In 2021, GLEDOPTO released their latest product – a smart triac AC dimmer, which is Zigbee based and can introduce smart (on/off and dimming) functionality to standard ‘dumb’ bulbs – such as dimmable LEDs, halogen and incandescent lights.
This is wired into the lighting circuit and sits inside the light switch, and it worked really well from my testing.
- 0:00 Intro
- 0:31 How the product works
- 4:50 Hue product demo
- 5:22 Alexa product demo
- 6:17 Downsides
- 7:26 Wrapping up
This product was announced on Reddit and can be purchased from AliExpress:
The following bulb types are supported:
Hello, I’m Tristan from Smart Home Point. This is a really old, dimmable halogen bulb. There’s nothing “smart” about it – in-fact, it was probably created before the internet was. This is a Philips Hue dimmer switch, a smart remote for smart lights. And THIS is how that old halogen bulb can be smartly turned on and off, and dimmed. Waaatt?
Now fans of Lutron Caseta might be saying “yeah big deal, this has been possible for years” BUT this device costs less than $30 and it is Zigbee based – so it doesn’t require an additional hub if you already have a Hue Bridge, Tuya Hub or a 4th generation Echo for example. Plus Lutron Caseta is practically unavailable in the UK and Europe, which isn’t very useful for non-American smart home enthusiasts like me.
Right, this is a low cost triac dimmer from GLEDOPTO which introduces smart control to your existing lighting setup – without the need for new switches or new lights. This is especially useful if you have loads of really expensive light fittings that you want to make smart, but without changing the lights themselves. You can just go out and buy one simple device, wire it up inside your lighting circuit, and you’re done – it all works really easily. Plus it only counts as a single connected device within your smart home network, unlike if you have loads of smart bulbs that can sometimes end up overloading a smart hub or a WiFi router. Cool, but is there any downside to this product? Well, yes – firstly, this requires a neutral wire in the switch. Secondly, it’s such a new product that this barely has any reviews on the entire internet. Is it any good? Well, we’ll see – that’s what I’m going to answer today.
But before I do, disclaimer time: GLEDOPTO did send me this product to review (in other words, I didn’t purchase it), BUT this is a fully independent review – I’m not being sponsored or paid to say nice things about it. Right, so this is the GLEDOPTO Triac AC Dimmer. It’s the smallest thing I’ve seen since… [cut] it’s a very small device.
Its dimensions are 48x45x21mm which is a lot less deep than the back of many smart switches you’ll find on Amazon, for example. BUT its depth of 21mm (0.8″) is double that of the Hue Wall Switch Module. So this GLEDOPTO dimmer is still a small device, but be sure to check that you have enough room in your switch back box before installing it.
If you have purchased this product, the included manual includes everything you need to know – but the two Reddit announcement pages are also quite useful, so I have included links to those down in the description if you want to check them out. This dimmer works with a range of light bulb types and its input voltage is a wide 100-240 volts AC, so it can be installed pretty much anywhere in the world – which is quite nice.
In terms of how this product works, it is wired into your lighting circuit and it regulates the voltage supplied to the bulb to achieve the dimming (and on/off) functionality. It has a permanent live going into the bottom, along with switched live support. This is mainly for “touch panel” – i.e. momentary – type switches that offer on-off AND dimming support by hitting the ‘Level’ button on the left. This all worked well from my testing – both dimming and on-off worked as you’d expect.
I did try testing out the most common switch that you get in the UK – a rocker switch – but this doesn’t work as you’d expect. Whilst it DOES turn the bulb off once pressed, it doesn’t then turn the bulb back on when pressed. I asked GLEDOPTO about this and they explained that this GLEDOPTO dimmer doesn’t work with such switches. Whilst this is disappointing, it’s good to know that rocker switches can act as a bit of a ‘circuit breaker’, turning the power off if needed.
The wiring diagram is simple enough, but I must of course mention that you should not work with your house’s electrics if you aren’t competent to do so. Power kills! If you think that biting electrical cables is a good plan, or that using a sharp knife pointing towards your body is sensible, then maybe bring in a pro to install this GLEDOPTO device! But if you are competent to install this yourself, remember when wiring it all up that you must twist your knob. (Laughs). Sorry. For this demonstration, I powered a simple circuit from my wall socket. But this is a very “DIY”… some may say “hacky”… solution. Don’t try this at home.
When it’s all wired up, you can test things out by pressing your physical wall switch or the “Lever” button on the device. But of course, this is a SMART device. It is Zigbee based and identifies itself as a dimmable bulb, meaning that it works well with any Zigbee hub. In my case, I’ve paired this with my Philips Hue ecosystem – and so you can use remotes like the Hue Dimmer Switch to turn it on and off, and also alter the brightness levels. You can also control it easily within the Hue app, as though it’s a Hue White bulb – essentially. It is all seamless and fast – I didn’t encounter any real issues once it was all setup.
This GLEDOPTO dimmer also integrates well with Amazon Alexa (or anything else that you have configured via your Zigbee hub). In other words, you can use the Alexa app to turn the dimmer on and off, and also alter the brightness. You can also do this with voice commands:
“Alexa, triac test off” – “OK”
“Alexa, triac test to 50%” – “OK”
“Alexa, triac test to 100%” – “Do you mean bedroom?”
Okay, ignoring Alexa’s poor voice recognition, it’s clear that this GLEDOPTO dimmer works just like you’d expect from a white-only Zigbee light bulb, with all the usual smart features and integration. But it ALSO integrates fine with your preexisting dimming light switch. And all this costs less than $30. Noice.
So… are there any downsides? Well, yes.
Firstly, this device requires a neutral wire, which not all light switches have.
Secondly, the depth – 21mm or 0.8″ – may make it hard to fit inside shallow back boxes, especially since you’ll need extra wiring for both the switch and the GLEDOPTO dimmer’s permanent live.
Thirdly, pairing this device can be a bit buggy at times. I added the device to my Hue app 5 times to test it out, and twice my Hue app didn’t detect it. Luckily this isn’t too hard to resolve – as pointed out on Reddit, try searching for a device first and THEN turning it on. This usually works better with GLEDOPTO products, in my experience.
Fourthly, as mentioned earlier, rocker switches aren’t really supported with this device. Whilst they DO turn the power off, they don’t turn it back on.
With all that said, this is a nice, stable product from my testing. It works well, it’s responsive to app control, voice commands and physical Zigbee remotes – along with actual physical button presses. This is obviously a bit of a niche product but if you have lots of expensive lights that you want to make smart, this could be the right product for you. At the time of filming (which is April 2021), this is only available to buy from AliExpress but it’s expected to be available on Amazon.com within the next few months. GLEDOPTO told me that the price will remain below $30 on AliExpress. I’ve put links to this product down in the description – but they’re not affiliate links, this is an independent review.
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