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Lightwave Labs: L92 Smart Heating Switch

4 October 2021 | Greig Silvester

Welcome to Lightwave Labs. As true pioneers of the smart home technology sector, here at Lightwave, we endeavour to always stay one step ahead by producing the highest quality products that perform superbly and are safe for your home. In this new series, we aim to delve deep into the world of engineering to discover how a whole range of Lightwave products are both created and developed. We have been granted exclusive access to talk to our fantastic team of Lightwave Engineers to lift the lid on improvements made while developing the L92 Smart Heating Switch. 

The L92 Smart Heating Switch is commonly applied to gain smart control of domestic panel heaters, hot water cylinders, boilers, towel rails and electric radiators. When paired to the Link Plus hub, the Smart Heating Switch becomes part of the Lightwave system and can be automated through timers, schedules and wireless triggers. 

Under the Bonnet Improvements.

The engineering team’s first task was to develop a Smart Series version of the previous Lightwave first-generation LW920 Boiler Switch and the LW934 Electric Switch. The main limitation of the Boiler Switch was that it had a limited current switching capability (5A/7A) while the Electric Switch was 13A. This was coupled with the fact that customers would sometimes buy the wrong device which was incompatible with their needs. The essential advantage of creating a brand new Smart Heating Switch was combining the most vital elements of both devices into one superior product. 

Improving the Current Rating to 16A.

Thanks to the genius of the engineering team, the L92 Lightwave Smart Heating Switch allows universal switching of any load up to 3680W (16A) rating. A winning combination of impressive engineering and high-quality components has supported this fantastic development. So how did the team tackle this circuit based challenge? Lightwave Engineers focused on creating a refined design of the printed circuit board. They realised that a four-layer circuit board made using copper would allow for a more significant opportunity to dissipate heat generated by electrical devices. Next, they optimised the connection points and the relay that switches the power on and off. This was vital, as it is the point at which most of the heat is generated. Thanks to clever engineering solutions and the introduction of higher-quality components, the team ensured the most efficient dissipation of heat. As a result, it has been safe to increase the current to 16A.

Energy Consumption Viewed in Real-Time. 

Lightwave is passionately dedicated to continually enhancing the ability of customers to monitor their energy consumption. One flaw of the previous switches was that they didn’t have any energy measurement or monitoring capabilities.  

The new L92 Smart Heating Switch allows for energy consumption to be viewed in real-time. It is also possible to review all energy usage over the previous seven days. Specific energy tariffs can be entered into the Lightwave app to provide the representational cost of energy used. This can be useful when applying the Smart Switch to monitor an electric car charging point. Energy monitoring is built into this device and is displayed within the Lightwave app.

Thanks to the improved design of the switch, the power supply is new, more modern, more efficient and more reliable when used for a heating element. Therefore, it is possible to measure the power drawn and energy used by various devices. These include panel heaters, hot water cylinders and immersion heaters.

Electric Car Charging Capabilities.

The percentage of drivers owning an Electric car is increasing annually. Many drivers desire a simple solution that allows them to charge their vehicles and monitor the energy used. The engineering team was keen to create a Lightwave device that allowed for Electric car charging capabilities. This hadn’t been possible with any previous Lightwave product. Creating a 16A current rating within the switch has formulated the suitability for plug-in electric car charging. 3KW is suitable for domestic overnight charging, however a rating of  either 6KW or 7KW is recommended for optimal charging speeds. A future challenge facing the team is to create a switch that can integrate with other car chargers. 

Full Optimisation of the Temperature Sensor.

The L92 Smart Heating Switch has vastly improved from the previous design. The former version of the temperature sensor was analogue. This has been changed to a digital temperature sensor, and as a result, the current device is much more accurate. Built-in temperature and humidity sensors were implemented within the new design, which has added to the diversity of the L92. For example, the switch could be set up to control an electric panel heater within a living room. A built-in temperature sensor would be helpful as it could maintain a pre-set target temperature. 

A manual on/off mode or heating mode that activates the temperature sensor within the Lightwave App can now be fully utilised. In effect, the switch acts as a stand-alone heating system within one convenient and compact product. The DTS92E or Y87RF Honeywell Home Wireless Thermostats can be paired directly to the Link Plus hub and be used in conjunction with the Smart Heating Switch as the ‘Call for Heat’ trigger. During the process, the engineering team learned valuable lessons to incorporate temperature and humidity sensing into future product development. 

Enhanced Radio Performance As Standard.

The final fundamental improvement made was concerning the wireless radio performance of the switch. The receiver sensitivity of the L92 Smart Heating Switch is a vast improvement compared to its predecessors. The antenna itself has been fully optimised to improve overall performance. As with the rest of the Lightwave Smart Series,  the radio frequency used  is 868 MHz, which is significantly more reliable than the 2.4GHz or 5.0 GHz (standard WiFi). Another bonus of the exceptional design relates to the full output power that is allowed. It is presently +14dBm and 25mW of output power. This is the maximum that you can transmit over the 868 MHz band. 

The L92 Smart Heating Switch is superior in terms of the overall quality of the previous LW920 Boiler Switch and LW934 Electric Switch. The engineering team have worked tirelessly to build upon the quality of the internal components of the device. They have successfully created a significant addition to Lightwave’s Smart Heating product offering that adds electric car charging capabilities, energy monitoring as standard, improved radio performance and temperature/humidity sensors. We are excited to see what they can develop in the future!

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