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UBNT-Randy
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mFi Switch FAQ

[ Edited ]

What are the differences compared to other switches?

  • touch panel, similar to a mouse pad.  Tapping toggles the light, and lights can be dimmed by sliding your finger.
  • Wi-Fi for remote control and management
  • integrated energy monitoring
  • automation when using the mFi Controller software

Do I need a neutral wire?

Yes.  Many basic light switches simply switch the live wire, and a neutral wire is not in the electrical box.  In this situation, a new circuit with a neutral wire must be run.  Using the earth ground to carry current is dangerous and against code - and must never be done.

How deep is it?

The device goes into the wall 41.5mm (1.6").  This is deeper  than many other light switches.  Room is also needed for wiring and the wire nuts, so the device may not fit into some electrical boxes.  If an electrical box is not deep enough, it can be replaced with a deeper box, or there are electrical boxes that extend sideways into the wall in order to provide more room.

Is it a switch or a dimmer?

Out of the box it operates as a switch, using a relay to control an electrical load up to 15 amps.

Using the embedded web configuration page or the mFi Controller GUI, it can be configured to dimmer mode.  In dimmer mode it uses a triac to control incandescent, dimmable LED, dimmable fluorescent, and halogen lights (up to 5 amps).

What colors do they come in?

Black initially.  White will be available next.  The white is the standard off-white color used by the electrical industry.

Can the switch be used in a multi-way configuration (such as 2 switches controlling one light)?

No (although a software solution is under consideration for a future software release)

What wall plates does it work with?

It comes with a snap-on single gang wall plate.  It is compatible with standard rectangular opening wall plates, so the user can install their own wall plate if desired.  This also allows installation in multi-gang boxes. 

How can I power reset the device without flipping the circuit breaker?

The pulling out and pushing back in the device’s air gap will power reset the device.

What state does the light come up in after a power outage?

It uses a latching (bi-stable) relay when in switch mode, so it comes up in whatever state it was previously in.  When in dimmer mode, the lights will be turn back on to the previous dimmed level.

Can it be used without an mFi Controller?

Yes.  Without an mFi Controller, you can:

  • control the lights using the touch panel
  • access the device’s web page to control the lights and monitor power (saving a link to your mobile device’s home page will install an icon and allow it to be used just like an app)

With an mFi Controller you can:

  • use rules for automatic control
  • monitor historical usage, such as on/off state, power usage and accumulated energy usage
  • use scenes to control many devices at once

Does it work with the mFi iOS app?

Not yet.

Is it scriptable?

Yes.  Advanced users can use shell scripts that can be executed by external systems using SSH, or can automatically run at boot.

 

mFi Outlet

Is each outlet independently conrolled and monitored?

Yes, you can control and monitor power separately on each outlet.

How can I power reset the outlet without flipping the circuit breaker?

There is a small blue button labeled RESET on the side that power resets the entire device, equivalent to cutting power temporarily to the device.  Additionally, this reset function does not disconnect power to the outlets so attached equipment will not be reset.

 

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HarleyC
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Re: mFi Switch FAQ

are there any plans for a Australian standard AS/NZS 3112 type plug unit?

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iamkinghenry
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Re: mFi Switch FAQ

Pretty slick, like to see the price tho :manwink: 

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UBNT-Randy
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Re: mFi Switch FAQ

Not in the short term


HarleyC wrote:

are there any plans for a Australian standard AS/NZS 3112 type plug unit?


 

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centeno
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Re: mFi Switch FAQ

[ Edited ]

Nice.

Does the switch offer load surge protection (I assume it has something for the electronics)? Can it be used as for ground fault protection?

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Blooze
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Re: mFi Switch FAQ

Can the wall outlets be controlled independently? IE: each port?

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Alan87i
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Re: mFi Switch FAQ


Blooze wrote:

Can the wall outlets be controlled independently? IE: each port?


Yes  Both show up as a sensor just like the 3 port mpower  -1 outlet.

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Automate1
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Re: mFi Switch FAQ

Is there an open API available for 3rd party software to monitor and control the switches?

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Josh_SPITwSPOTS
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Re: mFi Switch FAQ

[ Edited ]

Automate1 wrote:

Is there an open API available for 3rd party software to monitor and control the switches?


Maybe with some curl / bash shell scripts?

Josh Reynolds :: Chief Information Officer :: www.spitwspots.com
Ubiquiti Certified Trainer :: UBWA, UEWA
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Djursland01
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Re: mFi Switch FAQ

[ Edited ]

hi ubnt

when they come to Europe

I love them

both the power outlet and switch

 

Regards Flemming 

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UBNT-Randy
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Re: mFi Switch FAQ


Automate1 wrote:

Is there an open API available for 3rd party software to monitor and control the switches?



I'm hesitant to call them "APIs" since they aren't officially supported, but there are several interfaces people are writing third party code to.  There are even third party mobiles apps that rely on these interfaces.

1) Scripting with /proc/power/*

All power related parameters are represented as virtual files.  "echo 50 10 > /proc/power/dimmer_value1" will ramp to 50% dim level over 10 seconds.  Want to control your xmas lights?  Load a script to ramp the lights up and down.  You can use SSH to remotely run the scripts from a third party program, or automatically run them with rc.poststart or cron on the dimmer.

2) Embedded REST API

Our dimmer web REST API can be used for reading and control.  There is also REST over web socket support now for fast control, but that's new so I would give it some time to stabilize before relying on it.

3) Controller REST API

Some users push REST commands to run scenes, or turn things on and off with the controller.

4) Controller Rule Engine URL POST

The Controller's Rule Engine can be told to HTTP POST to user specified URL when certain conditions are met.  This post includes information such as rule name and sensor state.  One customer has this pushing to a computer running espeak so if a machine on his farm hasn't run by a certain time he will get an alert over his speaker system.

But these aren't official which means we haven't documented them.  But there are threads on the forum about much of this, or someone with moderate software skills should be able to implement to this without any help.

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UBNT-Randy
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Re: mFi Switch FAQ

Not immediately since the form factor is completely different.  But as shown by the mPower EU power strips, we are focused on European support (and rest of world).  It just gets more challenging when things get put into the wall.

Djursland01 wrote:

hi ubnt

when they come to Europe

I love them

both the power outlet and switch

 

Regards Flemming 


 

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Alan87i
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Re: mFi Switch FAQ


UBNT-Randy wrote:

Automate1 wrote:

Is there an open API available for 3rd party software to monitor and control the switches?



I'm hesitant to call them "APIs" since they aren't officially supported, but there are several interfaces people are writing third party code to.  There are even third party mobiles apps that rely on these interfaces.

1) Scripting with /proc/power/*

All power related parameters are represented as virtual files.  "echo 50 10 > /proc/power/dimmer_value1" will ramp to 50% dim level over 10 seconds.  Want to control your xmas lights?  Load a script to ramp the lights up and down.  You can use SSH to remotely run the scripts from a third party program, or automatically run them with rc.poststart or cron on the dimmer.

2) Embedded REST API

Our dimmer web REST API can be used for reading and control.  There is also REST over web socket support now for fast control, but that's new so I would give it some time to stabilize before relying on it.

3) Controller REST API

Some users push REST commands to run scenes, or turn things on and off with the controller.

4) Controller Rule Engine URL POST

The Controller's Rule Engine can be told to HTTP POST to user specified URL when certain conditions are met.  This post includes information such as rule name and sensor state.  One customer has this pushing to a computer running espeak so if a machine on his farm hasn't run by a certain time he will get an alert over his speaker system.

But these aren't official which means we haven't documented them.  But there are threads on the forum about much of this, or someone with moderate software skills should be able to implement to this without any help.


Espeak ON mFI RULES!

Literally

 

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centeno
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Re: mFi Switch FAQ

[ Edited ]

UBNT-Randy wrote:

Not immediately since the form factor is completely different.  But as shown by the mPower EU power strips, we are focused on European support (and rest of world).  It just gets more challenging when things get put into the wall.

@UBNT-Randy 

The uk wall plates have (need?) a switch on the plate for each outlet. Think the general size of the european is much larger than the NA design, so at least the pcb should work on both, but everything else is very different.

Good luck! Don't envy your task to get this out to the globalized market.

 

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benjohnson
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Re: mFi Switch FAQ

Looking at the specs, there doesn't appear to be a motion sensor in the switch.

A lot of newer offices have switches with motion sensiors that automaticall turn on the lights when you enter the room and turn them off when they don't sense any motion for a while - it's conveient and saves energy. 

If the UBNT swtiches had a motion detector - you could do all sorts of interesting things, like turn on the bath-room lights when the hall detetects motion. Or use it as a begining of an alarm system.

 

 

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UBNT-Randy
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Re: mFi Switch FAQ

Correct - there is no integrated motion sensor.

Our testing showed that switch-mounted motion sensors have very little range.  So we decided to not add the extra cost of the motion sensor since it would only be useful for small rooms.

For enterprise deployments, we have the mPort + mFi-MSW/mFi-MSC motion sensor solution, which can cover a larger area.

And the mFi-MSW/mFi-MSC are dual sensing, which allows them to avoid false positives - you would never want to use a light switch's motion sensor for security.

benjohnson wrote:

Looking at the specs, there doesn't appear to be a motion sensor in the switch.

A lot of newer offices have switches with motion sensiors that automaticall turn on the lights when you enter the room and turn them off when they don't sense any motion for a while - it's conveient and saves energy. 

If the UBNT swtiches had a motion detector - you could do all sorts of interesting things, like turn on the bath-room lights when the hall detetects motion. Or use it as a begining of an alarm system.


 

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Josh123
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Re: mFi Switch FAQ

In theory, couldn't a multi-way switch setup be done with only one mFi switches actually controlling power - the other mFi switches just triggering rules to enable/disable the output of the "main" swtich?  Would be a way to add multi-way switching for things not actually wired that way too.  That might get a bit complicated with rules in dimmer mode (perhaps that's where the potential future software implementation comes in), still waiting for these to be in stock somewhere so I can order + play...

I suppose an mFi switch could also be used as a switch to trigger other mFi devices via controller rules without being directly wired as a load, right?  Something along the lines of manual on / off an attic fan plugged into an mPower or mFi outlet without the hastle of having to run wire or using a phone to do control it (also potentially more significant other friendly).

Couldn't quite tell from the documentation but it looks like the switch doesn't physically display on/off status of the load - is that correct?   Perhaps that could be a future change to the LED in firmware - another color or change in LED brightness?  That would help greatly with less obvious things like outside lights, etc.

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UBNT-Randy
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Re: mFi Switch FAQ


In theory, couldn't a multi-way switch setup be done with only one mFi switches actually controlling power - the other mFi switches just triggering rules to enable/disable the output of the "main" swtich?  Would be a way to add multi-way switching for things not actually wired that way too.  That might get a bit complicated with rules in dimmer mode (perhaps that's where the potential future software implementation comes in), still waiting for these to be in stock somewhere so I can order + play...

Yes, multi-way switching can be done today with controller rules.  But the new firmware we are testing also supports real-time multi-way dimming, and is much faster (when you click a light switch you expect it to be immediate)


I suppose an mFi switch could also be used as a switch to trigger other mFi devices via controller rules without being directly wired as a load, right?  Something along the lines of manual on / off an attic fan plugged into an mPower or mFi outlet without the hastle of having to run wire or using a phone to do control it (also potentially more significant other friendly).


Definitely.  That was goal.  And we've heard users are already using mFi Switches to remotely control things attached to mPowers and mPorts. 


Couldn't quite tell from the documentation but it looks like the switch doesn't physically display on/off status of the load - is that correct?   Perhaps that could be a future change to the LED in firmware - another color or change in LED brightness?  That would help greatly with less obvious things like outside lights, etc.


The LED does reflect on/off status.  The LED has a blue 'breathing' pattern when the load is off, and is solid blue when the load is on.  (and it turns slightly purple when touched) The LED on/off state is also mirrored when multi-way dimming, so you can always look at the LED to see if a remote light is on.

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UnifyingS
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Re: mFi Switch FAQ

Are you able to create rules based on the amount of energy being used currently?

 

Example.  Having an ice maker or a water dispenser trigger an ozone filtration unit to power on.

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Re: mFi Switch FAQ

[ Edited ]

jasonsmedley wrote:

Are you able to create rules based on the amount of energy being used currently?

 

Example.  Having an ice maker or a water dispenser trigger an ozone filtration unit to power on.


Yes.  Here is an example where an email is sent whenever our coffee machine is done brewing (it's based on the power dropping below a threshold).

I also use a similar rule to alert me when my washer is done.

coffee-done.png

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