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daveb21
Starting Member

Australia
3 Posts

Posted - 01/27/2020 :  02:32:05 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
We are about to embark on an extension to our 1930s bungalow and I'm very keen to get the whole house hooked up with a smart lighting system. What better time with new walls going up and the retained part of the house needing a complete rewire!

I've come up with a smart lighting design that I hope will work but am keen to get the thoughts of the community and even potentially pay a consultant to ratify the design / make suggestions. Haven't had much luck with my google search for smart home / lighting consultants - they all look like they deal with the "pro" products rather than the DIY style systems.

My design is based on a few principles:
- by placing all the switches in a switch panel in the laundry I solve the problem of my partner and visitors switching the smart bulbs off at the switch and rendering them uncontactable
- we still have manual control over the lighting in every room with the Philips Tap and Dimmer switches so to a visitor it looks, feels and acts like a normal light switch
- in the future once Google Home voice activation matures and / or we put motion sensors in each room then we can go fully automated simply by removing the Tap and Dimmer switches off the wall - given they are not hard wired there would be no unsightly switch holes to patch over
- whilst the smart devices are more expensive than "dumb" ones I'm hoping some of that extra cost should be offset by reduced labour as I'm asking the sparky to pull all wiring back to one central spot with one light panel (rather than individually wiring up an individual light switch in every room). Plus some of the wiring and switches in the existing part of the house will be hard to get to so it should save some stuffing around there

https://portfolioconsulting.sharepoint.com/:i:/g/EeVX7od47YZHmpADzWxcK1ABhwPMvp6S4keVMFWTMy5zjQ?e=Jh0ki6

https://portfolioconsulting.sharepoint.com/:i:/g/Ef358gvubrRBuOmeu5X1WU0BxdcEuvmsRPtFivo9x6B6Vg?e=HDS8Ia

I'm keen to hear any suggestions / recommendations on what I'm thinking and / or any design consultants that might be able to provide some expert advice.

Thanks in advance!
Dave

oberkc
Moderator

USA
4111 Posts

Posted - 01/27/2020 :  12:26:19 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I am not quite ready to design a house with unusual switch locations. Instead, I would probably put switches in all the "normal" places. Where possible, I would have smart switches rather than smart bulbs. If, for some reason, you could not use a smart switch and had to have smart bulbs, I would remove and bypass the switch and cover it with a simple blank wall plate.
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daveb21
Starting Member

Australia
3 Posts

Posted - 01/27/2020 :  1:01:31 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by oberkc

I am not quite ready to design a house with unusual switch locations. Instead, I would probably put switches in all the "normal" places. Where possible, I would have smart switches rather than smart bulbs. If, for some reason, you could not use a smart switch and had to have smart bulbs, I would remove and bypass the switch and cover it with a simple blank wall plate.



Im keen to understand more about why you're not quite ready to go without the usual switch locations. Is it because you're worried about the smart system failing and not having a good old fashioned hard wired switch for if/when that happens? Thats one of my biggest fears. Any other reasons I haven't thought of?

Also, why would ypu recommend switches instead of bulbs? Switches would be cheaper as I'd only then need "dumb" bulbs. But I'd lose the ability to control each bulb individually (not a biggy) and lose the ability for the bulb to emit different colours with the Philips Hue (not a massive issue but changing the color seems like a cool thing to do). I can also imagine once you have a smart bulb you're sort of locked into that vendors switch and hub ecosystem which could be a drawback. Any other bulb downsides / switch upsides I've overlooked?
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oberkc
Moderator

USA
4111 Posts

Posted - 01/28/2020 :  04:04:33 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Is it because you're worried about the smart system failing and not having a good old fashioned hard wired switch for if/when that happens?


That is one reason. Selling the house is another (I wonder how the non-standard switch locations would affect this). Also, I want my house to be intuitive for those who have lived an entire life expecting switches in certain locations. Plus, I am still a little nervous about the volatility of the smart market enough to commit to a certain brand and ecosystem. I want flexibility and don't want to run wire in the future.

quote:
Also, why would ypu recommend switches instead of bulbs?


I think you hit on my major concern: price. One switch versus multiple bulbs in some cases. Another would be having less reliance on a single brand and model of bulb.

Colored bulbs are a definite concern. If I wanted to used colored bulbs, I would pick a brand who's ecosystem includes a switch that controls the features that are important to me. For me, yet, I have not found a use for colored bulbs. I use some colored hue devices, including strip lighting and their color wash fixtures (but no bulbs). For each, I have an smart switch that controls (on/off) the hue device (via compatible hub) but I have not recognized a need or desire to make color changes manually. I might have seasonal or other time-based color changes but those could be handled automatically via the hub.

I am not ready to commit the control of my house to google home or alexa. While this might be a decent supplement, I don't find it as convenient as a switch in most situations and don't want to have to memorize (and force others to do so) the correct phrase for every light in the house.

Edited by - oberkc on 01/28/2020 04:08:09 AM
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