Feel free to tag any of us with questions. Donovan & Darwyn are the go-to’s for overall project management and timeline questions, Eric M is the go-to for any firmware related questions and I’m (Eric H) the go-to for anything else. Either way, we’re all here to help!
- Project Manager (Inovelli): @Donovan_Inovelli
- Project Manager (Manufacturer): @Darwyn_Inovelli
- Innovation Lead: @Eric_Inovelli
- Technical Lead: @EricM_Inovelli
Note: This is Donovan’s first project and he’s stepped up to help and is eager to learn, so be nice!
PRD Presented to the Manufacturer: Project Zephyr (Fan) - PRD.pdf (1.0 MB)
As per our tradition of working with you amazing people, here’s what this thread allows us to do as a community.
- Allows us to keep everyone updated on the project status (either good or bad)
- Allows you to participate and help us develop amazing products together
- Enjoy each other’s company and have fun talking home automation
How this initial post will be laid out is in five sections:
- Project Overview
- Initial Hardware & Software Requirements (edited to remain up-to-date)
- Timeline (edited to remain up-to-date)
- Pinned Ideas & Shout-outs (edited to remain up-to-date)
- Weekly Recap
- DATES & FUNCTIONS ARE NOT SET IN STONE: Just a reminder that all dates and functions are sometimes fluid. We have to make choices based on feasibility, opportunity costs, and overall timeline. I will be as transparent as possible on these decisions, but just a heads up, they may not always be exciting.
- NO IDEA IS A BAD IDEA: Ok, some are, but honestly throw out anything that you can think of. If we use your idea, we’ll credit you and send you a free device, so take that shot!
- VERSION 1 VS VERSION 2: Some ideas may be fantastic, but may not make the cut for the first version of the product. Once the product is locked in from a function standpoint, we’ll keep a tally of V2 ideas and then once the product is produced, we’ll move the ideas over to a suggestions/wishlist section.
Ok, let’s get this party started!
The purpose of this project is to round out our ZigBee/Matter portfolio and provide a dedicated fan switch. Currently, we’re developing a 2-1 Switch (On/Off & Dimmer) and an Aux Switch, so the fan switch should cover the bases for an initial ZigBee/Matter launch.
This is a huge project, and we’re excited to finally bring a fan switch to market. Building upon the 5+ years of technology and 3+ years of community ideas and backing, we really believe this switch will be the example of what a smart fan switch should be. Together with your help, we’ll continue to put the best products in market.
“Zephyr” is not just an awesome RHCP song, but it also means, “a soft gentle breeze”, which sounds amazing on a hot, summer day. And also, “Windy City” was already taken by our Z-Wave switch, so we had to think of something else
Zephyr - Hardware Requirements
Here are the initial hardware asks we came up with. Pretty decent start!
- Responsive Paddle: rests in a neutral state (tap up = on // tap down = off & hold up = dim up // hold down = dim down)
Config / Favorite Button: button should be used for configuration of the switch as well as scene control.
- Should be able to be held (for config)
- Should be able to be tapped (for scene control)
RGB LED Bar: should measure the % of the fan speed
- LED’s should be RGB (artificial white included)
- LED’s should also be able to be dimmed
- Colors: dimmer switch will be offered in white (matching Lutron Claro wallplates), but the paddle should be able to be replaced to change colors (almond, brown, red, black, grey, etc)
- Slim Design: depth of switch should be as slim as possible so that it can fit into metal boxes.
- Air Gap: UL requirement
- No heat-sink tabs: remove heat sink tabs for easier installation (note: may have to sacrifice max wattage/amperage)
- ZigBee 3.0 - use the latest ZigBee chipset (should be the same one that will be used for Matter and compatible with Philips Hue + Amazon Echo Plus)
- 3-Way / 4-Way Ready – switch should auto-detect
- Should work with an auxiliary switch (like GE’s does)
* Should work with an existing dumb switch
- Should work with another smart switch (if wired to another smart switch, it should be able to detect this)
- Should work with an auxiliary switch (like GE’s does)
- Power Monitoring - switch should measure the power consumption
- ZigBee Distance Estimator - should be able to estimate the signal strength of the Z-Wave signal and notify via the LED bar (see Appendix - Section C)
- Instant On - when tapped 1x (and scenes aren’t used), switch should turn the fan on instantly (no delay)
- Configurable delay in 100ms increments (see tech doc)
* CFL & LED Compatibility - minimum buzz and flickering(whoops, copy/paste error)
- Configurable delay in 100ms increments (see tech doc)
- 2.5A – Match GE’s specifications for fan load
& Non-NeutralCompatibility - Switch should be able to work with a neutral wire or without a neutral wire
Should auto-detect which setting it’s in (neutral/non-neutral, aux/dumb) and if it can’t, then there should be a manual override.
- UPDATE 06/21/21 – we will likely have to start out with a neutral only version of this switch. We are still discussing if this is possible, but early discussions have this being neutral required.
- Auto-Detect Line/Load (and if possible other terminals)
- No matter how customer wires it, the switch should be able to detect what’s wired/where.
- Work with DC Fans
Zephyr - Software Requirements
Below is what we came up with for the software requirements. Welcome to the next level!
- ZigBee Scene Control (if there is one – would be nice to be able to set scenes directly with Hue)
- RGBW Bar Config - bar should be able to change colors and dimmed to the customer’s favorite level
- Auto Timer - switch should have a timer that shuts the switch off after a certain amount of time
- Easy Config - switch should be able to be configured via the config / favorite button.
- There should be infinite customization via parameters in the firmware, but also set customizations for HUB’s that do not allow parameter changes (ie: Wink)
- Local Protection Mode (aka: Internal Relay Disable) - internal relay should be able to be disabled locally and via ZigBee
- Minimum fan level / Maximum fan level
- Ramp rate configuration - ability to change how fast/slow fan turns on
- Ramp rate & instant on/off separated
- Default Fan Level - ability to set the default fan level
- OTA Ready - ability to update firmware via OTA
- Associations? Can ZigBee switches be associated (are Hue remotes associated with their bulbs?)
- Smart Bulb Mode from our Z-Wave Switches – maybe a smart fan mode?
- Pair in different security levels?
Ah, everyone’s favorite part. When is this flippin thing going to be released? Great question – here’s the high-level of what happens leading up to the first release of the timeline:
- We present a PRD (Project Request Document) that has all of the above info in it
- R&D (manufacturer) analyzes the PRD and we go back and forth until we can align on 90% of the product
- Initial Timeline is released and remaining 10% of product features are added/cut along the way
Again, just want to throw this out there – I don’t have a crystal ball so I can’t predict things that come up along the way. Trust me when I say we’re trying our best to get things launched on time.
- Present PRD: Completed 06/15
- R&D Analyzation: Completed 07/14
- Initial Timeline Released: Completed 07/14
NOTE: A more comprehensive timeline will be released as we move through the process. This is the initial timeline.
Final confirmation of the structure - 2021/8/20
- Final confirmation of the structure - 2021/8/20 - COMPLETED
- Plastic structure tooling cycle - 2021/8/20~2021/10/10 - IN PROGRESS
- Metal structure tooling cycle - 2021/8/23~2021/9/15 - IN PROGRESS
- Hardware design and proofing - 2021/9/20 - IN PROGRESS
- Program development and testing - 2021/10/20 - NOT STARTED
- Switch and gateway compatibility test - 2021/10/20~2021/10/30 - NOT STARTED
- Prototype production and testing - 2021/9/24
- Product certification ZIGBEE/FCC/UL - 2021/10/20~2021/11/30
Pinned Ideas & Shout-Outs
Here are the ideas from the community. We sincerely appreciate them, we love them, and we couldn’t create the products we do without them. So, thank you for your input and let’s continue to innovate together and change the home automation category for the better (NOTE: if an idea is crossed out, it’s not because it wasn’t valid, nor was it something we didn’t consider – we’ve discussed it internally or with the manufacturer and unfortunately it was not feasible).
|Step||Current State||New State|
|1||Press and hold switch up||Press and hold switch up|
|2||700ms pause||Scene command for button pressed is sent|
|3||Scene command for button held is sent||700ms pause|
|4||N/A||Scene command for button held is sent|
Every other Thursday morning, we have a meeting with our manufacturer to go over the various projects (status, issues, timeline, etc) and below we’ll provide a recap as well as edit the sections above so we can all keep track. If you have any specific questions you’d like me to ask, feel free to tag anyone from the project management team above and we’ll be happy to answer. The bi-weekly cadence for updates will be Thursday afternoons.
July 21, 2022: Updated the project status, received pricing and officially kicked it off with the manufacturer.
July 22, 2022: Exploring options for a non-neutral switch. Expect a poll going up in the coming days!
August 5th, 2021: Tooling is approved and deposit is made. The updated pics will be shared before the end of next week. We had an internal discussion earlier on how the switch will handle in a multi switch setup. We haven’t made a final decision but we’re leaning towards the switch only working with an aux switch in a 3 way setting. It will not work a dumb switch. If you have a dumb switch, we recommend using an On/Off Switch. Further explanation can be found here.
August 19th, 2021: Discussed with our manufacturer about the switch being a 7 speed switch but that would require another capacitor. Unfortunately because of this limit, the Fan Switch will be handle 3 speeds: low, medium, and high.
Matter - while its delay is disappointing our chip is still on schedule for a Q4 release, we are still moving ahead with Zigbee. Eric wrote about more on our strategy with Matter in the Project New Horizons thread.
We received the 3D rendering file for the switch. Check it out!
September 2nd, 2021: Everything is still on track for a Q4 release. We discussed how we can expect these switches will update to Matter. However, due to design constraints of the switch, it may be difficult for users to access the port. We have asked the manufacturer to look for alternative solutions for the design and or a harness so that we could update the switch to Matter in-house for customers if need be.
September 16th, 2021: Nothing major this week as our contact is out of the office. We discussed a little about fan specifications in the US but otherwise the project is still on track.
September 30th, 2021: Talked about timelines and more advanced testing with Hubitat. Nothing too major but we’re still on track for Q4. Link to comment.
October 14th, 2021: Still on track but this time around we ran into a small snag. Unfortunately the switch is having issues supporting an aux switch in a non-neutral setting. Due to current hardware limitations, we agreed to test the switch without power metering included. Hopefully by removing this the switch will seamlessly work in non-neutral setups with an aux. This isn’t out of the ordinary for us as our Dimmers & On/Offs don’t have metering in a non-neutral setting - still it’s a bummer to hear. We’re open to hearing others thoughts on this trade-off too.