Fourth LightwaveRF Dimmer and Good News on LEDs

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#I have just fitted my fourth Lightwave RF dimmer.  This time in the living room and on the same fitting as the one I have recently replaced with LED lamps.  The dimmer works fine as I would expect and is actually much better than the home easy dimmer it replaced.  The LED lamps dim much lower than they did with the  home easy dimmer.  I recently robbed an LED out of the fitting to demo it to a friend, while I was fiddling, I put this LED back in.  The even better news is that the Lightwave RF Dimmer was quite happy with just TWO 4W lamps installed (the home easy one complained about having four hence the need to keep a Halogen in the fitting).  One wasn’t enough (the lamp illuminated due to the current being grounded by the dimmer) but two were fine.  I will now seek to replace the last remaining halogen as soon as I can.

This also means I can put a Lightwave RF dimmer in the hall where I have just a two-way GU10 fitting safe in the knowledge that it will work fine with just two 4W LED’s fitted.

About the Author

chrisChris works as an IT Security Specialist for a large FTSE 100 company. He is a geek at heart and loves nothing more than trying to automate his home. The problem is, his wife simply doesn't get it and can't understand why they can't have 'normal' lights like everyone else! Chris is dedicated therefore to implementing automation in a family friendly way.View all posts by chris →

  1. Dave JacksonDave Jackson03-03-2012

    You should go and read some of the customer comments on their own website before you get two excited about their products.
    Their software for their wifi link is truly awful and if you are unfortunate to have a Android phone or worse still a Honeycomb tablet then you are really in trouble.
    The software works and looks like it was written by a five year old the interface has the appearance of being drawn by crayon.

    Several of their hardware control units have had to be returned to the store with faults and even after the retailer replaced them some have failed again after only one month thank goodness that retailer offer a 45 day return policy.

    These products are sold under the Siemens name a well known and respected company.
    What baffles me is how they ever got past their quality control.
    What i can tell you is that a very well known company is coming on to the home automation market with some state of the art products one of which will be that their lights will have a two way communications chip built into their lighting and a ten year guarantee.
    And their price will be very competitive for the DIY. market

    We are entering exciting times with technology moving at a vast pace with family’s having to watch every penny during these difficult times company’s that offer high tech equipment at affordable prices will get their custom.
    And those who offer very little or no customer support wont be around for much longer.

    I for one can hardly wait.

    • ChrisChris03-07-2012

      I value your comment Dave and I am often on the LightwaveRF forums, but I for one have had absolutely no problems with their kit. Even my sequences and timers work well. I don’t have an Android tablet or phone, but am aware that it is currently rather under supported. iPhone works better. The work others are doing to short circuit JSJS’s software is encouraging and I am doing this too using FHEM and I have played with ControlPAD. Hardware wise, the product is great, all they need do now is get the software to the same level and until they do, others will continue hacking together their own solutions.

  2. AndyodAndyod07-31-2012

    What make/model LEDs did you use?

  3. AndyodAndyod08-04-2012

    Ok thanks, I’ll try some. Do you know when you dim the LEDs to their lowest setting, then turn off the switch. When you turn it back on does it light up with the remembered setting? Or do you have to increase the dim setting to make them glow again?

    • ChrisChris08-06-2012

      The dimmers remember the last setting when you turn them off, so switching them on will set the light level to what it was when they were last switched off. This is useful in the babies bedroom for example – you can dim the light right down and then turn it off when you put them to bed, and when they wake in the night, you switch the light on and its already down low so doesn’t disturb them too much. Using the iPhone app for LightwaveRF does allow you to override this – you have access to request a discrete dim level either through moods or through direct control (i.e. you can choose to light the light at 100%, 60% or whatever). HTH

  4. Tony hollandTony holland10-13-2012

    I’m a sparkie that’s installed many lighting control systems such as helvar,lutron and so on for many years.i was to excited to install the light wave kit as it is very affordable for the few customers we have.it didn’t that long to set up to my iPad 2 get the house up and running with gu10 toshiba LEDs,but within days we were called back to remedy random flashing lights and so on,this is where it became a pain in the rear and not much help from the tech department .it seems the system is not quite ready for LEDs yet and has been a pain ever since,if you have more than 250 watts of lights in your circuits it will not work without a relay to boost it but then you can’t use a dimmer switch it has to be controlled by pad or phone only.so as much as I want it to be the new cheap way of having cool controls I don’t think it’s quite ready cheers all

    • chrischris11-03-2012

      Tony, which GU10 LEDs did you use? I will make sure to avoid them.

      I hear your comment about a 250W limit on the dimmers and I agree that this isn’t a lot when trying to power recessed spots. Are more powerful dimmers widely available in the consumer market though? Personally I think I would run a mile from any lighting design that required more than 250W of light purely due to the cost of powering them, but I fully appreciate that there are people out there with more money than sense!

  5. campbell millercampbell miller11-06-2012

    Hi
    just found your site and find it very interesting.
    I was wondering do the homeeasy products work with lightwave?

    thanks
    Cam

    • chrischris11-06-2012

      No, LightwaveRF and homeeasy are competitive products although ironically some of the homeeasy range was developed by JSJS Designs, the company behind LightwaveRF. IMHO, LightwaveRF works better than Homeeasy – certainly the dimmers seem to handle much lower loads – important for LED lights.

  6. Robert ImhofRobert Imhof11-20-2012

    HI, I have just Installed the Lightwaverf wifi link and dimmers into my lounge, im running them from the Lightwaverf app on my Android phone and have also tryed the web bassed controller on their website, i love the idea of the system but wondering if anyone can help me out? it seems to take a very long while between me pressing on the on or off button to the actual lights turning on or off, i didnt know if this was normal? im talking at least 30 seconds before they react? any help would be apreciated!

    • chrischris11-20-2012

      I don’t have any android devices so am not an expert in this area. However, are you using the official LightwaveRF app (this one: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.w5h.lightwaverf&hl=en ) or the Unofficial one (here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.gazumbo.LightwaveController&hl=en)? From what I understand, the official Android app (unlike the iPhone one) communicates with your Wi-Fi link using LightwaveRF servers in the cloud. This would account for the latency. This isn’t actually necessary and the Wi-Fi link can respond to special network packets directly providing it is connected to the same network as your phone/tablet. Strangely this is how the iPhone app works (unless switched to ‘roaming’ mode when it too uses the cloud based servers). My understanding is that the unofficial app does this. Using the iPhone app (and one would assume, the unofficial android app) switching lights on, setting dim levels etc is almost instantaneous. So quick in fact, it actually takes longer to get up out of the chair and operate the switch!. If you are using the official app, give the unofficial one a go. It would be really helpful if you could report back on your experiences.

  7. PhilippePhilippe12-10-2012

    Hi Chris,
    I too am implementing lightwaverf in my house and would like to understand fully what you meant by 4W LED are now ok with dimmers. Are you saying that having just 2 LED 4W in a circuit is enough for the dimmer switch to operate correctly?
    I didn’t test this (don’t have any LED yet) because of the documentation and ended up buying some 20W halogen bulbs to ensure over 40W per circuit. Can I therefore get away with this and just use some LEDs?
    Thanks and well done on the reviews.
    Philippe

    • chrischris12-11-2012

      Yes. I tested the LightwaveRF dimmer with two LEDs from LEDHut and they dimmed well. This took me by surprise as the dimmers have a stated minimum load of 40W and I managed to get it to dim with around 8W. Two things come to mind, either they do require less load than stated, or the lamps are drawing more than stated. Perhaps it is a bit of both.

      I tried the same LED’s with a Homeeasy dimmer (which had the same minimum load) but it didn’t work. The LED’s failed to turn off.

      My best recommendation would be to test it yourself. The worst case scenario is that you need to introduce one single halogen lamp in to the fitting to make sure the load is high enough. It will depend on your lighting scheme whether this will look acceptable to you, but it will work.

      BTW, I’ve taken over management of the LightwaveRF forum, now hosted at lightwaverfcommunity.org.uk. Be sure to check it out!

      • PhilippePhilippe12-14-2012

        That’s great news Chris and thanks for the confirmation.
        Next up is a visit to LEDHut and surely lightwaverfcommunity.org.uk.

  8. kongkong01-10-2013

    Hi Chris,

    I have just recently bought some Master Dimmers (siemens make) and i have it hooked up to 7-8 GU10 6W dimmable LEDs,

    they refuse to come on by itself. it just blink then off again. i have to then get a 10W dummy load to make it come on. but now, its totally not dimmable. just wondering what difference is my switch to yours which allow yours to dim?

  9. russruss06-23-2013

    I’ve been massively disappointed with Lightwave and the dimmer in particular. I put up a substantial wadge of money to control my home from my Andoid only to find all the promo videos were working with Apple products and the company has raised two fingers to Android users.
    I bought a Lightwave dimmer switch to control a 14watt LED and it flashes all the time and is just not usable. I added a 4watt dimmable GU10 LED to increase the load and it still flickers. I eventually replaced it with a trailing edge dimmer for a third of the Lightwave price and gave up the remote control idea. The Lightwave web site now shows in-line dimmers which supposedly work with a single 4 watt LED, but they are currently “out of stock”.
    On my Android, I use the Lightwave software for On and Off if I’m away from the house, and it must send the signal around the world or something first because takes ages to work. It’s unusable day to day and dimmer switches (even on old fashioned bulbs) are either full on or off.
    I had to get – and pay for – the third party Android app “Lightwaver” in order to get instant response indoors, and the dimmer part works properly from that too – if you’re using last century light bulbs.
    I get the feeling that Lightwave are a two man company working from a shed in a back yard but I’ve already bought a lot of their hardware so am sticking with it and enjoying the bits that work

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