TCP Connected LED Lights - First Impressions


(Col Hack) #1

As I mentioned in another thread (http://build.smartthings.com/forums/topic/ces-new-products-to-integrate/), I purchased TCP Connected Smart LED Kit for $49.88 at Home Depot.
http://www.homedepot.com/p/TCP-Connected-Smart-LED-Light-Bulb-Starter-Kit-with-2-A19-LED-Light-Bulbs-LCG2LD11/204474334#

The kit includes two 11W Smart LED light bulbs and an Ethernet gateway for connecting light bulbs to the local network (and Internet, if desired). Additional bulbs can be purchased for $16.97. The gateway can control up to 250 bulbs according to the manufacturer. There’s also a hand-held remote control available for $19.99.

Unlike other smart light systems, the TCP Smart LED bulb has a built-in dimmer that can be controlled over the radio link. This greatly simplifies installation because there’s no need to install wall dimmer switches. Also, it reduces cost since typical Z-Wave dimmer switch costs $40 - $50, not including the price of the bulb. With the LED bulb life expectancy of 15 to 20 years, this makes overall system cost significantly lower.

The build quality is very good, using high quality materials. The gateway is surprisingly small, just a tad bigger than the iPhone (although much thicker, 1-1/4"). It has three color status LEDs - power, LAN and Internet and a large button, presumably for pairing with light bulbs. The gateway came already paired with the both included light bulbs, so I just plugged it in and it was ready to go.

You control your light using free mobile app. I used iPhone version. The app is very intuitive and easy to use. Lights can be grouped into “rooms”, with each room appearing on a separate screen. You switch between rooms by swiping your finger left or right. Each light on the screen is represented by a tile with vertical slider. Pressing on a tile turns the light on or off, while dragging the slider changes its brightness. The slider is pretty small, but it’s possible to open a dedicated dimmer control window which occupies almost entire screen. The app allows you to create scenes and set schedules using either absolute time or sunrise/sunset time.

I’m impressed with ease of use of this system. No setup was necessary. Once I started the app, it discovered the gateway and the gateway discovered the light bulbs without me pressing any buttons or going through the menus, etc. I was up and running in less than two minutes. I just had to enter the name of the room and even that was optional.

Oh, and unlike SmartThings, the app connects to the gateway locally, so the bulb responds to commands almost immediately. You can control remotely it over Internet by setting up remote access account, but I have not explored that option yet.


(John Essey) #2

Thanks for the write up! I’m going to pick up a kit this weekend. I wonder if the lights can be integrated into SmartThings via http or a device type.

Thanks again!


(Alex King) #3

Very cool – does anyone know if they are safe to use in enclosed fixtures? A lot of these LED bulbs (like the Hues) say they’re only good for open air fixtures.


(Col Hack) #4

Update on the TCP Connected LED Lighting Kit.

I’ve been using it for three days now. Love it so far. Unless you care for color (which I don’t), this is a great alternative to Philips Hue.

The TCP/GreenWave gateway has a very slick web UI, so you can control your lights from any web browser. The web UI is actually more functional than the mobile app. It even shows combined power consumption (in Watts) of all the lights currently in use!

The gateway is less than half-size of the SmartThings hub, but it seems to be a full-fledged embedded Linux machine running on a 600 MHz PowerPC processor (by AppliedMicro) with 64MB of DDR2 RAM and 32MB Flash. This is awesome power! Surprisingly, it draws less power than ST hub - 2.9 Watt vs. 3.1 Watt, measured by Belkin Energy Monitor.

The only negative so far is the complete absence of any public API for both the gateway and their cloud service. I’m hoping that they have some sort of a REST API in the gateway for their web app.


(Tim) #5

Hey @kernelhack - Any further observations on the kit? Did you find that it was compatible with z-wave / zigbee?


(Todd Wackford) #6

Look for this to hit SmartThings Labs pretty soon. Just have some final code and details to work out. The install takes about 10 seconds. Adding additional bulbs later on is about the same. The dimmer, on and off are pretty snappy.

I think you all will like it.

Twack


(Todd Wackford) #7

Screenshot:

TCP Connected


(Dan G) #8

@twack – thank you! Just bought a kit and a couple extra bulbs last week. Your timing is impeccable!


(Todd Wackford) #9

Thanks!

Hopefully @kernelhack won’t find too much to complain about with it. <JK’ing>

Twack


(Cory S) #10

@twack Is it possible to combine the bulb and wall switches into one device tile? That way the switch is never out of sync with the bulb.


(Todd Wackford) #11

Yes you can if the wall switch is connected to smartthings, you just use the “dim with me” app or something simular.

I use the “Dim with Me” app to soft-wire lights together with one to several virtual or physical master dimmers. The real nice thing, is that one light can be under a couple of different virtual or physical dimmers. So they act like 3, 4 or 5+ way dimmers without the issue of wiring that everyone has.


(Bdjl2011) #12

Is this available now?

If so, do I need to do this first? (I just joined and got my ST this weekend)

<snip>
In order to use Labs, your hub requires a firmware upgrade which we can push your way. Contact us at labs@smartthings.com and we’ll get that set up for you. Once your Hub has been updated, you can access SmartThings Labs


(Todd Wackford) #13

@bdji2011,

I think you mean “is the ability to control tcp connected devices available in ST now?”.

Not yet. The app files need to be preliminary tested by ST QA to make sure they break anything. Hopefully this can be done next week and then they can go into the “ST Labs” location for download.

Yes, you will need to get the firmware updated on your hub. Send the email as directed for access and upgrade.


(Cory S) #14

@twack So with the dim with me app it would be possible to turn the lights on at the switch, but use the actual bulbs themselves for dimming?


(Todd Wackford) #15

@colyds,

I tested your question out and the answer is curently no. Turning off and on at the switch "reboots’ the light and it becomes unresponsive to any smartthings commands. You also cant control the bulb in the TCP app directly. If I run a scene that the bulb is part of it becomes responsive again. I think I can figure out the secret sauce to get it to work like your asking though. Just maybe not in the initial release.

@Twack


(Cory S) #16

Cool, thanks for looking into that for me. I have LED friendly dimmers (for what ever that’s worth) around the house but they don’t dim nearly as well has as TCP bulb can dim itself. I have also been afraid to invest in smart bulbs because of how frustrating automation would be when they got turned off at the switch.


(Todd Wackford) #17

Just an FYI. You cannot put these bulbs in a circuit that already a has a dimmer. If you did they’d probably fry.


(Cory S) #18

You don’t think they’d handle one with a neutral? Guess I’ll need to trade em for on/offs if so.


(Todd Wackford) #19

@coryds,

If you already have a dimmer switch installed, why use these bulbs? The best use case I can come up with for these is a floor or table lamp that is plugged into a non-switchable outlet.

TWack


(Cory S) #20

Mostly because they’re about the same price as a normal led bulb, and dimmable LEDs don’t dim well from the switch. They seem to do about 50% at most.