Schneider Electric enters the smart lighting market with a series of Wi-Fi switches, dimmers and wall sockets bearing its Square D brand. Marketed as the X Series, these Wi-Fi devices connect only to Wi-Fi networks of 2.4 GHz. The company says it will ship Z-Wave versions of this series in early 2022.
We reviewed the X-series Wi-Fi dimmer here; specifically, the model number SQR226U1 supports loads up to 600 watts. Schneider seems to be targeting this product at contractors as it comes in a replacement green box with installation instructions, wiring diagrams, and safety warnings. If you are a newbie who needs some level of grip during installation, Schneider Electric recommends hiring a licensed electrician if you are not familiar with the process, this is not the switch for you.
Cover plates are sold separately; more on that in a moment. On the positive side, this switch can be used for both single-pole and three-way applications, and the latter scenario does not depend on a Square D complementary switch; You can reuse any three-way switch that is already on the other end of the circuit.
This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best smart light switches and dimmers, where you will find reviews of competing offerings, as well as a buyer’s guide on the features to consider when purchasing this type of product.
The dimmer itself consists of two buttons that function like a more common rocker switch: a short press on the top button turns on a connected light, and a short press on the bottom button turns it off. Pressing and holding the lower button dims the light, while doing the same on the upper button illuminates it. The dimmer remembers the last brightness setting when the switch is turned off and returns to that state when it is turned back on.
Please note, however, that unlike other wall dimmers, there is no calibration system here. This can lead to dimming problems with some types of bulbs, particularly older LEDs. Also, the buttons are quite stiff and can take a lot more pressure to activate than competitive switches. This could be a problem for some users, including older adults and young children.
Connectivity comes via screw terminals with pressure plates on the sides, as well as push connections on the back. I tried both wiring methods and found that the push connections were loose; the wires sometimes came out as I pushed the switch towards the wall. Meanwhile, the pressure plates are almost impossible to unhook, forcing me to connect the wires to the screw terminals directly.
There is not much space under these screws, which makes this process difficult. Square D does not include wire braids or nuts, so I had to supply mine to connect the switch to both the neutral wire (which is required) and the ground wire, both of which were tied together with similar wires inside my box. This added complexity to my installation.
Once installed and secured to the wall, I turned to Square D’s Wiser Home mobile app. The setup in this step requires you either scan a QR code provided on a label on the box or manually enter a complex alphanumeric SSID and a access code, with a total of 32 characters. Don’t lose these stickers; without them, the system will be impossible to connect to your Wi-Fi network.
Launching the Wiser Home application was a stalled affair, interrupted by frequent network or device disconnections, with many “Unknown Error” messages popping up in the application. I spent about 45 minutes playing the game before the device was fully connected, and after that, the app informed me that a firmware update would be installed in the background sometime in the next hour, disconnecting some functions for a while.
The app itself is attractive, the main screen includes weather conditions, current sunrise and sunset times (useful for the scheduling system), and quick access to manual controls. You can’t control the brightness levels from the main screen, but you can turn the switch on and off here. You’ll need to drill down into the details screen for a more detailed control, which includes a simple slider to set the brightness.
There are two additional functions available in the app: a capable scheduling system, with support for the aforementioned sunrise and sunset options, and a basic energy monitoring system, although the latter is limited to providing only power consumption. in real time and total energy. consumed in the last 24 hours. You will need other Wiser Energy hardware in your home for more details (Schneider Electric has a real time energy monitor operating within its circuit breaker panel, among other things). Interestingly, the power consumption is measured down to a thousandth of a watt, which seems excessive when it comes to details. Basic voice control functions are available through connections to Alexa and Google Home devices.
About the cover plate: As mentioned above, the dimmer does not come with one, but you can use any rocker-style cover (for example, a Decora plate). Schneider offers its own “screwless” cover plates (and cover frames, for multi-group boxes). These are two-piece devices in which a backing plate is screwed onto the switch and then an exposed cover plate is attached to hide the screws. Other manufacturers make them too, and any of them should work. Schneider’s Square D XD series cover plates are more stylish and come in different colors and finishes, but they are not yet available for sale and the company did not provide one for this review.
The $ 50 MSRP of the Square DX Series Wi-Fi Dimmer is either in line or slightly higher than similar products from competing premium brands – GE Lighting, Leviton, and Lutron, for example. But similar products from brands like Jasco, TP-Link, and Treatlife cost considerably less. A more polished application and the availability of the XD series cover plates could improve the value proposition of this product in the future, but the device will not be easier to physically install, and that makes this product difficult to recommend. highly at present.