In a normal house, we are used to controlling our lights with light switches or other types of devices with physical buttons. Light switches have been around for a long, long time. Below is an overview of the light switches that we are perhaps most used to seeing:
Fortunately, the road from a traditional home to a smart home has now become very easy. To have the opportunity to control a light from something other than just the light switch, you now only need a small control unit behind the existing light switch. These control units communicate wirelessly with the Futurehome Smarthub and can therefore not only be controlled with the traditional light switch, but also by sensors, time settings, modes, scenarios. That's right, nowadays you can even talk to the light switch, if you have the right equipment at home. This means that a smart home is just as useful for the mother-in-law as it is for the technology-savvy.
The control units have many different names and purposes. Actuator, control, relay, actuator pill, switch, etc. Some of these devices are dimmers, others on/off controls, motor controls or garage door controls. It is the imagination that sets the limits for what these smart controls can be used for.
How to upgrade?
If you have a dimmer at home today that has a wheel, this can be changed to a smart dimmer with a wheel. This smart dimmer works in exactly the same way as your old dimmer, but it also has the ability to communicate with the Futurehome Smarthub.
If you have a newer toggle switch (approx. 1990) without a dimmer from before, this can be done smartly by putting an actuator pill behind the switch.
Let's take a look at how to upgrade a traditional switch to become a smart dimmer.
- The old switch is removed and an actuator pill/actuator is mounted
- An impulse spring is inserted
- Now connect the new device to the Futurehome Smarthub.
This means you have gone from a traditional switch that could only operate the light directly from the light switch to a new and smart solution that allows you to control the light from wherever you want. From the outside, it looks like a regular light switch, it's just a lot smarter.
How can the light be dimmed with a regular switch?
When you insert what is called an impulse spring, the light switch will behave a little differently. An ordinary light switch usually turns the light on when you click the upper part and off again when you click the lower part. You are, therefore, switching between two positions. Since we can now control the light from so many different sources, it is not certain that the light switch is in the correct position in relation to whether the light is on or off. When you click the light switch once, a signal will be sent to the connected control unit and then the spring will push the switch out and back to the lower position again.
If you click once, the light will turn on or off based on whether it was actually on.
If you click and hold the light switch, it will dim the light up or down.
It is not uncommon in an open solution nowadays, with a combined living room and kitchen or in a larger room, to have a series of dimmers and switches on the wall to control different light zones.
With our smart control units, you can achieve a solution that is a little more discreet than this. You can have a switch on the wall with two buttons that each operates two controls.
You can have a switch on the wall with three buttons that operate three controls.
This solution requires the electrician to insert a larger junction box at the back of the wall. This is possible in new and existing homes. Nowadays, you can use junction boxes with rubber pockets that are created just for this purpose.
The end result of such a solution certainly looks much better than a series of many light switches down the wall.
Several switches, one light
It is not uncommon to have several light switches that control one and the same light from several different places in the house, for example at the top and bottom of a staircase. This is typically called a "stair inverter", "cross inverter" and "end inverter" in technical language.
It is quite possible to have several switches from one and the same control. Since the switches use impulse springs and require less wiring for the electricians than is the case for the traditional inverters.
All-pole circuit breaker
There are rules for how to control lighting or other electrical appliances in wet room zones, outdoors or other zones where moisture is present. For this you require an all-pole circuit breaker, better known as a double-pole circuit breaker. These switches are often marked with "1" and "0" on the switch.
An electrician will know exactly what needs to be done for the installation of a smart home to be carried out in accordance with regulations. We still want to explain a little about this so that you as a customer have a little more understanding of what electricians do when they install Futurehome in your home.
Most of the controls used by Futurehome do not have what is called a double-pole circuit breaker. For this, you must therefore use a so-called "service switch" to be able to achieve a double-pole circuit break during maintenance, such as, for example, replacing a light bulb. You can have your own switch which is the double-pole switch (see picture below). This will break the entire circuit, including the control unit when performing maintenance. This switch is usually on at all times during normal use. The lower switch uses an impulse spring, and it then becomes the switch that is used in daily life to operate the light.
An alternative to this is a so-called 2+1 switch which is a switch that has both a double-pole and single-pole circuit breaker.
If you want to control awnings, screens, blinds and the like, you can use an awning switch that has the up and down arrows. The control of the awning is done via a separate motor control. This control depends on the use of a standard motor with the ability to control the motor up and down.
These different control units can be dimmers, on/off switches or have other special functions. Some are small and fit behind light switches in standard junction boxes, while others are made to be inside the fuse box or on the wall. The example below shows both, a small control and a large control that is not intended for mounting in a standard wall box.
Here is a small video that shows how a regular light switch, with a simple grip, can be smart.