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Z-Wave Fibaro RGBW Controller for the control of LED Stripes

by crissxcross20. September 2015

Completely integrate a cheap LED Stripe into the home automation? – That would bring along completely new opportunities in SmartHome.

RGBW Controller for the wireless controlling and color switching of LED lights in house and apartment.

I have installed an RGB LED stripe behind our banister in our Maisonette-apartment. At the moment, you can turn it on and off via a switchable socket by Homematic. The colors of the LED Stripe can be varied via IR-remote, so that colors can also be controlled via Logitech Harmony remote. (Staircase lighting – RGB LED Stripes – controlling with Logitech Harmony and Homematic). The whole thing is a pretty comfortable result – but unfortunately not yet really “smart”.

Though, by switching the systems from Homematic to Z-Wave new opportunities are revealed. The manufacturer Fibaro also researched and developed in the field of LED controlling. The result is the Z-Wave based Fibaro RGBW Controller.

By the way, the Initials RGBW represent the basic colors red, green, blue, and white. Thus, next to the conventional RGB-channels, the Fibaro-module also has the white channel, which makes it possible, to switch pastel colors etc. This way an infinite number of possible colorations for the lighting of the house or flat become feasible.

The little unimpressive black block can be registered on a Fibaro Smart Home System – for instance at the Home Center 2 or the Home Center Lite. Afterwards, every LED-light that is connected to one of those systems, can be driven by a Smartphone or Tablet and function as a part of a home automation scene. Nearly every color tone of the LED can be varied through the Smartphone or table app. The programming of color schemes is possible, as well.

Connecting an LED Stripe to a RGBW Controller

For this purpose it is important that the Fibaro RGBW Controller works with 12 resp. 24 Volt. Therefore, it needs a power supply to function. This is already included in the package of the RGB LED light stripe. Furthermore, besides the LED tape, the package of the RGB LED Stripe also contains the control unit with the IR receiver. In the following I want to shortly describe you, how you can replace the IR-control unit with the Fibaro RGBW Controller.

picture by: © crissxcross

RGB LED Stripe Connector; picture by: © crissxcross

Let us take a look at the inputs resp. outputs of the Fibaro RGBW Controller. At the very left, we can see the input for the 12Volt, as well as the ground connection. Four inputs are following next. To these, you could link up analog temperature-, brightness-, wind-, or pressure sensors, which work in the field of 0-10 Volt, so that home lighting can automatically adapt to the weather resp. to the daytime. Alternatively, you could connect the IR-receiver, which we want to replace with the Fibaro RGBW Controller, to these inputs. Thus, besides the Smartphone App, it would be possible to control the RGB LED Stripe with the infrared remote as well. You can find a wiring diagram to that in this article: Controlling of the LED Stripe via Smartphone with Fibaro RGB or Infrared Controller

by: © crissxcross

Inputs of the RGBW Controller by Fibaro

Outputs for R, G, B, and W – to which the RGB LED Stripe has to be connected – are placed on the right side of the Fibaro RGBW Controller.

Step 1) Prepare the cable of the RGB LED Stripe

You could cut off the plug of the RGB LED tape to directly connect it to the Fibaro RGB Controller. Thus, the control unit with the infrared receiver would stay completely untouched. Though, I think it is solved more elegantly, if there is a plug connection between the Fibaro RGB Controller and the RGB LED Stripe. That is why I cut off the plug on the side of the control element with the IR-receiver to later on reconnect it to the Fibaro RGB Controller.

Aftwerwards the isolation of the cable sheath. Underneath, four veins are located. Next to the three basic colors (red, green, blue), a black cable for the connection to the 12 Volt can be found.

Step 2) Prepare the cable of the power supply

Due to the fact that we, as already mentioned, need 12 volt tension on the Fibaro RGBW Controller and the power supply cannot just be connected, we need to cut this plug as well. As before, both veins are isolated.

Step 3) Connect Power Supply & RGB LED Stripe to the Controller

Wiring diagram of the Fibaro RGBW Controller

Wiring diagram of the Fibaro RGBW Controller

Now, all the cables need to be put on the right place. Let us start from the left, again. The 12 Volt input, to which both cable wires of the power supply have to be connected, is located here. The black cable, which leads to the RGB LED Stripe, also belongs on the 12 Volt connection on the very left.

The three remaining cable wires of the cable (red, green, and blue) go to the ports R, G, and B, in this exact order.

Include the Fibaro RGBW Controller to Home Center Lite

In order to also be able to control the LEDs via Smartphone or Tablet, the RGBW Controller has to be learned to the Home Center Lite or another Gateway. This occurs, as in any other Z-Wave device, by pressing the teach button three times in a row. Here, too applies that during the learning mode, the Fibaro RGBW Controller should be as close as possible to the center, because other active Z-Wave components can function as repeater. Though, on the first registration, the Z-Wave component should directly communicate to the center.

After successful registration an “unfolded” box appears on the web surface of the Home Center Lite. Now the Home Center Lite resp. the Fibaro Home Center 2 must once be told, which components it is about, due to the fact that the Fibaro RGBW Module is multifunctional. On here, it can be chosen if it is a RGB (red, green, blue) Controller or a RGBW Controller, with additional white channel. Alternatively the Fibaro RGB Controller can also function as Input/output module.

Afterwards, the Fibaro RGBW Controller is available among the modules. It can be turned on and off and be varied in its color. It can even be used in scenes, now. You could, for instance, turn the RGB LED light stripe on to a specific time of the day, every day, or as soon as a motion sensor reports a move.

Fibaro RGBW Module in HCL Scenes

In the Fibaro HCL (Home Center Lite), pre-defined procedures can, via event or time interval, be performed in so called scenes. One scene could for instance be: Whenever the TV is turned on, then RGBW Controller on and Color = blue. Unfortunately this is not (yet) possible that easily. Even though the RGBW Controller can be turned on or off during scenes, it only starts in the most recently used color. It unfortunately is not (yet) that simply possible to address a color directly in the scene. Though, Fibaro announced this function in the Forum for the firmware update 4.x.

Who does not want to wait until the firmware update 4.x is published, can make shifts via a small detour. For that a virtual module, which directly addresses the color, has to be applied. This virtual module can then be integrated into scenes without problems.

I described how that works on here: Fibaro HCL (Home Center Lite) setting up a virtual module

Energy Consumption in a Chart

A nice gimmick of the Fibaro RGBW Controller is that it also measures the energy consumption of the connected RGB LED Stripe and that it represents it in the energy monitor. This way, the energy consumption can be graphically displayed over time on the web surface of the Home Center Lite or in the Smartphone & Tablet App.

The color change in the Fibaro App is very comfortably possible via slider or a color wheel.

Used Components

The Fibaro RGBW Controller is available on Amazonand costs about 50 euros. I bought the RGB LED Stripe, which I installed behind a banister, of Amazon a while ago. I am sure you will be able to find a matching LED light source on eBay, as well.

During my search for a RGB LED Stripe I encountered the Web shop LED-Konzept.de. Next to RGB LED Stripes, it also provides aluminum profiles, which enable a versatile use of the LED straps. It is definitely worth to stop by.

Conclusion:

The Fibaro RGBW Controller is a must-have for all fans of colorful light strips. The installation lasts less than half an hour and afterwards the LEDs are controllable via Wi-Fi. Price based, it is clearly below the price of Philips Hue and co.

Linda translator

This text was translated by Linda

Hi! My name is Linda and I graduated high school with great interest in English language. I help with mein-cleveres-haus.de and translate texts for siio.de in my spare time.

You can read the original in German on siio.de.

About The Author
crissxcross
Hi, I'm crissxcross, qualified IT system electronics. Professionally, I work as a product marketing manager in the Smart Home. And private I am self a Smart Homie :-) If I do not sit in front of the monitor like I photograph and am a big fan of Apple. I am the founder of the SiiO.de blog.

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