A Fibaro Light (Dimmer) Meal For 2 (Vera & I)

Ok, I may be struggling with the titles now but next on my ‘to do list’ was to bring some light into the relationship and see if I can install the Fibaro Dimmer module.

This particular piece of kit is quite intriguing and very small in comparison to some of the other z-wave devices I have, it really makes the EverSpring SP103 Motion Sensor look huge, plus I’m now moving into a whole new world of DIY electrics!

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The instruction manual suggests it’s pretty straight forward to install, although a quick surf highlighted a number of people who’d found the opposite. But, in today’s world nothing ventured nothing gained, I proceeded to cut some wires and followed the wiring instructions to the letter.

The module, while thin is not a wafer thin, so you’ll need to have quite a bit of room behind your light switch, at least 45+mm otherwise it’ll be an incrediblh tight squeeze. Thankfully due to some shoddy plastering when the house was being fixed up I had a cavity the size of most box rooms behind my light switch, so much so I could potentially swing a cat 😉

With the module now installed, I flipped the mains power back on and proceeded to turn the light on, but nothing happened, not even a flicker ! Surely the light should work normally? What did I do wrong?

Naturally my first thought was that it must be broken or that i had wired it up all wrong, but after a few posts and exchanges on the Vesternet forum, I was reminded that there are actually two types of light switches in this world, a monostable switch and a bistable switch ! (Did you know that?), and the instructions that came with it, states that the Fibaro Dimmers are set by default to work with monostable switch (a.k.a a rocker type) and not what i’m using, which is a bistable (a click on/off) type.

In order for the module to work with my type of switch, I now needed to modify one of the device’s variables once it’s added to my Z-Wave network. Which in a world of iintuitive products, this was not turning out be a simple task for the novice installer. So with the Fibaro module all wired in and ready to go, In order to add it into my z-wave network it required me to first make my Veralite portable, which involved installing some batteries, before i could bring the unit down into the same room. Once side by side, I had to first press the ‘include/add’ button on Vera first and then shortly afterwards, I had to press in (multiple times) the hidden button on the Fibaro, in order to get the two talking and connected. When the flashing light on Vera quickly speeds up for a second or two, you know the controller has found something and thankfully mine looked like it did 😉

So with the dimmer module now visible in the Vera UI, I needed a few more forum exchanges to find out what value to change, and with than done, I can now turn the light on and off ! Unfortunately (as things are never easy for me) i quickly noticed that when the light was off, the low energy dimmer bulb I was using kept pulsing on/off ever few seconds?!!? Confused and annoyed, it soon transpired (after a couple more forum posts) that the Fibaro Dimmer module ‘as is’ does not work properly with any bulb (or bulbs) that require less than 25watts; so in order for mine to work, I would need a special ‘Bypass’ add-on cable costing an additional £8. 😦

Disappointed and slightly frustrated, i had an idea to at least initially avoid this ‘extra’ part for now, so I grabbed an old style 60watt bulb from a cupboard, put that in, and voila, it all works – BEAUTIFULLY !

MY NODE CENTRAL CONCLUSION : The Fibaro Dimmer module is very small, compact and depending on the size of the box you have behind your light switch, it’s a relatively straight forward to wire in. The challenges however come not only when you try to get the module included on the Z-Wave network; but additional steps have to be taken depending on the type of light switch your using as you might have to change some device variables once it’s registered. And finally, you will need to make sure you use a bulb that requires 25 watts or more, OR you will sadly have to buy an additional part to make it all work together properly.

Comments
One Response to “A Fibaro Light (Dimmer) Meal For 2 (Vera & I)”
  1. Mark says:

    Good post. But I think it illustrates what I have been (poorly) trying to articulate for a while. The technology is far from being mature and far from being ready for universal acceptance. A product like this is no way fit for the shelves of B&Q. It is simply crazy that forum posts are needed t make it work.

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