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Finding the ideal light switch for a UK smart home

Published 25 Feb 2021

Alex Olivier  |   cloud native product manager in london  |  @alexolivier

I have been on a mission to find the ideal light switch for my smart home. I don’t have an answer yet, but am working through a number of options, using the ever enjoyable Paul Hibbert advice along the way.

My smart home is built around Home Assistant and zigbee2mqtt with lots of cheap Zigbee Xiaomi buttons and switches and IKEA Tradfri Smart Bulbs.

I am on the hunt for a in wall physical switch to replace my existing ones that has the following characteristics:

  • Physical buttons so it looks like a normal switch
  • Ability to decouple the switch from the load so I can put in smart bulbs and use the switch to trigger it from Home Assistant
  • No neutral required (we don’t have a neutral wire behind the switch in a UK wiring setup)
  • Ideally Zigbee but I have been looking at Tasmota compatibile options

I can find switches, such as Tuya Wall Switches, that will do everything I need but they require a neutral wire to power the electronics in the switch. There are ways around this by putting a capacity across the bulb to allow it to keep powering the switch even when the bulb is off but I have found these to be very noisy and buzz a lot.

One solution is to close the circuit in the wallbox with a coupler and then just have a wireless button stuck on top but this feels a bit wrong.

My next attempt in an in-wall zigbee switch that will sit behind a normal switch - shall let you know the result!

If you have any good ideas, hit me up on Twitter - @alexolivier.