It was announced in mid-January, now the time has finally come: The new Philips Hue wall switch module can finally be ordered in Europe. At the start, it will be offered exclusively in the Philips Hue online shop for three months, after which other retailers will also be able to start selling it. I have already been able to try out the new accessory today and would like to give you my first impressions.
This problem is solved by the Philips Hue Wall Switch Module
Who does not know it? Guests, children or someone who is not familiar with the Hue system in the house has once again flicked the light switch and cut the power to the smart ceiling lights. Even Philips Hue is then no longer smart at all, no longer accessible via app or voice assistant.
The Philips Hue wall switch module aims to solve precisely this problem and also expand the range of functions of a classic light switch. Important: In contrast to “normal” ZigBee modules, no dumb lamp is made smart, but a dumb light switch is pimped.
Installation is as simple as this
Important first: If you are unsure about installing the Philips Hue wall switch module, you should ask someone with expertise for help. For rooms with only one light switch, however, the installation should not be a big challenge. In theory, it is quite simple anyway: The two cables leading to the classic light switch are connected with the supplied clamp. The lamp on the ceiling, which should be equipped with Hue technology, is then permanently supplied with power.
The compactly designed wall switch module is connected to the light switch with a thin cable and then forwards the commands of the light switch to the Hue Bridge, which controls the lamps.
Either one or two light switches or one light switch with two rockers can be connected to a module. Alternatively, one or two switches can also be connected – then you can not only control scenes, but also dim the selected lamps.
Why the button cell is not a problem
After the presentation of the wall switch module, there was a lot of discussion about the manufacturer’s decision to use a button cell to power the accessory. I can’t really share the criticism of this. After all, this way the module can also be used if there is no neutral conductor in the in-wall box leading to the light switch. In addition, the module could be kept particularly compact and the installation simplified.
Of course, the story also has a disadvantage: the button cell must be replaced at some point. But that should only be the case after five years at the earliest. In addition, you will receive an early warning in the Hue app when the battery level falls below a certain level.
This is how the scenes are controlled with the converted light switch
After installation and pairing with the Hue Bridge, the Hue Wall Switch Module can control one or more rooms or zones and also individual lamps. In simple mode, the light is only switched on and off; the scene cycle offers more options.
You have the option of activating three scenes with the wall switch module. The first press of the light switch activates the first scene. To activate the second scene, press the light switch three times (On-Off-On). The third scene is activated in the same way (On-Off-On-Off-On). Whether you press the light switch in a flash or take one or two seconds each time is irrelevant. If several seconds pass without any further input, the next press on the light switch switches the light off again.
Since the light sources installed on the ceiling in particular are permanently supplied with power, they can of course not only be controlled with the wall switch module, but also with other accessory products, by app or by voice command. Lamps that are no longer accessible are thus a thing of the past.
Soon even more options thanks to third-party apps?
As far as I know, the developers of iConnectHue and Hue Essentials are unsurprisingly busy with the new accessories. I would already have a few items on the wish list. It would be practical, for example, if you didn’t always have to switch off the light to switch through the scene. The second scene could then be activated with two instead of three presses and the third scene with three instead of five presses.
What I am also missing: a time-based control. At night, for example, I would like to activate a different scene in the bathroom with the first press of the switch than during the day.
There are currently no alternatives for the Philips Hue wall switch module.
The well-known ZigBee modules that have been on the market so far work completely differently: they are connected to the circuit of the non-smart ceiling lighting and serve as a simple on/off switch. Accordingly, they are not an alternative. With a Shelly and the necessary programming knowledge, you could certainly achieve similar functionality, but for me this is not a solution for the normal end user.
The closest thing to the wall switch module is certainly a Friends of Hue switch. At the end of the day, however, these not only have a different functionality, but also feel completely different and are nowhere near as intuitive to operate. Furthermore, Friends of Hue switches are still not available in every look.
Due to the uniqueness of the product, the price of 39.99 euros for a single module and 69.99 euros for a double pack is absolutely fine, especially when you consider that you can connect two switches per module. You can buy it on your local philips-hue.com.