Please Offer Help and Guidance - Newbie (UK)


(David) #1

Hello,

I’m new to Samsung Smart Things, I’ve watched a few videos on YouTube and love the sound of the product and would love to smarten up my home. I plan to start with adding sensors to all external doors, the W/C and the living room before working my way around the home.

My plan of action is…

  • 1 Coloured Phillips Hue for Living Room lamp
  • 2 White Phillips Hue for main Living Room lights
  • 1 While Phillips Hue for W/C light
  • 2 Multi-Sensors (1 for front door and one for french doors)
  • 2 Motion sensors, one for W/C and one for living room.

Does this sound a good plan or should I swap anything for better products or am I missing something?

Do I need a Phillips Hue bridge or can the SmartThings hub do what I need it to do?

Is there anything I can use to smarten up a garden gate, so if dogs are out and someone opens the gate I know to check they’ve not escaped or been stolen?


(Robin) #2

Lots of arguments both ways, but if you’re ok with a bit of wiring I personally reccomend using smart switches instead of smart bulbs.

With bulbs, it can be very annoying when someone turns off the switch rendering the smart bulb useless until powered back on.

Smart switches give you traditional wall switch control AND smart control. I like the Fibaro Dimmer 2 micro modules that go behind your existing switches.

Google ‘Sensitive Strips’ for a great external grade contact sensor.

You will need the Hue hub for Hue bulbs.

What country are you in? Will help us make other recommendations regards switch options.


(Adam V) #3

Always good to have two opinions!

I have taken the opposite approach to @RobinWinbourne.

I use smart bulbs everywhere, because of the flexibility and control they offer (brightness, warmth, hue, colour - and of course energy efficiency - way more than what you can achieve with a micro module).

The way I get around Robin’s issue re: light switch - and this is an approach you can decide to take later if you find you are having problems with this, is to remove the physical switch altogether, and replace it with a smart switch (e.g. aeon wireless wallmote, Popp Wall controller etc etc). This way you can the program the switch buttons to perform any task you like, from light actions (turning on / off / colour / brightness etc) or anything else in the house) - and because your lights then become perm live, you never have this issue.

Also - re Hue bulbs, you do not need the Hue Hub if you use these - they can connect directly to smartthings. There is an excellent community created Device Handler for this that works very well.

You could consider attaching a presence sensor to your dogs so that you can be notified when they come and go - and could create an alert if they have been gone for too long

I hope that makes sense!


(Robin) #4

Yep… lots of debate in both directions. But I personally feel that by the time you replace the bulbs and purchase remote switches, the cost savings are quickly lost, especially if a light fitting requires multiple Hue bulbs.

I agree however that Hue bulbs give a lot more flexibility in regards to colour temperatures and/or colours. They are also great in rented properties or where users don’t want to mess directly with the electrics.

In the UK, and I’d be surprised if this doesn’t apply elsewhere, it is against electrical code to have a light fitting on permemant live without a local isolation switch. It’s not safe to change a bulb whilst the power is on. This can of course be overcome using a ‘fish key’ switch, like what is often used for testing emergency lighting circuits, remote switch can then be placed on top.

Maybe things have changed in the past 6 months, but I have seen numerous threads from users who can’t reset their bulbs without a Hue hub. So if anything goes quirky (which is fairly common with ST) it can be difficult to get them reset and re-paired directly to the ST hub.


(Robin) #5

So it can be done but not as simple as flicking a wall switch on/off a few times… looks like you need a seperate remote device or something… long thread about it below.


(Adam V) #6

This is true - so obviously, if you decide to take this route, get an electrician to do this - like I did!

It’s actually really simple, especially if you bought the hue bulbs separately:

  1. If you buy Hue bulbs separately, then they come factory reset so just turn them on and connect to Smartthings.
    or
  2. If you bought the bulbs as part of a package with the hue hub (usually works out cheaper per bulb this way and then you can sell the hub on ebay and reduce the cost of them even more), then you need to buy this device - which you can get from Amazon, which will let you reset individual bulbs.

Or alternatively - get LIFX bulbs which I personally think are the best out there.


(David) #7

I’m living in the U.K., I’m not keen on doing re-wiring of the house adding switches etc. as mentioned by @RobinWinbourne. We’ve just moved into a new build house so I wouldn’t want to invalidate warranties etc. I’ve Googled ‘Sensitive Strips’ and they look quite good, however I can’t seem to find how much they are or where to buy them in the U.K., are they only available in the U.S? Do they work on outside gates or would weather conditions damage them?

@AdamV, love the idea of adding a presence sensor to the dogs, however they’re only small dogs so feel they may be a little bit to big to attach to the collar.

I haven’t brought anything yet, just doing the planning and research at the moment. I was thinking about adding a couple of the Hue light strips however they’re expensive for what they are. Are there cheaper similar alternatives?

I’ve been researching since my post and I really like the idea of adding the Ring video doorbell, these look amazing! Has anyone added a smart doorbell?


(Robin) #8

They are not cheap… available in US and UK but different frequencies.

I use one on my back gate, been installed 1 year and battery still 100%. They are the only external grade contact sensor I know of.


#9

Since you’re in the U.K., Vesternet is a useful source for Z wave devices. Very helpful technical support department and reasonable prices. You may be able to find the same devices more cheaply elsewhere, it never hurts to look, but Vesternet is always worth a check. (As it happens, right now they are less expensive for the strips than Amazon.co.uk.) They also offer some volume discounts.

The Sensative strips are an EU product, and were first released in that frequency. :sunglasses:

http://www.vesternet.com/z-wave-telldus-sensative-strips-door-window-sensor


#10

I strongly recommend using the Hue bridge for the Hue bulbs and then using the official SmartThings/hue bridge integration. Yes, you will have to buy one more device, but you end up with more features including the ability to use the IFTTT Hue service/channel, and this is the only method officially supported by SmartThings, so if you do run into any problems support will be able to help you out.

And if you use the hue bridge, you will still be able to use voice control with your Phillips bulbs through either Amazon echo or Google home even if the SmartThings cloud is unavailable, which can be a nice plus. :wink: