Philips Hue Lights

glenwilson

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We have some sockets in the living room that have lights in them. The trouble is that they are all out of the way and not that accessible. To overcome this we have been using some simple remote controlled plugs which enables us to switch them all on at once. After about six years they had become a little temperamental.


Looking at alternatives I got a few Wemo lights and switches to try. These are controlled by an app. The switches are just on or off which is fine for the backlights on the TV. The bulbs can be dimmed as required. You can create rules so they come on at sunset and switch off at a particular time depending on the day etc.


The bulbs are LEDs so don’t use a lot of power yet give off a decent amount of light. These bulbs are white only so you can’t do anything fancy with them apart from dim them. I prefer the light you get from LEDs compared to the compact fluorescent bulbs. Doesn’t seem quite as yellowy thought the colour temperatures are similar. LEDs are more expensive but do last longer generally. Changing from fluorescent to LED has probably saved about 5% on our electric bill over the last year.


In general I found the WeMo to work fine but you have to use the app. Wife hates having to use an app and just wants a button to press. The rules are OK but it takes a while to set them up and you then have to find the one you want.


The biggest pain is that there is no iOS HomeKit integration. That means you can’t say “Lights On” or “Lights at 50%”. So they aren't bad they just are not simple to use. The Philips Hue lights have HomeKit integration and you can get a switch for them. Therefore, the WAF (wife acceptance factor) is really high! So whilst I still have the Wemo bulbs for some places like the front door where you can just program it to come on at certain times In the living room and other places I’ve swapped to using Hue lights.


The one big advantage of the Hue lights is that you can set them to any colour. This means you can use them to set mood lighting or adjust them to a particular scheme. The app (iOS version) is reasonable. You can set-up scenes which can be based on a particular photo or you can adjust things as you want. For watching films you can set the colours to suit the type of film. If you are watching The Hunt for Red October you could set a theme up so when you say “Hunt for Red October” the lights will go red! There are a few TV series that have embedded commands that will change the room lighting to suit the scene that is on the TV screen.


So apart from some fancy stuff what can you do? Well you can set things up to come on when you get home using geofencing. If you are within 500m of your house you can set the door light to come on and also the living room lights. You can put them into a holiday mode so that they will come on at the usual times you would normally have them on.


There are also apps that will sync the lights with the music. Ambify will play a track and then ‘adjust’ the lights to suit the music (see video below).


At the moment I have some plain white IKEA LED strips behind the TV. These are OK but are not dimmable so I have some Hue LED strips on order and that will enable the same adjustment as the other Hue lights.


I also have a couple of other Hue white bulbs. One of these is in the bedside lamp which can be dimmed if I want to read but don’t want to disturb the Mrs.


We have quite a few 50W halogen lights (the small ones) which I have been gradually been replacing with LED equivalents. I’d like to swap those for Hue bulbs it would cost £750 so that isn’t going to happen unless the price drops, a lot.


They could be seen as a bit of a gimmick but the remote switching function is a bit more up to date than what we were using. Yes the bulbs are more expensive but based on our average usage they should last about 137 years! The voice control is fun but we also have one of the switches that you can set for three different scenes (all on, movies, and relaxing) so that makes them easy to use. Finally, the colour changing ability. The quality and colour of the light in you environment does have a big impact on how you feel. Being able to set the colour, temperature and brightness has a big impact on how you feel.

 

lakaelo

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lol glen. you are a big "spielkind" . no clue what this called in english.lmao

i always don´t like the phillips hue because of there expensive prices. i only use some of this one

because we sell them :D lol

also i don´t like or need, to control it over my mobile. i always happy that i can put my mobile away because it can bring me some more work with a customer call.
 

samoz83

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They are stupidly expensive, my brother used to work for Philips and I still know some people there so I get things on the cheap (just picked up a new 50" amblight tv for £350 :)) Not the best as they aren't made by Philips anymore but still but good at that price.
 

glenwilson

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Absolutely agree about the price but the other options for controlling switches or lamps are pretty clunky and never seem to last that long. I wanted to also try different lighting as the living room gets used for dining, console games, jigsaws and so on and it is pretty flexible for that.

Been looking at the LED options for other areas in the house like the kitchen where you need a mixture of spot lights and some fill lighting. Though not an old house, it is harder to integrate or add lighting without the pain of running cables through walls and so on.
 

lakaelo

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i had replaced all light bulbs in our house some years back. most of them where halogen lamps and every time we switched them off there where 3x 40w on the run because most of the lamps had 3 bulbs so that means 120w for each.

so i replaced them with led with 3w each. means 9w instead of 120w now. cost me nearly 300.- euro at all. never calculated that precice but i bet i have only max. 10% of the powerconsuption with lightning now.
best thing is that the actual led "bulbs" are compatible with the normal lamp-holders and also you can choose between spots or wide lightning.

ohh...with your different lightning. a college of me told me he only need it in the sleepingroom. light on = reading time, light off = sex time lol no need for philips hue so. :rolleyes:
 
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Steffos666

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i had replaced all light bulbs in our house some years back. most of them where halogen lamps and every time we switched them off there where 3x 40w on the run because most of the lamps had 3 bulbs so that means 120w for each.

so i replaced them with led with 3w each. means 9w instead of 120w now. cost me nearly 300.- euro at all. never calculated that precice but i bet i have only max. 10% of the powerconsuption with lightning now.
best thing is that the actual led "bulbs" are compatible with the normal lamp-holders and also you can choose between spots or wide lightning.

ohh...with your different lightning. a college of me told me he only need it in the sleepingroom. light on = reading time, light off = sex time lol no need for philips hue so. :rolleyes:
lights out for sex... Poor married guy ^^
 

glenwilson

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It is funny how quickly compact fluorescent bulbs (CFB) are being replaced by LEDs. Though CFBs are supposed to have a much longer life than old incandescent bulbs I was still finding that they failed reasonably quickly and certainly less than the suggested 6,000 hours. Halogen bulbs also used to fail at regular intervals.

So, even if LEDs are more expensive, if they do last as long as they should then environmentally it should be better too. The environmental cost of manufacturing 15 bulbs that last a thousand hours should outweigh 1 bulb that lasts 15,000 hours.

I'm guessing that the price of LED bulbs will remain high because once you have replaced all the normal bulbs with them the you, in theory, shouldn't be replacing them again for a very long time.

The HomeKit integration of Hue ( there is an Android version) means other HomeKit stuff can also be easily controlled. With the WeMo bulbs and switches I was having to use IFTTT to get some actions to work and it was unreliable. It is still early on with all this stuff but I can see some uses for this particularly as I get older.

Having a light automatically dim at a certain time to give just enough light to see by as you nip to the loo during the night but have it not bright enough to wake you too much would be a use. I'm not thinking of complicated alternatives to putting a finger on a switch. But making sure lights or devices are off when the last person leaves the house. Having some lighting on when you arrive home and so on.

Having remote control of the heating has saved us money too. The old thermostat and timer based control meant the heating would be active more than it should have been. Changing to a more sophisticated control has meant we have saved about 15-20% on our gas bill (only used for heating) and that paid for the heating control. Obviously that is weather dependent :D Before, if you were on holiday you had to either switch off the heating or leave it on. Now we can set it off knowing it has a frost setting should the weather be that bad. The day before we come home we can remotely switch it back on. That saves about £25 and doesn't waste any energy.

It surprises me that new homes in the UK don't incorporate these sort of functions as standard along with roof panels, Ethernet wiring and so on. The initial cost of the house would be higher but there are savings to be made in the longer term and you will probably be in a new house for a reasonable length of time.
 

Steffos666

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politicians are sleeping as always ;)

they want you to have a smartmeter for eletricity management and they are discussing about a duty in europe to install one ....

But the real energy saver they reject ;)

probably the lobby is not paying enough ^^ unlike ttip shit
 

lakaelo

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both. the lobby of the fossil energy is still strong and on the other hand the lobby of the renewable energy is still not strong enough lol

so they keep down some innovative technology because they are not willing to support lower energy using.

on the other hand here in germany we have some nice new building codes. so we have a law that every new build house have some use of renewable energy. sadly there are no benchmarks set for this "usage".

for my own, we build our house 8 years ago before there was some guideline to use renewable energy but we decided to build in everything we can.

we got:

- geothermie
- solar thermal
- photovoltaics ( 8500Kwh / year )
Hoyer - Münstermaifeld Anlagenübersicht

with that we are nearly indepently. :D

heating and hot water cost us around 35.- € / month for the hole house and this is very nice managable because all 3 systems complement each other.

next part of our energy system will be some kind of accu so we can saving the energy from the photovolataic to use it in the afternoon / night.
 
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glenwilson

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We have certain initiatives that encourage the use of light panels and more energy efficient heating boilers but being able to work out the financial advantages is baffling. It isn't easy to work out the benefits and cost of installing systems. If you knew that you would be at worst breaking even over say ten years it would be worth making the investment even from an environmental view point.

The original windows we had were awful and of really such poor quality it was stupid. They were drafty but apparently that was acceptable despite them being new (the house had just been built!). We got the windows replaced about three years ago with the best we could find and the difference was immediately obvious. Heating use dropped noticeably despite that being our old boiler. Our house has also been insulated as much as we can and have a more energy efficient heating boiler. Being able to tweak the times and temperature remotely has helped save us money as you can fine tune times and temps as required. With the old timer there wasn't the detailed control we have now. Obviously weather will affect bills but we are definitely reducing our heating costs.

Electricity is pretty stable usage for us. The only thing that really varies is the use of lights which increases one the winter months. For other devices like the freezer and other devices we have got the most efficient that we can afford.

If I was going to build a house then I would plan-in all the energy efficiencies and technologies to make it as environmentally effective as possible. Looking at new houses here they are obviously built to a minimum cost and most profit yet environmentally positive technologies are ignored. Given today's use of the internet it still surprises me that ethernet isn't wired in at the build.

Seeing how other countries build houses it makes me annoyed that quality is sacrificed because of short term cost savings instead of looking longer term.
 
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lakaelo

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that is nearly equal here glen. we are living in a "neubausiedlung". think the fitting word is modern estate or not?, so all houses not older than 10 years. all together nearly 100 houses were build in that time and we, seriously, are the only one with geothermy heating here. i know a hand full using air sourced headpumps what basically is the same technology but all others using stone old fossil energy like gas or oil.

same example is phatovoltaics on the roof. from all this new houses here only 15 using that as most.

best example for stupidity is my neighbor. i talked to him after he build his house beside us for around 4 years why he haven´t any solarthermie panels on his roof and he gave me the answer that he had´t the money for that. but he spent his little money for a big garage with all stuff and a expensive sauna. also a brand new car. this so stupid not to use this cash to save money over years.

we refrained for some other stuff just to realise or bought the things what will save us money for years or decades.
 

glenwilson

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Loads of folk around here get a new car every couple of years. Apart from the exhaust problem (now 5 replacements in 3 months) the car is going fine. We've had three cars in the last 18 years. Which is environmentally is better than getting a new every couple of years. The previous two did 100,000 and 170,000 miles each. This car is 125,000 miles. Yes I would like a new car but I would base the purchase on what we need size wise and engine size. Some of the small turbo engines are very efficient.

The area of our roof and the amount of light we get up here doesn't quite make the investment in panels balance at the moment. Within the house we are at the point where further energy saving is becoming hard to do. The hiding & TV is on a timer so it is only on when we are usually watching TV. Lights are nearly all energy saving except from
 

glenwilson

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So after playing with the lights for a little while now I have to say I'm rather pleased with them. Yesterday I replaced the old IKEA white LEDs I had behind the TV with the Hue LED strip. This makes a huge difference with the new ones being dimable and being able to change the colours. For normal TV watching having them bright is OK but when watching a film it is much nicer to have the lights toned down a bit and a bit warmer in colour.

I would like to use the LED light strips more around the house especially but I would also like hide the wiring rather than using an adapter and having the cable on show. I've seen some channels that you run the LED strip through and that diffuses the light from the individual LEDs to something more continuous and without hotspots.

I've also been playing around with door/window sensors. I wanted to see if I can set these up to give warnings when they are opened but I'm finding that baffling to program even with quite a few years of Mainframe programming experience. Probably should try and write something that does work.