I’ve received a request to list down the items I bought for my home automation project. Just realised that I’ve been raving on all other things except this very important post for beginners. I hope this can give you an idea on what is required and where to purchase them.
This device is manufactured by Micasaverde. It’s a startup that launched its linux-based home automation server back in 2008. Vera 2 is a great device for first time home automators. It features a built-in Z-wave module and bundles an external battery pack in the box so that you can move Vera 2 into range of fixed Z-Wave devices like built-in wall switches wired into your home’s circuitry to create the required association (its something like Bluetooth pairing except the pairing works within 2 metres). I bought the device just when the 3rd generation was launched. The 3rd generation has a faster processor and an upgraded UI. However, I decided on Vera 2 due to its availability then. The only regret is I didn’t notice that there is another model, Vera Lite which also does the job. The difference between Vera and Vera Lite? Put it simply Vera = Vera Lite + Router. I will recommend you to get Vera Lite as most probably you already have a router at home. Vera Lite, however, has a 50 devices limit that is more than sufficient for use in Singapore unless you live in a landed property with 10000 square feet of floor area?
Wall switch modules : Duwi Everlux Set (switch)
One of the cheapest Z-wave switch modules available in the market, it comes with a rocker switch cover and a Z-wave switch insert. The switch insert, similar to other brands, requires neutral wire to work. Once wired, pairing of the switch insert with the central controller is simple. Just use the pairing wizard screen when you login to Vera, press the associate button on the switch insert 3 times and the device will be available in the Vera UI. I have three of them, one for study, one for guest and one for master bedroom. You can name them according in the Vera UI.
There is one thing to note for this brand. If you are staying in older HDB that requires using of standard pattress box (35mm), there is no way to use the rocker switch cover due to the thickness of the insert. Unfortunately, I had to use a plain pattress cover to conceal the insert. This means, I’m not able to manually switch on/off the light unless I open up the pattress cover. I’m purchasing other brands in my future phase to test if they fit the standard pattress box.
Wall dimmer modules : Duwi Everlux Set (Dimmer)
Also, one of the cheapest Z-Wave dimmer module, it also comes with a rocker switch cover and a Z-wave dimmer insert. Surprisingly the dimmer insert doesn’t require a neutral wire. Maybe dimmers do not require any neutral to work but maybe an electrician can explain why. Pairing is similar to the switch module except that the Vera UI will categorise the device as dimmer. The thickness of the dimmer insert, unfortunately, is also too thick to fit in a standard pattress box thus I did the same as the switch modules.
One thing to note is that dimmer modules, as the name suggest, only work with dimmable bulbs or halogen. Dimmable led does not work out of the box with the dimmer module.
Plugin switch modules: Duwi on/off switch plugin
Simply plug in the device into any power socket near your Vera controller, press the button 3 times and associate the plugin switch in Vera. You can now move this plugin switch to any other power socket. Any electrical appliances (<3000W), connected to this plugin switch can now be powered on/off remotely. I use this switch plugin for my TV console where I can totally power off all the devices remotely instead of leaving them on standby.
I however, do not recommend this brand of switch plugin as it require a UK socket converter as its comes in a Schuko (2 round pin) socket configuration. I would recommend TKB or Everspring as they come in familiar UK socket (3 pin) configuration.
Setting up and configuring the dimmer plugin is exactly the same as the switch plugin. Again, this device is categorised as a dimmer plugin in Vera. I use this with a dimmable floor lamp (of course with dimmable bulbs). Similarly, I’d also recommend TKB or Everspring as they come in familiar UK socket (3 pin) configuration.
Basically I use the SQ Remote HD app to control everything as its a highly configurable iPhone app that works with Vera and SQ Blaster Plus. I shall not go into details as I’ve covered them in this post.
I shall now summarise the devices (and devices for future phases), price and where to get them in the table below:
- Vera 2 (now Vera 3) ~ £210, S$408
- Duwi Everlux Set (Switch) ~ £30, S$58
- Duwi Everlux Set (Dimmer) ~ £30, S$58
- Duwi on/off Switch Plugin ~ £45, S$88
- Duwi Dimmer Plugin ~ £45, S$88
- SQ Blaster Plus ~ USD 199, S$245
- Everspring Motion Sensors ~£31, S$60
- Everspring Switch Plugin ~£29, S$56
- TKB Single Paddle Wall Switch ~ £34, S$66
- Z-Wave.ME Key Fob ~ £35, S$68
Other suggested devices in this article
- Vera Lite ~ £129, S$251
- TKB Switch Plugin ~ £30, S$58
Sources I used to buy from
I will cover my experience of devices for Phase 2 and 3 in my future posts. It’s really fun testing the devices to see if it makes sense for use in Singapore (and Malaysia). Now before I end and before you go ahead to purchase the devices from the links I’ve provided, I’m also pleased to inform you that you can also order the devices through me as well and I’m very sure the cost will be more even competitive than buying (and shipping) from these online stores in Europe.
Just drop me a comment here 🙂