Question Smart switch/dimmer

hubbycat

Novice Member
I have a set of lights in my ceiling that I can control via RF dimmer/switch. It’s over 10 years old. I would like to replace the RF controller with smart home dimer/switch.
I’m deep in to Apple eco system so it has to be Apple Home kit complatiable. It has be to able to handle 400W load. Ideally I’d prefer if it was wifi controlled but I’d settle for bluetooth if there is nothing else.
Can anyone suggest anything? I’ve been looking for such device for some time now but I haven't been able to find anything that would fit the bill.

Regards
Tom
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
400w ???? This is 2020 not 1979. What kind of lights are you using that pull 400W. My entire kitchen has 22 fittings and doesn’t pull 100W.
 

hubbycat

Novice Member
I think they are halogen 50 w bulbs each and there are 8 of them. As I said it's an old system and I'd prefer no to change lights at this stage if I can find anything that can do the job.
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
There are very few bulbs today, inc Halogen that cannot be replaced with much more energy efficient bulbs. It will also make it far easier to find a smart dimmer module / switch.
Burning 1/2 KW an hour on 8 lights is a awful lot of un-necessary power that you are paying for. I am guessing that they are GU10’s which should be a 10 minute job to switch out. A direct replacement would be a 5Watt LED, so replacing all 8 with LEDs would use less power than one of your Halogens.
 

ufo550

Well-known Member
I think they are halogen 50 w bulbs each and there are 8 of them. As I said it's an old system and I'd prefer no to change lights at this stage if I can find anything that can do the job.
What sort of 'job' do they need to do. LED lamps have come on leaps and bounds in recent years. I suspect it will be soon that GU10's (if thats what you have) will also be discontinued.
 

hubbycat

Novice Member
They look to me like MR16 type bulbs which I presume I could replace with gu5.3 based on what I have found by searching google. But I'm searching manly for smart dimmer/switch at the moment. I presume I can change the bulbs based on what I can find dimmer wise.
 

ufo550

Well-known Member
MR16's are the devils incarnation.

You can't just swop over a Halogen MR16 to LED MR16. The former uses a transformer and the later a driver. Different devices.

You can pick some new GU10 cans (downlights if thats what you have) and some new LED GU10's for a few pounds each. They are low voltage (230V), which don't require drivers You then save yourself over time with your electricity bills.
 

hubbycat

Novice Member
OK so I see two issues:
- I need to replace my lights with LED lights to make them more compatible with modern smart home switches/dimmers . I would have to get rid of the transformer and connect new LED lights directly to the mains.
- find dimmer/switch (Apple home kit compatible)

Can anyone suggest dimmer/switch for such set up?

Tom
 

hubbycat

Novice Member
Sorry if my questions seems silly but it seems that I need to lear a lot. The more I read and research I more I uncovered and what seem to be a simple project turns to something else. I resigned to a possibility of replacing my lights completely. But I wonder which is the best option.
It seems to me that since my current bulbs are 12 V MR16 I have few options.
I could replace transformers with drivers to the back of each bulb or go for Philips MASTER LED MR16 which seems to have built-in driver. Or alternatively replace all lights with GU10 based lights that can be connected directly to the mains.
I wonder which is the best option.

I also wonder if Philips is the only manufacturer that make low voltage MR16 LED with built-in drivers?

Tom
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
GU10s will give you far more options on smart lighting. Homekit kind of limits your choices severely. Do these lights need to dim or are they purely on/off ?
 

hubbycat

Novice Member
I take that using GU10 I could connect the lights directly to the mains and I would not need transformers of drivers.
What are advantages/disadvantages of having dimmer or pure on/off switch
I found this [1] for a dimmer it says that it has iOS app so in theory it should work with my iPhone.
I have a cheap Android phone that I use for emergency backup so I presume I could install google home on it if there is anything that could do the job.
Could you recommend anything that can work with google home?

Tom

[1] Quinetic WiFi Wireless Receiver 5A
 

mushii

Distinguished Member
I guess given how old your wiring is you don’t have a neutral at the switch. If that is the case something like a Shelly 2 would work but it isn’t HomeKit Compatible, it’s WiFi but will work with Google
 

hubbycat

Novice Member
Thanks but could you explain to me what exactly neutral is ? The house is about 25 yeas old. Is the "neutral" you are talking about different from the "neutral" as in live/neutral?

Tom
 

ufo550

Well-known Member
As your house is 25 years old, I suspect that you will not have a neutral at your switch. Generally lighting at that time, looped the feeds in and out at the lights (like at a ceiling rose etc). A live and switch live would be taken to the switch from the light.

Sometimes nowadays, with the use of smart switches and the use of down lights, it’s easier to feed in & out with the supplies at a switch.

You can get smart switches that do not require a neutral, however they work by not turning off the supply to the lamp completely, the lamp is still on, but light emittance is not visible to the human eye. But the manufacturers will state what lamps (light bulbs) are compatible with their product. Lightwave is one such product.

Alternatively, you could rewire the feed to your switch with an extra core, to provide a neutral wire, typically that’s done by running a 3core & earth cable. But then you are getting into the realms of employing an electrician.

If you can follow safe isolation, you could provide a pic of the wiring in you switch to see if it has a neutral. Make sure it’s safely isolated, and you do not disturb the connections to the switch.

Personally, if I was going down the route of rewiring, I would start thinking about employing an electrician. Making any alterations to your wiring, you should make sure the additions are current with the latest amendment to the wiring regulations, you may need additional protection (rcd), and the earthing and bonding verified.
 
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hubbycat

Novice Member
Thanks very much. It looks like the best option would be to go back the the original lights. This way I won't have any issues. Only downside would be that I'd need to fill the wholes in my ceiling.
 

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