You may remember the LoraTap switch test that burned all the wood during the test. This item is no longer available on Amazon. The brand had informed us that a new product had been developed to replace it. This is done with a new version of their smart curtain switch.
It is the cheapest of the switches we have tested, and one of the most affordable in general. But what about it? Was the upgrade effective? Will LoraTap make you forget your previous product? The company specializing in wireless products prides itself on marketing only quality products. This new LoraTap model is an EU model, CE Standard and FCC (US). Its characteristics are essentially, if not totally, the same as all the other smart switches: close/open/pause modes, works with Smart life, touch… the visual is also almost identical. But the manufacturer explained the modifications made and why. Suspense, suspense….
LoraTap SS001KS: sleek and stylish… just like the others
The switch is delivered in a brown, small box with a sticker containing the visual and product characteristics. The emphasis on Amazon Echo is visible. However, as with the old model, a FR has been added to the ballpoint pen. We quickly realize that the packaging is almost identical, so the base is the same.
What do we find inside? Well LoraTap has kept the old recipe, and for the moment, it’s a good idea: the switch, four screws in two different sets, a small screwdriver, a wago 3 entries, a piece of blue wire. There is also a note for customer service contact, a free gift card (after rating the product on Amazon), multilingual assembly instructions and a quick installation guide.
Many good surprises:
- The guide is really very complete. Nothing to complain about, it explains the connection, the pairing with Smart Life….
- The small screwdriver, even if of basic quality is a nice little gesture
However, the Wago and the wire allow us to confirm from the beginning that the connection mode is therefore the same as for the old model… Hmm hmm… And indeed, design level, no apparent change. We are still on a beautiful product but almost identical to the other smart switches.
The front is made of 4 mm tempered glass with a white background, three pressure zones. It’s refined, it’s sober, it’s pretty but it doesn’t stand out from the competition: no identification, no enhancement. The three buttons are opening / pausing / closing the curtains. The dimensions are quite standard for the front (8.6 cm on the side) and a depth of 2.5 cm for the transplanting system. Once installed and properly glued to the wall, count a small centimetre thick. So identical to the others and the old one. It is therefore clear that this new switch is made on the same mould as the old one. This can also be seen on the terminal block.
No change, really? And no, that’s not quite true. Indeed, LoraTap explained to us that the first modification made to the switch concerns precisely this transplanting stud. The previous model had a big safety problem: the neutral pin was completely open and if the supplied wire was pushed too far, it could touch the phase wire and make a short circuit. This is exactly the problem we had encountered, and therefore confirms our conclusion at the time. The manufacturer has sealed the end of the neutral transplanting stud and it is no longer possible to make the neutral and phase touch each other. Good point!
The transplanting block is quite standard in size and can be easily adapted to the plasterboard flush-mounted boxes on the market. A little bit more, once the front panel is removed, there are not two holes on the sides of the inner panel but 4 holes allowing it to be screwed into the flush-mounted box without any problem on any type of box and in any direction.
In terms of technical characteristics, the basic: it works on 100-240V at 50/60 Hz, so no problem. Rated power 600 W, 100-250 V, 50/60 Hz. At the Wi-Fi connection level in 2.4 GHz only. Therefore, in principle, it is suitable for most installations and shutters with 4 wires: neutral, earth and two phase returns.
LoraTap SS001KS: a special installation
Concerning the installation, the diagram is relatively simple and identical to what we have for the other switches but with the specificities of LoraTap. The most annoying thing is the location to put the neutrals… As you can see, the neutral pad is still very much embedded in the terminal block while the phases and returns are about 0.5 cm away. There, we are more than 1 cm deep to come and put the neutrals… and it is only possible, in fact, to put only one wire and not two as is done by the competitors. However, this time, the assembly guide has been revised and highlights this specificity and the use of a Wago.
But why this choice? The use of the Wago, or a domino, and the piece of yarn are therefore mandatory. This can be a real problem if you are short of space behind the terminal block once it is reassembled. We therefore advise you to put the thread on a single domino (connecting the two phases) which will be narrower. If it is already in place, it is all the better and chances are you won’t be bothered. But if we can avoid adding yarn, dominoes or Wago, it’s much better. Less risk of mini arcing due to more or less tightened or inserted elements. However, the assembly was done without any problem, the neutral wire goes down to the stop and does not go any further. It’s much more secure.
Concerning the installation, we refer you to our installation tutorial for curtains, but be aware that this is quite easy once you have found the arrival of cables for your curtain and the arrival of your own wires. A neutral is necessary but if you have curtains, this is usually the case.
At the beginning of the article, we announced that we are not on touch buttons. By removing the glass front, the mechanism reveals its secrets: three small springs will make contact to activate the mechanism. By pressing on the front panel, you will press on the springs and thus activate the raising or lowering of the flap. And we come to the second change made on this new version: the springs of the previous model were a little long and this may also explain the problems that users encounter with this type of system. If the front panel is not properly positioned (too much or too little pressure, for example), there may be permanent or random contact with one of the springs and therefore the flap may be opened or closed unexpectedly. To overcome this, LoraTap has shortened its springs a little to avoid this type of problem.
You will notice that this time, no spark, no jumping lead… the installation went very well, in about fifteen minutes, including pairing. The modifications made by LoraTap are very welcome and secure. In addition, one of the strong points of this switch is the fact that there is no backlighting at all times. It’s very nice if it’s in a room.
LoraTap SS001KS: Smart Life, the sure bet
LoraTap has decided to allow the control of its switch via the Smart Life application and this is a wise choice. No difficulty to install it because it is done like a plug. Be careful, because when it is just turned on, our switch does not blink. It is necessary to press the pause “button” (the middle one) for about 5 seconds to switch it to pairing mode. If necessary, it is also possible to do it again to rediscover your switch. Don’t forget to activate the Alexa Skill to be able to use it with Alexa.
As with all smart curtain switches, it must be discovered as a standard wall switch and not a curtain switch (under Zigbee only on Smart Life), and this is due to the subtleties:
Natively, to open or close the shutter, you have to say turn it on or off. Not very practical, is it? It will therefore be necessary to create routines under Alexa to use a more intuitive vocabulary (see the tutorial for routines).
At the moment, it is not possible, under Alexa, to control the “pause” function during lowering or ascending (the middle button). To do this, you will have to go through a scenario under Smart life and then put it in a routine under Alexa.
You are then free to create the routines and scenarios you want to control your voice shutters. It is even possible to create a scenario so that the shutters close at sunset time or open at sunrise time, without any intervention on your part.
In conclusion, this new version of the LoraTap switch seems more qualitative than the previous version and much more secure.
The manufacturer has a major strength: They are aware of their weaknesses and have been able to upgrade their product. However, what makes it different from other switches on the market? The visual is the same, the operating mode as well as the characteristics. It is always embarrassing to have to put in an extra Wago or domino if you need more space in the flush hole (not to mention the safety aspect with extra wires and dominoes) but it has the advantage of not having backlighting and being relatively affordable.