The most depressing thing about home automation

… is the lack of products for some obvious needs.

I’m looking for Zigbee power switches/actors that are small… like, half the size of the typical behind-switch retrofit units. No joy… instead, I can get things that are 12cm long… but I only need to switch two light bulbs, not 1000s of Watts of power.

Or a bit of choice for outdoor, battery powered motion sensors (zigbee again), other than the quite expensive Phillips Hue thing. But that seems to be the only option right now.

Or good options for Zigbee switchable outdoors LED floodlights, maybe with attached motion sensors, that are affordable - at least I found one candidate for these, but - only one?

If I could do electronics worth a damn, there’s probably a market out there for stuff that is specifically designed to make retrofit automation easy, for ppl who do not want to bore holes into walls and string new cables :slight_smile:

But such a device will still need to deal with 230V and potential issues like power surges, short circuits down stream and so on. So that takes certain components, which take up volume. So things like the Shelly devices, Fibaro devices, and so on, have that typical size for a reason.

Why exactly are you so bought in on zigbee?
That’s limiting your options quite a bit.

Hi @RolfV - it doesn’t absolutely have to be Zigbee, I just like the fact that I could avoid setting up a quarantined wifi network for cheapo automation devices, so far. Plus the built-in-repeater functionality of Zigbee.

I didn’t find much stuff on Wifi that fits my bills so far, either…

Would a Shelly one fit? They are Wifi.

Or replace your switch with a tasmota flashable one.

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For zigbee thexiamoi motion works well for me.

Yeah those Sonoff Mini were the first thing that came to mind.

Well that’s the thing. Sounds like you are not finding exactly what you are looking for. Once you get to that point, it might be time to start learning a little bit of electronics. At least that is the conclusion I have come to. Besides, it’s fun! :smiley:

Personally I look at all of this as a hobby. Especially once you get into DIY electronics stuff, which for me I am still learning. Of course, maybe through scratching your own itch you find you have created some product that people actually want to buy. Like the guys at OpenSprinkler for instance. But to me, making money would not be my intention going in.

I think they are also doing it the right way, making it open software and even hardware. Because your target market are likely to be fellow tinkerers like us. But then again I believe strongly in Free Software and increasingly, hardware, too.

If you decide to go down that path, something like MySensors can really help ease you in to it at first. Tons of ready to go devices that you can just build with the instructions they have provided. And parts are inexpensive (assuming ordering from Ali or similar and waiting weeks :wink: ). Finally, you are getting a lot of flexibility. You can do pretty much whatever you want. But it takes time and you have to learn stuff (which to me is fun). But that’s the tradeoff.

Isn’t a zwave relay exactly what you’re after for size? And doesn’t use the WiFi network (no need to set up a quarantined network)

But that is probably one of the most expensive technologies out there.

Affordable is subjective. Being the only certified devices in my country means it’s what tend to get used. And it doesn’t congest the WiFi or use their specific app

Have you looked at the ikea Trådfri line? They’re Zigbee and works with Conbee/deConz Zigbee stick

There are copious articles and videos for learning electronics, and for OH, electronics can be very simple. Take a look at Esp8266 dev boards, they come with lots of options, are cheap and several firmware options to use (out of the box, no coding, e.g. tasmota, Esp_Easy). Mqtt is a popular communication protocol and very light weight so another plus. BTW, both Shelly and Sonoff devices use the Esp8266 board.

My point is, keep an open mind, electronics do not have to be complicated for use with home automation. There’s some really cool stuff out there don’t limit or cheat yourself b/c electronic feel overwhelming.

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Xiaomi Aqara motion sensors, Zigbee, powered by button batteries, cheap (US$12-15), works well.

I’d like to see this too but it’s probably too niche. Instead, use a (wifi/zigbee?) switch + motion sensor above. There’s one I know of, z-wave based, made by a Canadian company.

I’d like to see one too, but for the time being, the options that I know of are wifi based, like sonoff, Shelly. Even then, they do not have approval for use in Australia :frowning: So for now I’m using “smart bulbs” flashed with tasmota.

Wow that’s a lot of replies - thank you all!

The first Zigbee thing that I installed was actually almost the same form factor as the Shelly, fitting into one of those switch installation housings (whatever they are called…). That works fine, and I’ve been casting an eye at the Shellys now anyways because they cost half of the Zigbee thing, in case I have another idea for this kind of installation.
My current problem is that the other light I’d really like to get into the system is using some utility-room switch housing, which has about half the space available as the regular in-wall ones. So something like 2x3x5 cm is what I’d need, and I couldn’t come up with a good, non-destructive option yet. The board inside the Shelly looks like it might fit if I drilled a hole into the little exposed wedge, assuming there’s no lanes running there… but I’ve yet to get a Shelly to have a closer look.
I am positive that in principle, it is possible to build what I need, because there’s stuff like this (where there’s really no more room for electronics than the 2x3x5 mentioned above):

Was briefly debating with myself to take one of these apart and cannibalize what I need, but the last thing I want to put into my walls is a self-made fire hazard…
Maybe I’ll bite the bullet and look for switchable light bulbs that fit the light in question (there’s a halogen spot thing in there where that might become interesting) - but smart light bulbs I don’t like either because lights fail, including LED lights… and that doesn’t seem to be the most sustainable place to put control electronics (from an economical and environmental perspective).

Someone mentioned (@JimT) that they also are looking for zigbee-controllable outdoor spotlights - here in Germany, I found these:
I’m not going to touch my existing ones until they break/until I get really bored this summer, but then I’ll probably get a bunch of these zigbee ones.

I am already playing around with a couple of the Xiaome/Aquaria sensors, and they work beautifully - but they aren’t rated for outdoor use. Might still try to work with them, put them somewhere under a roof a or find other dry spots (and these, I really only need when I get the zigbee spots mentioned above).

I guess I will have a closer look at that mysensors page though - maybe it’s time I got my hands dirty :wink:

Quick update - bit the bullet and got a bunch of Osram Zigbee-controlled light bulbs. Not that expensive on amazon right now, and maybe these will hold up longer than the small LED lights that I’m used to.
Upside is, these new bulbs are dimmable - so I can go crazy with some create scripting in combination with the movement- and open/close sensors :smiley:

I went through this same struggle with outdoor sensors. I came to the conclusion that that cameras are the future of motion sensors. I adopted the common solution of outdoor rated POE cameras (Amcrest for me) with Blue Iris. Out of the box it detects motion and can publish MQTT messages, integrating very nicely with openHAB. Add-ons that detect faces are available, though I haven’t tried them. On my list of things to explore is using OpenCV to build custom (and secure) object detection/recognition. The opens the potential for something far more useful than a typical motion sensor. And, again, it seems to be the future.

worlds smallest (at least the company pretends that)

Check out my postings I designed a WiFi Home automation switch programmable over air using Particles good for 10 Amps …Using a 300 VAC power converter to 5VDc jade7272 on Hackster …opensource designs build your own