Is the Lightwave starter kit the ideal introduction?

Is the Lightwave starter kit the ideal introduction

If you’re starting to explore building a smart home but don’t know where to start, then the Lightwave starter kit might be ideal. Comprised of a Link Plus Hub, a Smart Series Dimmer and a Smart Series Socket, it comes with everything you need to add some basic automation to your home.

 

If you’re new to the world of Lightwave home automation, then you’ll be glad to know that it’s an affordable and superb entry-level system designed in Birmingham for the British market.

 

Lightwave is fantastic if you want to control your lights, power, heating, and blinds within your home. Plus it works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and the Apple HomeKit.

 

Come with us as we explore the Lightwave starter kit and ask if it’s the right place to begin your home automation journey.

 

Pros

  • Great introduction to home automation
  • Easy to set up and programme
  • British design

Cons

  • Requires good DIY skills
  • Expensive

 

 

 

Design

Unlike some home automation products that look clunky or ugly, Lightwave has invested heavily in designing aesthetically-pleasing products. The Lightwave starter kit is available in either a polished silver or white finish, allowing you to pick the best option for your home.

 

The kit is made up of the Link Plus Hub, a single gang Smart Series Dimmer, and a dual gang Smart Series Socket. All three are standard Lightwave products that you can buy off the shelf and not some lite version.

 

The Link Plus looks like a Wi-Fi router and is the brain of the system. Made from durable plastic, it’s designed to last.

 

Both the dimmer and socket are made up of two parts. They have a faceplate that sits on top of the technology element. It’s this part that uses a plastic surround and screws into the wall. The faceplate then slots on top hiding the screws.

 

Due to their retrofittable design, you do need a good level of DIY skills. You need to remove the old socket or light switch and replace them with the Lightwave version. Thankfully, the manuals are easy to follow. You could instead hire an electrician.

 

 

lightwave starter kit dimmer

photo by Lightwave

 

 

Features

As a starter kit, you can experiment with basic home automation without breaking the bank. Of course, the Lightwave starter kit only comes with two devices, which limits what you can achieve. However, it is a superb starting point.

 

At the heart of any Lightwave smart home system is the Link Plus hub, which is the brain. This device sends and receives messages from your Lightwave devices, your smartphone, voice assistant and the online portal. Without it, the system can’t function.

 

For example, you change the main light switch in your lounge with the Lightwave smart dimmer. After pairing it with the hub, you’ll be able to switch your lights on or off and, if possible, dim them.

 

You can control your lights using the switch, the Lightwave smartphone app, or Alexa/Google Assistant. if you decide to use the app, then you don’t need to move from the sofa. As the system uses Wi-Fi, you don’t need to be at home to operate your lights as the app works anywhere.

 

It’s the same basic idea for the power socket. Simply change your existing one for the Lightwave smart socket, pair it with the hub, and you’ll be able to control it from anywhere.

 

As you become more comfortable using the two devices in the starter kit, you can look at expanding the system so it controls the entire room. You could start to roll the technology out across your home, allowing you to control lights and power in each room using the app or a voice command.

 

Another option is to add the Lightwave heating system or use their smart relay devices to control blinds, gates or the garage door. Even for an entry-level home automation system, Lightwave is very powerful.

 

 

Set-up

Getting set up is trickier than with other starter kits, as you need to do some rewiring. The Link Plus is the easiest to install as it plugs directly into your Wi-Fi router and a power socket. For the system to work, you need to leave both your router and Link Plus on at all times.

 

With the hub plugged in and switched on, we can move on to installing the devices. Unlike plug-in-and-play devices that turn your existing plugs into smart devices in a second, Lightwave uses a different method.

 

Lightwave has designed retrofittable devices that are swapped for your existing fittings. The downside is that you have to do some rewiring or pay an electrician. However, the upside is that these devices look very attractive and don’t stand out.

 

After swapping a light switch and power socket for the Lightwave version, you need to pair the devices with the hub. The app will guide you in the process, ensuring you can control the new device.

 

To link the Dimmer:

  1. Using the Lightwave App, select ‘add device’, and follow the in-app instructions.
  2. On the Dimmer, press and hold down one pair of ‘on’ and ‘off’ buttons until the LED flashes blue and red alternately then release it. The Dimmer is now in linking mode.
  3. The LED on the Dimmer will flash blue to confirm that it is linked to the App.

To link the Power Socket:

  1. Using the Lightwave App, select ‘add device’, and follow the in-app instructions.
  2. On the Socket, press and hold down either ‘on’ / ‘off’ button until the LED flashes blue and red alternately then release it. The Socket is now in linking mode.
  3. The LED on the Socket will flash blue to confirm that it is linked to the App.

As you can see, adding devices is quite simple. So, you can quickly scale the Lightwave system within your home. After adding a few devices, the process becomes second nature.

 

 

lightwave starter kit power socket

photo by Lightwave

 

 

Performance

It can take a little while to get used to controlling your lights and power sockets using an app. You might have to resist the urge to leave the sofa to turn on the main pendant light! That said, after embracing the Lightwave starter kit, you’ll quickly realise how powerful the system is.

 

As an entry-level smart home system, Lightwave works best in modern homes with thin walls. As the technology uses a low powered protocol to wirelessly send and receive messages, it doesn’t work very well in older properties with thick walls.

 

To ensure the best performance, you need a strong, stable high-speed internet connection.

 

After using the system for a little while, it’s worth experimenting with building scenes, using IFTTT or controlling the system with Alexa/Google Assistant/Siri. As you try different control options, you can find which one works the best for you.

 

Overall the second-generation devices are very stable, easy to integrate and dependable. It seems Lightwave have improved their quality since the first-generation devices.

 

 

Is the Lightwave starter kit worth buying?

Offering a small discount of £40, over buying the devices individually, if you’re looking for a solid yet basic home automation system, then it’s worth investing in a Lightwave starter kit and the system in general.

 

The kit contains a hub, dimmer and power socket, allowing you to easily experience the system. Plus these devices are the standard retail products and not a slimmed-down version for the starter pack.

 

So, you can easily add more devices as you feel comfortable and continue to build your dream smart home. Overall, Lightwave isn’t the most feature-rich smart home system but is a fantastic starting point for you to explore automating your home.