To control lights I am currently using Philips Hue because I found is the cheapest solution but I have found three bad things about it:
1.- The physical switch always has to be switched on
2.- The light can only be controlled by an app (cannot be by the physical switch)
3.- The range that it offers is very small (so if I put a bulb far from the Hug it will not be reachable)
I know that there are other solutions as the Fibaro relays and with those I can control the lights by the app or by the physical switch but the problem is that each relay cost about $80 USD so if I want to automate 10 bulbs imagine the cost…
Can anyone advice on alternate solutions? I want to be able to control light by the physical switch or by the app at an affordable price. I know that you @JDRoberts will have a great advice so could you comment?
You’re omitting basic essential information here, like what kind(s) of light fixture(s) you’re trying to control. Lamps with their own integral switches? Ceiling fixtures controlled by wall switches? Both? Something else?
I guess that for lamps with their integral switches best solution could be a power outlet but for now I want to control ceiling bulbs using wall switch. Any advice on this?
(I’ve moved this into projects so that you can get individualized advice based on your own specific needs and set up.)
Thanks for the shout. There’s no one “best” answer, because people do have different requirements, and different budgets. But I’m sure the members here will be glad to help you brainstorm what would work best for you.
While it’s true that with a smart bulb the Bulb always has to have power, there are many different ways to provide a wall switch that can control the bulb. Just as an example, in the last year there are two “smart switch covers” which are devices that fit over an existing switch and give you networked control of the bulbs. So that’s one option. There are many others, discussed in the following FAQ:
That doesn’t mean that bulbs will be a better solution for you then switches, but it does take care of the first two problems that you listed.
The following thread might also be of interest:
So if you really like the smart bulbs, particularly if you want their color changing feature, you probably can make that work. But you may still want to consider other options as well.
In addition to the details that @DParker mentioned, first thing we should ask is what country are you in? The choice of devices does vary.
Why do you say that? You’re still going to have to leave the lamp’s integral switch in the “on” position all the time in order to be able to control it via the smart outlet. So in that regard it’s no different from your Hue bulbs. And it’s not more cost-effective for a given lamp unless it takes at least 3 bulbs.
As for your issue with range…how far away from the bridge are any Hue bulbs you’re having problems with?
I agree with you on the lamps but at this moment I want to control ceiling bulbs. In my current house they are away about 15 meters and I found the problem that randomly they show as unreachable(after looked for hue technical support they gave some advices to fix the problem such as change channel but did not really work) and in few months I will move to a bigger house so this problem I forsee to become worst and the other real disadvantage is that as I mentioned before is that they always need to be powered and then to control them I would have to always carry my phone open the app and the control them which is more steps than just push a physical switch and is the opposite to automation. I found a solution to change my phisical switch and replace by a GE one that can work over zigbee or zwave but each switch is 50 usd and other solution is the fibaro relays but is even more expensive. So are there any other tested brands that work as switch controllers at a more affordable price?
Yes I prefer smart switch or module over smart bulbs as I see many advantages on this configuration. I do not really care about changing color. Is there any brand or model that is tested to work and at a more affordable price? Or what options are out there? So far I am only aware of GE switch which is about 50 us and fibaro relays even more expensive.
Well if those are wifi I guess I will have also the range issue. Thanks anyways for the advice
It sounds like there’s some confusion here. Originally you said your range issue was with regard to communication between your Hue bulbs and your Hue Bridge. But the statements above pertain to issues with WiFi communication, as in between your Hue Bridge and your router. So what exactly is the “range issue” you’re actually having?
Well, you having to initiate anything yourself (pushing a physical switch, activating an app on your mobile device, speaking to an Amazon Echo, whatever) is the opposite of automation.
With the comment of the wifi range issue I was replying to @anon36505037 where he was suggesting to use Wemo switches that use Wifi communication.
Philips Hue bridge/Hub is wired to the Wifi modem si there is no communication issue with those two devices. The communication problem is between Philips Hue and the bulbs(as you may know they use zigbee and no wifi). The bulbs close to the hub have no issues but the ones more than 10 meters will show as unreachable very often, and yes I have motion sensors, I have google home, I have multipurpose sensors and with all of this things I am automating the house but I do not want to loose the possibility to turn on / off the lights by pushing a physical button if I want to. So as summary those are the disadvantages I see from using Philips Hue:
1.- given range between Hub and bulbs is very short and not enough for all the house
2.- Always need to have powered the bulbs
3.- Unable to turn on /off the bulbs by physical button if I want to
4.- Always need to use their bulbs and no possibility to use different ones
5.- Brightness of the bulbs are only about 850 Lumens which is not enough for some places where height is more than 3 Mts
For those reason I want to migrate to use smart switches or relays and what I am asking here is anyone is aware of a switch or a relay that works well at a more affordable price.
I’m not sure why you think you’d still have a range issue with WiFi devices. And I’m still confused by your…
…comment. Does this refer to changing the 2.4 GHz channel used by your router to minimize interference with the Zigbee signal?
I take it that the bulbs that are > 10 m away don’t have any bulbs in between them and the router such that they can act as repeaters?
All that said, @JDRoberts asked you a very important question regarding what country you’re in, so as to facilitate the ability to offer you suggestions. Did you answer that?
Why I would not I have issues when using Wifi if also wifi offers a limited coverage range?? is better to use zigbee or zwave as each device act as repeater as mesh network (even thought for Hue looks it is not enough or not efficient). And yes the bulbs are > 10 mts away and I have few bulbs between but I am using a second floor so the wall is also causing interference…
When I mentioned changing the channel it was directly in Philips Hue app, they have 4 or 5 different channels and I cannot do that in the Internet router because I have a Chromecast and it will not work in different frequency than 2.4GHz so the only option here is to change the philips Hue channel. Even though if I put more bulbs and fix the range issue I still see all the other issues/concerns that I listed before…
So I am still looking for smart switch / relays to control lights and btw I am in Mexico
So if I change Wifi Channel it could help to reduce interference with my Philips Hue that uses Zigbee?? If so could you advice how to change the Wifi Channel please?
Everything is “limited” in terms of effective range. It’s simply a matter of degree. In the absence of well-spaced repeaters in a Zigbee network, WiFi’s effective range is typically significantly greater.
Changing WiFi “channels” is not the same as switching to a different band (2.4GHz vs 5GHz) altogether. It simply refers to using a different part of the same band. And if your router is a dual-band router it is most likely capable of using both simultaneously.
OK, that might help. I (and likely others) will look into it.
thanks for your comments. Due to all my listed issues with Philips Hue before I still want to change to smart switch / relay so if anyone can advice which one will work well will be appreciated. I prefer something like fibaro relays so I do not have to change my current switches