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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
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  1.  
    We have three light fittings in the lounge, wired together to a single 1-gang lightswitch by the door. Each fitting has several bulbs/lamps.

    It would be better if the 3 fittings could be switched individually, so a 3-gang lightswitch by the door. However the wiring is deeply buried in the decor so cannot be changed.

    I was thinking of a wireless setup with a 3-gang smart switch by the door, wirelessly controlling the individual smart lightbulbs in the 3 different fittings.

    At this stage it doesn't need to talk to Alexa or be turned on from my kids' phones.

    There seems to be lots of kit out there to do this, but still quite pricey and a confusing variety of systems.

    Can anyone recommend a system or product they have tried?
    • CommentAuthorphiledge
    • CommentTimeSep 13th 2019
     
    Assuming the cables go up the wall, moving the existing back box up the wall slightly could give you extra cable to work with to connect up a 3 gang switch. Alternatively you could solder new tails onto the existing cable to hook up a 3 gang switch.
    If you like/want tech, then thats a different matter........
    • CommentAuthorcar-mark
    • CommentTimeSep 13th 2019
     
    Hi there
    I have used the Quinetic system from TLC find them on the web and I believe very good for people who do not like phones etc. to operate the lights. They have a surprising range and are very versatile. (no battery required)
  2.  
    Thanks!

    Phil, I should have said, there's only a single t&e running from the switch to the first light fitting, then daisy chain on to the second and third fittings. But you got me thinking about whether there's enough cores in the switch box to repurpose some of the neutrals as switched lives, if I can put a junction box upstairs to gather everything together... Better lift some floorboards!

    Mark, that's exactly what I was looking for. There's also some much cheaper Chinese equivalents on eBay such as

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Wireless-Remote-Control-Kinetic-Self-powered-No-Battery-Wall-Light-Smart-Switch/264350292392

    Will investigate further!
    • CommentAuthorphiledge
    • CommentTimeSep 14th 2019
     
    If theres only a single cable youll only be able to switch 1 light. If you went to 24v you could use the earth and switch 2 lights. If the cable is not directly buried in plaster and can be pulled out from above, you could use the old cable to pull in 4 single cores which would allow switching 3 lights at 24v. Youd need to pull an earth if you want to use mains
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeSep 14th 2019
     
    Posted By: car-markI have used the Quinetic system from TLC find them on the web and I believe very good for people who do not like phones etc. to operate the lights. They have a surprising range and are very versatile. (no battery required)

    I have the Qinetic system too and am very pleased with it. The switches just stick to the wall. The receivers need a bit of space, presumably in the ceiling space in Will's case. You can just put a blanking plate over the existing switch backbox. They do a triple switch and you just need a single power line to the lights as you've already got.

    The ebay item looks similar. Who knows?
    • CommentAuthorborpin
    • CommentTimeSep 14th 2019 edited
     
    Couple of questions:

    1. Could the bulbs be replaced with directly controlled bulbs or are they 'decorative'?
    2. Is there room to fit a relay in the ceiling?

    If the latter then there is the Sonoff kit - 3 way switch https://www.itead.cc/smart-home/sonoff-t1.html and the SonoffBasic for the relays. With the right version it would even work on 433 rather than WiFi.

    All you would need to do is make the feed permanently live and wire the relay in for each fitting.

    I've used Sonoff for a while although I usually flash the kit with Tasmota or more recently ESPHome and control through Home Assistant with a repurposed tablet.

    [edit]
    I realised I had not looked at the market recently and came across this brand www.amazon.co.uk/s?k=innr+zigbee. They are Zigbee so you need some sort of hub, but I have the ability to control Zigbee so these are really interesting as it includes the more 'decorative' bulbs.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeSep 14th 2019 edited
     
    I can't imagine why anybody would want to pay over £20 for a lightbulb?

    edit: colour me old-fashioned, I suppose.
  3.  
    Just an update, I had the existing switch faceplate off today and confirmed there is only a single T&E run to it. The cores are L and Switched L (am obviously not messing with the CPC). I had expected that the lighting mains ring would loop through the switch, giving potentially 4 more cores to play with, but it must be buried in a junction box somewhere. So a wireless switch looks more promising.

    The bulbs could be replaced with clever ones, there's 9 in total so could be expensive. There is access to fit relays through the floor above, though eventually there will be a wardrobe on this.

    I'd rather not involve the wi-fi (long story why not) though looks like that's the direction everyone will be moving soon.

    The Sonoff kit looks very neat, the switches are either mains powered (= requires a neutral core which I don't have without mods) or use batteries (not keen on this).

    Am now looking at the cheap eBay 'kinetic' wireless stuff.

    The switches are very cheap and self powered without mains voltages. Each switch can be linked to several lights and v.v. So interesting possibilities such as:

    - have an extra lighting switch unit loose on the table with the TV remotes
    -put a switch in the car to turn the house lights on/off as you arrive/leave , and another on the garden gate
    - a master switch linked to all the lighting circuits, to turn everything off at bedtime
    - a switch that kills power to the kids' games consoles at meal times
    - a switch on the shower cubicle to boost the extractor fan (or on the WC!)

    Anyone tried this kind of thing? Beginner's guide anywhere? Particularly interested how well different brands can talk to each other.

    Appreciate the alexa connected kit probably does all this better..
    • CommentAuthoran02ew
    • CommentTimeSep 23rd 2019
     
    ive tried the sonoff kit, still working well after a year and plenty of control-ability.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeSep 23rd 2019 edited
     
    Posted By: WillInAberdeenI had the existing switch faceplate off today and confirmed there is only a single T&E run to it. The cores are L and Switched L (am obviously not messing with the CPC). I had expected that the lighting mains ring would loop through the switch, giving potentially 4 more cores to play with, but it must be buried in a junction box somewhere. So a wireless switch looks more promising.

    My electrician explained this to me, IIRC. There's two ways to wire a lighting circuit. In one the power is supplied to the switch and then switched circuits are run up to the lamps. This is what you were expecting and is what he put in for me. The other way is to run the power to the lamps and then lead it down and back to the switch. The attraction of the second scheme is that all the power wiring is done in the ceiling, which is easier than running it around the walls to the switches involving running it up or down at pretty much every switch (since they are typically sited by doors), which takes more time and cable, so puts the price up. In my case I ran all the cable so the cost was minimal. edit: it's not a ring BTW, just a multi-drop radial.

    I wouldn't rely on the Qinetic and look-alike interworking. I'd certainly want to test combinations before committing myself to the project.
  4.  
    I had expected the loop to be through the switch because I previously checked all the light fittings (few posts above) and didn't find the loop-in at any of them... But the loop is not in the switch either! You get these surprises with older houses, all part of the fun ... The plumbing is also mysterious. At some point I will make detailed as-built wiring and piping schematics.

    In future perhaps all switches will be wireless, and there will be no need to run any cable droppers down the walls.
    • CommentAuthorborpin
    • CommentTimeSep 24th 2019
     
    Posted By: WillInAberdeenI had expected the loop to be through the switch because I previously checked all the light fittings (few posts above) and didn't find the loop-in at any of them... But the loop is not in the switch either!
    Many years ago, a builder friend of mine helped me wire up my first build. He used the round brown junction boxes for all the loop in - loop out so one 2 core cable to each switch and fitting. Because of the layout of the house all these were in roof spaces.

    I also think this was how my parents house was wired so I suggest that, at some point in time, this was the recommended method of wiring lights.
    • CommentAuthorcar-mark
    • CommentTimeSep 24th 2019
     
    Hi there
    I can only answer for the expensive Quinetic switches that have worked impeccably, however as a word of caution if you use the 1/2 price ebay options do not expect much guarantee support. Once you go into the possibilities of switching 1 to many and many to 1 it is possible to make your switching options much greater than conventional hard wiring
    • CommentAuthorMackers
    • CommentTimeSep 26th 2019
     
    Casambi with Vimar wireless kinetic switches would be my choice
    https://casambi.com/
    https://www.vimar.com/en/home/index/select-country
  5.  
    Finally got round to fitting this. I bought unbranded eBay 'kinetic' relays, three at £5 each, and a 3-way switch for £6. The same seller sells them as a branded set for £60 and the switch came with the brand stickers on it.

    Did the job exactly as required.

    The relays are smaller than I expected, easy to hide away. Next time I might look for the ones with terminal blocks rather than wire tails. The switch is a bit plasticy but works fine, we have it loose on the coffee table with the TV remotes.
      IMG_20200120_121715591-1040x780.jpg
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