plan44 matter beta README
Following the matter SDK v1.0.0 release on October 4th, 2022, all plan44.ch devices (P44-DSB-xx digitalSTROM bridges and P44-LC-xx standalone controllers) can install a public beta firmware which enables the devices to work as matter bridges. This readme explains how to use the early beta matter implementation.
A P44-DSB or P44-LC device
The following devices are supported:
- P44-LC-DE, P44-DSB-E2, P44-DSB-DEH2, P44-DSB-D, P44-DSB-E.
- DIY devices based on RaspberryPi using the free P44-DSB-X or P44-LC-X images.
2.7.0.x beta firmware for your P44-xx device
To get the 2.7.0.x/1.7.0.x beta firmware for installation on your device, it must be registered at plan44 to enable these updates via the normal update mechanism.
Please just request this for your device by sending me an email, including the serial number of the device you want matter beta firmware for.
Suitable hardware with matter support for the smarthome oecosystem you want to use
With iOS/tvOS 16.1, Apple has officially released matter (also in macOS Ventura and watchOS 9.1) and already works very well for lights, blinds and some sensor types even with the non-certified P44 beta firmware. Google Home can also be used, but only if the Google account used is a developer account that allows the VID/PID 0xFFF1/0x8002 for testing.
For operation with Apple Home, the requirements are an iPhone or iPad for the user interface and an AppleTV or HomePod mini for the "Home Hub" functionality, all must have at least iOS/iPadOS/tvOS 16.1 installed.
How to enable matter bridging on P44-xx
Once the above requirements are met, onboarding is easy:
- Open the P44 Web-UI
- On the "System" tab you should see a new section "Matter bridge (beta!)". Click the "Matter bridge..." button - you should see a dialog indicating you need to enable at least one light for briding first. Note: if you don't see this button despite installed firmware version 2.7.0.x (or 1.7.0.x for P44-LC), please force-reload the web-UI in your browser - sometimes the previous version of the web-UI remains active from the browser cache.
- From your device list, choose at least one light you want to bridge to matter. Open the info dialog with the (i)-button and press the "Enable for bridging to matter" button.
- Go back to the "System" tab, press the "Matter bridge..." button again
- Now the dialog should present you a QR code (the so-called onboarding code)
- Use your matter enabled smarthome app ("Home.app" on Apple devices), choose "add accessory...", and scan the QR code
- The smarthome app will guide you through the setup, and in the process most likely ask if you really want to add an uncertified accessory (you need to answer yes for now, see why below).
Once onboarding is complete, you'll have all the devices you selected for bridging (see second step above) visible in your app(s) and accessible directly or via a voice control assistant you might have (hey Siri, ok Google, Alexa).
You can add more devices now by clicking the "Enable for bridging to matter" button as described above - but give the smart home system a few minutes to sync up afterwards...
At this time (188.8.131.52/184.108.40.206 beta), on/off devices, dimmed luminaires and plug-in devices, coloured luminaires, temperature, humidity and brightness sensors as well as shutters and blinds are supported for "bridging". Further device types will follow.
For questions, discussions, suggestions etc. there is a new section for matter in the plan44 forum.
How to bridge digitalSTROM room state into matter
In the P44-DSB products, you'll see a new device section called "Bridging". Bridges are a special kind of devices which can bring matter support even into digitalSTROM rooms without any P44 based lights, just standard dS terminal blocks!
Bridge devices can be created by clicking on the "+Bridge" button, and then placed (in the dSS) into a digitalSTROM room. Bridge devices appear in dSS as a light with a local button.
A bridge device does two things:
it listens for digitalSTROM scene calls happening in the room, and then transmits the resulting room state to matter, where it is displayed like a dimmer slider. So if preset3 (standard setting: 50%) scene is called in a room, you'll see 50% in matter
when the room slider is moved on the matter side, the bridge device will translate this to the nearest matching scene and call this scene in the room. For example, when you move the slider to 70%, the nearest scene is probably preset2 (75%), so this will be called in the room.
So in rooms with standard 100%/75%/50%/25% scenes, all you need to do is create a "Five Level room state bridge" and move it to the room you want to see and control via matter. If the scenes in the room have non-standard levels, just call these scenes in the dSS, manually set the same level in the bridge device, and save the scene.
If you change the button function to an area button, the bridge will mirror the area state (on or off) instead of the entire room. The "on-off" bridge device just maps off and on scenes, but not preset2..4.
What about certification?
The current beta version is not certified. It sails under the generic
TestVendor1 vendor ID (0xFFF1) and uses the SDK
bridge_app example's product ID (0x8002), which is basically correct as the p44mbrd application was developed based on the bridge example.
Thanks to the cooperation with Becker-Antriebe it is now foreseeable that the plan44 matter bridge can be certified in a few months.
How stable is the beta?
In the case of operation with Apple Homekit the answer is: stable!. My own office and home installations each have several matter bridges that have been perfectly controllable with Apple Home for months, in parallel with digitalSTROM. I have less experience with the other providers, and at least Google only allows operation with a developer account.
But of course a beta setup like this should not be considered productive and must not be used to provide functions that are indispensable in the Smart Home.
Please also do not expect this beta setup to transition to a non-beta setup without having to set up the bridge in the smart home system from scratch!