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# 252951 18-Jul-2019 14:07
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Having purchased a Google Home Hub this week I'm now getting interested in trying out some wifi-enabled bulbs - nothing complex requiring a hub, but certainly bulbs that are controllable (including as groups) via Google Home/Assistant. I have a few questions that I hoped those with experience may be able to help with:

 

* what brands available currently are affordable but are still of decent quality (especially in regards to quality of light)?

 

* I'm looking at Mi or Yeelight bulbs - are these ok, or are there other brands that offer better value for money?

 

* where's the best place to purchase the Mi or Yeelight bulbs, eg would I be best to buy via the 'official' Mi Store on AliExpress, or can I trust that most selling these bulbs are actually legit?

 

* do the multi-purpose colour/white bulbs do a good enough job with standard white light to be used in every-day settings?

 

* Many of our fittings are the classic E27 R80 downlights - can I get away with a more standard-sized bulb in these fittings, eg one like this Yeelight? (I've found few examples of wifi-enabled R80 bulbs, so it doesn't seem to be much of a thing).

 

Thanks in advance.


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gzt

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  # 2279224 18-Jul-2019 20:05
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I noticed pbtech had Mi for $29 recently.

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  # 2279227 18-Jul-2019 20:11
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I have installed a Philips Hue system at my place over the last few months and I love it to bits. It probably doesn't suit your needs because it requires a hub, but based on my experience I would at least encourage you to get bulbs that allow dimming and variable colour temperature.

 

I personally prefer a cool bright colour temperature in the early evening, but later in the evening a warmer and dimmer setting helps me to sleep when I eventually turn the lights out. My favourite Hue feature is its ability to very slowly fade the lights in when it's time to get up in the morning, which is much better than being startled by an alarm clock.


 
 
 
 


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  # 2279228 18-Jul-2019 20:12
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As far as cheap aliexpress ones,

 

 

 

The sonoff has terrible colours.

 

The ones with the 4 circles on the side with R G B and W above it have terrible PWM. The dual white version of that which has cool and warm white will be unusable at anything other than full brightness cold white, or full brightness warm white. When set inbetween it has both of them dimmed down even at full brightness.

 

The low cost R80 ones seem to be the same as the other cheap ones. Blue flash at poweron and then low quality low frequency PWM dimming.

 

Basically it seems that anything under $14USD per lamp is trash.





Richard rich.ms

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  # 2279265 18-Jul-2019 20:28
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We have some of the Mi ones and they work very well.  The colour ones give good quality, bright light in white mode.  Controlled by an Amazon echo dot with no extra hardware


mdf

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  # 2279303 18-Jul-2019 21:38
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We've got LIFX wifi bulbs, both the full colour (RGB) and white (select a warmth). They're great for colour etc., but if I had my time again I would go with a hub model that uses z-wave or zigbee. I found it a bit niggly getting each bulb connected to the wifi and set up properly, and if something crashes or you lose connectivity, you have to go through the set up again. Far better to have a single hub that controls everything separately IMHO.


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  # 2279311 18-Jul-2019 22:05
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mdf:

 

We've got LIFX wifi bulbs, both the full colour (RGB) and white (select a warmth). They're great for colour etc., but if I had my time again I would go with a hub model that uses z-wave or zigbee. I found it a bit niggly getting each bulb connected to the wifi and set up properly, and if something crashes or you lose connectivity, you have to go through the set up again. Far better to have a single hub that controls everything separately IMHO.

 

 

Useful feedback, thanks. I've always been tossing up between the two (and haven't made the commitment yet). 


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  # 2279313 18-Jul-2019 22:14
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I went with a couple of LIFX as they were the brightest I could find at the time. Mainly use as outside light on timer and hall light on during day then night light.




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  # 2279398 19-Jul-2019 07:12
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FWIW I think WiFi enabled bulbs are are a broken concept. Yes some of the concepts are cool such as changing colours, but if you're just wanting to turn lights on/off the whole principle is broken because you have to use the app to turn things on/off. If somebody turns the light switch off at the wall suddenly the whole setup is broken - likewise want to do something simple such as turning a light on you either need to find a device or learn the switch sequence (if there is one) to override the app.

 

WiFi controlled touch switches are IMHO the best solution out there, but rely on phase+neutral at the switch which means they can't be retrofitted to many NZ homes with older wiring.

 

 


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  # 2279404 19-Jul-2019 07:28
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sbiddle:

 

FWIW I think WiFi enabled bulbs are are a broken concept. Yes some of the concepts are cool such as changing colours, but if you're just wanting to turn lights on/off the whole principle is broken because you have to use the app to turn things on/off. If somebody turns the light switch off at the wall suddenly the whole setup is broken - likewise want to do something simple such as turning a light on you either need to find a device or learn the switch sequence (if there is one) to override the app.

 

WiFi controlled touch switches are IMHO the best solution out there, but rely on phase+neutral at the switch which means they can't be retrofitted to many NZ homes with older wiring.

 

 

It really depends on why you're installing the system. If, like me, you want to change dimming and colour temperature then smart bulbs are the way to go. Like you, I hate the idea of having to use an app to turn the lights on or off but I hardly ever need to because I have installed Hue smart switches and I have lots of automations set up including a motion sensor in one of my rooms. 

 

I will probably look at installing smart switches when I move house next year because apparently there are now some switches that are compatible with the Hue app. Smart switches coupled with Hue bulbs are my ideal scenario, but if you don't have smart switches then the worst that can happen is that a confused guest turns off the master switch for one of the lights which is a nuisance but not necessary a major problem as the Hue system now supports power recover when the switch is turned back on.


Banana?
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  # 2279426 19-Jul-2019 08:17
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alasta:

 

sbiddle:

 

FWIW I think WiFi enabled bulbs are are a broken concept. Yes some of the concepts are cool such as changing colours, but if you're just wanting to turn lights on/off the whole principle is broken because you have to use the app to turn things on/off. If somebody turns the light switch off at the wall suddenly the whole setup is broken - likewise want to do something simple such as turning a light on you either need to find a device or learn the switch sequence (if there is one) to override the app.

 

WiFi controlled touch switches are IMHO the best solution out there, but rely on phase+neutral at the switch which means they can't be retrofitted to many NZ homes with older wiring.

 

 

It really depends on why you're installing the system. If, like me, you want to change dimming and colour temperature then smart bulbs are the way to go. Like you, I hate the idea of having to use an app to turn the lights on or off but I hardly ever need to because I have installed Hue smart switches and I have lots of automations set up including a motion sensor in one of my rooms. 

 

I will probably look at installing smart switches when I move house next year because apparently there are now some switches that are compatible with the Hue app. Smart switches coupled with Hue bulbs are my ideal scenario, but if you don't have smart switches then the worst that can happen is that a confused guest turns off the master switch for one of the lights which is a nuisance but not necessary a major problem as the Hue system now supports power recover when the switch is turned back on.

 

 

Yep, Hue bulbs now remember a power on setting, so if someone uses the light switch, you can tell the bulb what colour/brightness it should turn back on at.

 

We have Hue is our hallway and above our coffee table in the lounge. When we have people staying at our house (happened a couple of weeks ago while we were away), they just used the light switches and were none the wiser that they were Hue bulbs. All I do when I get home is turn the switches for those areas back on, and the Alexa routines take over again (I have the hall light set to come on half an hour after sunset, dim to 10% on 'Goodnight' for 10 minutes then off, and to come on at 5am at 2% ramping up to 10% over the next 10 minutes (my wife goes to work at 5.15) and turning off again at 0630 (when I have left for work).

 

 


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  # 2279454 19-Jul-2019 09:40
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I have been looking at this a wee bit, but I doubt the budget will let me take the plunge for a while. Dropping to one income with a mortgage and a newborn has drastically cramped my toy budget for a while.

 

In terms of WiFi bulbs, in terms of both price and performance (brightness, colours), I have seen reviews where Novostella bulbs compare very well against Philips Hue. So if you want WiFi bulbs it might be worth looking into these.

 

However, I personally am unlikely to go with WiFi bulbs. On balance, I think I would prefer something on the Zigbee or Zwave protocols like the Hue. It kind of depends on how many bulbs you are planning to have, what other WiFi devices you have, and the nature of your WiFi. In my case I have a consumer grade WiFi router, and am already getting up to 10-12 connected WiFi devices (smart speakers, Allplay speakers, phones, tablets, one of my chromecasts etc). If I add a bunch of WiFi bulbs to the mix then I suspect my WiFi will start to struggle. So for me it's either go with non-WiFi as a bulb solution, or do an expensive upgrade to a commercial WiFi setup that can support a bunch more concurrent connections.

 

A cheap Zigbee hub can be had for around $50 (or around $100 for a NZ Philips Hue one), allow around 50 new devices without placing load on the WiFi, and control a bunch of other potential gadgets as well as bulbs (smart plugs, sensors, blinds etc). Plus Zigbee is much low power than WiFi, which means that any sensors etc that I buy can go for a year or so on a single battery. So I suspect that's the way I will go.

 

If you have few devices on WiFi and are only looking at a couple of bulbs then WiFi bulbs might be the best option. Otherwise, I doubt it is.

 

However, I'm a novice at this and still doing my research. Others here will know more than I.




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  # 2279495 19-Jul-2019 10:45
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Thanks so much for the replies - that's why it's worth asking these questions before jumping in.

 

Ok, I can see the risks of going down the individual wifi-enabled bulbs approach: I can't see the WAF or CAF will be high when one of the family is unable to get the #$#@ lights working!

 

While the Hue system is going to be substantially more expensive both on a per-bulb and initial set-up cost basis, it seems to address many of the problems. Some follow-up questions on the hub-based approach:

 

* are there any other alternatives to Hue that are more affordable but still decent quality, or decent-quality bulbs that are compatible with the Hue bridge?

 

* will the white and/or colour standard Hue bulbs work ok in downlights designed for the R80 downlights? (I don't care so much about the looks but the light itself)

 

* how does one know if a particular Hue bulb is of a generation/model that will recall its previous setting?

 

* which retailers tend to be the best source for Hue products? (Amazon seems a bit cheaper than NZ-sourced, eg bridge for $81; bridge and 4 white bulbs for $164 vs $299 at M10)

 

That said, I may still give one of the Mi bulbs a go - $29 at PB Tech, so not much to lose either way...

 

Thanks again.


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  # 2279505 19-Jul-2019 11:11
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many years ago, i used Mi-light. they served their purpose, but just weren't bright enough for general use - as wall light in bedrooms, they're perfectly fine.

 

i moved to hue when noel leeming had the starter pack (3 colored + hub) for $185, and bunnings did a $184 (to avoid having to price match, i reckon). found them much better, and integration with google home hub is excellent.

 

however, for $29 i'd give those xiaomi mi led a go  if i get around to pb tech.

 

 

 

 


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  # 2279527 19-Jul-2019 12:03
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I'm going with Ikea Tradfri. It's Zigbee based, and is apparently compatible with Philips and Xiaomi. Since we don't have Ikea here yet I'm getting stuff from UK, Europe and Oz. I have the Ikea hub, which is working with their app, but I also had a Python script going that would talk to the hub to do things programmatically. That script is currently not working as the Pi is was running on is broken.

The Ikea bulbs power up with the same brightness/colour settings they had when the power was cut, so they act like regular bulbs in that regard, but obviously for normal use you keep the light switch on all the time.

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  # 2279542 19-Jul-2019 13:06
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sbiddle:

 

FWIW I think WiFi enabled bulbs are are a broken concept. Yes some of the concepts are cool such as changing colours, but if you're just wanting to turn lights on/off the whole principle is broken because you have to use the app to turn things on/off.

 

If you're using it from the App only then yes, it's a pain.  

 

However, I have 3 Google Home Mini's around the house and LIFX lightbulbs in the bedroom, dining room and lounge in tall lamps.   We use Google Assistant to turn lights off and on. Constantly.  

I have preset commands to set pre-determined colours & brightness for different rooms and situations. 

"Movie time" sets the lounge corner bulb to orange, 40% which is great for a nice soft background light while watching movies. 

"Baby lights" sets the dining room and lounge lights to red, 10% so that if we have to get up in the middle of the night and deal with the toddler we can set low level, eye-friendly light that doesn't wake the baby up further and gives us just enough light to see. 

 

We also have commands to start a sunset cycle in the bedroom where the light gradually transitions from white through sunset colours before turning off.   Yes, I have taped down the on/off switch on the dining room / lounge lights so kids can't mess with them :D

We've found all sorts of super useful ways to use our wifi lights.  We live in a new house with many ceiling lists attached to the same circuit so the only original options at night are off or SUPER FREAKING BRIGHTNESS so having manual control over colour and brightness in the rooms we use is awesome. 

I'm soon going to expand our LIFX bulbs to other rooms and also considering the infrared ones for security cameras.  They definitely work for us and offer a lot of value. 

 

 


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