Ecoswitch – Review

I was interested to hear about this new switch from AEI Security. The idea of an internal PIR controlled switch seems so obvious (indeed these are readily available in the States – like everything else). The clever bit of this switch is that it doesn’t require a neutral wire (like all those external PIR security lights for example). It can also be used with florescent bulbs as well as non-lighting appliances (fans etc). Here’s a quote from AEI’s website.

“This is what makes the EcoSwitch revolutionary. It can be connected to any type of load, resistive (such as standard incandescent bulbs) or inductive (such as fluorescent lights or extractor fans). Its revolutionary design makes it the first automatic wall switch to keep the load switched on indefinitely, all the time movement exists within its 12 meter field of view. When movement ceases, a built-in time control always ensures that the light is switched off after the pre-set time period, which should be of particular appeal to energy saving initiatives.”

The “EcoSwitch” is available in 4 different models. Initially I tested the ‘S’ Version. Here’s how AEI describe it…

“The ‘S’ version features fully adjustable time and lux controls. The time off delay period can be set from as little as 8 seconds to 6 minutes, and the lux control can be adjusted to activate the switch at certain ambient light levels. This makes it ideal for just about any application within residential or commercial buildings.”

To test the ‘S’ version I thought I would try it out in my garage. The switch comes packaged with clear and simple instructions and sheet with questions and answers on setting it up (a sort of mini FAQ). After isolating the mains I removed the existing light switch. At first I was worried the EcoSwitch wouldn’t fit into the very shallow surface mount box on my garage wall but to my amazement it did. These switches should fit into 99.9% of existing wall switch boxes without any trouble at all. You don’t even need a screw driver to secure the wires into the EcoSwitch as it uses two clever little catches that you just push the bared wires into.

The switch was then screwed back onto the wall box (new screws are provided). Now the settings can be made. This version of the EcoSwitch (‘S’ version) includes adjustments for lux (at what light level the switch starts to operate) and time delay (how long it will stay on for after detecting movement).

Finally you clip on the PIR lens (taking care that it’s the right way up) and you’re finished. The whole job was done and dusted in around five minutes flat! Since fitting it a couple of friends who have seen the switch in my garage want one. I think that speaks for itself.

Next I tested the ‘D’ version. Again from AEI’s website…

“The ‘D’ version incorporates a very clever dimmer function when used with incandescent lighting, which ensures that when ambient light levels fall below the pre-set level, the light is automatically switched on at a 20% brightness level only. Upon detecting movement will it trigger the light to 100% brightness and once again automatically switches off or back to a low brightness level one minute after movement ceases. This feature has superb applications within communal areas such as hallways, corridors and porches etc.”

The fitting of the ‘D’ version is exactly the same as the ‘S’ Version above except there are no adjustments to make. The switch brings the light on at dusk at a low level (as long as you’re using incandescent lighting). When movement is detected the lamp is brought up to 100% until the movement ceases. As AEI state, this version would be most useful in hallways, foyers etc of hotels, flats and other communal sites.

There are two additional models to choose from…

“The ‘F’ version is suitable for permanently dark rooms, ensuring the light always comes on when movement is detected. It has a switch off time delay fixed at one minute after movement ceases and works with all types of load. ”

“For existing 2 way lighting circuits using a conventional 3 core cable, AEI have also produced a version allowing two separate units to operate with one of more light bulbs or fluorescent fittings on the same switch circuit. It features full lux and time controls and is supplied as a twin pack. The ‘T’ version is ideal for stair ways and corridors.”

While these switches are not controllable externally via X10 etc they are very useful. Indeed the term “Home Automation” is often dubiously used when talking about the ability to control lights, for example, by infrared remote control. However, the EcoSwitch is truly an automated product as it requires no thought or input at all from the user for it to operate. Nice one AEI!

Approximate Price RRP’s
‘F’ version £29.99
‘D’ version £34.99
‘S’ version £39.99
‘T’ version £79.99

Available From AEI Security

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