The main problem for those who want to transform a pre-existing system into a home automation system and "taste" the Smart Home in its sense of comfort and energy saving, replacing or, if possible, updating the switches.
In many cases the user fond of the civil series already installed in the house and thinks that it is somehow impossible to update the switches to a home automation version: in this review we show you the opposite.
We have already seen that there are solutions like those of Fibaro (on Z-wave standard with its own gateway or with Homey gateway or even the Bluetooth-Homekit that we tried on this page) but in this case we will analyze an integrated and / or integrable product both in a complete solution such as the Living Now one by Bticino and as an accessory of a system where you do not want to change the combination of pre-existing plates and fruits.
The Relay lights connected BTicino Living Now BTI-3584C in fact similar to many relays or switches that we have tried in the past but has three main qualities on its side:
- produced / sold by a company well known by installers
- it has a very competitive price in the context of single relays: the price is around 31-37 euros including VAT which is more or less half of that of traditional competition and slightly higher than that of "Chinese" products without a great background in the electrical field and with more or less dubious certifications that prevent a certified installation
- based on a Zigbee home automation protocol, designed not to invade your Wi-Fi router with dozens of connected objects and operate in a mesh network.
Easy to hide and assemble
Normally the electrical systems that you have at home, when a single light point has several switches that operate on and off, are based on switches or rel: Living Now Connected allows on the one hand to replace the standard switches with connected switches (ad hoc – will be the subject of a forthcoming review) and this is done by replacing the current plate with a Living Now plate.
Since April 2019, Bticino has put on the market the Relay lights connected BTI-3584Cwhich can replace the "unconnected" relays of an existing system (also of third parties) or of a Living Now already installed.
The dimensions of the relay you see in our gallery below are sufficiently small (even if they do not represent the record of this range of devices) and this allows you to install it not only in a main switchboard (even if the connections for the DIN rail are missing it can replace a relay already present) but also in a junction box or directly in the switch box 503 if there is enough space between wires and the result of the switch itself.
It should be noted that a connection to the neutral is always necessary, something that is not obvious in very dated systems where a re-cabling would also be necessary even with cables of a suitable section.
As you can see from the diagrams below, the switch can work both for a single switch and for a group of switches that acts on a common ignition: typically a lamp that turns on or off from the various entrances of a room or from an adjoining room: working in parallel with a mechanical switch you will not have problems with Hue-type lamps that will not turn on if there is no power supply upstream.
Here the direct mechanical action and the "connected" one work together and you will always have the availability to turn your lamp or group of lamps on or off locally or remotely.
About the group: the connected Rel supports up to 300 Watts with old type lamps and 100 W with LED lamps and therefore it is necessary to evaluate the actual load of the connected lighting systems: given that incandescent or halogen lamps are on the verge of extinction, however necessary know the exact sum of the load on the single switch respecting the table you see below. It is obvious that a switch of this type is also optimal for transformers for neon and other lamps that cannot be replaced with smart bulbs.
We recommend in any case to consult your trusted electrician to check on site the existing wiring, the type of switches present, the bulbs that must be controlled and the possibility of adapting the wiring to the diagrams shown above.
Obviously if you install a Living Now Connected from scratch or you are adapting an unconnected Living Now the electrician will have a series of additional options to automate the system.
It also functions as a bridge for the Zigbee mesh network
One of the intrinsic qualities of home automation protocols such as Z-wave and Zigbee is the ability of the always powered nodes (like this rel) to function as a repeater for the mesh network: positioning / distributing a switch in every room or in every two rooms we will be sure that our network is distributed throughout the house or on several floors.
We actually mounted the switch also in this context: between the Gateway Legrand and the main switchboard with the connected consumption meter Din there was too much distance (14 meters away 1 floor and 4 walls, one of which in 30 cm AC ) and positioning the relay in the 503 box of a switch in an intermediate position (of another brand and with traditional fruits) not only have we obtained the availability of a "connected" ignition but also a good and continuous communication between the modules installed. The system has several of these modules in correspondence with the various switches. The distribution of the network takes place in an optimal way.
Easy to connect
As we have seen for the other accessories such as the DIN consumption detector and the connected roller shutter controls of Living Now, the system requires a basic equipment to operate: the Legrand gateway and the global Enter / Exit command which in fact allow connection to the home wi-fi and the Home + Control app which directly manages switches, rooms and consumption and finally allows voice control via Siri or Google Assistant and integration into HomeKit or Google Home home automation.
So the connected relay works in different ways progressively smarter:
- it works like a traditional relay to access and turn off lights from one or more switches
- works as a locally connected relay thanks to the Zigbee network that allows association with a remote radio switch (turn on / off – optional) or scenario (enter / exit – in the basic equipment required)
- works as a relay connected locally via wi-fi thanks to the Home + Control app on your Smartphone at home
- works as a relay connected from outside the home thanks to the Wi-Fi connection and your router connected to the internet with the Home + Control app
- works as a Homekit accessory to be integrated into your scenes and automations and with switch-off to be controlled via Siri locally or remotely
- works as a Google Home accessory to be integrated into routines and scenes and with switch-off to be controlled via local or remote Google Assistant.
Inclusion in home automation management
As for the accessories that we have tried, we will have to include them in our system using the global Enter / Exit command as a "key" with the simultaneous double pressing of the keys, the "inclusion" light on and then going to include the relay. after restarting the system. The relay also has an on / off switch on board which can be used to test the load even in the absence of inclusion in the home automation system.
Once included in Home + control the rel can be assigned to the room of competence and from there it is seen on Homekit as an accessory of the Gateway / Bridge Legrand and equally on Google Home. Baster assign a name to the light or group of lights connected and activate / deactivate them by voice, with the on-screen buttons of Home (or compatible applications) and Home, from home or remotely. Find all the operations in sequence in our article that explains how the Legrand BTicino gateway works with the Enter / Exit command.
We have installed the single rel connected for several weeks now in our small test system in a 503 box that controls a load of two 12 + 12 Watt LED lamps, 8 meters and two walls from the gateway and 4 meters and two walls (partition 30 cm reinforced concrete septum) from the main panel.
The relay has always worked without problems in response to any type of remote control and also to the command via zigbee from the main enter-exit switch. The reassuring little click of the not absolutely annoying rel, indeed offers an acoustic response to a voice or touch command that otherwise would seem all too virtual.
Easy to install even if slightly bulky, the relay represents a significant step forward in home automation for everyone thanks to an aggressive price. Obviously the cost of the basic Legrand gateway with the Enter / Exit actuator (which in fact is ridiculous in terms of the costs of the past) is absorbed as "smart" components are added to the system. Only one relay is needed for each light point (or groups of lights controlled by a switch) regardless of the number of switches / switches that activate that light point.
Competitive price even with low price and non-certified solutions, Bticno reliability, it can be used at home even without active Wi-Fi or even without web access, high integration with Homekit and Google Home.
It is necessary to have the Legrand Gateway + Enter / Exit command from the cost of about 90 Euros but it ensures a system of flexibility and interfacing with the smart home never seen before.
It costs about 34-37 Euros on Amazon with shipping included or about 31 Euros on ebay with shipping costs of 4.5 Euros which are reduced for multiple purchases. The cost of installation will be added to your trusted electrician and, if you start from scratch, that of the Legrand gateway + Enter / Exit command.
On Macitynet.it we talked about Bticino Living Now Connected by Netatmo in these articles