Z-Wave Hardware for controlling multiple sets of LEDs


I’ve been researching lots of hardware and ideas for a few days now but I’m still not quite sure exactly what I’m going to need for a new bathroom installation. I’m starting completely new to home automation as well so deciding on controller etc. Pretty sure I’ll be going openHAB + Aeotec USB stick. Hopefully you can help?!

I’m installing a new bathroom so have opportunity to do basically everything from scratch (ceiling is being redone etc.). My (rough) requirements I think are fairly simple:

  • 2x LED lights / strips that are controlled automatically only. Probably based on sunset/rise to give ambient light
  • 2/3x LED downlighters. I think I want a traditional switch for these, although want them to be z-wave connected for possibility of automation
  • 1x electric underfloor thermostat
  • 1x motion sensor

My current thoughts are using Aeotec MultiSensor 6 to give me motion sensor plus others (cleanest looking sensor and looking ahead at giving other possibilities in the future), and potentially HeatIt thermostat.

My issue is knowing what I need for the lighting. For the overhead downlights I think I could use something like the Aeotec Nano Dimmer (https://aeotec.com/z-wave-light-dimmer-switch) behind a traditional wall switch to give manual and automated control. That setup is pretty simple for installer as well as close to non-automated install.

What I’m not sure on is the other lights. Do I have 2x Fibraro RGBW Controllers (https://www.fibaro.com/en/products/rgbw-controller/) in the ceiling/loft for each light, can I do it with a single controller of some sort? Is there something simpler for just white? Here I’m completely lost TBH.

I’m in the UK if that matters.

Appreciate any help!
Thanks, Adam

Hi Adam, It sounds like you are looking at the right sort of setup. For most people micro-modules behind conventional switches are useful as guests and less automation enthusiastic people don’t have to think about it. First hint is make sure you fit appropriately deep back boxes - usually in the UK they are 25mm - you will need at least 35mm in most cases. Regarding the RGBW controller, I think looking at the spec you could use 1 if you wanted them to always match - you can associate 1 switch to more than 1 unit in Z-wave so if it is easier from a wiring perspective then that would most likely work. All my micro modules are Fibaro, some are several years old and they are reliable. Just watch out that when you include/exclude them that you press the button or switch 3 times in VERY quick succession - that catches a lot of people out.
Aeotec Z wave dongle has a good reputation but bear in mind they are all based on the same chip so there is littel to choose between them - although if I recall it does have a power supply and inclusion button - TBH for me this doesn’t matter.
The majority of people run Openhabian on a Pi and there are lots of really helpful people and posts on the forums. Give some thought to where you put it regarding the future and be careful automation is infectious! Good luck and I am sure others will give their thoughts as well.

The Fibaro FGRGBWM has 4 output channels plus 4 input channels (each associated with one output), you can use them to have one color RGB and one separate white strip, or low voltage halogen, or both, and even can use it to switch on/off the underfloor thermostat as long as all of these run on the same low voltage (12 or 24 VDC). Each channel can be dimmed. See manual here.
Motion sensors is a different story. I suggest getting a Fibaro FGMS (which is motion + luminosity + temp and battery powered so you can place it anywhere).

Forgot to mention I would look to vesternet for Z-wave units - their support is excellent - I’ve returned bits a year after purchase when have had the odd issue (not with Fibaro) and they were prompt and helpful. (I’m also UK based)

Thanks for the hint towards the Aeotec Multisensor. We are working on the same area and this sensor fits perfect


Hi all,

Thanks for the input. Yeah the conventional switch for main lights is a must for the WAF and the edge cases automation could not capture. The accent lights can be fully automatic being ambient and non-essential which is why I wanted a hidden controller.

I’ve no idea when it comes to wiring / regulations etc. so stupid question but… with the Fibaro controller is that simple to install out of sight? Placed in-ceiling? Does the installer wire up to lighting circuit like other lights, then wires from the controller to LED strips / lights? All pretty standard for an installer with no smart experience?

Vesternet has come up a lot, so good to hear they are good.

As for the controller I have a home server setup, a vmware-based setup with existing router / plex / file storage etc so my plan is to re-use this with a new Ubuntu machine, at least to start with. I’m a techie, just without knowledge whatsoever on automation and hardware… yet :slight_smile:

I’ve seen the Fibaro motion detector but was not taken with the look, was going with the recessed version of Aeotec for the out-of-sight look, and to also hook it up to mains to remove need for changing batteries.

Also, the manual for the Fibaro controller has a 12/24 VDC Adapter inline before the controller. Assume that is standard fare stuff we could pick up from most places?

Yep. Get it together with your strips. But never underestimate the efforts, pitfalls and danger of electrical installation. Even that 12/24 VDC adapter you’ll have to connect to mains power (and they usually do NOT come with a plug because they’re meant to be part of what your electrician is commonly covering).

I use a RasberryPi-2 with RaZBerry controller. It’ a nice controller. But a little limited on portability. For belt & braces I have a second controller (Aeotec USB Stick).

I have 2x Fibaro RGBW modules. One connected to a set if Ikea RGB strips. And that has an el-cheapo RGBW faceplate on it as well connected to the inputs.

The other Fibaro RGBW is connected to a 5m RGBW strip, no direct attached controller.

Powerwise just get a 12V LED supply from Amazon for the RGBW controllers (Or screw fix - But Amazon ones are better IMO). Overspec the wattage on it though. Better to run it at 50% than 80%.

I also have a few Aeotec Multisensor 6’s. They’re really good. I have 1 outside in the cold & wet. Apart from sudden overload when the sun shines on it in the afternoon during the summer it’s really good. They can use batteries, but I run mine from USB power. Either power from integrated sockets, or I found some cool modules (Screwfix) that fit into a single patress and can just run from the lighting circuit.

In terms of hardware, Fibaro devices are probably the best I’ve got.

Software wise. I originally used OpenHab 1. Gave up on that and went DOmoticz… Ran that for about 18 months then went to OpenHab 2


Re Fibaro positioning - yes they are very easy with a little planning - always ensure they are somewhere that is easily accessible - hence why mostly they go behind conventional switches. They can go in the ceiling but be sure they can be accessed just in case of issues. IMHO most installers can cope with smart installations - Fibaro have pretty clear instructions for all units. A typical qualified electrician can do this for you. In general terms for lighting the 2 most common alterations from a conventional setup are the deeper back boxes (or other locations for units) and the need to have a neutral wire for most units (you probably know that regardless which of the 2 conventional ways of wiring UK lighting circuits they only need live and earth at the switches, with the exception of some dimmer units eg Dimmer 2 manual you need a neutral - also be aware that even these only work with certain types of lights - see the manual link for more info.

I would pass the unit specs to an installer and check they are happy with your ideas. If you are thinking bathrooms then other areas to consider might be heated towel rail controls (ours come on after we know somebody has had a shower - we work that out from if the hot water pipe feeding the shower goes up in temperature) and also ventilation control.

It’s a personal thing but I would go with your initial thought of the Aeotec motion sensor as I don’t want any battery changing issues to cause trouble. (the only battery device we have is a Secure thermostat and you can guess the battery always goes when I away!)