vesternet Dual Channel Relay / Switch Modules come with Metering as standard for the whole device and covers ALL aspects - Power (Watts), Energy (kWh), Voltage (Volts) and Current (Amps).

- Other manufacturers often don't include Metering at all (but maybe you'll get something you don't need like a temperature sensor built in). Some manufacturers offer Metering but only for Power (Watts).

Sounds good? Let's see what Vesternet Hardware Devices are available in the Dual Channel Relay / Switch Modules category.

Dual Channel Relay / Switch Modules - product choices:

Vesternet Z-Wave 2 Channel Switch Vesternet Zigbee 2 Channel Switch
  • Two Output Channels
  • Two Switch Input Channels
  • Momentary Switches
  • Reports power, energy, voltage and current readings (whole device only)
  • Max load: 5.1A
  • 230V AC Mains Only
  • Configurable Power Failure State
  • Supports Scene Commands
  • Z-Wave Plus with S2 Security
  • Compatibility Guaranteed with Hubitat, Homey & SmartThings
  • Requires Neutral
  • Dimensions: 45.5 x 45 x 20.3mm
  • Device(s):

Motor Controller Modules

Motor Modules are similar to Relay / Switch Modules as they have switch contacts, but have been designed specifically to control motors in things like blinds, curtains and shutters.

Some allow the Module to be calibrated so that it knows the position of the motor, or rather, what it is controlling - so it can know if a blind is open, closed, 50% open etc, allowing you to have it open or close to preset positions.

So, what's special about the Motor Controller Modules from Vesternet?

Two Switch Input Channels

The module has two switch input channels for connecting switches.

+ Vesternet Motor Controller Modules have two switch input channels with each one controlling its respective output channel.

- Some other manufacturer Motor Controller Modules only have a single switch input channel that controls both output channels in a toggle like fashion.

Supports Positioning

Positioning allows using 0% - 100% commansd in order to precisely control the position of whatever the motor is controlling - blind, roller shutter, gate, etc.

+ Vesternet Motor Controller Modules support positioning as standard.

- Other manufacturers often only support simple control i.e. move up and move down.

Automatic Positioning Calibration

Supports automatic positioning calibration based on motor end stop limit switches.

+ Vesternet Motor Controller Modules come with automatic positioning calibration as standard.

- Other manufacturers often require manual calbiration of the positioning.

Sounds good? Let's see what Vesternet Hardware Devices are available in the Motor Controller Modules category.

Motor Controller Modules - product choices:

Vesternet Z-Wave Motor Controller Vesternet Zigbee Motor Controller
  • Two Output Channels
  • Two Switch Input Channels
  • Momentary Switches
  • Supports with or without Positioning
  • Configurable Slat Rotation / Tilting
  • Automatic Positioning Calibration
  • Reports power, energy, voltage and current readings
  • Max load: 2A
  • 230V AC Mains Only
  • Supports Scene Commands
  • Z-Wave Plus with S2 Security
  • Compatibility Guaranteed with Hubitat, Homey & SmartThings
  • Requires Neutral
  • Dimensions: 45.5 x 45 x 20.3mm
  • Device(s):

Dimmer Modules

Dimmer Modules, as the name implies, enable you to control the brightness of a light. They are wired into the mains lighting circuit and control the voltage going to the lights on that circuit. The new range of Dimmers all now feature "trailing-edge" Dimmer electronics which are designed to work well with dimmable LED bulbs. Of course, they will also work great with halogen bulbs and old style incandescent bulbs.

So, what's special about the Dimmer Modules from Vesternet?

Power, Energy, Voltage & Current Metering

Save energy and reduce your bills by monitoring how much electricity your lighting uses. By comparing usage at different dimming levels you may find that you can lower light output with minimal effect on the environment but maximum impact on your monthly outgoings!

+ Vesternet Dimmer Modules come with Metering as standard and covers ALL aspects - Power (Watts), Energy (kWh), Voltage (Volts) and Current (Amps).

- Other manufacturers often don't include Metering at all (but maybe you'll get something you don't need like a temperature sensor built in). Some manufacturers offer Metering but only for Power (Watts).

Soft Start Lighting

Rather than turning on instantly at your desired dimming level, the soft start lighting means that the brightness s-l-o-w-l-y ramps up, much kinder on your eyes in the middle of the night as well as prolonging the life of your lighting.

+ Vesternet Dimmer Modules have soft start built in.

- Other manufacturers often don't provide soft start in their Dimmer Modules, worse, some come on initially at full brightness and then dim down to your required level after they are on!

2-Wire (without Neutral) or 3-Wire (with Neutral)

You'll often see us refer to 2-Wire and 3-Wire wiring configurations. This is an important point as many products, such as relays / switches, cannot work if installed into a 2-Wire system.

The simple explanation is that a 2-Wire system does not include a Neutral wire whereas a 3-Wire system does include the Neutral wire. Without a Neutral wire, a device doesn't have a "return path" from its connection to Live, so it can't function, unless it has been specifically designed to be able to share the return path that's provided by the Switched Live connection to the Load being controlled.

+ Vesternet Dimmer Modules support 2-Wire or 3-Wire wiring scenarios for flexible installation possibilities.

- Most other manufacturer Dimmer Modules only support 3-Wire (with Neutral) installation.

Optional Bypass Accessory for FREE

A Bypass Accessory can help in 2-Wire installations as it provides an additional return path to Neutral when the return path via the controlled Load negatively impacts that Load, for example causing flickering of an LED Bulb.

+ Optional Bypass Accessory to stabilise operation when used with low load rating lighting is FREE with Vesternet Dimmer Modules, just add it to your basket along with the Module.

- In the rare cases that other manufacturers produce 2-Wire capable dimmer modules, they will then CHARGE EXTRA for the Bypass Accessory!

Sounds good? Let's see what Vesternet Hardware Devices are available in the Dimmer Modules category.

Dimmer Modules - product choices:

Vesternet Z-Wave Dimmer Vesternet Zigbee Dimmer
  • Single Output
  • Momentary or Toggle Switches
  • Reports power, energy, voltage and current readings
  • Max load: 1.8A
  • 230V AC Mains Only
  • Supports most bulbs inc. LED's (Trailing & Leading Edge)
  • Configurable Power Failure State
  • Soft start lighting
  • Z-Wave Plus with S2 Security
  • Compatibility Guaranteed with Hubitat, Homey & SmartThings
  • Does not need Neutral
  • Might require Vesternet Bypass for low loads in 2-Wire configuration (FREE optional extra when ordering).
  • Dimensions: 45.5 x 45 x 20.3mm
  • Device(s):

Wall Controllers

Wall controllers are typically made to resemble a standard light switch form factor so that they can be used in place of or in addition to your existing light switches. There are some exceptions though which offer some interesting multiple button features as well as some more unique gesture based controls!

So, what's special about the Wall Controllers from Vesternet?

Consistent Style

There's nothing worse than having multiple styles of device just to get the required functionality. For example you might need a 2 button Wall Controller for your lighting but a 4 Button Wall Controller for your home entertainment Scenes, but each one is only available from differnet manufacturers in different forms / styles.

+ Vesternet Wall Controllers are available in 2 Button, 4 Button and 8 Button formats, meaning you can maintain consistency in style throughout.

- Other manufacturers only offer a single device in this category, meaning you have to mix and match from different manufacturers to get the functionality that you require..

Multi-Action Per Button

Nowadays everybody is used to tapping, double tapping, holding, etc on interactive devices so why should your Wall Controller be any different?

By supporting multiple actions per button you expand the possibilities for controlling your Smart Home devices, for example you can tap to turn on, hold to start dimming and release to stop dimming.

+ Vesternet Wall Controllers support pushed, held and released actions giving each button potentially three individual operations.

- Devices from other manufacturers often only provide one action, or perhaps only offer tap and double tap, which makes them less suitable for controlling lighting brightness.

Scene / Logic Activation AND Direct Control

Scene and Logic Activation are where your Smart Home Controller will react to an input from a device such as a Wall Controller, allowing you to execute all manner of logic - perhaps to set our lighting to 50% brightness in the evening, 10% at night and full brightness during the day.

On the other hand, Direct Control allows one device to control another device directly without any involvement with the Smart Home Controller. This can be useful in situations where you require an immediate response without any delay, or to ensure that critical functionality is maintained even if the Smart Home Controller is offline.

+ Vesternet Wall Controllers offer both modes of operation.

- Devices from other manufacturers often only provide one mode of operation.

Sounds good? Let's see what Vesternet Hardware Devices are available in the Wall Controllers< category.

Wall Controllers - product choices:

Vesternet Z-Wave Wall Controllers Vesternet Zigbee Wall Controllers

Remote Controls

These are usually available in two different types, handheld "candy-bar" shaped like a TV or set-top-box remote control, or in the style of a keyfob like your house alarm or car keys. Some might be designed for both uses, being candy-bar shapped but with a lanyard ring and small enough to fit in your pocket!

So, what's special about the Remote Controls from Vesternet?

Multi-Action Per Button

Nowadays everybody is used to tapping, double tapping, holding, etc on interactive devices so why should your Remote Control be any different?

By supporting multiple actions per button you expand the possibilities for controlling your devices, for example you can tap to turn on, hold to start dimming and release to stop dimming.

+ Vesternet Remote Controls support pushed, held and released actions giving each button potentially three individual operations.

- Devices from other manufacturers often only provide one action, or perhaps only offer tap and double tap, which makes them less suitable for controlling lighting brightness.

Scene / Logic Activation AND Direct Control

Scene and Logic Activation are where your Smart Home Controller will react to an input from a device such as a Remote Control, allowing you to execute all manner of logic - perhaps to set our lighting to 50&percent; brightness in the evening, 10&percent; at night and full brightness during the day.

On the other hand, Direct Control allows one device to control another device directly without any involvement with the Smart Home Controller. This can be useful in situations where you require an immediate response without any delay, or to ensure that critical functionality is maintained even if the Smart Home Controller is offline.

+ Vesternet Remote Controls offer both modes of operation.

- Devices from other manufacturers often only provide one mode of operation.

Sounds good? Let's see what Vesternet Hardware Devices are available in the Remote Controls< category.

Remote Controls - product choices:

Vesternet Z-Wave Remote Control Vesternet Zigbee Remote Control/th>
  • 12 Buttons
  • 3 unique actions per button
  • Pushed
  • Held
  • Released
  • Suppoorts Z-Wave Associations
  • Z-Wave Plus with S2 Security
  • Compatibility Guaranteed with Hubitat, Homey & SmartThings
  • Dimensions: 150 x 40 x 13.6mm
  • Device(s):
  • 12 Buttons
  • 3 unique actions per button on buttons 1 - 4
  • 1 unique action per button on All On, All Off, S1 and S2 buttons
  • Pushed
  • Held (on buttons 1 - 4)
  • Released (on buttons 1 - 4)
  • Supports Zigbee Touchlink for direct control of other devices
  • Zigbee 3.0
  • Compatibility Guaranteed with Hubitat, Homey & SmartThings
  • Works with hub or directly to Zigbee devics such as Vesternet Zigbee Dimmer or Vesternet Zigbee Switch
  • Dimensions: 150 x 38.6 x 12mm
  • Device(s):

Mix & Match Discount Kits

Getting Help and Advice

Hopefully this guide has helped clarify what own-brand devices are available from Vesternet and what the differences are between versions, as well as offering some comparisions with devices from other manufacturers. If you need any further help or advice, contact Vesternet and we will do our best to answer all your questions.