I would like to convert my traditional switches for lights and motorized window blinds using modules (everything except WiFi!) to install in the wall-boxes, which have already a neutral wire and an increased depth.
For the lights I will almost exclusively have Philips Hue lamps and bulbs connected to their own Hue bridge, so I will use the modules not as a relay to cut the power for the lamps (they will be always powered), but rather to transform my physical switches into smart ones to start automations, scenes and modes. Then I'll need just a couple of dimmer/switch modules for non-smart spots mounted in the ceiling.
In total I will need around 18 modules for the window blinds and again 22 for the lights. I would like to automate everything locally with Hubitat, but the official compatibility list includes just a few devices and they're quite expensive or not even available here in Switzerland and Europe.
Sonoff ZBmini seems a good choice, nevertheless I was looking at some cheaper options from Moes, Girier and other chinese manufacturers on AliExpress (pictures attached): does anyone have experience with such devices? Any recommendations for switches, dimmer/switches and window blinds modules? Any advices on how to make the whole system functional and reliable?
Thanks for sharing your thoughts and knowledge!
Hallo @Trombonick ,
Most of the Zigbee switches that are sold on AliExpress and Amazon are supported in Hubitat. Some of these may work with HE inbuilt Generic Zigbee Switch or Generic Zigbee Multi-Endpoint drivers, others will work with community-supported custom drivers.
It is very difficult or almost impossible to precisely identify what is the exact model of such a device based on the pictire or even based on the AliExpress/Amazon link. Read the comments from the customers who has purchased the particular product, if there are comments saying it works OK with Home Assistant - then the chances to work with Hubitat are also great.
I am also using Philips Hue bridge to control almost all of my home lights, it works absolutely reliable! My bulbs are a mix of Philips Hue, Osram, Ikea, and Chinese Zigbee bulbs - all controlled by the Hue bridge. I use CoCoHue community integration with the bridge.
As most of your bulbs will be always on, you will actually not use the relays inside the switch modules that you are going to put inside the wall boxes. So for simple on/off commands to HE hub using your existing wall switches you need to use the S1, S2, S3, S4 inputs. A lot of similar switches are supported by this community driver : Zemismart Zigbee 1/2/3/4 gang light switches . The link to the latest driver version is posted here.
Zigbee dimming modules are a bit more complicated. Do you want to be able to dim the Hue bridge controlled lights locally from the wall switch? Some supported dimming modules can be found here : [Release] Tuya/Lonsonho 1-gang and 2-gang zigbee dimmer module driver
On the window blind modules - do you have existing motorized blinds and if yes, how do you control these at the moment?
The Zigbee Curtain Module from your screenshot may be difficult to use. Currently, there is no driver for Hubitat which will handle the procedure of setting up the curtain motor limits (the time needed for full open and full close). Here the solution is again depending on the particular blind motor model - some come with a dedicated remote control unit that can be used for setting up the limits, and then you can use HE to automatically or manually open/close the blinds.
An alternative approach (that I use at my home) is to not touch the existing wall switches - just fix them in the On position all the time. Then add battery-powered switches, that can be installed at a convenient place on the wall or elsewhere. Using battery-powered switches for simple on/off or scene switch control is easy, it is more difficult to find a good dimming switch in Europe. I am most pleased with Philips Hue dimmers and Osram Lightify dimmers, these can be found sometimes at reasonable prices on eBay.
First of all, thanks for the exhaustive reply and the precious information you shared!
Ok, I'll search through the Chinese jungle for well promising modules... With some luck I'll find compatible ones! In the near future I will also give a try with Home Assistant.
Thanks for the CoCoHue hint: that seems to work the way I wish, letting me use my switches + modules to activate scenes and specific color temperature and brightness for individual lights or groups.
Exactly, I won't use the relays in most cases since I want my Philips light always powered. But I'm looking for more than simple on/off commands: I would like to have different color temperature and brightness depending on the time of the day and night, plus some special color combinations for specific activities (watching a movie, listening to music, cooking...). What would you suggest to get such automations on HE?
Then I have a few nice and expensive dimmable spots (not Hue nor "smart") which I would like to set in a similar way to the Hue lights, with different brightness levels depending on the time of the day and night. My motorized blinds have manual controls by Somfy, up and down button without remote: I would like to create automations based on the temperature, or simply control them when I'm not at home. Do you think that using Home Assistant I will have a better chance to get the job done?
If you choose a particular switch device, you can post the link to the sellers site here and I will have a look too.
No, I don’t recommend going with Home Assistant, in my opinion Hubitat is ways better in handling complex automations. The advantage of HA is the better support of non-standard Zigbee devices such as Tuya based ones.
In Hubitat you can start with the Basic Rules and with the Button Controller inbuilt apps, they are powerful enough to cover most of the automation scenarios.
I don’t have experience with Somfy motors, but searching for ‘Somfy’ in this forum shows a lot of dedicated threads where you can get answers.
Good luck with HE!
Sure, I'll post something down here before I decide to buy. Another option for me would be to wait until something concrete happens with Matter... I have the feeling that HE will get some major upgrades, probably also on the hardware, and newer devices might appear on the market. The problem is... How long will it take?
I'll let things cool down until the beginning of the 2023, then I'm going consider again what to do!