Zigbee Button Controller + Dimmer Switch | Project Walt

I think you have the wrong personality type for an open, collaborative and and creative brainstorming exercise. You are thinking of restrictions and tempering outside of the box thinking rather then celebrating the freedom. This phase of design feature gathering isn’t the phase where cost, supply, form factor, skill and design constraints should be limiting the outpouring of ideas.

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PPounce - your non-stop badgering and insulting is going to quickly end all future discussion.

If I were to get these, I wouldn’t need it to support a load at all. If I’m remote controlling enough devices to need that many buttons, the devices are all probably already actuated or are smart bulbs anyway.

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I also see not needing it to support a load. I think having an remote version would be fantastic compliment, such as Amazon.com: Z-Wave Plus Remote Switch, Scene Wall Switch Controller, 4 Z-Wave Button, ZWave 800 Series, Work with Z Wave Hubs(MR40Z) : Tools & Home Improvement.

Or even a non remote version that is not designed for a load at all? OK here my idea gets crazy…

What if it had a magnet base like my Zen34, that CHARGED the scene controller. So I was able to use it like a remote, never worry about batteries, and the best part would be that it would still help my network mesh and not be a battery powered device. And if someone wanted to use it purely as a remote, they could. It would essentially be two devices, a “basestation” and a remote!

Non load for maybe for the zigbee version, and the z-wave is a load? (Zigbee has WAY MORE bindable devices, then z-wave does associations).

I had a lot going on and couldn’t visit the community for a while.
Last night when I finally had the opportunity, I was planning on post a suggestion for a crowd sourced double switch just because… we need them so much :slight_smile: !!!

Then I stumbled on this post… I cannot tell you how excited I was about this product

Anyway, one time when posting some unsolicited advice around here somewhere :upside_down_face: I suggested inovelli should focus on a few switches that can cover a whole house. That small line of switches then becomes your signature line, your money maker.

In my home for example the only places I don’t have a Blue switch are those where I have the z-wave fan and light switch, Zooz double switches and scene controller. If inovelli can fill those gaps and one can have a house that is completely powered by inovelli… man… it become just a matter of time until you are developing new products from a lab in your new yacht, while navigating through some European waters :money_mouth_face:.

But think about it: new homes being built with inovelli switches, a consistent modern look through the home, built in intelligence (such as double tap for this and that) and compatible with whatever hub the builder or home owner wants to throw at it, from Amazon Alexa to Home Assistant (because it is Zigbee) - for the zwave lovers out there, I’m just looking at it from mass sales perspective, I love z-wave as well :sunglasses:

Anyway, what we need to get there:

  1. A double switch with two loads: Top dimmer/on off (just like Blue is today), bottom: relay.
    Use cases include but are not limited to:
  • Bathroom light and exhaust fan.
  • Exit/Entry door: top dimmer/on off for indoor light, bottom on/off (relay) for porch, outdoors.
  • Indoors: top dimmer/on off for ceiling light, bottom on/off (relay) for outlet (lamps, fan and so on).
  1. A replacement for the (discontinued?) fan light switch. Self-explanatory (dimmer plus fan control).
  2. A scene controller between 5 to 8 buttons where they could be all scenes for those who doesn’t care about load or, some of those buttons could optionally control the built in relay and/or dimmer. User can mix and match.
  3. A fan controller (already available)
  4. Dimmer on/off switches 2 in 1 (already available).
  5. Switch and a presence sensor combined (in the works)
  6. A battery powered remote /scene controller for the same use cases where a Lutron Pico is applicable (something for the future)?

I think your plans for this switch could cover #1 to #3 and that combined with what is already available and in the works would be enough to cover every lighting scenario I can think of in a home.

I understand you are funding it on your own but if more money can expedite things, don’t hesitate to start the campaign. The fact you don’t need the campaign to start it put you in the same position of the big companies who don’t need crowdsource but still uses it, like Anker as an example.

The campaign can not only let you understand demand, manage pre-orders but also work as free publicity since sooner or later someone, somewhere will be talking about.

By the way, engraving is a must.

And here I am giving unsolicited advice again :grimacing:
Anyway… count me in for at least 10 units.

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Crap, I posted this prior to responding to everything – hang on, I’m still typing responses to all!

I go on vacation and this thread turns into a sword fight! Sorry, I should’ve jumped in sooner, but glad to see all the ideas flowing. Let’s remember that everyone is here for the same reason which is to create a great switch :slight_smile:

Yeah I don’t see why this would be a problem.

Yeah good point – I’m still evaluating how difficult this will be and how much time it would consume. LOL what are you guys putting on your switches?!

That’s a great idea!

An interesting thought – I think we’re pretty locked in on the switch having a relay because it’s what we pitched to the B2B company and they made it a requirement. I know they paid for the Z-Wave version and this is the Zigbee version, but it helps us on costs to share tooling.

But, if we end up going down the non-relay path, I’ll keep this in mind. I’ve always liked those switches that have Alexa built into them. This seems like a similar concept with a little more control.

It’s a great idea, but I think @kreene1987 is right in that this should be a hub level automation as most, if not all at this point, have the ability to set automations based on the time of day. The LED Bar will have the ability to adjust brightness levels, so you would set up the automation based on the time of day to change the brightness level.

But, as you mentioned, this is an exchange of ideas and to respect that, I’d like to understand from your point of view why this would be a switch level automation and what the benefits would be?

I can see some benefits in that it’s local and if the hub goes down your switches LED would still change based on the time, but that’s a rare occasion and also the switch would need to be connected to a hub of some sort to account for the change in sunrise and sunset times. The only way I see this being feasible is if it is a strict time of day change.

But maybe I’m missing something and I’d like to hear your thoughts!

Sorry if it’s coming off that way – as someone who is just looking at this thread for the first time since I left for vacation, I read their comments as being more inquisitive, not mocking.

Knowing both of them personally, I don’t think that was their intent either, but I’ll speak for myself in that my response was inquisitive.

Either way, if it is something that’s not too hard to do, and people will see benefit from it, I don’t see why we couldn’t add it to the switch. Heck, we have a parameter that inverts the switch that I think is silly, but someone requested it!

Yes, I’m sure this can be done – let me talk with @EricM_Inovelli our CTO to see the feasibility of it as I’m not sure what all Zigbee can handle or if there’s a way to capture time of day.

EDIT: I see you mentioned there is a UTC time cluster so it may be possible then – @EricM_Inovelli – thoughts?

I agree – I think there’s room for each of these in the portfolio. Based on the success of this initial switch, we can certainly entertain some of the other ones! In fact, there is a vendor who has been asking us to sell their remote version which I think there’s a huge benefit and we’ve tried to get one ourselves for a while, so it would be a great opportunity to grab one without all the associated costs.

Just to give a background on costs as I’m sure there will be a lot of people that read this… it costs about $80-100k to launch a new product (not including the minimum order quantity of products). I realize that there will be some cost savings if we share tooling as well as dev costs, but we’ll still have to incur UL/ETL, FCC/IC, Zigbee fees which are probably in the ballpark of $30-50k altogether. Add that cost to the minimum order quantity that we’d have to order and we’re probably in the $100k range, which is hard for a smaller company.

EDIT: I see you and @rohan talked more about these challenges and I agree, this is good discussion for future strategy and I see your points for each SKU and agree with them!

I think you’re onto something with the three versions – now we just need to convince the masses. I believe we have a strong case for Option #1 and Option #3. Option #2 makes sense if the costs are significantly less per unit. I’ll have to take a look, but my gut tells me that it would be maybe $2-3 less expensive, which at the end of the day would be maybe a $5 reduction in MSRP.

Can I get you to explain this to the Hue team? I’ve tried so many times and they just don’t seem to get it, hence one of the reasons why they don’t see a benefit of becoming Friends of Hue. It frustrates me to no end.

Same at my house – completely agree.

Just wanted to comment on this to say thanks – we do need fresh ideas and I appreciate it!

@PPounce – this is a good point that I forgot to mention in my response. This switches firmware is going to be massive. The largest we’ve ever done because there are so many variables with all the different button combinations, multiple binding options, etc.

I think it’s a fair challenge by @mamber – at the same time as I mentioned above, if we can fit it in, we certainly can. But from my POV as the marketing guy, I need to prioritize what I think is the best features and if we have to pick and choose, I like to hear the arguments for certain features.

Now this will have more memory than our current 2-1 switch and our current 2-1 switch hasn’t maxed out memory, but this is something we ran into an issue with on our Gen 2 Z-Wave switches so I think that’s why you’re seeing some pushback. Again, IMO it’s coming from a positive place and no malice is intended.

I’ll bite here – and @PPounce, @caduck, and anyone else who is looking for a non-relay hardwired version, I’d like to hear your POV too since this was also a suggestion from you guys for removing the relay.

Are you guys just tying the line/load together behind the switch or would you be extending your gang-box from a one-gang to two-gang and keeping the load bearing switch there?

I just can’t think of any situations in my house where there’s a switch that doesn’t have a load connected to it and I’d have to extend the gang-box or tie the line/load together for a non-relay device to work.

I do see the need for a battery powered device and I 100% want to bring that to life, but I must be missing something on the benefit of a hardwired, non-load bearing device other than you wouldn’t have to change batteries with the downside being you have to cut a larger hole in your wall or tie your line/load together behind the switch (which I have never really liked).


Now this is interesting - so some sort of Qi charger or something?

There are also some devices that do not require a battery and use kinetic energy to send signals to the hub: https://runlesswire.com/

We’ve been talking with them, but the problem is they don’t work with SmartThings, Hubitat or Home Assistant as none of those hubs, to my knowledge, support Zigbee Green Power and the other protocols will not work as the energy produced by clicking isn’t enough to transmit the signals.

Lol, you make it sound so enticing! You mean I could get out of the frozen tundra of Michigan in the winter? Sold.

Yeah, all jokes aside, that’s what my vision is for the company. Now that I’m seeing the light a bit more (pun intended) with logistics, lead times, and inventory being in stock, we have a bit more money to play with to come out with new projects again, which is exciting.

I’m thinking through the same lens as you are – trying to fill the voids so that a sales team or distributors/installers who want to outfit a house can choose us because there’s no gaps.

Yes, this is my next switch after the 5-Button and mmWave. I think this is the last piece of the puzzle. Also, selfishly, I’d like this for my house because it’s all I have left to automate.

I got you: Zigbee Fan Canopy Module | Project Cheryl (named after my mom so it can be a companion to Project Walt, my dad). Just kicked it off with the manufacturer yesterday.

You will be able to use it with this switch or one of our other switches via bindings.

Perfect, you are in the right thread!

You got it :slight_smile:

Definitely want this – we have a white-label option that we’re looking into that I think will work. I’m just not sure how much tweaking we can do to the firmware which is what I’m worried about.

Understood and I may open it up once we are further down the path of development, but thanks for having our back!

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LOL what are you guys putting on your switches?!

Don’t judge me for my por… uhh … entertainment switchs :wink:

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I can’t wait to see your etchings…


The idea is like these Ecolink Z-Wave 700’s.

Sure. PM me the contact.

I’d be concerned about the look / feel of a white labeled one matching the current lineup. I think that would be super important especially for mounting these on the wall where there isn’t currently power.

Throwing out random ideas, but I would envision this to look like the Aux switches (config button, up/ down paddle) but with a radio built in. I think it would be useful for it to have an LED too but I don’t think you’d be able to drive the whole light bar on batteries.

Thank you for the reply and entertaining our ideas!

A few notes:

  1. Zigbee Green Power doesn’t really seem supported, I also have heard very mixed things about the quality of those switches too, so as much as I love the concept and had a kinetic watch (before smart watches) I agree stay away.

  2. Absolutely like Qi charging! That would be the dream.

  3. I think the reason for a non load scene controller is because we already bought another inovelli switch, and we are setting up a virtual three way. I had to think about your question and the situation, and to me that is really the advantage. I believe generally speaking in rooms where you want a scene controller, there is likely more complex switches. Is that the case in your house? For example I would buy a Project Walt, to pair it with another inovelli switch.

So basically, any “non load” I want, I already have (or would buy) an inovelli switch. And would be binding virtual 3 way. This is essentially how Lutron and Zooz have done their three ways forever.

  1. I want to add to my “2 in 1” idea. You have the remote with QI Charging, which could even communicate over a different protocol, I.E. bluetooth, rf, or something. (hue has both right) Or maybe just a data connection over the magnet (probably easiest). This makes the possibility of adding a million different designs to the switch easier. Since the paddle is a magnet it is super easy to swap out the different pieces, change things, without changing the wiring behind the switch.

  2. If you went with the “remote” being the only zigbee or z-wave device, that could save you a significant amount of money, especially if the base device itself was not zigbee or zwave at all!
    You could have different base stations, for a load, or non load and/or charging but save on zigbee or z-wave fees? You could have one actual “smart” sku that meets all of the criteria I think.

Lastly, Binding to multiple devices would be huge, and the complexity of that should not be underestimated. I would make sure to talk to the ZHA/Z2M and others in addition to zigbee to make sure that is possible, and confirm.

Ok, we are talking about automating the global lux top end on the led’s for human factors related to room lighting. Basically, the objective would be to make the light levels always stay at a pleasant and meaningful level. If you don’t have a lux sensor on the device to automate the global levels to ensure no LED level is too bright then you have to make some guesses. Time can be another option.

Lets imagine for a moment that customers buy a dimmer switch and just want default LED action as lighting level for the load. Perhaps the default setting to set comfortable level of LED brightness is time based. Forget for a moment there are some other perhaps more accurate time approaches. If your device is aware of time from the time cluster all someone would have to do to enjoy comfortable levels of LED brightness is to add the device to their home automation hub/platform.

Switch level intelligence can potentially help to reduce driver complexity and therefore enhance ease of use. That’s at a high level and generally.

Lets talk crazy for a moment and say we went all out and put an atomic clock in the device and it was GEO aware enough to know exact sunrise and sunset 365. If you controlled CCT smart bulbs you could adjust color temp to expected daylight. If the devices were wifi time is a little easier.

But, yes, obviously, our hubs and systems can be automate in amazing ways. All different ways. All differing levels of success and failures. A dozen recipes to dim LED indicators. One thing that makes a brand and a product successful is consistency of experience for all buyers. Anything you can do to make your product experience consistent in this DIY space helps. I’m not just talking about LED lighting levels.

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Project Update:

Initial timeline has been released by the manufacturer and mass production is scheduled for April 30, 2024.

Here are the various milestones:

  1. Project Build Review
    Est Completion Date: Sept. 16, 2023
    Status: NOT STARTED

  2. Detailed Design
    Details: ID/Structure Design, PCB Layout & PCBA Making, Firmware Design & Test
    Est Completion Date: Nov. 15, 2023
    Status: NOT STARTED

  3. Project Build Review
    Est Completion Date: Nov 25, 2023
    Status: NOT STARTED

  4. Hand Sample Testing & Verification
    Est Completion Date: Nov 30, 2023
    Status: NOT STARTED

  5. Packaging Design
    Est Completion Date: Dec 14, 2023
    Status: NOT STARTED

  6. Tooling Build
    Est Completion Date: Dec 25, 2023
    Status: NOT STARTED

  7. Trial Run
    Details: Materials Purchasing & Trial Run on Production Line
    Est Completion Date: Jan 15, 2024
    Status: NOT STARTED

  8. Certification
    Details: Zigbee, FCC/IC, ETL
    Est Completion Date: Mar 15, 2024
    Status: NOT STARTED

  9. Mass Production
    Est Completion Date: April 30, 2024
    Status: NOT STARTED


With Wireless QI charging too! Ambitious timeline, :slight_smile:

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Just to be clear from the beginning, I’m not against a non-relay hardwired version but I am against any switch that doesn’t include a relay version.

When I began remodeling my condo I did so with the intention of adding as many smart devices as possible. There were no ceiling lights, there were only outlets controlled by switches for lamps, so that was one of the first upgrades. I tried several different types and brands of smart lights and in the end went with some ultra-slim RGBW WiFi downlights. I quickly learned a lot about smart devices, especially how my choice in lighting meant no local control at the switch which I’m reminded of whenever I lose my Internet connection. Besides that, the main issue I had was deciding on how to run power to the lights. That’s when I learned about smart switches with relays for smart lights.

After doing some research I purchased both the original Inovelli Z-Wave switch and the Zooz Double Switch. After trying both I went with the Zooz… I know, I know… but at the time I think Inovelli only had one switch available and Zooz had a much larger selection. Besides Zooz Double Switches I also purchased their Scene Controllers and installed them next to each other in every room. Since the lights were Wifi I used the Zooz switches as scene controllers and controlled them through HA. The Double Switch functioned as an on/off/dimmer switch and the Scene Controller as a trigger to run different automatons and scripts in Home Assistant for unique lighting scenes as well as curtain/blind control, and a couple more things.

Things worked fine until a couple months ago when I ran into an issue with dimming the lights. I was using the Hold and Release parameters of the Zooz switch with an automation and script to emulate the functionality of a dimmer switch but started having issues. For some reason while holding down an end of the paddle to trigger the automation and script to dim the lights the relay inside would abruptly shutoff and the Zooz switch would lock up. Zooz couldn’t figure it out so I switched to original Inovelli Z-Wave switch that I still had and configured it to work with the light automation and script and so far it’s been working fine. I needed more switches but the new Inovelli Red 2-n-1 wasn’t out yet so I bought a Blue 2-n-1 to try and that’s been working fine. I still have to replace the other Zooz switches but I haven’t decided on if I should get the Red or Blue 2-n-1’s and don’t know what the pros and cons would be for me so I’ll take any feedback I can get.

Now after explaining all that let me get to the question about having a version of a switch without a relay. So, I definitely would not want a switch that was only offered without a relay. A long as the base version included a relay than I’m not opposed to a non-relay version but I think it would only make sense to the consumer if there was a significant price difference that would make it more affordable. If there was then to save money I would have a multi gang box with one switch with a relay and the other switches without. But if there’s no significant price difference then I don’t see the benefit.

The only exception that I can see besides price would be if the relay was replaced with something of great benefit to me. The idea of the Alexa like speaker was the one suggestion that definitely interested me however if that was implemented, I would also hope to have it available in a version with the relay. I also think that in addition to a speaker a microphone would be equally if not more important. I use Home Assistant and they have a new voice control feature called Assist (which I haven’t tried yet) which works with Alexa but it would be awesome if Inovelli switches worked directly with HA Assist through some kind of HA integration. Being able to completely avoid Alexa or Google and use the Inovelli switch to give voice commands directly to HA would be awesome.

In my opinion, only a significant price difference or replacing the relay with something of great benefit to me would justify a switch without a relay. I need at least one switch with a relay in my electrical boxes because I need to control my smart lights. I don’t like the idea of running constant power directly to the smart lights for several reason but the main one being safety. Another reason is I don’t know if running constant power from the breaker directly to my smart light would conform with my local electrical codes. I also like having a relay in the switch because I could enable a the config button on the switch to locally control the relay which is important if the smart light loses its connection or needs to be reset. Resetting or connecting smart lights that use WiFi usually involves a process that requires turning the power on/off several times so having a switch with a relay makes that easier. Without a relay I would have to open the electrical box and disconnect and reconnect the wiring to simulate a switch turning the smart light on and off. The other option would be for me to flick the breaker on and off. However by using a Inovelli relay switch I just use the small config button to locally control the relay which saves me a lot of time and frustration. (As a side note, unless the firmware has been updated, my only issue with the small config button is its inability to be used as a scene controller like the paddle button with events for multiple presses, hold, and release.)

In regards to switches as a whole, if I had my way and could create my own switches I would have the following: A dimmer switch like the Inovelli 2-n-1, a multi-button scene controller switch like the Inovelli Walt project is creating, and then some kind of a fan switch with maybe a double relay and double paddle/rocker so that I could have both fan and light control on one switch. I would also make sure the fan switch was with double paddles/rockers is compatible with operating devices like covers because a lot of windows have two covers, a blackout cover and a see-through cover. A lot of covers usually come with a remote (just like a lot of fans do) but those remotes easily break and always seem to get lost so having a permanent wall switch would solve that and more.

Going back to the multi-button scene controller if I was making multiple cover plates to fit different consumer needs a plate that resembled cover control would be at the top of the list (which I think I already saw in the proposed ideas). I would make a cover plate with single cover scene control and another with double cover scene control for the same reason that I mentioned above. I’ve searched everywhere and have only found a couple cheap cover control switches so I’d have to assume that there’s probably a descent demand for them.

Oh I might as well add one more thing and that’s the ability for the switch to somehow receive the state of the brightness of the light and then reflect that in the LED bar on the switch. I currently have the parameters kind of rigged up in a roundabout way to work with an automation and script that changes the level of the LED bar based on the state of the brightness but having there be some type of direct communication would work much better.

Sorry for the long post…

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Any update on the project timeline?

Project Update: No update to the timeline

I sent on the suggestion for the Fan/Light design today so we’ll see how that plays out. Shoutout to @Xero for the design, looks awesome!

Referenced here: Zigbee Fan Canopy Module | Project Cheryl - #168 by Eric_Inovelli


Well, Im a noob here, just came across the company and the projects as I’ve been looking for a fan control solution to integrate well with Hubitat (of which I’m also relatively new, having transitioned over from Wink). So I’ve already put my pre-order in for Project Cheryl … 5 of them for all of the fans in my house. I love the design of the switch that @Eric_Inovelli posted here. That is EXACTLY what I’m looking for. But I have a “rule” for automation that is permanently installed in my house - that is for the devices to be able to operate independently of the automation system. So in this case I would want for Project Walt switch to be able to communicate directly to the Project Cheryl fan controller for basic control without the need for both to communicate with the hub. But of course they should also be controllable from the hub. Is that a mode that Project Walt and Project Cheryl will support? (BTW, I love the homage to the folks!)

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Yes, Walt and Cheryl are both Zigbee devices. One way of getting them to communicate is by using Zigbee binding. That is set up via the hub, but after that, the two devices communicate directly with each other, independent of the hub. The canopy still remains hub controllable, though.