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Thread: Smart Home Megathread

  1. #1
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    Smart Home Megathread

    ok, i lied, this is no megathread... yet. I tried moving a bunch of the existing Hue/Alexa/Nest post into this new thread, but vBulletin sucks and keeps giving me an invalid action warning.


    ANYHOO

    After a post reminded me of my intention to pick up some Philips Hue junk for the house a few weeks ago, I did just that. Because I completely misread the spec of the Hue Bridge, I ordered TWO of them to give my house full coverage, not knowing that the bulbs themselves create a mesh network extending the range to each other all on their own. Anyway, my loss may be your gain. Is anybody in need of a Philips Hue generation 2 (latest greatest) bridge? They are $60 new on Amazon, i'll sell this thing shipped to your door for $45. I got mine with amazon's frustration-free packaging, so there's no pretty cardboard box or anything, but you'll get the bridge, the power cord, and the ethernet cable along with a hand-written letter saying "Thanks."

    in related news, i'm obsessed with automating all the lights in our house now. So far we only have 6 bulbs - 3 color, 3 white - because amazon is backordered on hue stuff and I can't wait to get more (i think we have three more color on order right now). I've also picked up some outdoor smart switch outlets so our badass backyard string lights are all automatic now. It's also pretty sweet having them all hooked up to our Alexas (one in kitchen, one in my office) so i can just be like "Alexa, shut off the living room lights" or my favorite: "Alexa, trigger office party", which tells the bulbs in my office to start cycling through all the colors creating the saddest one-person disco ever.

  2. #2
    Darth Small Macheath's Avatar
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    I'm vaguely interested, but before I jump into the world of Smart Lightbulbs, I have some basic questions.

    First... my impression is that you plug these things into your existing sockets, power them up (switch them on) and then from that moment on, the Hue bridge and mobile app are in control. Is it no longer possible to flip lights on and off with the wall switch, then? Do I need to whip out my phone, or pay for an Alexa and talk to it, in order to take a peepee in the middle of the night?

    Second... I assume it's possible to control rooms and lights independently of one another. Like if I'm reading and would like some mood lighting in the room and one bright light directly over my head, I can do that without fucking the lights in the bedroom. If I say "Hey Alexa Give Me Some Strobe Lights I Feel Like Dancing," it won't give my pet iguana a seizure in his basement dwelling.

    Third... do they make outdoor bulbs? Can I put one in my carport and turn it on when I park my car? Sometimes I'm scared because it's dark.

  3. #3
    Darth Small Macheath's Avatar
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    Boy yeah, most of the bulbs and things are out of stock. Hmmm. I guess I'll hold off for the moment since I'm lacking even a basic understanding of smartness.

  4. #4
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    I have TCP and Osram (Sylvania) brands bulbs spread all over the house. Hue is similar to Osram in that it communicates via Zigbee protocol, but each brand pretty much defines its own provisioning and operating rules so these answers may not apply.

    Quote Originally Posted by Macheath View Post
    First... my impression is that you plug these things into your existing sockets, power them up (switch them on) and then from that moment on, the Hue bridge and mobile app are in control. Is it no longer possible to flip lights on and off with the wall switch, then? Do I need to whip out my phone, or pay for an Alexa and talk to it, in order to take a peepee in the middle of the night?
    You need to keep the bulb powered, even when it is "off". So yeah, you can't simply flip the switch to turn it on. HOWEVER, most bulbs can be forced on by toggling the power switch on/off a couple of times quickly. You still have to turn it off via the app though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Macheath View Post
    Second... I assume it's possible to control rooms and lights independently of one another. Like if I'm reading and would like some mood lighting in the room and one bright light directly over my head, I can do that without fucking the lights in the bedroom. If I say "Hey Alexa Give Me Some Strobe Lights I Feel Like Dancing," it won't give my pet iguana a seizure in his basement dwelling.
    Yes. Of course. Each bulb is directly accessible and controllable individually as well as a part of whatever groups you have assigned it to.

    Quote Originally Posted by Macheath View Post
    Third... do they make outdoor bulbs? Can I put one in my carport and turn it on when I park my car? Sometimes I'm scared because it's dark.
    Yes. There are currently dozens of brands of smart bulbs. They cover every need you can imagine. A quick search on Amazon for "smart bulb" will reveal hundreds of products.

    Beware of cross compatibility though. Smart home is a hobby of mine so I intentionally mix brands to learn about integrating them into my house. But for the "set it and forget it" type of consumer you'd want to stick with one brand, or at very least one standard (Zigbee vs Zwave vs BT vs proprietary, etc...) They even have wi-fi bulbs nowadays. The IoT world is evolving at an amazing speed and there are very few fixed rules or standards out there.

  5. #5
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    Do you ever find yourself going "FUCK I really wish I could turn off this light without having to load up the app"? Or is it sort of a paradigm shift where the only reason I think I'll miss light switches is because I've always had them?

  6. #6
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    To add on to what Zlord already said:

    WRT Hue (not certain about other brands) you can still control the light with normal wall switches, too. If you want the light off, you just turn the wall switch off, and when you turn the light switch back on, the bulb will turn back on (to white, 100% power) and reconnect to the mesh. All bulbs can be grouped together into rooms and/or scenes and can then be controlled either individually or in groups. this gives you the ability to "turn on the living room floor lamp", "turn on the living room" (all lights) as well as things like "enable return home scene" which will, say, turn on the carport/garage, the kitchen light, and the hallway, for example.
    One thing to note is that if you have a switch turned off for a bulb, that bulb cannot be controlled by the network until the switch is turned back on. With Hue, you can get a configurable dimmer switch that give you an on/off and dim functionality right from your normal wall switch location. The other handy things about those is that the switch part pops out of the wall plate and can be used as a remote. Handy for controlling the lights from bed if you don't have your phone with you or Alexa nearby. You can also configure the on/off/dim buttons to enable or disable scenes instead of the basic on/off/dim functionality.

    I use HomeKit and Alexa to manage all of our bulbs and switches, which makes it really easy. HomeKit is Apple specific, but I'm sure there's something similar for Android people.

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    in the last few days i've also been playing around with IFTTT integration and working on enabling things like "when my geolocation returns home and it's after 5pm, turn on the carport light"

  8. #8
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    I also own some smart home products:
    4 sylvania lightify bulbs
    1 smart things hub
    1 smart door lock
    1 garage door tilt sensor
    2 smart outlets
    1 aeon remote (4 buttons)
    1 samsung security camera (unfortunately I got this before I researched smart home stuff so it doesn't integrate with smart things (funny since it is also samsung branded...), but I do get e-mails when it detects movement so I get notified when people come to the front door, ups deliveries, etc.)
    1 wifi thermostat (this came with the house and doesn't integrate with smart things - not that big of a deal since having it on a schedule and wifi access is all I really need)

    I control everything via the smart things hub. Also to solve the problem with the bulbs and wall switches, I picked up an aeon remote and customized the 4 buttons to trigger different light modes and also my wall outlets when I want to do things that aren't on a set schedule. I still need to pick up a google home as I have all my house speakers hooked up to chromecast audios and I know alexa doesn't integrate with google's chromecast audio (AFAIK).

    Screenshot_20161230-181237.png
    Screenshot_20161230-181325.png

  9. #9
    Darth Small Macheath's Avatar
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    "Fuckface, play 'Burn in Hell' by Twisted Sister and begin strobe pattern 32-J in the sex dungeon."

    *boop* *does a patented LG dance*


  10. #10
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    Honestly, one of the great parts about our Alexas is that they just kind of blend in and aren't seen, especially the dot in my office. I feel like if i had one of these Hub Bots instead it would just feel like having a gimicky toy sitting on the counter. People would come over and be like "what IS that thing? weird." where right now, i've never had anybody notice Alexa unless i used it in front of them, and i like that. Alexa is only there when i'm actively using it.

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