UK: Retro fitting lights for HA integration

So I’m planning to turn all my dumb ceiling lights to smart by retrofitting them for integration into HA. I have zigbee or zwave as options for protocols and I would rather avoid WiFi.

I’m a geek, the wife is not, so whatever I go with has to allow the continued use of normal light switches so I’m thinking mini relays behind the ceiling roses so I can do my thing and she can do hers.

Our property is about 30 years old with the original wiring and I’m looking at around 10 lights to automate so I’d rather avoid using a spare kidney for payment.

Any recommendations at all?

Philips Hue, with Iyoki switch covers to fit over your existing switches. No wiring, and you can do the whole house in about an hour. What’s the problem? You’ve got two kidneys. :grin:

Not scared of wiring shizzle but mother of God hue are expensive. I realise I have two kidneys but keeping at least one is the plan…

I looked at the same thing, then cheated and decided Zigbee LED strips (RGB+CCT) are reasonably priced (~£26 on Amazon) and have the ability to change the white temperature. Personally I am using and I am really happy with them. This sadly doesn’t quite fit the brief of allowing normal switches to be used. But - you can always use a battery powered Zigbee switch…

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Looking at these for the kitchen cabinets as the wife is a bit of a disco queen but not much good for ceiling lights :wink:

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Yeah I avoided the ceiling light drama, and just put them at the top of the wall just below the moulding - I had planned to put them in proper trunking with the diffuser and everything… but… excitement / laziness won the battle ha! (They do have quite a wide spread, so they reflect off the ceiling, which does really light the room up a lot. I can’t have them on max brightness or I will need sunglasses)

EDIT: I should point out, my situation was going to be harder / costlier to fix than yours - because our lights, are on a 3 gang dimmer… So first I would need to replace the dimmer - and then potentially also the bulbs - since the Government are putting a stop to Halogen bulbs now too.

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Would you look at a smart switch? I use thess ZigBee dimmers in my place and they work really well.

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That looks nice, but sadly the last part of the description says:
Not suitable for low voltage or LED lighting I will have a look around the site though and see what else they have.

EDIT: I have 6 of their Temp/Humidity Zigbee sensors, and they work great, so I trust this company.

I think you might have misread that. It definitely works with low voltage and LEDs. That is what i am using it with and have no issues.

Hey. I’ve just done this very thing using Shelly devices. The Shelly 1 or 1l can be used to turn almost any dumb lights smart. And if you have smart bulbs they can communicate with ha to just send a signal to toggle the smart lights when you flick the switch.

If you want to take a step further I’ve used a Shelly i3 behind the switch, wire the lights permanent live and then have a Shelly 1 in a junction box to cut power if I need. This works with smart and dumb lights.

Plus the store has a 10% discount until the 10th (Code: HOMEASSISTANT10)

Feel free to ask me some questions as I haven’t got time at the moment to do a detailed write up.

They use Wi-fi which is the main drawback. But they are the only product line that has all the functionality at a pretty cheap price.

know you said no Wi-fi but I replaced all ours with sonoff no neutral switches flashed with tasmota.
wife can just the switch as normal but fully integrated into HA less than £10 a switch

This is an interesting discussion as I am considering a similar transition. Unfortunately, I have an additional constraint borne out of my years consulting on business continuity - the need for the system to continue operating with me not being about. Hence, my approach to all HA stuff is to augment not replace - which I inferred was imilar to the OP’s need.

Thus, it is not acceptable to replace existing light switches. Any smarts must be added in such a way that a very simple procedure can revert everything to the old way of working (e.g. if we move).

I’ve looked at adding shelly switches, but can’t find a topology that allows me to do so without having to change the wall switches to double throw switches (one of them is 3 gang) and replace the wiring to add two live circuits.

Some good food for thought here. I am quite drawn to the samotech zigbee inline switches mind

Looks like these could be hidden behind the ceiling rose or even tucked into the ceiling space… :thinking:

Would also recommend we do smart switches with dumb bulbs (as opposed to smart switches with smart bulbs.)

Yes, apparently I read the word “NOT” where it doesn’t exist. Probably because of the very bold Attention! bit - which is normally expected to be a warning of some description. But in this case is a warning that it can dim low voltage and LED lighting haha.

I’ve been through many dimmer switches and modules and have been very happy with these. Some of the wi-fi ones I’ve used before caused flickering on the bulbs and caused them to die out (all LED). I still have some Qubino in-wall z-wave modules that I use because I can’t find a 2 gang dimmer switch as of yet.