Ikea Smart Lighting

in Home Automation2 years ago

This is the first post in the new Steem Home Automation community I just created. You need to log into the beta site to properly use communities. You can do that using your Steem Keychain. I know a few people here are into using technology to make their homes smarter, so let us build a community around that topic.

I have experimented with home automation for a while now. When we built our house 16 years ago I had a system from Comfort professionally installed. That used X10 units to control lights with some PIR sensors and door switches to activate them. This was fairly limited as the controller had no wifi or other connectivity. I had to plug in a laptop via a serial connection to program it. There were keypads to access various functions, but we never really exploited the full potential of it. I replaced it with a Raspberry Pi running Home Assistant using the same X10 and sensors. That worked fairly well to turn lights on, but I have had some issues since then getting this working. Recently installs of the software on a Pi 3 have failed and I may need to buy another Pi to try or maybe something more powerful.

There are also some issues with the X10 units. Some of them have been turning on lights with no interaction by me. This could be some local interference, but I have not worked out what. Some of them would regularly come on at a certain time. That could be annoying at night. I have replaced some with conventional switches as they did not really need to be automated. Others have died, which can happen when a bulb blows. I am looking to use more modern technology. The X10 is good in that you can hard-wire a lightswitch to them so you do not rely on wifi or other interaction.

Meanwhile I needed to get some of the lights automated again for the dark mornings and evenings. I bought a kit from Ikea with a couple of smart LED bulbs and a hub. I had this working with Home Assistant until that failed me. I decided to invest a little more in this to get something working. The system is relatively cheap with bulbs costing £10 for white light (with different 'temperatures' available). I bought a couple of their PIR sensors. These are battery powered. That is not ideal as you need to replace batteries, but they should last a while and it means less wiring.

Light

I have replaced the bulb in the light by the front door with one of these. The Ikea PIR is the small white one and the other will be removed. You pair them by holding the PIR by the bulb and pressing a button. This sensor is very sensitive and picks up passing cars, but the light is not using very much power so I do not mind if it comes on more than necessary.

I have another bulb in our lobby area with the sensor in the hall so we get light there when we need it.

There is also an app to control the lights. This can be a little temperamental. Sometimes it says I have no devices or will not actually turn a light on. There are also some battery-powered switches if you want manual control, but I have had issues using those in combination with the PIRs. My Google Home device is aware of the lights and also has some issues actually turning them on. I am accepting some compromises with this budget system.

App

Ultimately any such system has to be family friendly so they do not have to get into the technology too much. I hear about people having really complicated systems with presence detection using phones or other methods. I would like to extend my system a bit to add other features, but am limited by cost and the time it takes to set this all up. When I had the original system installed I had all sorts of ideas, but it turns out you do not need to automate everything. There are a lot more options now. Ikea have automated window blinds and you can get robot vacuum cleaners. We do have a Nest heating controller, but that just works in the background.

I am interested to hear what automation others have done and how useful they find it. Is it just a case of technology for its own sake?

I welcome our robot overlords!

The geeky guitarist and facilitator of the 10K Minnows Project.

Sort:  

That is pretty cool. When I was just at IKEA I saw the light bulbs they have now where it has a battery in it and it stores a charge so if you loose power you can just hit a button and it will still work. I didn't see any of the home automation stuff though. I guess I wasn't really looking for it either. Thanks for sharing this. I am going to head over to your community now.

I've not seen bulbs that store a charge. LED does make more things possible. Some of our lights now use a tenth of the energy the old filament bulbs did. I know Trump claims they make him look orange, but I think he's that colour anyway ;) I would think he had other worries.

You would think!