Risky wife wall panel strategy

Hi all, sorry if this is in the wrong category, but I need some advice from the pros…

I’m fairly new to all of this but have a HA set up on USFF PC using proxmox. I have all of my devices set up in home assistant (around 50 now) and haven’t really ventured further than basic use of the devices yet.

I’m wanting to set up a wall panel using a large screen Honor Pad X9 tablet I have just picked up in the black Friday sales.

I have tested fully kiosk browser and it would seem to do the job nicely, but I currently have these 4 smart switches as a bank:

I’m thinking to put 2 x 2 gang smart dimmer modules behind blanking plates and then use the 2 gang space below to put a USB transformer on another smart module to control charging of the tablet. The tablet will then be mounted over the blanking plates.

The bit I’m nervous of is replacing the physical switches with the wall panel and voice alone with how I can get the screen to wake / sleep intuitively. I know Fully Kiosk Browser can use the camera, but unsure how good this works in practice? Any other ideas welcome (I am still quite new beyond setting up basic integrations and some changes to config). It needs to pass the wife test, but she’s accepting of using the screen, but I know this will need to sleep/wake well due to being in the lounge.

I’m starting to think a new wife might be the easiest approach, so any help is appreciated!

FKB works well with motion detection, and the touch on function works well to wake it up in low light conditions.

I have 6 tablets throughout my house all setup this way with FKB, and no wife complaints.

Welcome and good luck.

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FKB motion detection works well if there is sufficient light. What I do is:

  • Use motion detection through the tablet camera (using FKB) when the light level in the room is sufficient.
  • If there is insufficient light then turn the screen on when there is motion in the room.

Also, as a rule of thumb, I don’t take away any physical switches that are already present. All my home automation stuff augments what I already have. I would only ever take away a phsical switch if other members of the household have transitioned to new methods and don’t use the physical switch anymore. YMMV.

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A Sonoff NS panel that retains control of the switch maybe but otherwise not a chance in heck I’m replacing physical switching with a panel. In my design philosophy control MUST exist at the switch no matter what and a panel that relies on a server being ‘up’ doesn’t fit that bill.

Replace those with smart switch or relay based equivalent sure and then mount directly adjacent… Absolutely

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Initially my wife said that the tablets were a waste of everything, but later she ended up liking them (as is the norm). I’ve heard that code may require the presence of a physical switch, but it’s also a good idea to have it as backup.
I simply leave the screen on the whole day and activate the screensaver at night.

FWIW, I only “replace” a wall switch with a tablet if the switch I’m replacing is sort of an accessory switch that isn’t used often, I wouldn’t go whole hog on four switches.

Where I have tablets now are switches that control non critical and seldom used lighting, for example I have an entry light in my bedroom that is almost never used because the other lights are more than enough, so it was a logical place to put a tablet for more whole-room and whole-house control. If my only choice was to put that on, say, the bed switches that are used constantly then no way - I’ve had too many instances where the tablet is non or semi-responsive and that would be an irritant.

My setup is always a Z-Wave/Zigbee relay to replace the capability of the non critical switch, a tablet with a gang box mounting capability (I 3D print my own for this), an Amazon Fire HD (or similar) and Fully Kiosk with motion sensing so my display only comes on when it detects something is in front of it.

while this is a reasonable approach for any device in your smarthome - or to get a smarter home, this clearly not applies for your wife.
At least, as long the new one does not expose entities and data to your smart home :wink:

But yes, I can totally see the issue with removing “good old, reliable” hardware and replacing it with some techy and fancy like a wall-tablet.

While I am thinking of something similar, I haven’t yet made the decission - due to similar reasons … this thing needs to be 100% reliable - and, in addition to that - I would never remove the ability to control lights etc. manually.

That’s also something you might consider in your setup … I don’t know, if these switches are hard wired or not…

Also, another point I would consider:
How many times will the device being used?

Maybe … first - implement other ways like automation, voice control, and so on - to reduce the amount of times, your wife WOULD use the switch / tablet itself.

This would (in my opinion) reduce how reliable the tablet itself would need to be, since there are alternatives available.

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Thank you, that gives me some great reassurance

These replies are all excellent advice, I guess I am avoiding chasing out another double backbox (to house the USB transformer, smart module and another on the opposite side of the wall to power a lighted piece of wall art).

I do see the logic in needing to retain the physical switches and I know I really should. I guess I’m saying I would like to try not (to avoid the additional work above) and am willing to take the leap, but only if others’ reports with a kiosk tablet solution are good.

You can have my fully kiosk tablet when you pry it out of my cold dead hands… Er. Wall

Although I wouldn’t do a fire again. Generic android next time.

Herss how mine is mounted

(us power) Deep outlet box with a QC3 capable usb charging outlet. The outlet is in the same stud cavity as a switch box just to the right of the picture. After trimming the excess and prepping the box, it’s less than two feet of wire (14/2Romex) to jump off the switch box to the new ‘old work’ outlet box I installed. Euro power may be different and always refer to the local codes etc.

But does it work? Use it every day (i just slap goodnight on a button as I’m walking to the bedroom) my wife uses it for weather before she leaves for work (I program it to show what she wants at 6am)

Im putting the same in the back hall on the other side of the house when I have time…

Oh and the ribbon usb cable is from AMZ - look for tablet mount bracket and they should show up.

A man after my own heart…I love this, and the FKB feedback is helpful