Today we have another focus on smart home products with the company zoOZ, this time covering some of their latest Z-Wave compatible switches. zoOZ is a growing brand, building in popularity thanks to the fact that their smart switches do not require you to replace your other switches on a 3-way, 4-way or 5-way configuration. Usually, when adding a smart switch to a multi-way setup, you need slave/dummy switches installed in the other spots, else they won’t work. However, zoOZ’s switch will work with your original ones, making the process much more simple, while saving you cash since you are only having to buy the one switch.
We have been testing out both their S1 (ZEN26) Smart Switch (a normal on/off switch), as well as their S2 (ZEN27) Smart Dimmer Switch. Both of these switches support multi-switch setups and are quite easy to work with as long as 1) you are comfortable with playing with the wires in your walls or have hired someone to do it, and 2) your building or house was wired correctly (an issue that pops up more than it should with some homes). Both switches also support Z-Wave, allowing you to add them to any controller/hub that supports the protocol (like Vera, SmartThings, Abode and more).
Being comfortable with working on something like this is, of course, an absolute requirement. If you aren’t knowledgeable about playing with electricity, you need to find someone who is. It is easy to get seriously hurt or to damage something (or your home) if you’re not careful. Electrical safety is no joke. However, if you are knowledgeable, then all will be fine.
S1 (ZEN26) Smart Switch (a normal on/off switch)
The lights come in a simple and colorful packaging that gets straight to the point as you slide the box open. It comes with instructions as well as a small tail to tie into your neutral line with (important to use this). Screws are of course pre-installed into their holes and there is nothing else.
These switches feel durable and well constructed and their instructions are filled with information to walk you (or a professional) through everything they need to know). Of course, this is where your house being properly wired comes into play. Thankfully, commercial building require a much stricter code and most likely things will be wired properly when you pop your old switch out. Again, you’d be surprised how many times someone looked behind a switch or wall to find something that didn’t meet proper code.
Installing the switch was easy. We even tried installing it in a situation where the switch was controlling an outlet vs a light (or lights). Of course with the latter, you might find small differences in how things are wired (sometimes). It is absolutely a smart idea to use the tail it comes with though (or another one if you have better wired). The instructions actually depict using the switch “in-line” with the neutral cable tucked behind your old switch, however, if the switch fails, it could possibly cause an air gap in your neutral (this is bad). So if you use the tail tied in with your neutral than the neutral itself will still be a completed connection to itself. As for using a better wire, the wire it comes with is aluminum vs copper. It is much better to use copper (especially in commercial settings where electrical codes are much tougher). A quick trip to your hardware store will score you what you need easily. Typically 14 (good and sometimes normal) or 12 (better) gauge wire is all you need. Of course, you are doing all of this with your breaker for that switch turned OFF before you do any work on it.
Once you have the switch installed and have turned the breaker back on, it should immediately start working for manual control. The first thing you will note is that up is always on, and down is always off. So you will have to get used to that if you are used to your multi-way switches being able to function in either direction. So regardless of the orientation of any other switch in-line, up is on, down is off. This can also be reversed (if you prefer) from settings later on within your controller).
From here, you include it to your hub/controller by trigger the inclusion mode of both. With most controllers, this should be pretty painless (and quick). For us, we connected it on the first try every time to the controllers we tested it against. Set your controller to include mode, and then quickly press the switch’s up position three times. It will begin to rapidly blink blue (the small LED on the bottom). Assuming it isn’t too far from the controller, it should take only a few moments for the controller to see it. Name it, assign it a group and all of that fun stuff, and then switch if officially smart. You can turn it off or on or add it to scenes to interact with other devices and triggers.
When using it with the Vera, we had to choose the option for adding a generic Z-Wave device since it wasn’t listed (common if they don’t have that specific model and brand listed). It adds just fine though once you do.
We did find that there is a delay when manually hitting the switch, which is noticeable to about 0.5 to 1 second. Nothing bad, but enough that it is noticeable. Controlling it from your smart controller/hub can vary. At times, the switch will respond instantly and at times, there could be a second delay or so. Again, nothing bad or terrible in that as most of the devices within your network can and will experience a little latency here and there.
Beyond that, the switch is quite simple to work with. It works with all types of bulbs and also acts as a repeater within your Z-Wave network, to help extend the Z-Wave range with. Great for larger homes or buildings when your devices can also support this. It also comes with all the latest Z-wave chipset and security.
You can dig dipper if you like into the switch’s settings within your controller. You will be able to adjust things like which paddle direction is on or off, the LED light, enable an auto-off on timer function, and on/off/remember after power failure. These options are completely, well, optional and you can live comfortably without ever touching them based on their defaults.
S2 (ZEN27) Smart Dimmer Switch
Installation is the same as well as all the safety recommendations to go with it all. Once you have installed the switch successfully and flipped the breaker on, you, of course, want to test it out to make sure it is working. It will work exactly the same as the normal on/off switch we just covered above, only this one also features the ability to press and hold the up or down paddle to control the brightness of the light (up or down) as well. You can also double-tap the up paddle to bring it back to full brightness. This switch also controls all bulb types (CFL, LED and incandescent) like the previous switch.
Adding it to your hub is also the same, by triple tapping it as well as triggering your controller’s inclusion mode. It should only take a few moments to pull off. From your hub, you will be able to control on/off as well as brightness. You can also do all of this via scenes all the same (great for dimming lights or taking them back up, with late-night, movie mode or intimate scenes).
From within your controller, you can control the same parameters as the previous switch, with the addition of Ramp Rate control (how quickly it fades up or down in manual mode), Minimum and Maximum brightness settings, Double Tap function, and Auto Turn-On (to have it turn back on after a certain amount of time after it has been turned off).
As for that small switch at the bottom, this is actually something you pull out that disables the switch for when you want to change out the light bulb. This is simply an extra safety option to protect you from shocks and other surprises.
It took us a while to finally make the decision to flip the switch on this story (get it?) since we wanted to wait and see how things turned out. Connection issues and all that fun stuff. We wanted to make sure they didn’t have any issues with dropping off the network or anything. Thankfully, thus far there hasn’t been any. They have always responded to the controller as well as manual control from the switch itself. This includes being installed within 20-50 feet from the controller in some situations (given, we do make use of a repeater in one area and some of the other devices may also act as repeaters like these).
Both of these switches can be a lot of fun to design scenes out for on your controller. They are easy to work with and function just like they claim to. Without any connection issues experienced yet, these are looking pretty darn good when comparing them to alternative options out there. The biggest reason for that is of course that they work alongside your normal switches. The money you save in not having to buy these others is a big win, and the price of the switches themselves are under $40, keeping things affordable and competitive with other switches.
|S1 Switch on Amazon | S1 Dimmer on Amazon
*Average price is based on the time this article was published
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