Light switches

Categories: ReviewsPublished On: August 5th, 2019

The Problem

What is it like to install a z-wave light switch? What have you learned from installing so many?

It’s a punchy title and most of us will fall asleep reading this but this has been a painful set of lessons in what to do when installing a Z-wave smart light switch.


The Solution

Brew  a cup of tea and sit back, let me try to keep you awake.

What are the components we use?

We love the Fibaro Dimmer-2 module, Varilight light switches, plates and anyone for the Pattress boxes and wiring.

What are the issues we face?

Size, size and size again. Yes, it is the age old concern. Specifically, once you wire in a Fibaro Dimmer-2 module into a retractive switch you do not have much room in a 47MM Pattress box let alone a shallower Pattress box. In practice this means if you buy a double face-plate, you will not get 2 Dimmer-2 modules in it.

To control 2 smart light switches from the same socket, you will need a double Pattress box (47MM deep) and Varilight (at the moment anyway) only make a triple faceplate. So here you would have the smart Retractive switches on either side of a standard rocker switch or a blank switch.

So here is Nifty Rule 1.

47mm Deep Pattress box

Metal knockout box for light switches

Always use a deep (47MM) Pattress box and remember that a single box, will only hold a single Smart light switch


Switch confusion

If you have standard Rocker switches in your smart light switch, then you can turn the power off to the light and so stop it being smart… Users will then have to go round and turn light switches on and then control them from an app. All very painful and confusing. This leads to rule number 2.




Nifty Rule 2

Always use a Retractive/Momentary switch

This way the switch is always in a neutral position and your app can control the light. As importantly, the switch can then be programmed to be a dimmer switch (up is brighter, down is dimmer.)


Client knowledge

No one expects the Spanish inquisition and no one ever knows the depth of the Pattress boxes in their walls. So be prepared for the worst and be happy when your pleasantly surprised.


Nifty Rule 3

Bring 47MM deep Pattress boxes with you everywhere, no matter what you are told

And there you have it, 3 simple rules we apply to our Smart Light Switch installations to keep us sane, ensure they go in and minimise repeat visits.

Just one more thing…

There has to be one more thing and that is, Wall materials. Try to find out what the wall is made off before you turn up at a client site or start digging. There is a world of difference between a Lath and Plaster wall, brick and plaster board walls. It’s not just the tools you need or the differing levels of damage that is caused but also the time taken. Chipping out a light switch to make it deep enough for the 47mm box can easily take an hour or more. 




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