Smart lightbulbs, Hue etc

Discussion in 'HomeKit, HomePod, CarPlay, Home & Auto Technology' started by johngordon, Feb 12, 2018.

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  1. johngordon macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2004
    #1
    This is probably a really dumb question....

    But with these, do you just have the wall switch switched on all the time, and then use voice control / apps to switch them off at the bulb, rather than the wall switch?
     
  2. KrisLord macrumors 68000

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    Sep 12, 2008
    Location:
    Northumberland, UK
    #2
    Pretty much yes.

    Hue sell remote dimmer switches, but the original main wall switch needs to be on.

    The alternative is to replace the switch with a smart switch and then keep using a normal bulb.

    The idea of hue is to avoid electrical work in your home.
     
  3. johngordon thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Apr 19, 2004
    #3
    Thanks Kris. Just been thinking about maybe getting a couple since getting a a HomePod.

    I guess its obvious with lights in a table top shade with the switch at the bulb, but for some reason I had in my head that ceiling lights with wall switches maybe had to have a Hue light switch there (that was also the bridge part.)

    Very tempted for another HomePod for the lounge and a couple of smart lightbulbs to dim a couple of of currently undimmable lights for watching tv.
     
  4. cyclingplatypus macrumors 65816

    cyclingplatypus

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    #4
    They do and it is amazing how quickly you stop even noticing the switch. When I first switched over to hue bulbs I placed a piece of tape under the switch to stop it from being turned off.
     
  5. campingsk8er macrumors 6502

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    Elizabethtown, PA
    #5
    Definitely go for it. Ever since moving out on my own, I’ve been turning my house into a smart house. You;lol start with just two lights, which will tun into four, which turns into you getting a smart thermostat, and then the light strips. Honestly though, its so worth it. One thing is, some places makes more sense to just do the light bulb, like your table lamps, others, like my kitchen which have those long tube bulbs, I replaced the light switch. I have one of the Hue light switch dimmers, but only in the hallway because its so high traffic, but that could be easily fixed with a motion sensor.

    Home Depot and Lowes have these awesome switch covers for like $5 for a two pack. You unscrew the screws from the switch plate cover, place these covers over top, and then screw them back in. The block you from turning the switch off by habit, but still has an opening on the side if you need to manually turn your lights on or off.
     
  6. vipergts2207 macrumors 68010

    vipergts2207

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    Columbus, OH
    #6
    I ended up with the best of both worlds by replacing switches associated with Hue bulbs, with Lutron Connected Bulb Remotes. Unfortunately, they were discontinued a few months ago. Hue's remote is big, ugly, and doesn't fit into a standard decora-style wall plate, which really becomes an issue where you have switches in a multi-gang setup.
     
  7. The Game 161 macrumors P6

    The Game 161

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    #7
    moving to Phillips hue has been a great move. love the whole setup now.
     
  8. wesley96 macrumors 6502

    wesley96

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    Sep 21, 2009
    #8
    I agree that Lutron one is the best if you're looking to integrate it into existing wall plates. On the other hand, you could just stick the "wall plate" that comes with the Hue Dimmer Switch on any surface. If you're going to ignore the existing wall plates altogether, that works pretty well.
     
  9. thelookingglass macrumors 68000

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    Apr 27, 2005
    #9
    That's exactly what happened to us. We've got Hue lights all over the house now. No need to re-wire a thing and can easily plug/play the light bulbs with other lamps.

    Only thing I regret is not getting an Ecobee HomeKit-compatible thermostat. I got Nest instead (which was before I got into HomeKit stuff). Works fine, just can't use it with the Home app unfortunately.
     
  10. cyclingplatypus macrumors 65816

    cyclingplatypus

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    #10
    I can't believe I never thought about that, even better I have a 3D printer and thingiverse has many models of covers...thanks. :D
     
  11. CPTmom2wp macrumors 6502

    CPTmom2wp

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    Sep 10, 2014
    Location:
    Ohio
    #11
    We have gradually been replacing our bulbs with Philips HUE and have never looked back. Just purchase a couple a month and it won't take too long. Most of our bulbs are the Ambiance White (no colors) with some color bulbs strategically placed, which helps a little with cost. Recently, we started replacing the ceiling spots in the kitchen for longevity, as replacing bulbs up there (9) is a pain due to having to get out a tall ladder for the 11' ceilings......likewise, ceiling fan lights will be next. Saying "Siri, please turn on the upstairs Hall lights as I'm going upstairs at night, is really nice for safety.......(or if I'm carrying laundry, a bowl of ice cream, or popcorn....just sayin) ;).
    It's awesome to tell Siri to unlock the door (Schlage) and turn on the front hall lights when I'm carrying bags in from the car, or most recently, two wiggly 12 lb dachshunds into the house after a vet visit. It's great to be able to change the thermostats (2 systems) (Ecobee4) or Hue lights upstairs or downstairs when on the other floor. With the HomePod, now, it isn't even be necessary to get out my phone and I can add music whenever/wherever. Priceless.

    However, we are sticking to HomeKit devices for reliability, compatibility, and b/c we don't want multiple manufacturer's hubs all over the office or different apps that we have to access. The point is to make your life easier.

    Don't hesitate to start with HUE. Philips is a quality manufacturer that is poised to continue in the smart bulb business and improving/adding to their product lines. Be aware that there are some cheaper, poor quality knockoffs out there and check the generation of the bulb you are buying to be sure it's the latest since you'll be living with them for 10+ years. Enjoy!

    PS: we do just leave the old switches in the "on" position and daily communication/control is simply between the Philips Hue app and the bulbs.
     
  12. vipergts2207 macrumors 68010

    vipergts2207

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    Columbus, OH
    #12
    Do yourself a favor and setup some automations. I’ve got certain lights that automatically turn on if I arrive home after sunset.
     
  13. bruinsrme macrumors 603

    bruinsrme

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  14. justperry macrumors G3

    justperry

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    #14
    I have LIFX, not hub required, works well.
    Philips Hue is in my opinion expensive.
     
  15. weeesss macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2017
    #15
    I know nothing about home automation except my brother uses the Hue lighting. I have a few Echo's and just got the Homepod. I would like to off the bat, be able to control my front porch lights. Instead of buying 4 bulbs, I was thinking about the smart switch for that and then for my bedroom which has 2 switches and 8 hi hats.

    I don't know if it is better to use Echo or Homekit for this either.

    I am trying to do this without the cost of a hub. If I were to get a smart switch, would this allow the kids to flip the switch manually and still be able to turn it on and off via my phone or voice and when I am in proximity of my home?
     
  16. Nell macrumors 6502a

    Nell

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    London
    #16
    I have a few Hue lights and really like them. I only have one coloured bulb though (bought on a one day Amazon offer; they’re way too speedy otherwise!) but the white ambiance bulbs are great.

    My thermostat is Nest though (as is the smoke/CO detector) and while I’d quite like to control it via Siri, I’m okay with using the app. It was chosen because it’s incredibly intuitive for my elderly mother to turn up or down even with arthritic hands and she can actually read the target temperature without a magnifying glass (she’s severely sight impaired). Of the options we saw, Nest won hands down.
     
  17. vipergts2207 macrumors 68010

    vipergts2207

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    #17
    Lutron’s Caseta line works with both HomeKit and Alexa. The two switch kit also frequently goes on sale on Home Depot’s site for $120. It has a hub, but I prefer a hub when doing multiple devices of the same type. Especially when you can end up with a dozen or more devices when talking bulbs or switches.
     
  18. weeesss macrumors regular

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    Oct 24, 2017
    #18

    That isn't bad and I don't mind using a hub. I assume it makes more sense buying switches instead of a bunch of bulbs. I just want the hi-hats to be able to be turned on, off and dimmed either by voice or app. If I were to get these, can both the HP and Echo control them or do you choose one or the other device?
     
  19. vipergts2207 macrumors 68010

    vipergts2207

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    #19
    I don’t see why you couldn’t do both, but I don’t know for sure. I only use HomeKit personally.
     
  20. wesley96 macrumors 6502

    wesley96

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    Sep 21, 2009
    #20
    I can agree that Hue and smart bulbs in general are expensive. But since you said you have LIFX, you seem to imply that it's a less expensive alternative. But is it?

    Cost of individual LIFX bulb is similar to a comparable Philips Hue bulb. If you buy Hue bulbs in packs, either the cost of the bridge can be effectively erased, or you can add more bulbs at a cheaper cost than LIFX. For an example, a four-pack of Hue White is $50, while a similar LIFX Mini White is $25 each (a four-pack is just $100, on LIFX's website).

    Therefore, LIFX isn't going to be that cost-effective unless you just need one or two smart bulbs. That's not my opinion - it's an actual observation.

    The fact that Hue offers more than just bulbs is a plus. It's got switches and sensors to work with the bulbs, and these accessories started to support HomeKit officially since last October. Dimmer switches can be had for $25 (I can get one for $20 where I live) and you effectively get a 4-button HomeKit compatible switch. That's quite a bit cheaper than the competitors like Logitech Pop or Elgato Eve Button which set you back $50 or more. Motion sensor is $40 and it's competitive on price and features.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 13, 2018 ---
    You can use multiple standards at the same time. Just don't give command to them all at once. Status change initiated by one method will be propagated to all platforms quite quickly, but not necessarily instantaneously.
     
  21. nathanalf macrumors regular

    nathanalf

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    Mar 13, 2014
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    #21
    Great cheaper alternative are VOCOlinc smart bulbs (on Amazon). $20 per bulb and don't need a hub. Only thing it's missing compared to the hue seems to be the syncing to music and movies, but for the savings I'm fine with that ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
     
  22. wesley96 macrumors 6502

    wesley96

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    Sep 21, 2009
    #22
    VOCOlinc L1 is indeed a cheaper alternative. I haven't seen a HomeKit-compatible smart bulb with full colour range that costs as low as $20. I'm not sure about the 'great' part, though. It's quite dimmer and has narrower colour temperature range than the competition.

    Name / Power / Brightness / Temperature / Colour Range / Beam Angle / Price
    VOCOlinc L1: 6W, 470lm, 2400K-5300K, 16mil colours, 200° beam, $20
    Hue White Ambiance: 10.5W, 800lm, 2200K-6500K, 50k shades of white, 160° beam, $30
    Hue Color Ambiance: 9.5W, 806lm, 2000K-6500K, 16mil colours, 160° beam, $50
    LIFX Mini Day & Dusk: 9W, 800lm, 1500K-4000K, shades of white, 250° beam, $30
    LIFX Mini Color: 9W, 800lm, 2500K-9000K, 16mil colours, 250° beam, $45
    LIFX Color: 11W, 1100lm, 2500K-9000K, 16mil colours, 135° beam, $60

    470lm is what's normally referred to as "40W equivalent", while 800lm is 60W equivalent and 1100lm is 75W equivalent. I'm hoping that VOCOlinc gets a brighter bulb out in the future that doesn't cost much more.
     
  23. cyb3rdud3 macrumors 65816

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    Jun 22, 2014
    Location:
    UK
    #23
    I’ve got currently about 40 hue bulbs. Works brilliantly. Nobody uses the switched anymore. But that is because we’ve got the light well automatic. Only switch is to switch the remaining ones off when we go to sleep with a single dimmer button programmed or talk to Siri :)
     
  24. Arran macrumors 601

    Arran

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    Mar 7, 2008
    Location:
    Atlanta, USA
    #24
    Do it. HomePod + Siri + HomeKit + Hue works really well.

    From the upstairs hallway, I can shout downstairs to HomePod, “turn the bedroom lights on” and voila, they’re on!

    If I’m downstairs (in the same room as the HomePod) all it takes is a normal conversational voice to dim lights, etc.

    Over the years, I’ve installed about 20 hue Tap and dimmer switches around the house just to control lights. What I’m discovering now is that HomePod Siri is so good I could do without many of them.

    Anyone want to buy some used switches? ;)
     
  25. johngordon thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Apr 19, 2004
    #25
    Thanks for all the replies. Its since having the HomePod, and really appreciating how good it is at hearing even over loud music or tv that feels like a real tipping point to having a few things hooked up with HomeKit. Being able to just tell Siri what to do, from pretty much anywhere, just talking normally makes the whole thing virtually frictionless.

    And its probably a good way of installing some previously undimmable lights with dimmers. So for example, there are eight spotlights in the kitchen, and another 2x3 in the dining room. They are all LED bulbs, but swapping them out for these, and not having them all on full brightness should save quite a bit too.

    Be quite expensive up front, but hey. They'll pay for themselves eventually, and they'll be a lot more flexible in terms of how many are on at a time, and how bright.

    And yes - turning the upstairs light on before going upstairs will be great - our stair landing light has been broken for ages, and the bedroom doesn't have a ceiling light. We've just kind of gotten used to going upstairs in the dark.

    I've ordered a couple of LIFX ones for the lounge. We have a floor standing lamp, and a shelf lamp. Usually have one or other on in the evening, but think it would be better to have both on, but dimmed when watching tv.
     

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76 February 12, 2018