Turn off the lights …

Light switches are located at the entrance of each room.. Normally when you get inside you turn on the lights, and going out turn off the lights.

Problem is when you are binge watching while in bed. I would be too lazy to stand up and turn off the lights. This was not a problem when stayed in Japan, the ceiling light of my room have a remote which was really conventient for me.

I was thinking to implement some sort of remote control circuit to address my problems. Considering also that so called Smart Home system is flooding the market, I decided to take a look at the off the self options.

App controlled LED bulb that uses standard wireless connections

  • Easy to install and most are E24s, so just need replacing the bulbs.
  • Wattage is higher than wat we are using. Most of these bulbs are at 9W minimum and we are just using 3W.
  • Bulbs are consumables, I really dont thing these will last long. Each time this is busted would mean going through with the set-up and configuration
  • Supports a wide varianty of Smart Functions from statistics such as On times.. Off times.. to blub state.
  • Kit from Phillips is very expensive also it need a hub… and why does it need a hub! I just don’t know if the other brands will last.
  • The wall switch would also need to be On all the time. The entire smart system would go back to being dumb when this turned Off.

What goes through the walls, how light switches are wired.

Wiring a light source to AC is simple .. a wire to the bulb back to the source with a switch that cuts one of the wires. Typically this is how the ligths are wired here in PH. Only 1 live wire runs to the switch

App controlled Switches that uses standard wireless connections.

  • WIFI versions requires no Hub to connect to the network. While the Z-wave and Zigbee models does require a hub.
  • Mostly are touch panels, while some expensive models are mechanical.
  • Not simply replace the existing and go since these switches requires additional Neutral or Live wire for it to work.
  • Some support the same level of Smart Function with the Smart Bulbs.

Neutral wire is needed for these to work.

Remote controlled switches using proprietary RF (433Mhz)

  • No additional Neutral or Live wire, can work simply by replacing the existing switches.
  • Only Touch Panel models, no mechanical
  • Only On or Off is supported by Remote, No statistics or keeping of state.. Not really smart.
  • Needs a Hub or Remote to be controlled by app
  • Compatibility is crucial since protocols are not standard.

The remote controlled switch offered the best mix considering that a universal remote is also available from the same brand which eliminate the compatibility issue.

Broad Link RF Switch and Broad Link RM Pro

There are many brands that follow this configuration, but I liked the “Rectangle” look of the Broad Link switches. The switches are available either 1-Pole, 2-Pole or 3 Poles only. As a proof of concept I decided to buy a 1-Pole switch (and then a lot more of them) and the RM Pro.

The triangle coaster controller Broadlink RM Pro.

The RM Pro is a universal RF/IR WIFI remote that supports 433Mhz. The design is to accomodate the IR reciever and transmitter. Only 2.4GHz WIFI is supported.

The device status is indicated by 2 small LEDs.

  • BLUE – WIFI connection status
  • ORANGE – Remote activity

Easy as 1 … 2 … 3, but wait …

Since these switches does not need another wire, replacing the existing switches is just a walk in the park. But if you are not confident get somebody to do it for you.

The RM Pro should be configured first before replacing the switches.. it will save a lot of time later on. The switches will “Ping” home after replacing the front glass.

Setting up the RM Pro using the e-Control App

Setting up the RM Pro is not really that complicated. There are only a micro usb for power and a reset button.

  1. Download the App
    • e-Control
  2. Plug the USB power on the RM Pro
  3. Depress the reset button until th BLUE LED will blink.

Download and install the app.

An account is needed to use the app, creating the account is for free.

Adding the RM Pro tap on the “+” on the upper right and select add device.

This should bring to the configuration wizard. Just follow through the wizard and it should be Ok. If can’t connect just cycle the RM Pro power and depress the reset button. It is good to take note of the following WIFI settings.

  • Only 2.4Ghz is supported
  • Management Frames should be Off.

Configuration is successful, if the RM Pro appears on the device list.

The wall and the switches

This procedure is just the basic replace your light switch. Pop out the old switch and Pop in the Broadlink RF switch. S1 in the diagram. Also take note of the limitations below.

  • LED and Energy saving bulb only
  • Max 100W per pole
  • The switch will cut-off if the overloaf occurs

Up to replacing the front glass, at this point the switches will Ping and we need to configure it from the RM Pro.

Replacing the glass panel will cause the pole switches to blink.. Head back to the app and add a remote.

  • Select Light switch Broadlink
  • Select TC2
  • Follow the wizard

The pole switch should stop blinking and the the lights switch can now be controlled by the App.

Back up settings to the Cloud

The app can also back up the saved configuration and makes it easy to restore when you uninstall the app.

Installation and configuration is easy, this only the tip.. Integration and home automation will be next…