Computer Related > WiFI (Google Home) light switching Miscellaneous
Thread Author: smokie Replies: 4

 WiFI (Google Home) light switching - smokie
I'd like to increase the amount of home automation technology I use around the house.

I already have a number of LIFX bulbs which are WiFi controlled, but I want to do more with room ceiling lights while keeping the cost down (i.e. not buying individual bulbs for multi-bulb units)

As far as I can see, the replacement wall switches all require Live and Neutral as they need a constant power source, which we don't have on our lighting rings.

I guess I could get more of the inline switches and poke them into the ceiling void behind the rose but that would leave me with no manual override if the WiFi was down, and they probably also won't work anyway due to lack of L and N.

I could (and in some rooms have) use movement detectors to turn on lights automatically but they are a pain as they do not detect you sitting watching TV so turn off at the allotted time. And I'd quite like to be able to control them remotely.

Does anyone got any other thoughts on how I could do it, apart from the usual old one about just getting up and turning them on manually?
 WiFI (Google Home) light switching - sherlock47
If you use the Energenie products they do not require a neutral. They are well made and electrically ok. The UK backup is good. However they are expensive. Used in conjunction with a 'homehub' you can have locally stored timers that will work if the internet is down and can use a a small rf handheld controller to give you local remote control if you do not wish to leave the chair and your mobile is out of reach. They say they do not work with non-dimmable leds but I have not found this to be true.

The cheap SONOF products from China are well made and you can get 3 gang light switches but require a neutral. They have proved reliable and the website seems to be up almost 100% of the time allowing full Android remote control and programmed control by the EWelink app.

I have both the above.

I have seen some of the cheap Chinese stuff and it is rubbish electrically, and a friends experience was totally unstaisfacory with every widfi drop out losing the connections and requiring repairing of the devices.

I have overcome the neutral problem by using the old switched Lwire to the very infrequently used central ceiling light to derive the neutral through the light fitting bulbs. Turning the central light fitting on manually disables the remotely controlled switches. I had the advantage that all my light controls came into a a twin double box so that no plasterwork was required.

Some cowboys use the E in the switchbox to function as a neutral as the current demand is extremely low (and will probably not trip a RCD) but this could give major problems in case of future wiring faults or mistakes!- or repurpose the earth wire if all fittings are plastic or double insulated. NEITHER TO BE RECOMMENDED.
 WiFI (Google Home) light switching - smokie
Thanks - I was thinking of the Sonoff stuff when I mentioned cheap - it certainly isn't dear and I have it in differing guises on a number items. The Energenie would be OK if it didn't need the hub, that pushes the price beyond what I'm prepared to pay.

Also I am trying to limiot the num,ber of apps I need - I already have LIFX, EWElink, duocolstrip, Xaomi Home and Magic home to cover the array of devices I have, though at least they are all manageable through Google home.

And I'm not really into frigging something up as I only have a relatively basic understanding of wiring and don't want to introduce any risk into the house.

I expect something will come along soon that will fit the bill. Meantime I may just get a couple of cheap movement detectors and see what I can do with them.

I also need three more Sonoff S26 switches. These do a great job but, I think, are only good up to 10A. They have some new in-line switches out (POW2) which say they do 16A
 WiFI (Google Home) light switching - sherlock47
I am surprised that in your list of Apps (and your mix of hardware) that IFTTT does not feature.

I had even managed to integrate the status of the different devices into a single pictorial display via Google Sheets. I must have more time than sense.

The best status monitor is an on line video camera At less than £20 a cheap plaything but providing better pictures than a Swann security camera system

Cortana has now moved on , my earlier attempts were frustrated by its limitations. I should really try again. But I have promised an Alexa when back in the UK.

My only concerns are the potential for reduced security via the miscellany of Chinese supported devices. I really ought to get round to reviewing it.
Last edited by: sherlock47 on Thu 9 May 19 at 06:36
 WiFI (Google Home) light switching - smokie
The apps I mentioned (bar Home) are just the manufacturer apps for devices I already have. IFTTT and MacDroid are among the ridiculously high number of installed apps on my phone but I've not got round to looking at them seriously yet. I'm curious how Sheets fits into it!

I made a couple of Pi cameras recently, their picture quality isn't great (well, it can be but the pic gets jerky) and tbh apart from watching the bird feeder and the cat feeding (can be done remotely) I couldn't think of much use for them. But having now dabbled I may well get some proper security cameras soon.

Much time has been wasted on the Perl project and associated stuff I mentioned on here some months back, where I directly gather my half hourly energy usage via APIs. I haven't even got that going successfully yet and there are subsequent stages to that which involve mapping solar power generation against usage, and building in actual costs of my variable tariff. People will be thinking it's rather sad but for me it's a hobby, albeit a frustrating one!!

The other project I just completed is a Raspberry VPN server for incoming connection to my LAN - which means not only can I log into my home network securely when away, but I do it as a "local" device (thereby having the ability to do stuff like manage the router fwiw). It also has an ad remover which acts as a DNS server and blocks the IP addresses of many ad servers, thereby significantly reducing the ads seen in browsers, and I am looking at putting the energy API program on it too. Oh, and in my spare moments I rebuilt my phone from Chinese version to a Global ROM o I can use "normal" stuff.

I don't spend too much time worrying about security. I can't really think that I'm worth hacking in to, and even if they can, I think my PC and it's data is reasonably secure, and I'm probably more at risk when out and about using the phone.
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