The Hue Lightstrip from Philips is a versatile piece of home automation that I am becoming addicted to. I admit that when I first heard about “smart bulbs” and “smart light strips” that the first thoughts were “just a gimmick”, however since installing one of the light strips now I couldn’t be more pleased or excited.
Having recently finished upgrades to my daughter’s bedroom, I needed to find a solution for some ambient lighting that was preferably dimmable and controllable. Why controllable? I wanted the ability to tie the lighting into some kind of automated control (in my case HomeKit) so the lighting could be automatically turned on and off with preset colour and intensity. The Hue system has these features and the added bonus of millions of colours to choose from. For background ambience my daughter really loves purple so the light strip automatically comes on at sunset in a purple colour with 20% intensity and turns off at sunrise. When my daughter wants to work at her desk or requires more light then she can use a preset for 80% intensity and white light.
To change the light intensity, on/off status, or colours you need to use the app. While this has many advantages, there are times where a light switch on the wall is a lot more convenient and simple. Philips makes the Hue Dimmer Switch for this purpose along with other options. The new dimmer switch for my daughters bedroom arrived yesterday and using the Philips app on my phone it was operational within 2 minutes – really straight forward. The dimmer switch has on, off, and dimmable buttons but with the bonus that pressing the on button multiple times will also allow you to utilize the presets from the app. One press of the on button turns the light strip on to the last used setting, two presses uses the 2nd preset, 3 presses the 3rd preset and so on. Now you do not need to scramble around to find your phone to load the app to turn on/off a light strip.
These devices all communicate through a home automation protocol called Zigbee which has been around for a long time and works quite well. In order for these devices to talk to one another, and more importantly to talk to HomeKit, then you require a hub. The Hue Bridge from Philips does just that and works very well. It is a very small box that you plugin to your home network and communicate to via your app – very simple and straight forward to setup. All the Hue devices talk to the Bridge and then your app communicates with the Bridge.
One thing to note in regards to mounting the light strips is the sticky backing they come with. According to what I seen online and with the instructions from Philips, you should be able to peel away the back of the light strip and attach it to just about anything within reason. When we tried to mount this to my daughters wood loft bed we found the light strip sitting on the floor the next morning. A quick trip to the local store to pick up some heavy duty two sided tape solved this minor issue but I fear that if I ever go to remove that light strip in the future it will probably come out in pieces and not be functional when done. This is just an FYI that you should plan on where you want to install them and assume they will be installed there for a long time in my opinion.
I can many different uses for the light strips and in fact just ordered another one along with another remote to install in my new home office. This might be the start of my “light strip addiction” 🙂
Paul Stewart lives near Peterborough, Ontario in Canada. This blog is about all things not work related including home automation, home renovations and anything else that comes along that I feel like writing about!