Newbie - HELP - what wall switches do I need

Hi I need help! Confused.
Planning to install hubitat. My first question relates to switches - replacing switches for existing lights inside the house and lights outside, as well as power points.

I hubitat supports zogbee, zwave, etc etc.
What wall switches should I be buying to replace existing ones?

Do I buy a zibee light switches to replace n existing switches and same with power points or do I buy wi-fi switches/power points or z wave switches? I don't know. Can someone please help? OR are there Zigee wifi devices??!!

Also, note: my house is quite big and multiple levels, so is my understanding correct that I'd need to possibly replace/put extra zigbee points or switches in between other zigbee switches to create/ strengthen/ extend range?

At this stage I'm starting with lights, then I want to add a smart door lock (I have a Yale Assureb lock still in box) then add cameras. But for now, just need help on switches.

Finally, any recommended switches - so many on ebay - don't know what's genuine, dodgy or quality?

I would really appreciate advice.

Thank you

Avoid wifi. For switches I think there are more options in the z-wave space, but either would work fine. For z-wave make sure they are z-wave plus devices. I went with Inovelli, but other popular options are Zoos and GE. Both zigbee and z-wave devices will act as repeaters as long as they are not battery operated devices. So whichever direction you choose, stick with that for the switches and you should have a really nice mesh system when you are done.

1 Like

Thank you very much, I appreciate that advice.

Can you please help with more??

So, an electrician just swaps out old switches for zwave switches? The switch still operates like normal, I.e. you can manually turn on an off at the wall, but you can obviously turn on/off via hubitat?

I've got 3 levels in my house!@@!#! Would I need multiple z wave switches everywhere, on each level to get the range from my hubitTe to each b switch?

Do you recommend any particular zwave brand/ switches?

Thank you so so much, it's confusing for me. To date I've just had light bulbs that work on wi- fi.

So lets break it down. There are 3 types of wireless options here. Wifi, Zigbee, and Z-wave. There are no devices that are multiples of those, just 1 or the other. They can coexist just fine tho. Hubitat was designed to use Zigbee and Z-wave. It can work with wifi, but that wasn't the point of it so don't go that direction. So step 1 is to get the hubitat hub. It has built in radios for both Zigbee and Z-wave so you can use 1 of them, or both of them. I think most people use both honestly. Now you can start installing your switches 1 by 1. Usually start with rooms closest to the hub location and branch out from there for best signal levels. Any of the switches, zigbee, z-wave, or even wifi will always work like a normal switch if you press it. But once they are paired up with Hubitat you can control them remotely, via timers, motion sensors, your phone, etc.

I'm relatively new to this as well so what I did was put Inovelli Z-wave switches on every switch in the house. This created a nice z-wave mesh and they all work just great. I wanted to add motion sensors also, and most people say that Zigbee motions are faster so to go with those. I also have a bunch of lamps in the house so I bought Zigbee Wall outlets for those lamps to create the mesh network. Then I added Zigbee Motion sensors (which are battery powered). The motion sensors use the Zigbee outlets as repeaters so I had them strategically placed so it would work well.

Here's what I've been buying, but others will chime in with options to check out.

1 Like

Another question tho that will help people help you. What exactly are your goals? Whats the end result look like?

1 Like

I'll answer this one for you, yes you can still manually operate the switch like in the olden days. :slight_smile:

2 Likes

Just to be clear, the OP is an Aussie, we use a different z-wave frequency and 240v instead of 120v. Inovelli / Zooz / GE etc dont make Aus spec z-wave units.

The best options for Aussies are the Aeotec Nano range or Fibaro Micro range. I went with Aeotec Nano's as I didnt care about the extra functions that Fibaro offer (scene triggers etc).

https://www.smarthome.com.au/z-wave/z-wave-lighting-control.html

You get your Sparky to install the modules behind your existing wall switches - I replaced mine with Clipsal Iconic Momentary/Bell press switch mechs and wall plates. they look amazing and work great.

eg

with custom caps:

and standard:

4 Likes

Oops. Hopefully OP sees that before spending a bunch of money! Thanks for catching that.

2 Likes

Waffles, firstly, thank you so much for the advice. Thanks too for other advice from other users.

Waffles, I guess it helps to know what I'm ultimately hoping to achieve in the end - thought it might be a bit much to go into but since you asked (thank you), this is where I am headed:

Basically I'm not after a smart home in the normal/traditional sense, just to have smart lights, sound, curtains etc. I have a couple of disabilities - spinal cord injury and PTSD, So, What I really want at least in the short term, is:

  • to be able to turn some of my lights on around the house remotely
  • have a couple of doors with smart locks, so I can lock and unlock remotely, e,g., let my carers/support workers in
  • smart control for my garage (for same reason)
  • a decent surveillance camera system, that I can at least link somehow to my app on tiles on a tablet with habitat.
  • And finally, perhaps either with the surveillance system or separately, intercoms, to allow me to speak with family or support workers in different areas of the house,

I am on a very tight time frame to get a quote together for some items, like lighting and switches, maybe a camera. I've looked at smart devices and settled on hubitat. It may not be able to do everything, but it can do a lot.

There's a lot there. any advice would be appreciated.
P.S. ON camera issue - I have 2 ring door bells already, I have a decent networked system (I know now, thankyou, that's different to the zwave switches I'll need, but in context of cameras it's good, I have ubiquiti 16 pot network switches, access points etc.

Sounds like you are off to a good start then. Start with the switches and put them wherever they are the most helpful. This will get you started and learning Hubitat. With Hubitat by default you can use a phone to turn them on and off to start off with. Once you get used to the system you can decide if you want them more automated like with motion sensors, etc. I recently dumped all my Alexas because they annoyed me, but one of the features that worked really well was the intercom system between them. You might look at that or something similar. If you are a tinkerer, you might look into Blue Iris for the cameras. This will allow you to use just about any camera you want.

Thanks very much, :+1:

Excellent. Thank you very much. I heard about blue iris. Well that work with hubitat, eg, say if I set up a tablet as a wall panel, with hubitat primarily displayed, with tiles, linkage to cameras via blue iris?

Another option is to buy a small Synology NAS and extra Camera licenses (it comes with 2). You can trigger the home away modes on Synology Surveillance Station from Hubitat to sync them with your Home/Away presence.

I do this myself but I don't bother hooking up the video to my Hubitat Hub, I just use their excellent DS Cam App to view the feeds and any events captured.

I've seen posts saying that yes it can, but I have not attempted this. I'm also fairly sure some cameras will work without having to use Blue Iris if you don't need recording abilities. For specific questions like that I'd start a new thread and get some people who've done it.

The list of cameras supported by Synology is pretty extensive. I personally use the supported ReoLink cameras as you can block their internet access on your router and not lose any functionality.

https://www.synology.com/en-au/compatibility/camera?brand[]=Reolink

Thanks. I've Already been caught out on US/USA difference with power.

I wanted a smart wall panel and I found one called Brilliiant and bought it from. America.

These smart panels are pretty call. You literally take out your light switches, be it 1 light switch or up to 4 light switches, and replace it with the smart panel - you still have a switch for each light switch plus a small lcd panel. Not complicated all.

However when I got it I realised it was 120 Volts! Anyway, got a step down controller, to drop from 240 and had sparky install. It's awesome and wish we had one like this in Australia. It is compatible with a range of products, like it picks up my ring door bells Phillips hue lights etc. But ultimately it's not supported for Australia and ultimately I need a platform that will work more seeemlessly and I'd supported in Australia.. hence going to hubitat

1 Like

One popular topic with Hubitat is the ability to work on your local router when it is not connected to the Internet. I don't know if that matters to you.

I would trust the Internet and expect to use Alexa if you are an Amazon Dot/Echo person or one of the other voice assistant families to control everything.

For me, voice control is the easiest compared to using a dashboard on a device. You don't have to choose up front. You can have both.

Using Z-wave in AU/NZ quickly becomes expensive though. There are not many approved mains powered devices in either Z-wave or Zigbee which is an issue for us. I would like to mention the Mercator Ikuu Zigbee range here. I have yet to be able to get my hands on any of their devices, but there are a few people here that have started using them. Have a look at this thread https://community.hubitat.com/t/mercator-ikuu. Will be cheaper than using Aeotec Z-wave inwall switches.

Another option is the Shelly relays.
They are wifi but are a lot cheaper than the Aeotec modules so as you already have a decent unifi network this shouldn't cause you any issues.

As an example 12 Shelly relays cost $260 were an Aeotec nano is $59 each.

The big downside to this as you won't have a mesh to add in sensors or other devices.

I'm in Australia and I went the relay behind the switch route but found a few issues with Z-Wave signal strength and also needed to replace all light switches to not be rocker switches that looked on or off when the relay was in the opposite state. I also had limited space behind some of my switches.

I've settled on and had installed 76 x Nue Smart Touch light switches that are Zigbee and because I have at least one in every room, I have a really good Zigbee mesh across the entire house.

I've got 1-Gang as well as 2, 3 & 4. I'm really happy with them and they have an LED that you can see at night too.

Download the Hubitat app