I’ve got a couple of Livolo on/off switches working well. They did need a Livolo resister wired in to the ceiling rose to stop the three LED 3w lamps flickering when off but I’m pleased with it. Cheap from Ali express too!Running RFXCom with Domoticz on raspberry pi3. LWRF dimmer switches, PIRs and plug sockets. Some Homeeasy switches, harmony hub controlling AV and air con. Geofencing with Pilot app. Tado for heating and cooling.
As described the problem with no neutral devices is the trickle current that has to go through the bulb. This was not a problem with old school incandescents / halogens as the current wouldn’t make them begin to light up. As LEDs need little power then this trickle current can cause them to start to turn on flash etc. Dimmable bulbs are more tolerant of the trickle current but some are better than others hence the compatibility issue even with dimmables.
The battery idea potentially suffers a bit from the same problem as the charging current must go through the bulb but does give a bit more flexibility.
Part of the key to a more universal neutral-less design is having a very efficient well designed power supply in the switch / dimmer which reduces the trickle current as much as possible and keeps any current spikes small. This is complicated by the need for the power supply to work in both off and on modes.
Gen1 LW200 dimmers were poor in this respect. They use a simple and inefficient capacitor dropper power supply which generates a largish trickle current of a few mA and also had a largish voltage drop in the on mode restricting the maximum brightness. LW400 were a bit better in this respect. I don’t have any Gen2 devices to know whether it has been improved further.
I’m becoming increasingly fed up with Lightwave. I’ve invested a lot into it (time and money) – lights, curtains, fans, even the fountain in the fish pond, but it is so unreliable. For example, I have 5 powered curtains in the lounge. Each morning I wake up to a different combination of curtains that failed to open (and/or failed to close the previous evening) underfloor heating sometimes doesn’t go on, or sometimes doesn’t switch off, the drive lights usually work, but not always. I’ve got a box full of relays and sockets and switches that have failed and had to be replaced, and the cost of this kit is rising. In fact it’s now too expensive – even if it worked properly. £70 for a light switch? Really.
Technical support are all but useless. The last message I got from them was that the reason for the unreliability was due to ‘my environmental issues’. What Ehsan etal fail to realise is that I live in a domestic dwelling not an R&D Lab and this product is supposed to be for the home. But even with some of the devices being in line of sight to the Link, they still don’t always work. The app is rubbish and frequently needs to be reset because it stops working and refuses to send out a signal to allow me to close the curtains ‘manually’.
So, rant over – what do I replace it with? I’ve just stumbled across SONOFF. They sell on Amazon or you can buy direct (China, presumably). They seem to produce the same stuff as LWRF (at least they seem to produce the bits that I currently use) – remote touch light switches (although not dimmers), Plug’N'Play sockets, relays, wireless touch switches, etc. The iPhone app looks pretty good on the website (https://www.itead.cc) although I haven’t actually tried it because I haven’t bought any SONOFF hardware yet. They claim it works with IFTTT, Alexa, Google Home and Nest so it seems to have a lot going for it.
So it all looks good, but does it actually work?
Has anyone here had any experience of SONOFF?
The Sonoff relay modules work well and are very cheap. They are also easy to hack as they use a ESP8266 module inside which can be reprogrammed. Tat was my interest in that piece.
The lightswitches need a neutral wire at the switch point so you need to make sure that is available. They are also very deep and won’t fit in a lot of shallow or medium boxes.
I can’t comment on sockets or the app.
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