Meet the Fibaro Wall Plug FWGPF-101

Fibaro Wall Plug

Today I received a Fibaro Wall Plug FGWPF-101.

I shut down my RPi running RasPlex, exchanged the SD card for the one with the RaZberry software on it, booted the RPi and from the RaZberry UI I included the Fibaro Wall Plug (Plug from now on).¬†Within 2 minutes the Plug was ready to play with ūüėČ

Lets have a closer look at what this Plug can do:

– handle 2.5 kW continuous load (resistive load, so watch the cos ŌÜ)
– Radio: Z-Wave, 1 mW @ 868.4 MHz
– Range: 30 m indoors
–¬†Dimensions: D x H 43 x 65 mm
– Crystal RGB LED ring which can be used for a number of things
– Measuring momentary and historic power usage
– Local control by a small push button

The first thing I noticed was the very tiny manual: A4, printed on both sides with a very small font. I downloaded the Operating manual as PDF, maximized Adobe Reader on one of my 22″ HD resolution screens and still had to zoom to 121% before i could start reading. MS Word counts > 3100 words on a single-sided A4 – I’ve seen better.

The Plug itself looks great though! The white surface is glossy and the LED ring looks nice too. But the biggest advantage is the size – it’s really small!


3 different Plugs

I took a picture of 3 plugin modules I have and as you can see 4 Fibaro Plugs will easily fit into that box with 4 sockets; Insteon will manage 2 (and 4 with some extra force) but PLCBUS is the big loser here: only 2 will fit.

The first I did was trying to get a feeling about how fast the Plug responded to On/Off switching from the RaZberry UI. Well, what can I say.. comparing it to X-10 or PLCBUS is useless in terms of responsiveness, those 2 will never win. But I also have a Insteon Hub and an Insteon On/Off Module on my desk and I can control this On/Off module from my homebrew Home Automation system. So i tried both Fibaro and Insteon and I’m not sure, but I think Insteon is a little bit faster: the clicking sound of the Insteon module relay seems to have a smaller ‘silence gap’ with the clicking sound of the mouse than the Fibaro Plug. But maybe I’m biased, so I’ll redo this ‘measurement’ in another way ūüėČ

I’ll test this more thoroughly in the next few days, but before I can do that I need to be able to control this new Plug from my system – that’s the only way I can really compare the two. And I’ll add PLCBUS to the competition as well, just for fun.

After that I’ll do some range testing and see how really well (reliable) this Fibaro Plug performs in a real house, compared to those other 2.

Stay tuned!

 

PS,¬†a message for Mr. Essent – my¬†wife’s¬†hairdryer did turn the LED ring of the Fibaro Plug¬†dark orange,¬†while my hobby equipment all stayed in the green zone! ūüėČ

Insteon for the EU market

Last week I got an email from a Dutch Home Automation shop about a new product they’re selling.¬†It’s the Insteon Hub, which enables you to control X10 with iPad, iPhone and Android devices.

Actually, in a broader perspective, what’s more exciting about this email is the fact that Insteon¬†apparently made it to the other side of the big pond with their products.

But I was a bit puzzled about the email too – Insteon, that’s the company that makes the dual-mesh Home Automation products, right? Now that makes it even more interesting!

I’ve been asked by Jeemz.com to help as a beta tester for Insteon since the past 4 months or so, and I know from my own experience that Insteon¬†is not just about X10, it’s capable of much more.¬†Just think of it: dual-mesh, mesh technology both on your powerline and RF. Most users of powerline-only Domotica hardware will have experienced that sometimes the communication can fail – a washing machine, TV or smart phone chargers can create too much noise on the powerline for the signal to arrive where it has to; and that’s where mesh and RF can kick in to make sure that the command does arrive at the module you wanted to control.

The Insteon dual-mesh technology¬†has been around for quite some time and I would really like to use it in my home – dual-mesh sounds¬†much better. It’s even better than PLCBUS¬†(a powerline technology I use a lot over here; it never became really popular, yet outperforms X10 in many ways).

And that is what Insteon is about in my opinion – new and better technology, more reliable by combining powerline and RF.

To be continued…