Elegant Push Buttons

Dear Commmunity,

I Would like to share you some inquires and topic to discuss abut using button in smart home system:

  • About buttons, what is the is the idea behind that Fibaro doesnt have such buttons.
    Does it mean that the trend of smart home goes to remove buttons, and use tablet and smart phones?

However, buttons still important in my opinion, and I am looking forward for such these buttons and smart phones?

  • SO, could you please guide me to z-wave push buttons?

  • Also, I hear that zigbee has better range of buttons, is it true?

  • And what about comparison between z-wave and zigbee in general?

p6 p9

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Hi Ahmad,

I personally think, that home automation should not need buttons (that’s why it’s called automation :wink:
Just kidding, I am using amazon dash buttons e.g for my car heater. They are cheap and look without the label quite ok.
Your buttons look awesome though.
Where are these from?

For me, it is important to have a variety of options to cover different situations:

  • Physical buttons give spacial memory - cars use them as you don’t need to look down to flash your lights.
  • Buttons often don’t need instructions as they are similar to ‘dumb’ devices - e.g. a light switch.
  • Touch screens give lots of flexibility to offer different pages of controls, buttons, sliders, colour pickers but you need to focus on them.
  • A text display is good at giving status information instantly (e.g. temperature, alert, message) but you need to look at it from close range with glasses on (less useful across a room or in bed).
  • Speech interfaces are interesting but are slow and today require you to remember a specific phrase (much like a magic ‘spell’), or they get confused.
  • Phones or other personal devices do offer a mix of these interactions (and others like RFC tags), but you need to look, stop another task, run an app, switch back. We still use TV remotes as they are single use, have simple buttons, and (usually) are easy to find.

Many devices are starting to mix types to give more flexibility - e.g. the Mycroft 1 speech device is (almost) voice only, but Mycroft 2 will have a touchscreen, like the Google Home Hub.

Lying in bed, the easiest way to get the time is to use speech - no need to move, no bright LCD display. Controlling a specific device on via speech can be cumbersome, so I use a physical button next to the bed to trigger specific scenes.

Fibaro devices do have buttons, although they have issues. The https://www.fibaro.com/en/products/dimmer-2/ in-wall dimmer supports two switches with the second able to trigger scenes, which can look good connected to something like Clipsal wall switches. UK domestic wiring means this is hard to use (not enough wires in the wall).

The Button FGPB-101 looks fantastic, but I have found it to be very poor to use (unreliable internal switch, high latency, just doesn’t work). Their radio remote was worse - very pretty (+) and (-) buttons don’t work outside the show room with real human fingers.

Beyond that, there are several options for Z-Wave buttons ranging from small battery remotes, to some in-wall units. Vesternet give a good overview.

The beautiful wall switches you picture look to be good mix of easy to understand and use ON / OFF / DIN physical buttons with optional text display, but to me are overkill for a simple lightswitch. Beside the cost rewiring the existing lighting is hard and probably also needs Cat6 in the wall.

I only have light switches so I can turn the light on to fix the OpenHAB server! :slight_smile:

PIR and door sensors mean physical wall switches don’t get used. I’m also not going to get up and walk to a wall unit to check status.

Also remember the strength of OpenHAB is the range of protocols you can mix together - e.g. you can build your own hardware using ESP8266 or buy inexpensive Sonoff in-wall glass switches and integrate them using Tasmota firmware, WLAN and MQTT.

These are knx button made by Berker (BIQ).

Yes there are some z-wave buttons but cannot compare to these or even the traditional buttons. Also buttons have function to operate specific actions, they are part of home interior design.

And in my opinion some z-wave buttons look like bad toys (such as fibaro the button,remotec)

Actually… This is not far from the truth. A real home automation system will “think” for you and learn your habbits. Problem is, often there are more than one human in most families. This is where it gets complicated :slight_smile:

If you keep your config close to what you would normally say/demand, if you ask somebody to do a task, voice commands (ie Google Home, Alexa etc), can be highly effective. Think of it, like you talk to another person, except, this person isn´t physically there.
Example - If I want sombody in the house to turn on the light above the kitchenzink, I would say, “turn on the light above the kitchenzink”. And the is the exact same frase I use on my Google Home configuration.
This way, I do not have to remember a specific frase, except what I would normally have to remember.

You are not stuck with Zwave or Zigbee. Sonoff has some nice looking ones. Shelly 1s can be use behind a button or standard light switch. Harmony remotes can be used. Amazon Dash buttons. As long as it works with OH it can be used to control anything else you have that works with OH.

Zigbee tends to be cheaper but has poorer direct support in OH compared to zwave. But it is getting better. But OH supports integration with hubs that have better support for Zigbee like Hue Hubs.

From a personal perspective, I want anything that I automate to fall back to a usable state when OH or the Internet or the home automation fails in some way. So I use the wall switches already in place or replace them with something that can be controlled. So the lights and such all still work. They just won’t be automated. I really wouldn’t have a use for physical control panel like this or even a virtual control panel like a wall mounted tablet.

When the automation is working, everything just does what it needs to do based on events and state. When the automation isn’t working, everything is manually controlled in the same ways that we have been trained to do for the entirety of our lives. And for manual control of the automation, we have settled on Google Assistant voice control, though as James lists, there are many other options.

While those particular buttons are very nice looking, they are HUGE. I don’t want to give up that much wall space for controls. I got into home automation in large part to get rid of the controls in the first place. I don’t care how pretty they are, I’d rather have something small, intuitive, and rarely used because the automation takes care of most of the control.

Very interesting subject.

I too have been searching for some reliable and especially nice looking buttons.
I find all the buttons like “The button” way to big and trendy for my taste, like rikoshak I too like small and unobstructive buttons.
Here in Denmark almost all houses have LK (subsidiary to Schneider electric) Fuga switches.


Unfortunately those are a tad smaller than standard EU wall switches 63mm vs. 86mm, and makes it impossible to fit even a Fibaro or Shelly in the wall box.
I did just manage to fit at Fibaro dimmer2 befind a dual wall box, but then I’m searching for suitable switches. You can fit at spring to the normal switches, but it just looks wrong, I would rather use the small ones in the topmost module in the picture. But these a 24volt max, and probably is not okay to use with Fibaro or Shellys then :frowning:

My best bet currently is the switch that comes in the IKEA TRÅDFRI “Controlled outlet” kit:
https://www.ikea.com/ms/en_US/usearch/?query=Control%20outlet
Unfortunately they don’t sell the button alone but only as part of the kit. Annoying when they sell the “outlet” alone.

Morten, you could go for the Xiaomi buttons, either Mijia og Aqara…
They´re very cheap, use batteries and runs kinda zigbee like Ikea´s trådfri. Personally I dont like them though. I prefere LK´s wired low voltages push buttons (like the top ones on the picture), which are most standard used in IHC systems I have.
If I should build a new house today, I would avoid LK´s boxes and use EU boxes. This opens op alot of new possibilities.

In my opinion the elegant big buttons add beauty touch to the house :slight_smile: in addition to the function; and they should be reliable and good quality, because not everyday someone will install the buttons.

these are beautiful unfortunately they are not standard in my region, but the link doesn’t work!

Just a thought - I’ve not used it, but you mentioned that the very attractive wall controls in your image were Berker and support KNX.

The main strength of OpenHAB for me is the ability to integrate lots of different devcies - and KNX is supported, so the Berker switches may be usable directly:

There was a presentation about using KNX at the recent OpenHAB Smart Home Day 2018 conference which may be of interest:

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The latest offering from Velbus…

All sides are independently programmable

Available in, single button, dual, quad or 8 pages of 4, with thermostats and timers onboard.

https://www.velbus.eu/products/category/?id=436458

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Yes but the Xiaomi are still quite at bit bigger than LK Fuga, and the “Zigbee-like” part might cause more trouble than I like.
I actually planned to have EU boxes installed when we build the house, but the wife didn’t like them “they are too big!” and the electrician said it would be more expensive (guess because he didn’t have any experience with it). So I gave up (you know: happy wife, happy life :slight_smile:)
IHC is just too expensive, too proprietary and too small a niche for my taste.

So just today I bid the bullet and bought 4 IKEA TRÅDFRI Controlled outlet kits, just to get the remotes to replace som TRÅDFRI dimmers that is unreliable.
So if anyone needs some Zigbee outlets let me know :rofl:

I know they are only used in Denmark (and Greenland and Faroe islands). Damn old monopoly that LK profited way too well on.

The link to the IKEA ones works for me though…

Interesting contents, thanks for sharing. Where can I find such these videos including text description?

Nice buttons are only maintained nice if only adults are in the house. With my 12 year old and 6 year old, I could barely maintain the wall paint, let alone switches.

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The rest of the videos from the OpenHAB Smart Home Day 2018 are here:
https://media.ccc.de/c/ece-shd18

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I think they have good quality, here are their links in case someone interesting:
http://www.hager.com.tr/products/wiring-accessories-and-building-automation/building-automation/knx-system-via-ets/knx-touch-sensors-berker-b.iq/75665593/41298.htm

http://www.hager.com.tr/products/wiring-accessories-and-building-automation/building-automation/knx-system-via-ets/knx-touch-sensors-berker-b.iq/38698.htm

Why it is not in event/media section in this forum or even in opeHAB YouTube channel?
-> So, maybe we can discuss about their solution even with them.

For example:

  • They had mentioned that based on some parameter the system will call A/C maintenance. I am looking to know more about this point, and if it is reliable?
  • BACnet vs KNX?
  • Coffee machine vibration sensor, and it is reliability?

I’ve not heard of BACnet, but understand KNX is a standard used a lot in commercial / industrial building automation (e.g. office lighting, HVAC) with devices from several different vendors.

As already mentioned, KNX has an official binding. A forum search suggests there is an unofficial BACnet binding, but there’s not much detail about it.

My own experience is with Z-Wave and MQTT as although wired networks are more reliable, they need lots of new cables - difficult to fit to an existing building without redecorating!