Aqara switch – the almost secret feature: convert to wireless

The Aqara wall switch is a beautiful looking wall switch that is easy to use and automate. More importantly, it is HomeKit compatible and is relatively affordable. But it’s also got a hidden feature that most people don’t know about, which is what we will be talking about today. If you did not catch our episode on How to Install an Aqara wall switch, pop over and learn how to install one yourself.

Now allow me to explain how this hidden feature works. If you only want to see how this is done, jump straight to it by clicking on the link in the video description. The first half explains why this is needed and how it works.

In a nutshell, it allows you to covert the switch from “this!” (wired), to “this!” (wireless)! OK, not literally; We’re not going to be able to magically make this become a different switch, but, we can make the wired switch work like a wireless switch.

WIRELESS SWITCH EXPLANATION

  1. Let’s go to the sketch book so that we can explain it a little better.
    1. Here we’ve got an Aqara Wall Switch, and we shall label A
    1. A ceiling light
    1. And this is how they are connected physically.
    1. Inside each switch, there is actually a tiny relay switch. That’s where the magic happens – it allows you to close or open the circuit and it’s represented by the switch symbol here.
    1. Out of box, pressing the switch button will cause the relay switch to open and close the circuit.
    1. Press it once, it turns the light on, press it once more, it turns the light off.
    1.  
    1. Simple enough.
  2. Now, let’s go to the Wireless Switch function.
    1. This time let’s assume now you have a smart ceiling lamp, such as the Yeelight.
    1. The Wireless Switch Function only works on the Aqara or Mi Home app. Other 3rd party apps currently do not support this function.
    1. Once the Wireless Switch function is turned on, the switch will behave very differently.
    1. First, pressing the switch button will no longer cause the relay switch to react. This means the circuit will no longer open and close like before, because it is now behaving exactly like a wireless switch.
    1.  
    1. The only way to control this switch now is through the app. From within the app, we can tell the switch to turn on, which will bring power to the light.
    1. Because this is a smart light, it is controlled with a remote control or other means, such as automation sequences.
    1. Pressing the switch button at this point doesn’t do anything.
  • That said, you can still use the same button to turn the light on or off. This is done via the app. Time to order it to do the things you want it to do like a boss. Here’s an example:
    • If,  the switch button is pressed, then, turn the light on or off.
    • This tells the switch to send the command for Yeelight to turn the light on or off, instead of opening and closing the relay switch in it.
    • I know what you’re thinking now: it looks like we’ve just gone one big round to achieve the same outcome.
    • Well, not quite.
    • The main difference is, in this wireless switch configuration, the ceiling light is always powered.
    • This means it is still connected to WiFi, and allows it to be controlled the app or remote control.
    • Now let’s get to showing you how to actually do it with an Yeelight and Aqara Switch.

SETTING TO WIRELESS ON THE APP

First step of course is to launch the App. This is assuming that you’ve already added the Aqara Switch and Yeelight to it. If you have not already done so, please refer to the relevant videos. The links are below.

Next, look for Aqara Switch A, tap on it, then “More Operations” to bring up the switch menu. Tap on options, or the 3 dots on the top right, and look for “Change to Wireless Switch”. This wall of text here simply tells you what I told you earlier, so feel free to skip it! Scroll down and enable the wireless switch function. You can start creating automation from here by tapping Create Automation -> Tap on the Plus, then add an If condition – remember we earlier said IF wireless switch is pressed? Here, select the Wireless Switch A from the list of devices, and tap on Single Press. Next, we want the light to THEN turn on or off. So, tap on Add more, Select the Yeelight, and Turn On/off. Tap Save, rename and you’re done! You will now see the automation sequence under the Automation tab.

The last thing to do, is to ensure that the relay in the switch is closed, so that you have power going to the ceiling light. Go back to the Switch menu, and ensure that it is on. If it isn’t, just tap once and the switch should come on. That’s it! That’s a long one! The Wireless Switch function on the Aqara switch is one of the main reasons why we’re still on the Aqara/Mi Home platform despite the numerous shortcomings. It’s a very useful thing to have without having to overload your home with too many switches.

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