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Thread: Another "Which HA system?" thread... LightWaveRF?

  1. #1
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    Question Another "Which HA system?" thread... LightWaveRF?

    So, first off, I apologise for ANOTHER one of these threads!
    I've been reading through some of the posts on the forum here and I wanted to get some opinions!

    I've been dipping my toes into some HA stuff for a while now, and back in the day used to have a rather complicated MisterHouse setup (anyone remember that!?)
    Since moving a few times, I haven't bothered rewiring or setting up anything fancy in terms of HA, but I have managed to get some server-action on the go.

    I now have a home-made rack unit (think ikea parts) which contains my Mac mini server, Drobo storage, Time Capsule for wifi, powerline ethernet and distributed power. It runs Plex as well as some web services and media automation stuff, and I am able to stream from it to any of our computers, iPhones, iPads, Airport Express' and two Apple TVs in the house.

    When I DID have some lighting control in the house, I used to use simple X10 devices, and used to love using the "Shion" bit of software, which enabled me to write real simple AppleScripts of what I wanted to achieve/run and then link these to web apps.

    Right, that aside... I want to add some lighting control to the house, and have been considering the options.
    I really only have a few criteria, of which some are more important than others.

    • Easy to retro-fit
    • Won't break the bank
    • Controllable by iOS/Web
    • Open API/Choice of software
    • Feedback/Reporting


    I have been looking at LightWaveRF after reading through the review from this site and the recent posts about them, and have been very tempted to pop down to my nearest B&Q and plonk down some money.
    It looks great, and from the reviews I have seen, fits SOME if not most of my criteria, the only missing being the reporting and API. (I'd really like to be able to write my own web app to control this stuff. See above re:Shion)

    Now, I don't know how many of you have been on their site recently but I did notice that they said they were working on new products which would be out "First Quarter 2013".
    Does anyone have any info on this or what we could expect? (My other gripe about their site is that their pictures of the "App" are NOTHING like what is actually available.)

    Aside from that does anyone have any recommendations for me on good systems?
    I've even been investigating things like Phillips HUE and the upcoming Spark (http://www.sparkdevices.com)

    Any input would be great, thanks guys!

  2. #2
    Automated Home Sr Member b_weijenberg's Avatar
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    LightwaveRF lighting modules and remotes are supported by the RFXCOM USB RFXtrx433.
    And also HomeEasy can be used in a mixed configuration together with weather sensors like Oregon, TFA and La Crosse.

    There are many software packages that can be used like Indigo on Mac OS, Domotiga on Linux, EventGhost on Windows and many more. See the full list at "will support"
    http://www.rfxcom.com/store/Transceivers/12103

  3. #3
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    I've just bought the LightWafeRF energy monitor and wifi-link, sneaky way to get some WAF points. No history yet, shame but does look nice on iphone.

    Seems to be pretty easy to set up, however, the documentation is lacking and if you do go for the Energy Monitor don't use the enclosed instructions use the new set from off the website.

    Will start adding some more bits after Christmas :-)

    robin

    PS: I have a misterhouse setup with x10 - currently removing it - check over on the For Sale discussion.

  4. #4
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    HarmlessSaucer, from the research I've been doing I've seen a lot of negative comments regarding the LightwaveRF system. Mostly they are regarding the dimmers, most saying that the module takes too much power, resulting in the lights being dimmer. For example, the light output from a standard dimmer @ 100% is much higher than that of the Lightwave dimmer @ 100%.
    I very much like the appearance of the physical switches, but I'd want to control the system via something other than the WiFi Link. It's also a shame that they don't offer a presence/light level sensor as well.

  5. #5
    Automated Home Jr Member philipp.schuster's Avatar
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    I thought the LightwaveRF products actually looked pretty interesting, nice finish as well. I could not resist and bought some and tried them out over Christmas. A little bit of competitive analysis, at least that is how I justified it to my wife

    Initial observations:
    + Pretty straight forward to set up.
    + Cheap
    - Lighting scenes are saved on each controller device, i.e. scene 1 on my remote can be different to scene 1 on my iphone and different again on my wife's
    - No way to dim LED lights, dimmers only support incandescent lamps
    (-) Did not like the design of the app

    Those were my initial observations. I then thought why not try to treat all LightwaveRF dimmers and relay modules as dumb devices and simply send an on/off or absolute light level to them from my Loxone System via the wifi-link. This solution could make for a cheap option to gain extra circuits for all the Christmas lights, but I then found the same timing problem as outlined here in their forum...

    You cannot send multiple commands to the wifi-link in quick succession... so for controlling 5 circuits as part of a light scene the delay ended up being over a second, which is a long time for lighting control. I found this even more annoying when trying to tweak brightness levels of lights connected to one of their dimmers. I sat there for almost 20 seconds until I had the level I wanted. I guess LightwaveRF was not designed to be integrated in this way.

    If anyone else has experience trying to control their devices from a more powerful HA system (comfort, etc.) then I would be interested to hear about it.

    Philipp
    Home Automation Enthusiast and Head of Loxone in the UK.

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  6. #6
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    Philip, I need to correct you on some of your comments I'm afraid.

    Quote Originally Posted by philipp.schuster View Post
    - Lighting scenes are saved on each controller device, i.e. scene 1 on my remote can be different to scene 1 on my iphone and different again on my wife's
    Not correct. There are three mood settings which are stored on each dimmer. The app on your phone, or a paired physical remote simply calls that mood.

    Quote Originally Posted by philipp.schuster View Post
    - No way to dim LED lights, dimmers only support incandescent lamps
    Sorry, this too is incorrect. Providing you have dimmable LED's, they will generally dim quite successfully with a dimmer switch (it is a trailing edge dimmer). I can't comment on the plug in dimmers as I haven't tried one, but these are leading edge dimmers. You also need to make sure that the minimum load is enough. The dimmer switches drain a small current through the fitting and if you don't have enough load this small current can make the LEDs flicker.

    I have managed to use just two of these http://lightwaverfcommunity.org.uk/s...t-replacement/ quite successfully with a LightwaveRF dimmer.

    The Wi-Fi link does repeat the radio broadcast for about 2 seconds. This does limit the speed you can issue commands so if you can use the built in moods, do.

    The LightwaveRF Community forum isn't LightwaveRF's (or correctly JSJS Designs') - it is an unofficial forum hosted by me (with JSJS Designs' blessing I should probably add).
    Chris

    Automating my home in a family friendly way - My blog: http://www.cpmills.com/

  7. #7
    Automated Home Jr Member philipp.schuster's Avatar
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    Hi Chris,

    thank you for correcting my points. I am no expert on LightwaveRF and only spend 1 day with the units.

    Not correct. There are three mood settings which are stored on each dimmer. The app on your phone, or a paired physical remote simply calls that mood.
    I was under the impression that scenes/moods were stored in the remote or in the mobile app. I have not got my little test set up anymore to double check, appologies if I got this wring. One thing that probably lead to this confusion was that you can set different groups of lights to send mood signals to on each device, i.e. I could pair my Living room remote to only send a mood signal 2 dimmers, whilst I configure my app to send the Living room mood signal to only 1 of the dimmers and a relay unit. Leading to very odd lighting scene behaviour. Is that correct or am I remembering this incorrectly?


    Sorry, this too is incorrect. Providing you have dimmable LED's, they will generally dim quite successfully with a dimmer switch (it is a trailing edge dimmer).
    Sorry I was not very clear on the dimmers. The only dimmers that I tested, for ease of testing, were the plug in modules and these clearly state that they are only for incandescent bulbs only with a minimum load of 50W I believe.

    The Wi-Fi link does repeat the radio broadcast for about 2 seconds.
    Thank you for that information. Where did you find this out?

    Thanks again Chris for putting this right.

    All the best,

    Philipp
    Home Automation Enthusiast and Head of Loxone in the UK.

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