TCPI Bulbs (6LoWPAN?)

Was down at the local Home Depot today trying to find matching switches for the now installed GE/Jasco switches, when I came across a company called TCPI selling connected bulbs and a gateway for $100 - for the gateway, plus three 800lm LEDs. I got home to do some research, and this seemed to be the gateway.

They’re also selling bulbs reasonably inexpensively - $17 for the 800lm bulbs. This is almost X10 pricing!

I couldn’t find much info on their website about what protocol these use, but there’s mention of 6LoWPAN on the Home Depot site, and on the box. Sadly the Wikipedia article is quite lacking, and I’m unclear what layer 6LoWPAN is; it almost sounds like its a host layer, not a media layer … in which case, are these bulbs inherently Zigbee or Z-Wave inside?

Anyone know? If it runs with SmartThings, goodness, I’m going to go buy out Home Depot’s stock today.

So what is 6LoWPAN? Essentially, 6LoWPAN is ZigBee’s competition, as it can utilize 802.15.4 – but even better, it can run on other PHYs, and it allows for seamless integration with other IP-based systems. 6LoWPAN is an acronym for IPv6 over Low-power Wireless Personal Area Networks; that name originated from the working group in the IETF.

Here’s a link.

Yeah, so that’s what I mean - from reading that linked article, it’s not clear to me if 6LoWPAN is in the host or media layer. If it’s media layer (as they say it can use Zigbee as the underlying PHY), then there’s nothing (technically) stopping ST from implementing 6LoWPAN in a firmware update and magically having all of those devices just work.

What I’m not clear on is what the PHY layer is in the case of this bulb and gateway setup. If it’s 6LoWPAN over Zigbee, then this is the cheapest lighting system out there right now that works with ST and I would love to see it implemented!


I followed the link… Now I’m going to have an adult beverage (or two) and see if makes sense afterward.



I just returned with a Sam Adams Winter Sampler - so cheers!!

Let’s reconvene with thoughts in short order. Or tomorrow. Whichever comes first!

OK, so several tryptophan-induced stupors looking at info on 802.15.4, 6LoWPAN and TCPI and godsknowwhatelse later, I think I’ve understood how it works a little bit better. So from what I understand, the TCPI bulbs do actually have a Zigbee radio inside, but it’s not using standard APDU frame format to pass data, but the 6LoWPAN frame format. So the hub would need to updated to speak the right protocol, but yeah, this is theoretically controllable by the hub. The alternative, of course, is when local-IP control for all drops, the commands could be relayed through the TCPI hub. Thanks for the info, though, @dawgonking, most helpful.

I should really go get a degree in electrical engineering. This stuff is too interesting for me to not be able to tinker.

I saw these in my local HD today as well. They had a 2-pack with gateway for $49.00. Very interested to see if we could get these to work with ST.


Don’t be confused. 6LowPAN and ZigBee are totally different protocols. The fact that both ride on top of 802.15.4 MAC layer does not mean anything. The bottom line is that they’re not interoperable and ST hub cannot communicate with them directly.

Just to revive the dead does the ST hub V2 support 6LoWPAN?