Best hidden Switches for UK Lighting?


#1

I Have been looking at the Sonoff Wifi Switch Module and the Sonoff POW.

Could I replace the a standard UK light switch with one of these (then cover with a blanking plate)

I have read some conflicting information, I know I Will have to flash with Tasmota to make it actually functional.

My Main issue is with the Earth, everything in the UK has to be earthed. I need to be able to connect the earth cable to these.

Anybody have any experience using the Sonoff Switches for this purpose?

Edit:
It doesn’t really have to be sonoff or WiFi, RF is fine.

I want the light switch to be on all the time, and blank it off, but I want to be able turn it off and on in an emergency.

I am going to cover the blanking plate with an RF button


#2

The standard Sonoff Basic switches will just fit in a wall box if you take their cover off and don’t have anything else much in there :slight_smile:

I’m pretty sure the POW wouldn’t: it’s a fair bit bigger.

They don’t have an earth but don’t need it, as long as there’s no way for a user to come into contact with the electronics. The Basic switch is just a relay in the live line. If it’s in a metal wallbox you’d need to make sure that was earthed.

More of a challenge, in most UK houses, is actually making sure you have a neutral line in the back of the switch, as well as the live one. Many will just have the live feed and then the switched live going back to the light. If you have both live and neutral, though, you should be fine.

I’m going to try the zigbee route: I have one of these on order - hope it fits!

https://www.gearbest.com/alarm-systems/pp_610096.html?wid=1433363


Smart wall switch compatible to EU standards
#3

Unfortunately it is the neutral problem for all of the inline RF Switches, which would have been the best solution. But I thought of this.

This is a light switch that is small enough to be mounted in the back box, I can remove the wireless faceplate and toggle the switch manually if I ever need to.

https://uk.rs-online.com/web/p/light-switches/3413960


#4

Have a look at Shelly as an alternative. More expensive but slightly better quality and you don’t need to flash them. They are slightly smaller in size.


#5

I replaced most of my bulbs with Hue bulbs a few years ago, and just put blank covers where the switches used to be, usually with a Hue Tap switch stuck on top of it. So far, I’ve never had to take the covers off, but I was using the Hue hub rather than HA, and the Philips stuff has always been thoroughly reliable for me.

If I were starting now, I might think about these:


#6

Have you seen these? https://www.wifi-smart-home.co.uk/smart-wi-fi-light-switches.html

Designed for uk with no earth. I bought one a few weeks back but haven’t got round to fitting it yet.


#7

Thank you, i have seen that site before but they was sold out last time i visited and i couldn’t find any information on compatibility with HA. So I went for RF only switches from the site below.

I have purchased 3 so far and they have been really good. The rooms I have done so far only have dumb light bulbs, which is fine. I have 1 room with a smart bulb (I don’t intend to put smart bulbs in other rooms). The RF switches just cut the power, which is a problem for the smart bulb.

But i am going to put a small manual switch in the backbox (for emergencies or to reset the smart light bulb) and a wireless RF light switch (RF button no cables, looks like the other light switches) to cover the backbox.

So i can do RF wireless switch -> HA -> WiFi smart bulb

RF light switch
https://hartingtonheath.com/product/i-lumos-luxury-white-crystal-glass-panel-touch-wifi-remote-controlled-led-light-switches/

Edit: wireless RF light switch
https://hartingtonheath.com/product/i-lumos-luxury-white-glass-panel-wirefree-rf-touch-controlled-led-light-switches/


#8

Well, if you change your mind/plan I fitted my 3 gang switch just now and it works perfectly with 3 switches available in HA.
I asked them about 1 gang switch availability when I ordered the 3 gang and was told they should have some in about now.


#9

I also have used the Shelly one. As I don’t have neutral to the switch, I wired it in near the ceiling rose. It is quite small so easy to accommodate.


#10

Best solution (with a lack of a neutral at the switch) would be to mount the sonoff by the light fitting itself. Depending on the light fitting on the house construction you could even tuck it away inside the ceiling. Since there is a live an neutral at the light fitting there should be no problem wiring it up there.

Then either leave the switch turned on or just stick a connector block between the wires and fit a blanking plate.


#11

Or use the existing wires down to the switch to toggle the state of the Sonoff.(using the ‘rx’ pin I believe?)

That’s my plan, read about it on here a while back.


#12

That’s a clever idea. I like it :grin:


#13

Hi DeCarabas,
Any chance you can expand a bit on the use of the 3 gang switch from Smart. I’m looking at solution to automated my lighting but I have 2 switches which are 3 gang 2 way and I find it really hard to find something out there that will work as a replacement.
I can see they have a 3 gang 2 way switch so I assume I can use this to replace the existing one and then get Z-wave, Zigbee, WiFi controllers mounted at the light?


#14

@yulasinio sure. Happy to detail more.
I’ve got the 3 gang switch (as per my link above) which has 4 terminals: L for Live and then L1,L2, L3 for the switched live to the three lights. There is a ‘N’ terminal on the side of the unit but it’s not needed and not even mentioned in the simple instructions. For me this switch is for the light in my extension and then an outside light down the side of the house and a patio light.
I connected the three brown ‘lives’ from my previous switch unit to a wago block and ran a single from there to ‘L’. L1, 2 and 3 were as per the previous switch. Luckily the electrician that set that cabling up did a great job of labelling everything. The unit came with three capacitors that the instructions said might need to be fitted in case of a buzz from the unit which can happen with some bulbs. Not an issue for me it worked fine first time.

The instructions do talk about a 2-way mode. What you can do is to get a wireless switch (no wiring) and get the two units to talk to each other. You could use the no wires version to replace the unit at the end of your 2-way (but not wire it in) and sync the button to one on the main unit. It’s not clear how it is powered. I’ve not tried this (yet) but would also want to do that for my hall light which has the landing off it as well.

So, in theory (I think), you need the wired version and an un-wired version then you don’t need any other controllers.


#15

Thanks for you reply. My problem is that I have 2 of these 3 gang 2 way switches.
One is placed at the entrance in the house and controls:

  • 2 x hallway lights. 2 way with another single gang 2 way switch placed beside the kitchen
  • 2 x landing lights. 3 way with an intermediate switch at the top of the landing and the other 3 gang 2 way switch beside the bathroom
  • Outside lights

The other is placed beside the main bathroom and controls:

  • 2 x landing lights. Same as above
  • Bathroom light
  • Attic light

I’m really smashing my brains trying to find something suitable to replace these. The rest of the switches in the house are simple one way and they are easy replaceable.
I mailed them to see if they have any wiring diagrams going with the switched I linked above. I might be able to use it as a command switch and use Fibaro Z-wave dimmers at the light to control them from HA.


#16

Ah. 2 way and 1 way on each switch at both ends.

I’ll find the instructions I got (2 sides of A4) and see if it says anything about using the wired versions at both ends as that’s the only way I could see it working with these units. Either that or you put a separate switch box at one end but it wouldn’t look as good.

Here’s the instructions. From this it looks like pairing is only to a remote switch not another wired one so not sure this would help you.


#17

I mailed SmartHome and it looks like the 3 gang 2 way only acts as remotes for the WiFi ones. So I will need to add 3 boxes beside the door to be able to control the lights.

Here’s their reply:

A WiFi switch can only be 1 way, this is the case for any WiFi switch on the market.

It is this reason we developed the ‘two way’ remote is basically turns the WiFi switch on or off by radio and is totally wireless.

So, I would suggest a 3 gang WiFi switch in your kitchen.

1 gang two way remote switch for hallway lights to control the 1 of the 3 gang WiFi.

1 gang two way remote switch for landing lights to control gang 2 of the 3 gang WiFi

Now the only issue you have is the 3 gang switch for the attic/bathroom and two way landing.

For this you would need a 2 gang WiFi switch for the attic and bathroom and then a separate 1 gang two way remote switch that will operate

Gang 2 of the 3 gang WiFi switch along with the intermediate land remote switch.

The two way remote switches have been designed to look exactly, and operate like, a WiFi switch.

They can be fitted to a standard back box, to replace an old switch, or thy can be flush fitted to a wall with screws or the self adhesive pads supplied, as they have no producing back.

that are powered by a 3.5v lithium battery which we have been advised will last up 3-5 years before replacement is needed and it is as simple as replacing the tv remote batteries.

Another point to consider is that any 1 gang of a WiFi switch can have up to 14 remote gangs paired to it.


#18

I bought one of these recently as I decided to give Philips Hue a try. They’re reasonable quality, fit nice and snug on a standard UK light switch but you have to fit them upside down! The way the magnets are fitted on the back of the hue remote panel that you click onto the fitting means they push on the switch turning it off when you fit it. No matter how gently I clicked the remote panel into place, it always flicked the switch off. I fitted it upside down though and it worked fine.


#19

I’ve just had an amazing epiphany, either that or just been stupid for the past month.

Either way I can use a standard RF light switch and a smart light that requires to be always on.

Without having to do anything funny in the back box or hiding a manual switch, by using node red.

So when the smart light is switched off manually at the wall, if you request the status from home assistant using node red it delivers the message payload “unavailable”

Therefore if I request the light to be on via Alexa or something else I can get node red to check the status of the light at the same time. if the payload comes back unavailable then send the RF signal to manually trigger the switch

Edit: many typos


#21

I guess a small downside, if you’re using Hue or similar Zigbee lights, is that when powered off at the wall they can’t be repeaters for other Zigbee devices, so you get a weaker mesh.