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General Category => Smart Devices and Gadgets => Topic started by: Floridadomer on March 07, 2016, 09:52:01 am

Title: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: Floridadomer on March 07, 2016, 09:52:01 am
I thought that I needed to drop 200 to start a wireless lighting system but just saw the Philips Hue starter kit that has the hub and 2 white light bulbs for 79.99.
While the idea of having options to change colors is fun I am not sure if we would ever have the need for that. So my question is that kit a good choice to start with or is there another one that anyone would suggest?
Any help would be more appreciated than you know. I have done some research but I get overwhelmed.  :o
Title: Re: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: renegade600 on March 07, 2016, 12:49:48 pm
I thought that I needed to drop 200 to start a wireless lighting system but just saw the Philips Hue starter kit that has the hub and 2 white light bulbs for 79.99.
While the idea of having options to change colors is fun I am not sure if we would ever have the need for that. So my question is that kit a good choice to start with or is there another one that anyone would suggest?
Any help would be more appreciated than you know. I have done some research but I get overwhelmed.  :o

I have tcp connected bulbs and gateway.  It works with the echo through the wink.  I do not have a need for the colors nor do I really have a need for the dimming features of the tcp bulbs.  I thought I would use the dimming features but never do.  Also I had the bulbs well over a year before getting the echo but that is another story.  IMO, if you dont think you have a need for the color bulbs other than for conversation purposes, go with the cheaper hue starter package where the bulbs do not change color.  you can always get color later.   Also look at it this way, you get more bulbs if you don't get color  :-)

Title: Re: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: valedecem on March 15, 2016, 05:59:31 pm
I thought that I needed to drop 200 to start a wireless lighting system but just saw the Philips Hue starter kit that has the hub and 2 white light bulbs for 79.99.
While the idea of having options to change colors is fun I am not sure if we would ever have the need for that. So my question is that kit a good choice to start with or is there another one that anyone would suggest?
Any help would be more appreciated than you know. I have done some research but I get overwhelmed.  :o

I have tcp connected bulbs and gateway.  It works with the echo through the wink.  I do not have a need for the colors nor do I really have a need for the dimming features of the tcp bulbs.  I thought I would use the dimming features but never do.  Also I had the bulbs well over a year before getting the echo but that is another story.  IMO, if you dont think you have a need for the color bulbs other than for conversation purposes, go with the cheaper hue starter package where the bulbs do not change color.  you can always get color later.   Also look at it this way, you get more bulbs if you don't get color  :-)

Your TCP bulbs are working with echo? 😍 That gives me a great deal of hope.
Title: Re: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: renegade600 on March 15, 2016, 06:16:48 pm
I thought that I needed to drop 200 to start a wireless lighting system but just saw the Philips Hue starter kit that has the hub and 2 white light bulbs for 79.99.
While the idea of having options to change colors is fun I am not sure if we would ever have the need for that. So my question is that kit a good choice to start with or is there another one that anyone would suggest?
Any help would be more appreciated than you know. I have done some research but I get overwhelmed.  :o

I have tcp connected bulbs and gateway.  It works with the echo through the wink.  I do not have a need for the colors nor do I really have a need for the dimming features of the tcp bulbs.  I thought I would use the dimming features but never do.  Also I had the bulbs well over a year before getting the echo but that is another story.  IMO, if you dont think you have a need for the color bulbs other than for conversation purposes, go with the cheaper hue starter package where the bulbs do not change color.  you can always get color later.   Also look at it this way, you get more bulbs if you don't get color  :-)

Your TCP bulbs are working with echo? 😍 That gives me a great deal of hope.

indirectly.  you will need the wink hub
Title: Re: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: DParker on March 18, 2016, 07:07:32 pm
indirectly.  you will need the wink hub

Consider a SmartThings hub instead.  Yeah, it has its problems (all the "smart home" ecosystems do), but ST is the most flexible and well-supported of the bunch.  At least, for now.  Sure, you'll start with some lighting.  But before you know it you'll come down with an incurable case of the home automation flu, and you'll be wandering the streets trying to score motion sensors, smart thermostats and remote-controllable door locks.  ;)
Title: Re: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: valedecem on March 19, 2016, 10:55:29 pm
indirectly.  you will need the wink hub

Consider a SmartThings hub instead.  Yeah, it has its problems (all the "smart home" ecosystems do), but ST is the most flexible and well-supported of the bunch.  At least, for now.  Sure, you'll start with some lighting.  But before you know it you'll come down with an incurable case of the home automation flu, and you'll be wandering the streets trying to score motion sensors, smart thermostats and remote-controllable door locks.  ;)

I've already gotten the bug, it seems. It all started with wanting to control my keurig from bed. I began amassing materials for that project and somehow I ended up impulsively picking up a hue starter kit and a set of lightstrips. The next thing I knew, I was scooping up a hue color starter kit and a couple dozen TCP bulbs.  ::) I now have two hue bridges, a tcp bridge, a wink hub and a raspberry pi. I planned to get smartthings, but there wasn't one within 45 minutes of my home and I couldn't wait, so I went with wink. Going to attempt the TCP/wink setup tonight. Wish me luck. :D
Title: Re: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: BJBrian on March 23, 2016, 10:22:20 pm
Are there any stand-alone light bulbs that will work directly with the Echo or must you have an adapter? I'm assuming an adapter... would one adapter work for unlimited lights?
Title: Re: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: DParker on March 23, 2016, 10:43:23 pm
Are there any stand-alone light bulbs that will work directly with the Echo

No.  Currently, all "smart" bulbs communicate via wireless protocols like Z-Wave and Zigbee that are designed for home automation networking.  The Echo does support these protocols  (lacking both the hardware and software required).  So it interacts with HA products via a "cloud-to-cloud" architecture in which your voice command is sent via Wi-Fi across the internet to an Amazon server that translates it into a command recognized by the service that provides internet access to your HA system.  The translated command is forwarded to that company's servers, which in turn translate it into instructions for your HA system's hub (the internet-connected gizmo in your house that I assume you're referring to as an "adapter")...which then sends the apropriate instruction to your smart bulb, telling it to turn on, turn off or dim to a desired level.

Quote
would one adapter work for unlimitedlights?

Unlimited?  No.  A lot?  Yes.  How many depends on which system you're using.  For instance, a single SmartThings hub will handle up to 254 devices (bulbs, sensors, etc).  And if you manage to max that out, you can add additional hubs to your system.
Title: Re: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: Scooter on April 14, 2016, 09:40:28 am
Are there any stand-alone light bulbs that will work directly with the Echo or must you have an adapter? I'm assuming an adapter... would one adapter work for unlimited lights?

Of course. Buy a 1000 LIFX bulb. They connect immediately with WIFI and then Echo.

I have a Philips Hue system with about 10 bulbs. It's awesome. Don't believe those who say they don't need the colors. The colors are awesome. Let me know if you need any more info. I'm glad to share my experience.
Title: Re: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: DParker on April 14, 2016, 09:59:40 am
Don't believe those who say they don't need the colors.

When I bought Hue bulbs I went with the Lux (white) versions because I absolutely do not need colored lights...especially at $60/bulb...believe me or not.
Title: Re: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: Scooter on April 14, 2016, 10:47:32 am
so I should believe him or not? lol
Title: Re: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: DParker on April 14, 2016, 11:48:35 am
so I should believe him or not? lol

You have my word on it.

(http://hill-kleerup.org/blog/wp/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/joe-isuzu.jpg)

(Now let's see who the older folks on this board are.)
Title: Re: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: kevb on April 14, 2016, 12:18:24 pm
DParker, if only there were a "Like" button
Title: Re: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: ScottinPollock on April 14, 2016, 12:28:11 pm
Any help would be more appreciated than you know. I have done some research but I get overwhelmed.  :o

If you haven't already made a decision, I can say I have been with Hue an awfully long time, and it is flat out the best system out there. From a bridge that is locally controlled when you are home (no internet needed), and remotely controlled when you are away; to a great local API with superb documentation; lots of cool third party apps; 100% reliability; better support, more frequent upgrades, and new features, SDKs, Frameworks, devices coming all the time.

IMHO, Philips is the poster child for how to do smart lighting and the IoT right. No one compares at this point, and tieing your lights to something like the Wink or SmartThings hubs is like greasing your wheels LocTite. Yeah, they're a little pricier than some other stuff but worth every penny!
Title: Re: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: markv on April 14, 2016, 01:11:32 pm
I humbly agree with ScottinPollock about Hue reliability and response - the Hue lighting protocol is fast and relatively open (for now) so there are plenty of automation solutions. I don't actually have any Philips Hue bulbs since I use Insteon devices with an open source Hue emulator which lets me control them with the Echo, and it's been very reliable.
Title: Re: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: DParker on April 14, 2016, 01:14:37 pm
If you haven't already made a decision, I can say I have been with Hue an awfully long time, and it is flat out the best system out there. From a bridge that is locally controlled when you are home (no internet needed), and remotely controlled when you are away; to a great local API with superb documentation; lots of cool third party apps; 100% reliability; better support, more frequent upgrades, and new features, SDKs, Frameworks, devices coming all the time.

IMHO, Philips is the poster child for how to do smart lighting and the IoT right. No one compares at this point, and tieing your lights to something like the Wink or SmartThings hubs is like greasing your wheels LocTite. Yeah, they're a little pricier than some other stuff but worth every penny!

I'd agree with all that.  In fact the only hiccup I experienced (and it was a big one) when I was still using a Hue Bridge (before moving to SmartThings) was when Phillips pushed a software update out that intentionally broke the bridge's ability to work with GE Link bulbs, which are significantly less expensive than the Phillips' Lux bulbs.  But there was such an outcry from customers that they immediately realized what a bad PR move that was and quickly rolled back the update, restoring that ability to the bridge.

The real downside is that the Hue Bridge is not a general home automation solution, and is dedicated solely to controlling lighting...and even there you're somewhat limited.  Though of course that's only a problem if you end up wanting to control more than just basic lighting.
Title: Re: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: Floridadomer on April 14, 2016, 01:48:35 pm
Thank you for all of the advice. I ended up going with the Philips Hue starter kit with the two white lights and have bought two additional lights.
I did discover when using it in a lamp that if the lamp has a switch that you turn, Alexa can turn it off but not on. I also have a lamp that has a pull chain, and that one works both off and on with Alexa.
Title: Re: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: fstbusa on April 14, 2016, 02:11:11 pm
with smart bulbs, they have to have power to them all the time in order to connect to the network.
Title: Re: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: Floridadomer on April 14, 2016, 02:18:14 pm
I figured that one out when I had turned off a wall switch then asked Alexa to turn on a light. I thought when I turned the knob\switch and it turned it on, the the lamp would be in a power on state. Apparently that's not the case.
Title: Re: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: dredigi0 on April 14, 2016, 02:36:55 pm
I'm running the Lutron Caseta system in my house...so far 6 switches installed and loving it (of course it works with Echo) I decided to go the switch route instead of bulbs because it semi permanent and unlike bulbs leaves your options open to turn anything plugged in on/off

$60 bucks pers switch but ti's really slick once you get it going, you create "scenes" with the system to have it light up rooms in set configuration or you can group them in alexa to turn areas on/off.
Title: Re: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: DParker on April 14, 2016, 02:43:07 pm
Thank you for all of the advice. I ended up going with the Philips Hue starter kit with the two white lights and have bought two additional lights.
I did discover when using it in a lamp that if the lamp has a switch that you turn, Alexa can turn it off but not on. I also have a lamp that has a pull chain, and that one works both off and on with Alexa.

I'm not certain that I follow the bolded statement above.  Are you saying that when you power on the lamp via its built-in switch, the Hue Bridge is able to turn the LED in the bulb off, but not back on again?

I figured that one out when I had turned off a wall switch then asked Alexa to turn on a light. I thought when I turned the knob\switch and it turned it on, the the lamp would be in a power on state. Apparently that's not the case.

Perhaps I'm misunderstanding what's happening here, but in the case of a floor/table/ceiling lamp with its own power control (not a wall switch), if you're losing control of the bulb after issuing an "off" command via the bridge then there's something wrong.  When you turn the knob/switch to the "on" position, indicated by the bulb lighting up, the lamp remains in an on state and the bulb continues to be powered even after the LED in the bulb is turned off due to a Zigbee protocol command from the bridge.  Implementation of commands from the bridge by the bulb have no effect at all on the powered state of the lamp.
Title: Re: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: DParker on April 14, 2016, 02:52:31 pm
I'm running the Lutron Caseta system in my house...so far 6 switches
:
{snip}
:
$60 bucks pers switch...

Ouch.  GE Link dimmer switches can be had for <$40 each in the Z-Wave flavor, and they even have a ceiling fan controller for just a few buck more (I have one of each for controlling the fan and its integral light in my family room).  Z-Wave dimmers from Linear are even cheaper, but I've had problems with those and can't recommend them.
Title: Re: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: ScottinPollock on April 14, 2016, 03:00:05 pm
The real downside is that the Hue Bridge is not a general home automation solution, and is dedicated solely to controlling lighting...and even there you're somewhat limited.  Though of course that's only a problem if you end up wanting to control more than just basic lighting.

I don't see how that is a down side when Hue's bridge API/SDKs/Frameworks has allowed for support from SmartThings, IFTTT, Wink, and practically every other IoT/HA platform. They are the major player in smart lighting, and tools they provide devs means it is usually one of the first integrations you will see on virtually any device/platform; Echo included.

What I actually see is an upside. That having the bridge, means local control if other platform connectivity (SmartThings, Internet, etc.) goes down. I can put up with a lot of issues with SmartThings, but losing control of my lights is not one of them.
Title: Re: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: DParker on April 14, 2016, 03:29:51 pm
I don't see how that is a down side when Hue's bridge API/SDKs/Frameworks has allowed for support from SmartThings, IFTTT, Wink, and practically every other IoT/HA platform. They are the major player in smart lighting, and tools they provide devs means it is usually one of the first integrations you will see on virtually any device/platform; Echo included.

What I actually see is an upside. That having the bridge, means local control if other platform connectivity (SmartThings, Internet, etc.) goes down. I can put up with a lot of issues with SmartThings, but losing control of my lights is not one of them.

It's a downside because if you're using a more comprehensive solution like ST, adding the Hue Bridge into the path between ST and your lighting represents an unnecessary additional device (and associated cost), internet-based account, configuration, etc.  Granted, the Hue Bridge gives you some failover capability in the event of an internet outage....though as of v2 of the ST hub the "Smart Lighting" app was modified to run locally on the hub, so at least it continues to function and control all Zigbee/Z-Wave lights even if you yank the ethernet cable.  As for the rest, I can just manually operate switches in the event of a temporary outage.  Honestly, if my internet goes down I have all sort of other stuff that are going to be a much bigger annoyances to me.
Title: Re: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: Floridadomer on April 14, 2016, 03:58:28 pm
I figured that one out when I had turned off a wall switch then asked Alexa to turn on a light. I thought when I turned the knob\switch and it turned it on, the the lamp would be in a power on state. Apparently that's not the case.

Perhaps I'm misunderstanding what's happening here, but in the case of a floor/table/ceiling lamp with its own power control (not a wall switch), if you're losing control of the bulb after issuing an "off" command via the bridge then there's something wrong.  When you turn the knob/switch to the "on" position, indicated by the bulb lighting up, the lamp remains in an on state and the bulb continues to be powered even after the LED in the bulb is turned off due to a Zigbee protocol command from the bridge.  Implementation of commands from the bridge by the bulb have no effect at all on the powered state of the lamp.
[/quote]

Yes you have it correct. There isn't a wall switch that controls it. The odd thing is that I have no other issues with the other connected bulbs turning off/on or dimming. Thank you for all of your input!
Title: Re: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: ScottinPollock on April 14, 2016, 04:14:23 pm
It's a downside because if you're using a more comprehensive solution like ST, adding the Hue Bridge into the path between ST and your lighting represents an unnecessary additional device (and associated cost), internet-based account, configuration, etc.

You and I think very differently about this. I don't own a SmartThings thermostat; I have one with an open API that I integrated with SmartThings. I don't have a SmartThings remote control; I have iTachs with an open API that I integrated with SmartThings. I don't have a SmartThings computer... well, you get the idea.

I don't see lighting any differently. It is (and I prefer it that way) another switch on the network.

While my Hues are integrated with SmartThings, Alexa talks to them directly; as does my scene controller (a Mac Mini). SmartThings can talk to them as well, but so does Tasker and iRule.

Putting all of your eggs in a SmartThings basket (or any kind of singular controller) makes for fewer options (why open the painfully slow SmartThings app when I can just tap a shortcut on my phone's home screen), and a complete teardown/rebuild should something go unsupported. I myself have learned over the last several decades that one protocol/device is the wrong way to go, and that integrating individual, open API based systems gives you a much more versatile and future proof design. One of SmartThings biggest advantages over its competitors is being able to easily integrate various subsystems; it be a shame to ignore it.

The added cost is a drop in the bucket in the grand scheme of things, and as far as unnecessary, is every drop on your net connected to the same switch? Every WiFi node connected to the same AP? Of course not; every well designed network has branches. And while I suppose you could deem them as unnecessary, they have purpose.
Title: Re: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: DParker on April 14, 2016, 06:46:45 pm
You and I think very differently about this. I don't own a SmartThings thermostat; I have one with an open API that I integrated with SmartThings. I don't have a SmartThings remote control; I have iTachs with an open API that I integrated with SmartThings. I don't have a SmartThings computer... well, you get the idea.

That's not really any different from the way I view the system as a whole.  Let' see why:

I don't see lighting any differently. It is (and I prefer it that way) another switch on the network.

Here's where there's some difference between us.  Your (and my) thermostats and similar devices are interfaced with via proprietary API abstraction layers because those devices don't support any standard, open protocols for directly exposing their functionality.  While I also view lighting as "just another switch on the network" I realize that the bulbs themselves ARE network elements that implement and are accessible via an open API and set of protocols (Zigbee), and that operate as "End Devices" (and perhaps also as "Repeaters"/"Routers") subordinate to a "Coordinator" (the role filled by the bridges/hubs).  Since the ST Hub includes that Zigbee Coordinator function, as well as all of the automation capabilities of the Hue Bridge (and more) the Bridge is a superfluous additional layer.  If the protocol(s) between the Hue Bridge and the lights was/were proprietary, required some special software extension be added to the ST environment or was/were subject to change by Phillips on their own whim then using the Bridge as an abstraction layer, so as to insulate your architecture from suddenly introduced incompatibilities would make sense.  But Zigbee (and Z-Wave, for that matter) is an open set of network protocols, just like 802.11, and having the ST Hub fulfill the roll of Zigbee Coordinator not only eliminates a pointless (in my view) additional layer (and set of communications hops, and one additional device to malfunction, etc), it also strips away the limitation of being able to use only those device features that the Hue API chooses to expose, and in only the way(s) that it chooses to allow you to use them.

In short, my Z-Wave and Zigbee mesh networks ARE a type of subsystem that ST is interfacing with.  Adding the Hue Bridge as yet another abstraction layer to that architecture just doesn't buy my anything that I deem to be of any value.

My ST Hub also interacts directly with other Z-Wave & Zigbee devices as well (motion sensors, switches, etc.)  Would there be any point in similarly inserting some other company's Controller device between them and the ST Hub?  I don't see one.

While my Hues are integrated with SmartThings, Alexa talks to them directly; as does my scene controller (a Mac Mini). SmartThings can talk to them as well, but so does Tasker and iRule.

Ditto all of those things and my ST Hub.

Putting all of your eggs in a SmartThings basket (or any kind of singular controller)...

But that's not at all what I'm doing.  It is not a SmartThings architecture.  SmartThings is simply filling one role (controller/coordinator) in a HA ecosystem that consists of devices that implement various interface protocols, some open...some proprietary.  Having ST interface with them as directly as practical means that I have fewer places that I need to go, and steps to go through, to add new devices to that ecosystem.  Since the ecosystem is based on open standards I can use a different controller at a future date if I need to, or add more to it if there's some compelling reason to.

makes for fewer options (why open the painfully slow SmartThings app when I can just tap a shortcut on my phone's home screen)

I almost never use my ST phone app to control anything.  I have automation rules, Echo, etc for that.  The app is used for making configuration/rule changes.  The speed of starting the app is a complete non-issue for me.

and a complete teardown/rebuild should something go unsupported.

I'm not sure how having a Hue Bridge makes any difference there.

I myself have learned over the last several decades that one protocol/device is the wrong way to go, and that integrating individual, open API based systems gives you a much more versatile and future proof design.

I've been a software engineer for ~30 years, and I learned that lesson decades ago myself...which is why I'm most definitely NOT building my HA on "one protocol/device", and am also "integrating individual, open API based systems".  The only difference here is that I recognize my Zigbee mesh network and the lights that are a part of it as an open API based system.

One of SmartThings biggest advantages over its competitors is being able to easily integrate various subsystems; it be a shame to ignore it.

I agree.  That's why I'm not ignoring it.

The added cost is a drop in the bucket in the grand scheme of things

Yes, the cost of the Hue Bridge is a very small part of the overall cost of a HA system.  But it's a cost that doesn't buy me anything I want/need, and as such represents a bad value.

and as far as unnecessary, is every drop on your net connected to the same switch? Every WiFi node connected to the same AP? Of course not; every well designed network has branches. And while I suppose you could deem them as unnecessary, they have purpose.

Are you talking about a home TCP/IP network, or one set up to handle a substantial business?  I have one active WiFi router in my house (with a spare in the closet in case of a malfunction) that handles all internet traffic, and several devices that communicate directly with one another via WiFi, Bluetooth, Zigbee and Zwave.  I'm automating a home as a fun hobby, not building the next Space Shuttle.
Title: Re: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: ScottinPollock on April 14, 2016, 07:53:44 pm
Adding the Hue Bridge as yet another abstraction layer to that architecture just doesn't buy my anything that I deem to be of any value. Yes, the cost of the Hue Bridge is a very small part of the overall cost of a HA system.  But it's a cost that doesn't buy me anything I want/need, and as such represents a bad value.

I certainly don't see the Hue bridge as being more of an abstraction than bouncing back and forth with the physical graph in order to turn on a light bulb. And unless you have created your own device type, which would facilitate that, you're leaving color cycling, alerts, and transition times off the table (the latter two of which are important to me).

Quote
My ST Hub also interacts directly with other Z-Wave & Zigbee devices as well (motion sensors, switches, etc.)  Would there be any point in similarly inserting some other company's Controller device between them and the ST Hub?  I don't see one.

Actually, now that you mention it, I would much prefer an agnostic controller for those devices, separated from the brains of the system. Much like we had powerLinc modems in the insteon days that could be driven by any brains we chose to implement.

While much of the SmartThings platform is open, the back end is decidedly closed. Good luck with your directly connected Hues when that is acting up. If possible, I will always have more than one way to cook dinner if the power is out, or if I forgot to fill the propane tank.

The thing I dislike most about SmartThings, is that I can't tell it to control its devices without traversing the cloud. Don't get me wrong, the cloud presents clear advantages for notifications and non-local control, but that should be in addition to local control and not in lieu of it. Philips got this right... obviously SmartThings didn't (or at least hasn't up 'til now and for the foreseeable future).
Title: Re: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: DParker on April 14, 2016, 08:08:19 pm
Adding the Hue Bridge as yet another abstraction layer to that architecture just doesn't buy my anything that I deem to be of any value. Yes, the cost of the Hue Bridge is a very small part of the overall cost of a HA system.  But it's a cost that doesn't buy me anything I want/need, and as such represents a bad value.

I certainly don't see the Hue bridge as being more of an abstraction...

Point of order:  I didn't say it was "more of an abstraction" than anything.  I said it added "yet another abstraction layer" to the architecture, which it most certainly does.  And it adds MULTIPLE protocol layers (and this is a simplification):

ST <-> Zigbee Protocols <-> Bulb

vs.

ST <-> Hue Bridge REST API <-> HTTP <-> TCP/IP <-> HTTP <-> Hue Bridge REST API <-> Zigbee Protocols <-> Bulb

...than bouncing back and forth with the physical graph in order to turn on a light bulb.

I'm not sure what you mean here, but accessing your bulbs via the Hue Bridge doesn't result in less of anything when it comes to turning on a bulb.

And unless you have created your own device type, which would facilitate that, you're leaving color cycling, alerts, and transition times off the table (the latter two of which are important to me).

Again, I'm not sure what you're saying here.  I couldn't care less about color cycling (I have no use for colored bulbs), and I don't know how I'm leaving alerts and/or transition times "off the table" (or what that means in this context).

Actually, now that you mention it, I would much prefer an agnostic controller for those devices, separated from the brains of the system. Much like we had powerLinc modems in the insteon days that could be driven by any brains we chose to implement.

How is that different from/more beneficial than the hub controlling lights via an open standard protocol suite like Zigbee?  You're just substituting one abstract API for another.

While much of the SmartThings platform is open, the back end is decidedly closed. Good luck with your directly connected Hues when that is acting up. If possible, I will always have more than one way to cook dinner if the power is out, or if I forgot to fill the propane tank.

You have your Hue bridge controlling your oven?  As for the lights, I have these sophisticated backup systems called "physical switches" I can resort to if need be.

The thing I dislike most about SmartThings, is that I can't tell it to control its devices without traversing the cloud. Don't get me wrong, the cloud presents clear advantages for notifications and non-local control, but that should be in addition to local control and not in lieu of it. Philips got this right... obviously SmartThings didn't (or at least hasn't up 'til now and for the foreseeable future).

Here we (and most of the ST customer base, as far as I can tell) see eye-to-eye.  Using the cloud as a way to expand access to your system is great.  But reliance on the cloud for basic functionality sucks.
Title: Re: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: ScottinPollock on April 14, 2016, 08:17:56 pm
ST <-> Zigbee Protocols <-> Bulb

vs.

ST <-> Hue Bridge REST API <-> HTTP <-> TCP/IP <-> HTTP <-> Hue Bridge REST API <-> Zigbee Protocols <-> Bulb]

You do understand that with my setup, the overwhelming number of Hue commands never leave my LAN, while all issued from the SmartThings hub traverse the Internet via encrypted traffic.
Title: Re: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: DParker on April 14, 2016, 10:22:45 pm
ST <-> Zigbee Protocols <-> Bulb

vs.

ST <-> Hue Bridge REST API <-> HTTP <-> TCP/IP <-> HTTP <-> Hue Bridge REST API <-> Zigbee Protocols <-> Bulb]

You do understand that with my setup, the overwhelming number of Hue commands never leave my LAN, while all issued from the SmartThings hub traverse the Internet via encrypted traffic.

That doesn't make any sense at all as a response to what you quoted...and maybe not as a response to anything, depending on what it is that you're referring to.  My comment that you quoted illustrates the difference in protocol layers involved in a ST hub directly controlling a Zigbee bulb vs farming that job out to a Hue bridge.  For direct control, when a Smart Lighting rule or other automation event triggers a light on/off command neither the internet, TCP/IP nor WiFi/ethernet are involved.  The Smart Lighting app, which runs on the hub, drives the hub's Zigbee radio, which communicates directly with the target Zigbee bulb/switch (or possibly via another Zigbee device acting as a router/repeater, if the hub and target device are too far apart).
Title: Re: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: ScottinPollock on April 15, 2016, 07:38:35 am


The Smart Lighting app, which runs on the hub

Only with a small number of stock, white listed deviceTypes, none of which are appropriate for me, plus I could never live within the confines of the smart lighting app.
Title: Re: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: DParker on April 15, 2016, 09:08:12 am


The Smart Lighting app, which runs on the hub

Only with a small number of stock, white listed deviceTypes, none of which are appropriate for me,

A small number?  Here's the list of bulbs, specifically:

- Phillips Hue
- Phillips Hue Bloom
- Phillips Hue Light Strip
- LIFX
- Belkin WeMo Smart LED
- Cree Connected
- OSRAM Lightify, bulbs & strip
- Sengled Element Touch
- Sylvania Ultra iQ
- GE Link
- TCP Connected

Then there are the mamy switches, sensors, etc as well.

Quote
plus I could never live within the confines of the smart lighting app.

Remember that we're talking about i stances of temporary loss of internet service here, not the zombie apocalypse.  How often do you lose service, without also losing power, for extended periods of time?
Title: Re: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: Floridadomer on April 15, 2016, 10:11:56 am
ScottinPollock and DParker, you're making my head spin....LOL  :)
Title: Re: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: ScottinPollock on April 15, 2016, 10:21:04 am

A small number?  Here's the list of bulbs, specifically:

Remember that we're talking about i stances of temporary loss of internet service here, not the zombie apocalypse.  How often do you lose service, without also losing power, for extended periods of time?

Were also talking about the device types used for the triggers, of which practically all of mine are custom. Nothing runs locally on my hub.

And it isn't internet service, it's the SmartThings cloud, which is the closest thing to a zombie apocalypse I have seen in quite some time. (c;
Title: Re: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: DParker on April 15, 2016, 11:09:23 am
Were also talking about the device types used for the triggers, of which practically all of mine are custom. Nothing runs locally on my hub.

What bulbs are you able to control with your Hue Bridge that require custom device types in SmartThings?
Title: Re: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: ScottinPollock on April 15, 2016, 11:43:43 am
Were also talking about the device types used for the triggers, of which practically all of mine are custom. Nothing runs locally on my hub.

What bulbs are you able to control with your Hue Bridge that require custom device types in SmartThings?
Not the bulbs, the triggers (switches, sensors). Then of course there are the smartapps, none of which are supported locally.
Title: Re: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: DParker on April 15, 2016, 12:06:12 pm
Not the bulbs, the triggers (switches, sensors). Then of course there are the smartapps, none of which are supported locally.

I thought we were talking about what having a Hue Bridge buys you in terms of reliability due to its local operation.  Specifically, what switches/sensors can the Hue Bridge communicate with under circumstances where the ST Hub couldn't?
Title: Re: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: ScottinPollock on April 15, 2016, 12:54:06 pm
I thought we were talking about what having a Hue Bridge buys you in terms of reliability due to its local operation.  Specifically, what switches/sensors can the Hue Bridge communicate with under circumstances where the ST Hub couldn't?

I feel we are simply going round in circles at this point so let's just agree to disagree. I have many scenes recorded in shell scripts that talk directly to the bridge. This is the only way I can instruct Hues to use the transitionTime property. The scenes are triggered from custom switch types, whose physical devices control no load, and rotate through scenes based on multiple on presses, sending commands via a custom smartapp to a server that executes the scripts.

Moreover, I communicate directly to that same server via Tasker and iRule from my android devices, Indigo, BASH scripts on both desktop and laptop computers, and Alexa via custom virtual device types. I also use third party apps such as Hue disco to control my Hues based on sound in the room... really like this one for taking a long jacuzzi while listening to music.

I also have a smart app that controls the timed transition of color on hues that executes when the shower is turned on. When they reach orange from blue, I know the shower has come up to temp.

My server also handles all lighting schedules, and timed/delayed actions 'cause, well, face it, SmartThings hasn't got that right in years.

None of this is possible without the bridge.
Title: Re: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: DParker on April 15, 2016, 01:23:37 pm
I feel we are simply going round in circles at this point so let's just agree to disagree.

I'll certainly agree to disagree that we've gone in circles.  Quite the contrary, we've gone in a straight line from a claim that having a Hue Bridge in addition to a ST Hub provides the capability of hub-local light automation functionality that ST allegedly lacks...to finding out that isn't true (in addition to multiple other claims that turned out to be equally untrue).

My server also handles all lighting schedules, and timed/delayed actions 'cause, well, face it, SmartThings hasn't got that right in years.

Really?  They work correctly in my rules.

None of this is possible without the bridge.

Actually, it's all quite possible using existing custom ST device types (including at least one that supports the transitionTime property).  It's just that the methods you've used to accomplish these things are dependent on the bridge.
Title: Re: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: ScottinPollock on April 15, 2016, 01:42:26 pm
Really?  They work correctly in my rules.

Lucky you.

And here is your next circle...

Quote
we've gone in a straight line from a claim that having a Hue Bridge in addition to a ST Hub provides the capability of hub-local light automation functionality that ST allegedly lacks...to finding out that isn't true... it's all quite possible using existing custom ST device types

And there goes your local operation.
Title: Re: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: ScottinPollock on April 15, 2016, 01:51:37 pm
While my Hues are integrated with SmartThings, Alexa talks to them directly; as does my scene controller (a Mac Mini). SmartThings can talk to them as well, but so does Tasker and iRule.

Ditto all of those things and my ST Hub.

And how does Tasker, iRule, and your PC communicate to your lights locally again?
Title: Re: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: DParker on April 15, 2016, 02:15:44 pm
And here is your next circle...

Quote
we've gone in a straight line from a claim that having a Hue Bridge in addition to a ST Hub provides the capability of hub-local light automation functionality that ST allegedly lacks...to finding out that isn't true... it's all quite possible using existing custom ST device types

And there goes your local operation.
What you've done here is to take two comments about two different things, pulled them from their context and edited them together as though they refer to the same subject.  The first refers to your claims that ST lighting control is dependent on cloud connectivity, which means that you lose the ability to control your lights in the event of cloud/internet failures, which is untrue.

The second refers to the claim that it "isn't possible" to do things like access the Hue transitionTime property without the Hue Bridge, which is also untrue.

Circle avoided, especially when you remember what this entire line of conversation was about:  Whether or not buying, configuring and using a Hue Bridge in addition to a ST Hub provides any value in general, not for your bridge-dependent setup specifically.  For the majority of people...who don't don't have any use for colored lights (save for on the tree and the outside of the house at Christmas time) and whose lighting automation wants/needs consist of having lights turn on/off at certain times of the day and/or in response to sensors triggering, the bridge adds nothing but complexity.

And how does Tasker, iRule, and your PC communicate to your lights locally again?

I'm not an Apple user, so I don't know anything about iRule and did not make any claims about it.  My PC communicates via Zigbee and Z-Wave USB dongles.  I also didn't claim that Tasker communicates with my lights locally.  I said that the ST Hub does, just like "all those things" do.  But now that you mention it, I see this note from AutoHue (the Tasker plug-in for Hue):

"Hue Note: For the Hue lights the app only works on your local (WIFI) network, this is currently the case due to a restriction in the Hue API."

So, local access...but ONLY local access.  Bummer.

By the way, I find it interesting that you've gone from this...

Quote
Putting all of your eggs in a SmartThings basket (or any kind of singular controller) makes for fewer options (why open the painfully slow SmartThings app when I can just tap a shortcut on my phone's home screen), and a complete teardown/rebuild should something go unsupported.

...to an argument that's centered on just how much you've built up around and are dependent on one specific controller:  The Hue Bridge.
Title: Re: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: ScottinPollock on April 15, 2016, 03:40:53 pm
What you've done here is to take two comments about two different things, pulled them from their context and edited them together as though they refer to the same subject.  The first refers to your claims that ST lighting control is dependent on cloud connectivity, which means that you lose the ability to control your lights in the event of cloud/internet failures, which is untrue.

The second refers to the claim that it "isn't possible" to do things like access the Hue transitionTime property without the Hue Bridge, which is also untrue.

To me it is the same thing. I can't use Hues the way I want with the SmartThings hub locally. You can take it apart for the sake of argument by saying the car will still go without gas. But I don't just want to go downhill.

Quote
I'm not an Apple user, so I don't know anything about iRule and did not make any claims about it.  I also didn't claim that Tasker communicates with my lights locally.

So "Ditto all of those things and my ST Hub" was just an oversight. See, you are fallible. (c;

Quote
But now that you mention it, I see this note from AutoHue (the Tasker plug-in for Hue):

"Hue Note: For the Hue lights the app only works on your local (WIFI) network, this is currently the case due to a restriction in the Hue API."

So, local access...but ONLY local access.  Bummer.

While I don't use the plugin, all Hue API access is local. If I need remote I use the Hue app or SmartThings, but there is usually no need for remote access to lights.

Quote
By the way, I find it interesting that you've gone from this...

Quote
Putting all of your eggs in a SmartThings basket (or any kind of singular controller) makes for fewer options (why open the painfully slow SmartThings app when I can just tap a shortcut on my phone's home screen), and a complete teardown/rebuild should something go unsupported.

...to an argument that's centered on just how much you've built up around and are dependent on one specific controller:  The Hue Bridge.

Shouldn't be all that interesting. I use what works best; in this case the bridge. In fact, the SmartThings hub almost never talks to the Hue integration (I think I have one app that shuts them down after a power failure - but that could easily be moved to a shell script - and probably will now that I think about it). The only reason I keep Hue Connect around is for remote access, and I can't recall ever using it. Frankly, everything I could pull from SmartThings I have. Only the Echo has refreshed my interest in it as a means to get commands to my server via virtual devices.

SmartThings has been a mess for an awfully long time. Why just this morning, after the big platform fix rollout, automated things weren't automated due to my morning routine not executing. I have seen these types of glitches regularly for the past two years. So my conclusion is that it is not reliable, and I don't want my lights dependent on it, especially since "I" can not achieve local operation due to me having my own code. Add to that I believe Samsung will eventually ruin it, or kill it in its current form.

I suppose if all you want is to turn white lights off and on, what you have is fine. But most Hue users I have met prefer color, and do creative things with them. I have dozens of scenes involving dozens of lamps, and I like to change things up. Compare editing a shell script to having to change those same settings in the mobile app (yuk).

So, the things I do with Hue, are far simpler to achieve using the local API, and far easier to control using various tools on mobile that can communicate with it directly as opposed to oAuthed endpoints on the physical graph. To me, having the bridge offers up way more than not having it. Folks who go your route cut themselves off from much of the Hue echosystem including Tap and third party apps (and who knows what else is coming), and effective mobile control. I see little merit in the downside you site, and feel strongly that the average Hue user won't either.

Anyway, feel free to have the last word... ScottinPollock has left the building. (c;
Title: Re: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: DParker on April 15, 2016, 05:16:15 pm
To me it is the same thing. I can't use Hues the way I want with the SmartThings hub locally. You can take it apart for the sake of argument by saying the car will still go without gas. But I don't just want to go downhill.

That's a horrible analogy.  The primary function of controlling lighting via these gizmos is the automation rules we create.  My rules continue to function the same whether my hub has internet access (the "gas" in your your analogy) or not.

So "Ditto all of those things and my ST Hub" was just an oversight. See, you are fallible. (c;

I'm extremely fallible....but this isn't an example of an oversight or other error on my part.  Let me try it a third time/way:  "Ditto all of those things and my ST Hub" was a response to your listing things that access Hue directly.

While I don't use the plugin...

OK, then Tasker was irrelevant.

Shouldn't be all that interesting. I use what works best; in this case the bridge. In fact, the SmartThings hub almost never talks to the Hue integration (I think I have one app that shuts them down after a power failure - but that could easily be moved to a shell script - and probably will now that I think about it). The only reason I keep Hue Connect around is for remote access, and I can't recall ever using it. Frankly, everything I could pull from SmartThings I have. Only the Echo has refreshed my interest in it as a means to get commands to my server via virtual devices.

Still, a great deal of build up and dependency on a single platform.

I suppose if all you want is to turn white lights off and on...

Which is the vast majority of what lighting automation does.  Most people aren't using this stuff to run night clubs.

But most Hue users I have met...

Ah, but see...that's the thing.  I'm not a "Hue user".  I'm a user of smart lighting.  Hue just happened to have been one of the companies whose hardware I used (that is, until I gave the bridge and the two bulbs that came with it to my daughter, after replacing them with ST and much cheaper...but no less reliable...GE Link bulbs and switches).

Folks who go your route cut themselves off from much of the Hue echosystem including Tap....

How in the world am I cut off from Tap?

Anyway, feel free to have the last word...
[/quote]

Oh, c'mon now.  This is just a friendly exchange of strongly-held opinions.  There's no need for that sort of thing.
Title: Re: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: LuvAlexa on July 31, 2016, 04:21:00 pm
so I should believe him or not? lol

You have my word on it.

(http://hill-kleerup.org/blog/wp/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/joe-isuzu.jpg)

(Now let's see who the older folks on this board are.)



Joe Isuzu!
Title: Re: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: shelbydave on August 04, 2016, 10:56:06 am

If you haven't already made a decision, I can say I have been with Hue an awfully long time, and it is flat out the best system out there. From a bridge that is locally controlled when you are home (no internet needed), and remotely controlled when you are away; to a great local API with superb documentation; lots of cool third party apps; 100% reliability; better support, more frequent upgrades, and new features, SDKs, Frameworks, devices coming all the time.

IMHO, Philips is the poster child for how to do smart lighting and the IoT right. No one compares at this point, and tieing your lights to something like the Wink or SmartThings hubs is like greasing your wheels LocTite. Yeah, they're a little pricier than some other stuff but worth every penny!

Isn't Hue Zigbee?  This is where I'm suffering in the decision making process...  It seems like there are many more devices that use ZWave, and SmartThings supports both.

I like the fact that the Hue hub is local, while I'm slowly warming up the the cloud concept, I still have concerns there.

Maybe I'll start out with the Hue starter, and see how far I can get.  I suspect I'll have to go with something like a SmartThings or other eventually though.
Title: Re: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: DParker on August 04, 2016, 01:01:23 pm
Isn't Hue Zigbee?  This is where I'm suffering in the decision making process...  It seems like there are many more devices that use ZWave, and SmartThings supports both.

Yes, Hue bulbs use Zigbee, as do GE Link (which are compatible with the Hue bridge) and Cree...and possibly others that I'm not thinking of right now.  If you're only interested in automating/controlling lighting then the Hue bridge is in fact a good choice.  But if you want to do anything else then you'll need the flexibility of something like the SmartThings hub, as flawed as it is.

I like the fact that the Hue hub is local, while I'm slowly warming up the the cloud concept, I still have concerns there.

And those concerns are well-founded.  The good news is that as far as lighting and most motion sensors go, control of those devices and operation of the official lighting smart app (which supports motion sensors as well) are local to the ST hub as well.  Everything else is still cloud-based though.
Title: Re: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: shelbydave on August 04, 2016, 07:08:19 pm
Good info!   I was heavy into home automation / control with X 10 Waaaayy back in the '80s and '90s.  That setup died a painful death when we bought a home too large for the signals to reliably travel to the devices.  So one by one, as the devices stopped working, I just let the system die.  I was going to switch to insteon for a short time, then saw the Vera devices, and decided to wait a bit to see which would win out there.  Now with Zigbee in the picture, and I think Insteon is getting kind of "long in the tooth", it's time to start to rethink...  I guess I need to add WiFi in there too for consideration...  So many decisions!!!
Title: Re: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: stusviews on August 06, 2016, 03:28:20 pm
If you're really into HA, then Insteon and an ISY is probably the most advanced, flexible and sophisticated HA system on the market. The ISY accommodates Z-Wave, too. Even IR.
Title: Re: Lighting systems....so confused ...Please Help
Post by: DParker on August 06, 2016, 03:49:47 pm
If you're really into HA, then Insteon and an ISY is probably the most advanced, flexible and sophisticated HA system on the market. The ISY accommodates Z-Wave, too. Even IR.

It depends on what (mostly) bypassing the cloud is worth to you.  Insteon + ISY is much more expensize than a single ST hub, and you still don't get Zigbee support, do it's actually less flexible in terms of 3rd party product compatibility.

If anything I'd say the selling points of such a system are simplicity and reliability, but at a cost.