10 votes

Advice on colorful programmable LED lights

Any recommendations for those? I'd like to replace all my house lights with colour-programmable GU-10s. I've had poor experience with Philips Hue... They do the job but I'm not a big fan of them, the app sucks etc.

I'm sure someone here has smart home / iot as a hobby :) thoughts?

19 comments

  1. [11]
    Weldawadyathink
    Link
    It’s interesting that you have had a bad experience with Hue, because my experience has been excellent. I have used sengled bulbs, hue bulbs, SmartThings hub, sengled hub, hue hub, and a variety...

    It’s interesting that you have had a bad experience with Hue, because my experience has been excellent. I have used sengled bulbs, hue bulbs, SmartThings hub, sengled hub, hue hub, and a variety of name brand and off brand sensors.

    My experience has been this: hardware manufacturers do not make good apps. You just have to find a hardware manufacturer that makes good devices, good firmware, and integrates with a good home control software.

    I personally like HomeKit as my software of choice, and I have my family setup with google home. I think Alexa will do the same thing. If you want a privacy focused version, check out homeassistant.

    Now you need to integrate your devices with your software of choice. One option is to get devices that integrate directly into your platform. Another is to use software to bridge the connections to your software. Home bridge works great for this if you use HomeKit. HomeAssistant works great for google home, HomeKit, and Alexa.

    In short: device manufacturers make crap apps. Find a home app you like and then find a way to integrate your devices with it. If you open the manufacturers app on a regular basis, you are doing it wrong.

    7 votes
    1. 0x4A
      Link Parent
      My experiences have been the same - the apps provided by manufacturers tend to range from bad to horrible. I had tried a few different devices and finally settled on Vocolinc. I had really good...

      My experiences have been the same - the apps provided by manufacturers tend to range from bad to horrible.

      I had tried a few different devices and finally settled on Vocolinc. I had really good experiences with their smart plugs, and their RBG LED bulbs are great - bright, relatively cheap, no bridge or hub required for HomeKit, and they worked flawlessly with iOS so the Vocolinc app was only needed for firmware updates. I eventually bought about half a dozen of their RGB LED bulbs and several more white LED bulbs.

      Then Vocolinc disappeared.

      When Amazon recently caught Aukey and several other vendors in another lame 'pay for positive press' review scam, Vocolinc vanished, evidently having been participating in the same racket. Now their domain sits vacant, the majority of their products are no longer available anywhere, and their social media is seemingly abandoned. My guess is that they're retreating long enough to rebrand as something else, but who knows for sure. Their app recently updated, but I have no idea what that might mean for the future of the brand or the devices I now own.

      4 votes
    2. [9]
      Adys
      Link Parent
      This was my understanding and the reason why I made this thread. HomeKit sounds doable. I have started dabbling in the apple ecosystem so I will give it a try. I am deep in the Google one but...

      My experience has been this: hardware manufacturers do not make good apps. You just have to find a hardware manufacturer that makes good devices, good firmware, and integrates with a good home control software.

      This was my understanding and the reason why I made this thread.

      HomeKit sounds doable. I have started dabbling in the apple ecosystem so I will give it a try. I am deep in the Google one but found their home solutions … lacking, to say the least. HomeAssistant will be what I try next if I don't like HomeKit.

      Hardware quality wise, do you prefer Hue or Sengled?

      2 votes
      1. [8]
        Weldawadyathink
        Link Parent
        They both have their pros and cons, but they are very similar. Note: I am talking only about the zigbee sengled bulbs. Ignore the Bluetooth ones. One thing that is good about hue, is they are “the...

        They both have their pros and cons, but they are very similar. Note: I am talking only about the zigbee sengled bulbs. Ignore the Bluetooth ones.

        One thing that is good about hue, is they are “the one” smart lights for many apps. If they only integrate with one platform, it will be hue. I used to use the sleep as android app which only integrated with hue.

        Sengled bulbs are a bit cheaper with slightly worse colors. If you use colors often and have a few bulbs in the same room, try and make sure they are the same brand. Sengled also has more formats of bulb available such as candelabra.

        Hue does a lot of research and development into making colors good and accurate. That is one of the things that you pay for with Hue.

        If you use HomeKit, getting adaptive lighting bulbs is really nice. I don’t think sengled have adaptive lighting.

        In my opinion, hue edges out sengled by a tiny amount. In retrospect I don’t think I would have upgraded from sengled to hue if I could not give my sengled bulbs to my parents. I am satisfied with hue for now, but I am keeping a close eye on both Matter and Thread.

        2 votes
        1. [2]
          whbboyd
          Link Parent
          It's worth noting—since I'm not sure anyone has stated this explicitly yet—that it is possible to use Hue bulbs as raw Zigbee bulbs, without involving a Hue hub or any Hue integrations. I have...

          It's worth noting—since I'm not sure anyone has stated this explicitly yet—that it is possible to use Hue bulbs as raw Zigbee bulbs, without involving a Hue hub or any Hue integrations. I have more than half a dozen connected directly to my Homeassistant instance.

          3 votes
          1. Weldawadyathink
            Link Parent
            Good point. Same with sengled bulbs. Also, having all your zigbee devices in the same “network” helps the range and reliability of your network.

            Good point. Same with sengled bulbs. Also, having all your zigbee devices in the same “network” helps the range and reliability of your network.

            2 votes
        2. [5]
          Adys
          Link Parent
          Sounds like my experience with Hue was mostly poor due to their app. It's true I never really had a problem with the hardware itself.

          Sounds like my experience with Hue was mostly poor due to their app. It's true I never really had a problem with the hardware itself.

          2 votes
          1. [4]
            Weldawadyathink
            Link Parent
            Yep. If you have a recent hue hub, adding it to HomeKit is as easy as scanning the code on the back. If you have an older one, you either need a new hub, or to setup homebridge or HomeAssistant....

            Yep. If you have a recent hue hub, adding it to HomeKit is as easy as scanning the code on the back. If you have an older one, you either need a new hub, or to setup homebridge or HomeAssistant. Try it out.

            One note: HomeKit is great but the app certainly has some problems. Don’t expect perfection.

            2 votes
            1. [3]
              Adys
              Link Parent
              What do you think about this? https://www.theverge.com/2021/9/3/22654576/philips-smart-led-bulbs-price-sizes-signify
              1 vote
              1. Weldawadyathink
                Link Parent
                I can’t really tell what they are (the philips website is pretty terrible). They seem to be based on wiz, which are WiFi lights. I would stay away from WiFi smart devices at all costs. In the best...

                I can’t really tell what they are (the philips website is pretty terrible). They seem to be based on wiz, which are WiFi lights. I would stay away from WiFi smart devices at all costs. In the best case scenario, they are as good as zigbee or z wave devices, if your WiFi is very reliable. At worst, they are going to be less reliable and more expensive. Zigbee and z wave are radio protocols designed directly for smart devices. WiFi is a protocol designed for laptops. Use the best tool for the job.

                2 votes
              2. tomf
                Link Parent
                like Weldawadyathink said, definitely go with lights that build a mesh network. Its so handy and the delay on bulbs that are way out of range of the base is so minor. I've got a half dozen color...

                like Weldawadyathink said, definitely go with lights that build a mesh network. Its so handy and the delay on bulbs that are way out of range of the base is so minor.

                I've got a half dozen color HUE bulbs and love them. Their app isn't the best, but it isn't the worst. It does what it should and you can control everything via Homekit or whatever you want.

                An added bonus is setting schedules with IFTTT -- based on weather or whatever you want.

                1 vote
  2. [7]
    JXM
    Link
    Like @Weldawadyathink, I've had nothing but good experiences with Hue products. They're expensive, but they are usually rock solid. What phone are you using? If you're using an iPhone, I've found...

    Like @Weldawadyathink, I've had nothing but good experiences with Hue products. They're expensive, but they are usually rock solid.

    What phone are you using? If you're using an iPhone, I've found the Home app to be quite reliable. Once you set things up in the Hue app, you never have to open it again. You can just control things from the Home app.

    Or if you want complete control, you can invest some time and get Home Assistant up and running. You can completely customize it, but it is a lot of up front time investment.

    I was going to recommend Vocolinc as well, since I have some of their RGB lightstrips and they have been great. They worked with Google Home and Homekit and were easy to set up and use. A shame to hear they aren't around anymore (and that they were paying for Amazon reviews).

    5 votes
    1. [6]
      time
      Link Parent
      I've gone down the Home Assistant path for RGB lighting throughout my house. I've got Home Assistant OS Installed on a Raspberry Pi 4 with an SSD. I use a HUSBZB-1 dongle which allows...

      Or if you want complete control, you can invest some time and get Home Assistant up and running. You can completely customize it, but it is a lot of up front time investment.

      I've gone down the Home Assistant path for RGB lighting throughout my house. I've got Home Assistant OS Installed on a Raspberry Pi 4 with an SSD. I use a HUSBZB-1 dongle which allows communication with Z-Wave and Zigbee devices. All the bulbs in my house are Sengled Zigbee RGB Bulbs (make sure not to get the bluetooth only ones that only work with Alexa devices, you need the more expensive zigbee bulbs), and I've had no issues with responsiveness or disconnecting bulbs. On the same Zigbee network I've got some Ikea Fyrtur roller shades, and on Z-Wave I have several Inovelli smart switches as well, all running off the one HUSBZB-1 dongle. All in all I've currently got about 16 Z-Wave devices and 45 zigbee devices.

      With HomeAssistant you can do lots of neat things like set up scenes and toggle them with switches from a web interface or phone app. One scene I particularly like is 'theater mode' for my living room, which will close the curtains and dim the all the lights in the room at the flip of a switch. I've also got scenes set up to turn all the lights off completely when I'm leaving the house or going to bed, or to turn them all on at full brightness when I'm cleaning.

      As @JXM mentioned, it can be pretty technically complex to get everything set up the way you want. I've got a fair bit of networking, system administration, and general programming experience so it definitely made sense for me to go with this route, as I highly value the flexibility, ability to combine different technologies, and complete local control over my devices.

      If you feel you're up to the technical challenge of setting up a Home Assistant server, I highly recommend it. It won't be the fastest or easiest way to control light bulbs, but it'd definitely among the most versatile and customizable.

      3 votes
      1. [5]
        Adys
        Link Parent
        I'm very technical as well so I don't mind the DIY aspect. I think the whole home automation bit is something that attracts me but I want to stick to light management for the time being. To that...

        I'm very technical as well so I don't mind the DIY aspect. I think the whole home automation bit is something that attracts me but I want to stick to light management for the time being.

        To that end; would you recommend the sengled zigbee rgb bulbs you mentioned over hue bulbs? (Which I guess in my case since I need GU-10s would be these types)

        3 votes
        1. [3]
          Greg
          Link Parent
          One thing you'll want to check for GU-10 bulbs is the length of the bulb vs the length of the fitting. I'm also a happy Hue user, so I won't rehash what others have said there, but I had to wait...

          One thing you'll want to check for GU-10 bulbs is the length of the bulb vs the length of the fitting. I'm also a happy Hue user, so I won't rehash what others have said there, but I had to wait for them to release the latest generation of GU-10 bulbs for my kitchen fittings because the previous ones were too long for the space. Those previous gen ones worked totally fine in my bathroom, though, because the ceiling fittings there have open backs - it's luck of the draw, basically.

          2 votes
          1. [2]
            Adys
            Link Parent
            I had the exact opposite problem with Hues at my previous place: My fittings were too deep for the hue's short stem…

            I had the exact opposite problem with Hues at my previous place: My fittings were too deep for the hue's short stem…

            2 votes
            1. Greg
              Link Parent
              Huh, I didn't expect that! All the more reason to measure the existing ones, I guess.

              Huh, I didn't expect that! All the more reason to measure the existing ones, I guess.

              2 votes
        2. time
          Link Parent
          I believe that when I was making my decision on which bulbs to buy, I was highly influenced by this review video. I haven't ever used Hue bulbs myself, so I don't know about their shortcomings /...

          To that end; would you recommend the sengled zigbee rgb bulbs you mentioned over hue bulbs?

          I believe that when I was making my decision on which bulbs to buy, I was highly influenced by this review video. I haven't ever used Hue bulbs myself, so I don't know about their shortcomings / advantages outside of other people's reviews on the internet. I initially bought a couple of the sengled bulbs to test, and I was happy with the results, so I've stuck with them for my whole house. If you've already bought some hue bulbs and a hub, you can integrate the bulbs you already have into Home Assistant, and then either get more hue bulbs or another brand, and control them all together from one interface.

          1 vote
  3. FrankGrimes
    Link
    I've never used Hue, so I can't comment on them. I do have a few Lifx bulbs, and I've found the hardware is really solid. The app used to be great, then they redesigned the whole thing and it's...

    I've never used Hue, so I can't comment on them. I do have a few Lifx bulbs, and I've found the hardware is really solid. The app used to be great, then they redesigned the whole thing and it's pretty awful now, but still usable (read reviews in app store if you want to get a feel for it). The thing that drew me to them is that they don't require any sort of hub. You just screw it in, activate it in the app, and you're off and running. You can control them with Amazon/Google/Etc, if you want.

    The downside is they don't have as many accessories - I wish I could find an easy to use wall mount switch that would control a bulb (some of the rooms they are in don't have an actual hardwired switch - just the switch on the lamp.

    2 votes