You make your home smart with actuators
Would you like to automate your existing building technology? Then you can do that with actors. We explain to you what actuators are, which devices can be controlled with them and what you should pay attention to when buying.
Actuators are the invisible helpers in the smart home: They are installed hidden in existing flush-mounted sockets and linked to conventional electrical consumers. The actuators receive the control commands from the occupants via radio (e.g. "lights off") and then automatically trigger the desired action (the lighting goes out). Depending on the installed actuator, you give the control commands via wall switch, remote control, app or speech. You can use an app to program additional smart functions, such as defining schedules and simulating your presence while you're out and about.
Which electrical devices can I control and automate with actuators?
- Lamps (the light switch is made smart by an actuator)
- Electric shutters, blinds, awnings and venetian blinds
- Any electrical device that plugs into a socket (e.g. TV, speakers, LED strips and fairy lights, coffee maker, electric heater)
- Electric garage doors
What are the requirements for installing actuators?
The following requirements must be met:
- The neutral conductor must be present A neutral conductor must be present in the power cable to connect an actuator. The neutral conductor has a blue or gray sheath, depending on the type of power cable. In modern buildings, a neutral conductor is a matter of course. However, in old domestic electrical installations (from the 1960s or earlier) the neutral wire is not always present.
- There must be enough space for installation. In order to be able to install a flush-mounted actuator directly behind a socket or a light switch, you need a deep flush-mounted box. You can retrofit the deep box or exchange it for the conventional box. Don't want to touch the existing installation with a flat box? Then you can also place the actuator in an additional flush-mounted box that you attach above, below or directly next to the existing box. You don't know whether you have a deep or normal built-in box in your home? No problem. You simply use the ruler to measure how deep the can is. And then you compare the determined depth with the depth of the switch or socket on which the actuator is mounted.
- Knowledge of electrical installation Actuators may only be installed by qualified electricians with an electrical certificate. So that no mistakes are made during installation, even as a professional, you should take the time to read the installation instructions carefully. The instructions also describe, for example, in which cases you have to change the jumper of the socket actuators - that depends on which device you want to connect.
Find the right actor
- Purpose The consumer to be connected specifies which type of actuator you need. To put it plainly: you need a different type of actuator for controlling the roller shutter than for the "smartification" of a socket. Many manufacturers make it easy for you and already write in the product name for which consumers the respective actuator is suitable.
- Radio control center or autonomous operation Some actuators require a Smart Home radio control center (also called gateway or access point, depending on the manufacturer), in which all control commands converge. However, there are also actuators where you can do without the radio control center. They work independently and are simply programmed via an app.
- Cloud-based or cloud-free Software is required to control the actuators - and for many actuators this is located in the manufacturer's cloud, which of course has to meet the highest data security requirements. Nevertheless, this is a thorn in the side of some users. They don't want to send their data to the cloud. Then actuators come into question that actually only transmit in the home network; all data stays with you at home. However, these cloud-free actuators cannot be controlled from outside either - unless you also install VPN access, which you can use to connect to your home network from anywhere in the world.
- Check quality features We recommend that you pay particular attention to the following:
- The actuator should be TÜV certified. In this way you can ensure that the actuator meets the highest quality and safety standards.
- The actuator should be able to cope with high operating temperatures so that intensive use does not result in overheating and damage to the actuator.
- Also helpful: an integrated overload and overtemperature protection, which switches off automatically if the programmed threshold values are exceeded, thus preventing damage to the actuator.
- The smaller the actuator, the easier it is to “sink” into the flush-mounted box. Accordingly, you should check the dimensions of the actuator when buying it.
- The actuator should be easy to program. This is particularly quick with actuators that allow programming via an app.
Actuators in the wesmartify shop: Which actuator suits me?
We have two own brands: essentials actuators and wesmartify actuators. The essentials actuators are cloud-based and can be programmed in no time using an app. The wesmartify actuators, on the other hand, are something for "hobbyists": They use the open source firmware Tasmota and work independently of the cloud. Whether essentials or wesmartify: All actuators of our own brands are TÜV-certified, allow a maximum operating temperature of up to 90°C, have overload and overtemperature protection and are designed to be particularly space-saving. In addition, you do not need an additional adapter for the essentials and wesmartify actuators to connect them to a switch.
Actuators for light switches
- essentials Smart Home actuator Switch It (switch connected lamps)
- essentials Smart Home actuator Dimm It (dimming and switching connected lamps)
- essentials smart home actuator LED It (Dimming and controlling the light color of connected lamps)
- essentials Smart Home actuator Measure It (Switching consumers with simultaneous measurement and display of energy consumption in the app)
- wesmartify smart home actuator Switch It TASMOTA (switch connected lamps)