X10 to Z-Wave Home Automation Upgrade

I recently started upgrading my Home Automation system from X10 to Z-Wave. The reason for this was reliability and less susceptibility to interference/failure (caused by CFL bulbs and general power fluctuations in the system).

In short; I bought an Aeon Labs controller, a few appliance modules to get started, and a lighting controller to see how reliable Z-Wave can be with CFLs.

Anyone who uses X10 knows it’s pretty easy to get light switches with X10 integrated. Z-Wave, however, is the opposite. Other than single gang switches you’ll be hard pressed to find anything. Since I needed a 2-gang switch I had to find another solution. The main 3 I came up with were:

1) Vitrum – These are all made-to-order switches shipped directly from the factory in Italy. I have to admit that they do look beautiful, and with an integrated Z-Wave module you can’t really go wrong… or can you? Considering a 2-gang switch costs upward of £170 before you take shipping into account, it certainly is an expensive solution.


Vitrum 2-Gang Switch


2) Fibaro Dimmer – These are small modules which can be retrofitted to ANY switch. This gives a far wider choice in regards to style or changes later. The only issue is that each module only supports one physical button. It is possible to connect the second button on a 2-gang switch, but it will only trigger another Z-Wave module (no actual load).

Fibaro Dimmer

Fibaro Dimmer Module


3) Fibaro Relay Insert – Small retrofit module which supports 2 outputs. Since it’s a relay both outputs are on/off only. This module also requires a neutral wire which is not very common in the UK.

Fibaro Relay

Fibaro Relay Switch


I ended up ordering 2 Fibaro Dimmer modules to use in one 2-gang switch. I intend to write a full review of these once I have finished testing them.