Question Lights - LightwaveRF, Lutron, Fibaro, something else?

airmark

Active Member
Reading some bad reviews here:
Fibaro Reviews - Real Customer Reviews
(at the bottom, user reviews)

"Absolutely terrible company both in product quality and customer services. Very expensive and well advertised home automation system that doesn’t work. Customer services non-existent. No presence in UK so you all warranty will be at your own expense by shipping to Poland. All support tickets are ignored, no track of repairs within organization. Options featured is shiny impressive advertisements does not actually exist. Software is extremely bugg’y and unreliable – do not come near they offer home security plugins and features… Not the system to trust with your house security."

"The big drawback to this wireless system is that the indoor range is not as far as advertised (more like 5 meters), and even with other devices acting as repeaters you are constantly getting ‘dead nodes’ that do not self-heal, which means the scenes won’t work until you reboot the nodes, so all you have till then is very expensive devices that do nothing.
VERY VERY unreliable, and so is the ‘brains’ of the system, needing to be rebooted at least 2 a week. ( Dead Nodes are EVERY DAY).
Conclusion: Very expensive and Very unreliable, do not buy! Trust me!"

"An exciting article, exciting adverts and PR… System is total CRAP… spent nearly 2000 pounds on HC2, sensors, switches and adapters. It’s been nearly 1 year, system is so unreliable I wish I could return it all. Theoretically it’s an amazing concept but in reality it doesn’t work. Fibaro HC2 needs reboot once a week, devices loose config often and needs to be reconfigured constantly. Deleting and adding devices to get them working is weekly task. Fibaro door/window sensors – only 2 out of 6 working. Don’t waste your money or time."

I'm concerned now. Reliability is key requirement for me. If it doesn't work, I'd much rather just get simple dimmer switches that work locally with no home automation.
 
Seen those review but most i dont understand

Definite presence in the UK (FibaroUk), however some people rather than buying in the Uk buy "grey market" from the continent and then get cross that they cant return to UK operation.

Certainly dont have to reboot every week, and not had many dead nodes, never seen a probelm with range either

I think ive said this elsewhere but Fibaro plays to much on simplicity when in fact its a very powerful tool with lots of features you want from a full HA system, therefore "messing" with parameters that you dont understand can lead to issues.

I am not saying you need an pro installer to install the system but its not a simple "plug and play" type install if you want to use the full feature sets so dont "mess" with the advanced settings

We have installed and maintain many Fibaro installs and not had many complaints
 

Chester

Well-known Member
Yes, certainly take some fairly hard hitting subjective reviews with a pinch of salt. Especially a catalogue of disaster like that one. I don't think Seb would be singing their praises as a dealer if they were as bad as that review makes out. Ultimately he has a business to run and maintain profitably.

Still, LWRF offers a solution at a very affordable price. Earlier this year I was contemplating (not for the first time) to ditch it. However its simplistic installation and excellent aesthetics are very hard to ignore, so instead I installed another 5 circuits to cover the open plan kitchen/diner/lounge with a mood controller to set scenes throughout the space. Let's say I'm comfortable with that decision. It's also important to note that I passed a number of 'competitive upgrade' ideas through the Mrs, and she rejected them all in favour of LightwaveRF. Mainly down to cosmetics as you can well imagine, but also down to function in some instances.

One more thing: It's easy to swap out dimmers/switches for other products, not so the cabling behind. For instance some systems use Category cable at the controls, not twin/triple + earth. It's worth getting the infrastructure right first time; it'll safe you a lot of mess, disruption and cost down the line.
 

airmark

Active Member
Yes, getting the wiring right in the beginning is very important, I agree. It's a bit late in my case for special wiring except for the living room. I have almost decided to go for the Fibaro now. The main reason I rejected LWRF is concern over the company's (and therefore its proprietory protocol) longevity/continued support/product development. At least Fibaro is part of a more widely supported protocol (z wave) so potentially the dimmer modules can work with a different home centre in the future, or I can just replace the switches for something else etc. I can imagine a scenario where say in ten years I would need a replacement LWRF dimmer switch and I would have to search for old stock on eBay as the product is discontinued and there won't be any third party compatible ones.
 

airmark

Active Member
To give an update: I ended up going with fibaro. It's still a work in progress as I'm testing different bulbs for dimming compatibility, but the basic setup works. Sebastian (Aclass technology) has been very helpful all along, he gave me a good price on the dimmers and has been responding to questions helping me to set the system up etc, so I'd like to thank and recommend him.
 

Chester

Well-known Member
Excellent. Will be interesting to hear what control plates and LEDs you go with.
 
No need for control plates with Fibaro dimmers as they just go behind normal light switches which then act as normal light switches but can also be used as scene controllers with double clicks etc
 

airmark

Active Member
I used the Varilight Powergrid switches (3 way retractory). They are nice and reassuringly solid, perhaps too solid as they are a bit hard to push and make a loud click every time they are pressed, but I can live with that.

In terms of bulbs: I have GU10 fittings in the bathrooms and E27 everywhere else.

For the bathrooms I tried these Megaman: Megaman 7W GU10 LED | Lamp | Downlights.co.uk
and they are nice and bright but have a flickering issue. It's strange because it's not flickering at the low brightness end of the dimming spectrum, where they are stable, but rather at approximately 50% brightness. So if I turn them on at a low luminosity level, this happens with no issue. If I then turn them on higher up there's flickering, and they are stable again at full brightness. Same thing if I start dimming them down. I changed the dimming setting to make dimming faster (10% step size as opposed to the default 1%), and the flickering is shorter, but still noticeable. I took a video at the end of the adjustment. It's not easy to see the flickering in the video, it's much worse in real life (or it seems so to me because I know it's there as I've seen it before I adjusted it!):
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/3786160/megaman_gu10_dimming.mp4
So I'm still undecided. I'll try different bulbs and try more to resolve the issue. Either way it's not disastrous, I will live with it if I have to (although I'm sure I'll find other bulbs I'll be happier with).

Now on the E27 bulbs. I first tried these Megaman:
10.5W Opal Classic Dimming E27 • Megaman (UK) Ltd
And then these Philips:
https://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B01129VBBO/

Here are some videos I took. Unfortunately because of the camera auto-brightness adjustment it's hard to see the dimming levels, I will try at some point to use manual settings or a camera sitting further away to have less direct impact, but here they are anyway.
Here are the Megaman E27 bulbs:
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/3786160/megaman_E27_dimming.mp4
and here are the Philips E27 bulbs:
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/3786160/philips_E27_dimming.mp4

The Philips ones are hands down the best. They are the brightest (1055 vs 810 lumen), slightly smaller in length (11 vs 11.7cm) so they stick out less, they dim very nicely and to a much lower level, and they are cheaper even with shipping from Germany! Megaman's lowest dimming point was still too bright (seemed more like closer to 50% to me). I guess Fibaro auto-calibrates it and sets the lowest point to where flickering starts to occur. No issue with Megamans per se, they dimmed smoothly and without flickering or buzzing (and if I hadn't gotten the Philips I would probably have put them everywhere), but Philips seem much better (and cheaper) so I ordered more of them to put everywhere, and I will ebay the Megamans.
 

compolitus

Standard Member
Hi
If you have the time, can I ask how your lighting system is set up, circuit control panels and wall plates etc? I would have used a dedicated lighting system such as Futronix. This would allow control from third party AV/house control systems but still retaining the flexibility to be programmed and operated as a stand alone system if required.
Also, is it all performing as expected, as I notice that airmark is not that keen?

Thanks Compolitus
 

airmark

Active Member
Hi to both,
sorry for late response. Please don't take it as sign that I am not keen do discuss it, quite the opposite in fact, I was just swamped last week with many things.
It's still a work in progress for me but here's how it looks it's going to be:
- Fibaro Home Center 2 controlling everything (just lighting - for now)
- Fibaro Dimmer 2 modules for most circuits (there's only two in the whole flat that are plain on/off without control from the Fibaro system)
- E27 bulbs (non-integrated) everywhere except bathrooms.
I got this fitting:
Fire Rated E27 Downlights Click Scolmore | Downlights.co.uk
and these bulbs:
https://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B01129VBBO/ (in bedrooms, entrance hall and living room)
https://www.amazon.de/gp/product/B015QBNRJS/ (in a corridor)
-GU10 bulbs (non-integrated) in bathrooms.
I got this fitting:
Aurora AU-DLM983MW Aluminium Fire Rated Matt White Downlight IP65
and these bulbs:
Enlite LED GU10 5W Dimmable Spotlight, Wide Beam Angle, Warm White
I had first bought Megaman bulbs (both E27 and GU10) but I'm happier with the Philips and Aurora instead so I will probably sell them (although I haven't finished the testing on Aurora, I hope I will do this weekend, it was just first reaction after installing them, without having calibrated them in the Home Center, there was some switching on/off that I think will be fixed after calibration, and then I'll be sure to go with them, for now it's a maybe/most likely).
I'll take some photos to post, but you can also see them from the videos I posted earlier.
 

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