Ah the famous connected switches for ceiling lights… and that damn neutral that is not present on installations in France. It's annoying eh? Oh yeah ! Well, Les Alexiens, always ready to bend over backwards for you, have found a switch that works without neutral! Oh yes ! But why put a connected switch when we can have smart bulbs? For several reasons: managing a chandelier of 3 or 5 bulbs is not always easy, certain forms of bulbs are not easily found, just like certain powers not available in connected ...
And it's there Zemi brandsmart, well known to our loyal readers, who gives us this wonderful gift! The brand is not at its first recessed switch, but all required a neutral. But this one, nay! Not only does it work on our catches the right way, but it exists in single, double or triple ways! Of course, he respects the CE standards, FCC (equivalent for the USA) and RoHS (European standard for the reduction of hazardous materials in electronic products). Sold between € 18,10 and € 20,29 depending on the number of routes, working with Smart Life and therefore Alexa, it is excellent value for money!
Zemi switch without neutralsmart : a very beautiful object
Our switch is packed in a neutral cardboard put in a relatively colorful and at the same time quite uncluttered sheath. The main image just tells us that it works in Wi-Fi, one of the slices that it will be with Smart Life and the back gives us the characteristics (false). THEEverything is of good quality and allows good protection of the product.
What do we find in our packaging? If everything goes well, a switch. But that's not all, there is also a bag of 2 screws, for an installation guide (business card format) in very succinct English and a capacitor. The installation guide is not very detailed but goes to the basics: wiring, installation, installation of the capacitor and commissioning with Smart Life. We will come back to it but it is not clear on the installation of the module precisely ...
Design level, we are on a switch resembling a switch for rolling shutters like two drops of water: same size, same shape… The facade is made of heat-tempered glass de 4 mm d'épaisseur and 8,5 cm side, with a white background and has between one and three pressure zones depending on the number of channels. This is only a personal opinion, but we are quite a fan of this design at Les Alexiens. If you already have connected switches for shutters at home, it will harmonize your interior (yes, it's the detail that makes the difference!). A small wifi wave logo at the top left puts a little touch of madness on this switch.
The "buttons" are used both to turn on and off the light by pressing on a pallet of conductive material. We are not on springs, to avoid inadvertent ignition. The mechanical part is therefore limited to the maximum to avoid premature aging of the elements, but electronic problems can take over. No system is perfect. For those who know, we are on a system identical to that of roller shutters with the difference that there is only one "button" per ceiling light. In our case, it is a double track that has been tested, but with only one ceiling light.
The depth of transplanting block is about 2,5 cm and this means that it can be set up in all French flush-mounting boxes without any problem. We were given some time ago to have in our hands a built-in connected plug which was far too deep and could not be put in most boxes. It was our fear, unfounded for once. Once set up and well glued to the wall, count a small centimeter of thickness.
The transplanting block will precisely differ from what we find with switches operating with neutral because, as you can see, only phase arrivals are available. The transplanting blocks have a 5 mm depth, which makes it possible not to strip the wires too much and to hold the cable well. No complaints.
At the level of technical characteristics : it works on alternating current 170-240V and 300 W load limit per lane and not 600 as noted on the packaging. Despite everything, this allows you to come and connect fairly supplied ceiling lights in GU10 or via E27 for example. Just be careful not to exceed this cumulative power. Regarding the Wi-Fi connection: 2.4 GHz only, IEEE802.11 b / g / n.
Switch without neutral: an almost simple installation
On the fact, installation shouldn't be a problem, but respect a minimum of safety rules like not to install them without cutting off the current or other arrival (if one can avoid losing a reader…). The diagram to follow is relatively simple for the switch part as such. Connect the phase of your circuit to L et the return phase of your lamp on L2. That's all. If you have a double switch, the connection will be a little different (L, L1 for the first and (L) L3 for the second)… You see, nothing to add… Oh, sorry, we have to talk about the capacitor.
The condenser is not to be confused with a condenser which makes your refrigerator work by condensing (liquefying) the refrigerating gas in the grid at the back to repeat a cycle via the expansion valve, the evaporator, the compressor, the condenser ... In short , This is an other story. We didn't want to throw in a cold. The capacitor will come and connect at the level of one of the ceiling light arrivals (between neutral and phase) in order to compensate for the residual current resulting from the use of this type of switch without neutral. Indeed, when you put the switch in place, your ceiling light will either light permanently or flash (which was the case in our case). To avoid this, come and place the capacitor in your ceiling light.
Where the installation guide is not clear is that it gives the impression of requiring this installation while the bulbs are on. Of course, this is not the case, unless you put life insurance on your spouse's head and ask them to do so. It is therefore necessary to install the capacitor with the open circuit (therefore the current off). It doesn't take long. The complete installation took 10 minutes during our test. It is extremely simple, if not this connection of the small module (only one to connect even if you have installed a 3-way).
Once powered up and installed (see a bit below for pairing) we see that the switch has a slight self-light in blue color. Much less important than those for shutters. When the light is on, the light is red. Unlike those already tested for roller shutters, this lighting is far from intense and goes almost unnoticed, on the other hand, impossible to extinguish. However, it is far from annoying and in the dark, it is much easier.
Switch without neutral: use via Smart Life
Earthsmart uses application Smart Life or Tuya for all of its products and this one is no exception. No difficulty to install it. We'll see this together pretty quickly, but we have some more complete tutorials, especially for roller shutter switches, very close in operation. Activation of the Skill Smart Life is of course necessary. Just like having an account Smart Life via the app.
To put the switch into pairing mode, you will need to press one of the resistive buttons for at least 5 seconds. It will then start flashing blue fairly quickly. We suggest that you do this before reassembling everything (switch and ceiling light) to ensure that everything is properly connected. On the other hand, the risk is to have to do it again if during reassembly, because of a tightening problem, you detach a wire ... But even before doing this, if your connection is done correctly, your lamp should not flash nor emit a weak light, proof that the capacitor is doing its job ... or that you forgot to connect a wire ...
To install it with Smart Life, open the application, press the small "+" at the top right and select " electrical engineering " (it slams anyway!) then " light switch " (it may be noted Wi-Fi at the end depending on the version of the app). Then connect to 2,4 GHz Wi-Fi network only, password and let yourself be guided. Change the name of the switch because the base name is not easy to use in voice control
If you opt for a single lane, this will be the final name of your switch. If, on the other hand, you have installed a double or triple lane, you will have to rename each entry. Either the name of the switch and the name of the various lights connected to it. So you can either order everything at once or individually. The names you choose will go up under Alexa. Besides, if you already have the Skill Smart Life activated, the switch (and the sub-units) will go up directly without any intervention on your part. If not, start a search with the "+" top right, in the part "Devices" et select Tuya then let it be.
Thanks to the application, you can set up timers for the switch or have it come on at certain times. You also have the possibility, via the scenarios, to turn on or off at particular times of the day (sunset for example) or in specific situations (closing the shutters and switching on the light in the process). With Alexa, you are free to let yourself be tempted by a routine that goes well. It works like a connected light bulb because that's the end.
And in use, what does it give? Well finally it's very good and very simple. If you use it by voice, you should expect a slight latency, half a second to 1 second, but it depends on your network and servers. It's not Zigbee but there is nothing bad about it. We stay on normal values for Wi-Fi devices. In physics (useful if you don't want to talk or if there is a Wi-Fi outage), it's instantaneous because it goes live. It's hard to say more than that: the switch works well and it has relatively acceptable latency.