Review : Fibaro Z-Wave RGBW Controller

Firstly, I’ll like to apologise for the long absence of weekly post. However, I’m sure you will be excited to read this review. I’ve recently purchased and included the Fibaro Z-Wave RGBW Controller to include into my Z-Wave smart home network.

 

Specification

  • Technology: Z-Wave (868.42MHz)
  • Voltage: 12V or 24V DC
  • Maximum Output Current:
    • 12A – sum of all output channels
    • 6A – for a single channel
  • Maximum Load:
    • 144W (at 12VDC)
    • 288W (at 24VDC)
  • Load Type: 12/24V LED or Halogen bulbs
  • Inputs: 4x (binary or 0-10V)
  • Outputs 4x PWM
  • Power Consumption: < 0.3W
  • Range: up to 50m (outdoors) and 30m (indoors)
  • Dimensions (LxWxH): 42 x 37 x 17mm

Intent

My current LED strip under the TV console was controlled using a cheap IR based RGB controller. I’ve purchased the LED strip and the RGB controller from Deal Extreme (dx.com). However, the choices of colors are limited, mostly inaccurate (I suspected the problem lies with the controller) and its unable to reproduce a pure white. The Fibaro Z-Wave RGBW controller shall replace the cheap RGB controller to produce a wider range of colors. Furthermore, I can include the color control as part of my home automation scenes.

Setup

 

Unboxing this feels like unboxing any other Fibaro modules. The form factor is exactly the same except for the connections available on the module. This module is powered by DC 12/24V. You’d likely need to cut your existing DC adapter cables to connect to this module. Here’s what I did.

 

I cut the cable of the power adapter, which usually consists of 2 wires and connect each wire to the 12/24V DC and GND directly. If you do not know which is the right wire for 12/24V DC and GND, you will have to try switching the wires if it doesn’t work. As I’m connecting the module to a LED strip this is the wiring diagram used.

I suggest to connecting the power to the module near Vera to do the inclusion first. Similar to all Fibaro modules, set Vera to inclusion mode and press the inclusion button on the module 3 times (within 1.5 secs). If Vera doesn’t detect the module you may have to switch the 2 wires.

Once Vera has included the module, you should see 6 new devices on the control panel. Yes, 6 devices. There will be 4 new dimmer devices for red, green, blue and white. In addition, there are another 2 new dimmer devices for the overall brightness of the LED and a power monitor. You will have to figure out which device is for which color after you have connected to the LED strip.

Next I disconnected the power and bring the power adapter and the module back to where to my TV console and connected the LED strip as shown.

Once the module is powered on you will be able to control the red, green blue with the separate dimmer device in Vera’s UI. You’d need to do some trial and error to identify the respective dimmer device for each color.

This is how my TV console look like now.

And this is what’s left for my previous setup 🙂 

Conclusion

  • A simple device to setup within half hour
  • Nice gradual dimming and color changes
  • Represented as 6 dimmer devices in Vera (may be confusing at first)
  • If only someone has written a plugin in Vera with color picker
  • Should work with other LED lighting
  • A must-get for LED strip lovers

Domotics

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