Newbie: What do I need for switching power?

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(Vida Pura ) #1

Please forgive the newbie nature of this question.
I am trying to acquire the right vocabulary for this…

I would like to control a lighting circuit that handles four lights outside my house.
So I want some sort of wifi enabled power switch that can be controlled by openHab.

Is the the correct term : Actuator ?

If so can anyone point me at a supplier for such a device.
The device would need to be CE marked for use in Ireland/UK so that it won’t void my house insurance.

Thanks in advance for all replies.

(Thomas Bail) #2

Actuator is a correct but very big term. Say simple switch :slight_smile:

With openHAB you have a wide choice of systems to use and it is up to you to decide which is the best for you. and unfortunately i am not the right to giv you an overview.

But besides the big question there are some more smaler questions that may norrow your possible choices.

1.) Should you light switch place inside or outside of the house -> Outside think about water proof
3.) If inside the house somewhere visible or not -> Think about the WAF (Womand Accetance Faktor)
4.) If in side the house in a standard walloutlet or in some electricity installation enviroment -> Special formfaktor

And one last question: How do you like to proceed with homeautomation? More Switches, other devices, …

Give yourself some time and you will find the right solution.


(Vida Pura ) #3

Hi Thomas,
Thank you for taking the time to help me.

We just bought a house out in the countryside.
We were living in the city for the last few years.
My wife is a bit nervous about how dark it is when she comes home from work.

The house and the garden is in darkness.

So I want to control some lights outside the house (under the eaves) that will work on a timer.

I want them to come on at , say, 5pm, and go off at 11pm. Maybe they will come in the morning for an hour if its dark when we leave for work too.

So the lights are already installed and the wires for the lights are already in the walls/roof.
There is a conventional lightswitch that controls them located inside the house in the hallway.

So I was planning on replacing the conventional lightswitch with a timer or something that could control the lights.

Then, because I work in computers, I spotted OpenHab and started reading about it.
Hence the question now.

So if my initial OpenHAb setup is just a PC and one switch/actuator that can control a single lighting circuit then I will be very happy.

In future I would expand the set up to include another lighting circuit that has five lights along the driveway.
For this I would like it to be operated in conjunction with a sensor beam across the gateway… so a vehicle entering my driveway would cause the lights to come on. I prefer a beam to a PIR because I have a PIR spotlight that is frequently activated by cats and foxes … very annoying…

So, just to get started I would hope to have a lightswitch something like this one:

That one would be ideal but its ‘closed’, it must be controlled from the manufacturers servers… and I would prefer to have better control of things myself.

I also want to be careful that I select a switch that is compliant with european electrical standards. I don’t want to have my house insurance people have any excuse not to pay out in the event of a fire.

Its funny you mention the WAF (though I define it as the Wife Acceptance Factor) because I always have to take this into account. She hates having more than one remote control for watching TV … heh… heh… So I put the Kodi app in her phone and now she’s happy… :sunglasses:
My wife is computer literate so she would be happy enough to work with the OpenHab interface if needed.
But I think for the Irish winter I would just set the lighting schedule and leave it for six months …

Yes it looks like there is a wide choice with OpenHab… but maybe you can appreciate that for a beginner its not always a good thing to have so much choice :grinning: It can me a bit confusing too eh?

Thanks again for your help

(Rich Koshak) #4

That is a good name, though “relay” is a little more specific.

You have a wealth of choices but I think you will have to do the research for the CE markings. Most of the users on this forum are in Europe so I suspect that most any of the solutions you see talked about here will be fine.

You can narrow the list down quite a bit by determining whether you want to still use the physical switch normally or not. For example, if you use something like a Hue bulb you would need to leave the wall switch always ON because you can’t control the light when the switch is off. However, these will be your cheapest options and give you the most choices.

If you are willing to spend a little more, a variety of companies make zwave devices which are well supported in OH. But these operate on their own wireless protocol so you will need to purchase a controller in addition to the wall switch itself.

You can save some money if you are willing to replace the firmware on a device like sonoff, which has grown very popular on the forums lately.

I personally started with two zwave power outlets and a zwave wall switch and grew from there so I think you are heading down the right track.

If you find a candidate device you want to use, look at who makes it and/or what technology it uses and come back to the docs and search to see if there is a binding that supports it. Then search the forum to see what problems and such people might be having or ways to connect to devices for which there isn’t a binding.

(Thomas Bail) #5

Hey PJ,

that sound perfect.

openHAB with a PC is fine you should think maybe about a raspberry pi as a openHAB server (Small, low energy consuption, easy to handle.) To setup the system and test it a PC is fine.

As i under stand you like to replace you wall switch(es later) in your house and later use a beam (no PIR - you are right with the cats) later for the next step. Based on This you should check if there are system that support sensor beams or build it on your own (just use google). a Quick look brings up

Maybe zwave is your choice (See the devolo light switches) and zwae is supported in openHAB.

With openhab you could expand your ideas. Timer based solutions are ok, but you have to adjust them in winter and summer. With the Astro binding in OH you schould be able to switch the light at dusk or down or 10 minutes before or something like that. With an outside PIR you could add the functionality to switch the light if someone is arriving maybe only in a defines timeframe. Typically PIR measure the light intensity so you could use this information to switch light on or off.

Just start simple new ideas will come every day after starting. Just saw that Rich has answered as well. He is a great supporter

@rlkoshak Thanks for your tremendous support in countless topics

I Would suggest that you look trough some site selling homeautomation stuff, read a little bit and decide wich system works best for you, maybe based on the decision - WoW thats looking nice and it is affordable - and then come back and i am sure the community will help to setup every thing


(Vida Pura ) #6

Thanks to both of you gentlemen!
I will have a look at the website and Devolo switches you mentioned.

I feel encouraged to come back and ask more questions when I have some specific devices in mind.
Thanks again.