Fear of Commitment! Lights and Google Home

Yeah I looked at these, but my back boxes are super shallow.

Still, will be cheaper/easier in some rooms to dig out the back box more. My kitchen for example has 10 bulbs in it! Expensive!

I fitted ours above the actual light fitting as I didn’t fancy digging out behind the back boxes.
It was far easier in our setup.

That’s not a bad idea… I’ll have to have a look.

Are LIFX bulbs available in the UK? I know these ship globally, so probably ship in 1. bayonet fittings and 2. 220V

Yes they do. I have a LIFX bulb with Bayonet fitting and it works well, but they are very large bulbs.

I still prefer the Aeotec Micro Smart Switch solution so I can use normal bulbs.

So did you fit in the roof space above the light fitting? That’s a great shout as back box space has also put me off in the past.

Does the product linked on amazon just work with uk light fittings? I am about to move and house so will be fitting new ceiling lights… there will be 2 x 3 bulb fittings controlled by one switch. Would this in ceiling approach and device work in this scenario do you know?

Google Home hasn’t been released yet. Has there been any announcement regarding integration with ST and Google Home?

I was lucky in that the light fittings have quite a large top to them where the transformer sits. I replaced the transformer with a small LED driver module and that leaves room to fit the Aeotec Micro Smart Switch in the actual light fitting itself.

We have two lights with 10 x 1.5w LED’s in each light that are controlled by two separate swicthes, so I had to use two Aeotec Switches. This does mean I can switch on / off each light seprarately or together through a group setup in Alexa.

i was looking at these. is there a way to use one for a double switch? my kitchen and dining room have 2 separate lights on a 2 gang switch.

would i need 2 separate micro switches?

I used two separate switches, because I wanted to fit them
in the light fittings and I wanted to be able to switch each one on and off independently.

If you want the kitchen and dining room to be switched on and off independently, then I assume you would need two switches.

Thanks for sharing. I find myself in a similar situation - I’ve been waiting nearly a year to invest in smart plugs, etc because I think that Google’s Thread (which appears to be compatible with ZigBee) will be a popular platform. Our family is all Android and strongly in the Google ecosystem and I also want to be compatible with Google Home. I was thrilled to see that the leaked rumor a day or two ago says that Google Home will be compatible with ST out of the box and gave the info a 10 out of 10 for confidence. I still don’t know where that leaves me as Thread/new ZigBee based “things” were meant to be released starting the end of last year and some items like the DanaLock V2 Thread/ZigBee was supposed to be released 2nd quarter of 2016 by the admission of the company directly and it’s not yet. I don’t know if everyone was waiting for Google Home or if there were simply issues and more bugs to be worked out. I don’t have an answer but wanted to share that GH is said to be fully compatible with ST. Hope that helps you a bit.

The problem we have in the UK is that many of the products in on the market are EU or US specific and it has be difficult for us to get the products we need, due to differences in wiring and differences in fittings (Lights & Plugs). Thankfully manufacturers are catching on and the likes of Aeotec and Fibaro are bringing out UK specific products but they are often slow to market. Then on the flip side SmartHome products are expensive, I operate a small e-commerce site specialising in Smart Home products and as a user in the UK I do try and source UK specific products, its very difficult because we need to balance it between compatibility and choice.

The SmartHome market in the UK has stagnate according to Deloitte, and its down to a number of factors such as compatibility, pricing, availability and the fact that setting up a smart home can be technically challenging. Things should improve as time goes on but as its a slower market in the UK it will be slower to get it where we need it to be.

Ive recently read that Google are taking the approach that third partys will support Google Home, or Amazon Echo - but not both. Looks like they may take the strongarm approach and try to force people to stick a flag in one camp or the other.

As people like sonos are working with Amazon to bring the two together, and Smartthings is already up and running with Amazon, Id be very surprised if Google did take this stance, and if they did, even more surprised if Samsung and Sonos made the switch. That being said, Samsung shift a lot of phones with a google OS on them…

With this level of integration from big players, I can’t see Smartthings going anywhere, but there is certainly a battleground being drawn between Google and Amazon on voice controllers. It may be that people will move from Echos to Google Home depending on functionality.

I was dissaponted to see that the out of the box integration between ST and Amazon Alexa did not allow for control of garage doors, so I had to go down the route of some additional App by the way of the excellent AskAlexa community app and LGK’s virtual garage door.

It may well be that the google home will have a more complete control and two way communication with smartthings and items like Evohome (which I cant get reports for, I can only set temperatures). If the integration and control is better with Google Home instead of Alexa, then I may jump - but whichever box I talk to, it will be working with smartthings.

As for Lights, Ive gone with Zwave Fibaro dimmers - work great with Smartthings, and therefor I can control them through Alexa. Much cheaper than changing multiple smart bulbs, and by installing at the switch, it doesn’t render the bulbs useless if turned off.

In the event of ST faling or removing themselves from the UK, its Zwave, so can be shifted over to some other control unit if needed - though I think this is unlikely.

That Google rumor is just a rumor for now based on thirdhand reports. Personally, I think many people have misinterpreted what the Google statement actually was. Detailed discussion in the following thread:

The problem with the Osram Lightify is that they only make Edison screw
versions, and all my fittings are bayonet. I got adaptors for the 2 I
purchased, but they make the light fitting huge.

Why not change your light fittings to screw sockets? It’s no harder than changing a light switch.

The problem with smart bulbs (as opposed to switches) is that they conflict with the wall switch. i.e. if someone switches the light off at the wall then no amount of smartness in the bulb is going to be able to switch it on. So I’d advocate using separate smart dimmers or switches if you can. It keeps the house more user friendly.

The exception is where you need to be able to control the colour of the bulb output - in that case you probably do need the intelligence in the bulb. But for normal white (ish!) lights go for something external.

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I would second the comments of @PailOckenden

What I like about going the module/switch route is that to anyone who isn’t tech savvy, the house still operates how they would expect. Your guests can still go into rooms without having to wonder about how to turn the light on, and similarly if they turn it off at the switch on the way out - it can still be controlled via the smart system afterward.

As an example:

We have a motion sensor in a downstairs toilet which turns on the light when somebody enters, and turns off after a period of inactivity We have done this because our son is old enough to go to the toilet on his own now, but not quite tall enough to reach the light switch, so to save him having to get a step out, and put it away (delaying his toilet visit), the light works on its own.

However, when an adult goes to the toilet the light still comes on, but, when they leave they may turn the light off at the switch. If this were just a smart bulb, then the next time my son goes to the toilet the light wouldn’t come on for him. Because it is a smart switch (Fibaro module), it doesn’t matter that the light was switched off using the switch last time - it still works.

There are many ways to handle the issue of switches and smart bulbs. See the following discussion:

One of the easiest is to lock the existing switch or put a box over it and add a battery operated switch in its place. That way there is an intuitive switch right where guests or children would expect one, but you still have automated control because the bulbs are always powered. So basically an old problem with several new solutions in the last year. :sunglasses::bulb:

If you check the following list of button/remotes that work with SmartThings, you’ll find several that are available in the UK including the remotec and the Devolo. Both are popular in the community.

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I’ve pretty much done the same thing. I have Fibaro dimmers behind the light switches for things like the hallway lights and any roof light fittings that I already had in the house. This means they’re still controllable at the switch but I can also activate them with motion, the app and my Echo.

I also have a hue hub and coloured light bulbs for all of my lamps. This is really nice for things like the living room because I can set some nice mood lighting with motion, via the app, using a remote control or the Echo.

FYI - These lamps from B&Q are brilliant because the entire tube glows the colour of the lamp. They look really nice when lit up.

I wouoldn’t say there’s a silver bullet for all your lighting needs. You will need a couple of solutions based on what type of lighting you need. If it is fixed lighting, go with dimmers behind your switches. If they are lamps, go with bulbs.

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or use an adapter, makes your lamp about 15mm longer