Monday, May 07, 2007

Bye Bye Standby..

Noticed there werent too many reviews on the net for the Domia 'Bye Bye Standby' product, so I thought I'd post my experiences with it:

Essentially, it's a big stick-up (or screw-up) switch, that when you press the 'green' bit, it turns off all the bye bye standby mains switch units (or in Home Automation speak Domia Lite 1000w Appliance Modules) , and turns them back on again when you press the 'top' of the swich above the 'green bit'

The system uses 433.92mhz radio signals, and works very well. I have 5 modules running on the switch by the door, turning off the TV and AV stuff, all the PC printer, monitor and speakers, as well as one in the dining room on the hi-fi - furthest away module is 15M though a solid wall and its fine.

Job done you might say. But being me I wanted to know more....

So, The switch is actually very similar to the Domia Lite wall switch, though as the appliance modules are not 'dimmable' lighting modules, its impossible for me to confirm if the wall switch is the same as the Domia Lite dimmer switch sold separatley 8-)

The modules are much smaller than X10 or X10*2 modules, and respond immediatley to the switching commands.

The ByeBye Standby starter kit comes with 2 appliance modules, and the wall switch, and you can add more Domia Lite appliance modules to the system.

Each component has a A-H 'house code' dial and a 'address' dial - 1-8. When setting up the system, you simply set the House code and address dials to match on all the components, and that's it!

Now for some bad news:

The system is not X10 compatible, (not that anyone said it was), the RF handset and wall switch dont work with X10 RF devices, and the system doesnt use your mains circuits to send signals.
The wall swich has a house and device code dial which you need to set to match that of the appliance modules - unfortunatley, though the appliance modules support 'group' switching, the wall switch does not. - set it to A-1 and it will only control A-1 units, any other unit on the A house code and a different device address will ignore the wall switch - this is a bit of a shame, as a jumper or extra switch inside the 'green switch' would allow people to kill everything in house-code A for example on the way out the door, which is actually far more flexable should they have other units and use the hand-held remote for lights and other appliances that might benefit from being switched off too.

I also went for the Domia Lite Starter Kit, which is a cheap way of getting 3 more appliance modules, and a neat handheld remote.

Some thoughts on it's limitations:

If you just want to switch off all your gadgets and save the planet (well a few watts anyway) you will be happy with the simplicity of this system - you dont need to be a propeller head, and you dont need a PC to set it up, and it works well.

I do however think if you're more Home-Automation orientated you might share my thoughts on Domia's choice of multiple standards and systems in their products:

  • How about a Domia Lite PC controller module with a USB or Serial port? - the RF switching on these products is far more reliable than the X10 PLC protocols (in my house anyway!), and the response time is faster. The PC controller could also be a reciever as well, so it could pick up switching signals as well from wall switches etc. -- X10 PLC (Power Line Control) is dated, and doesnt work reliably in everyones home (including mine) -- if it 'looked' like a CM12 to the PC then all existing software would work with it without even knowing.
  • Adding a 'all-codes' option to the 'big green' switch would increase the system's effectiveness in a home where other Domia Lite units were being used.