Loading Notifications...

Echo dot and smart bulbs

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.

Morning, 

I've fallen for one  of the offers on a early black Friday deal

Picked up an echo dot and 2 x smart lights for 28 quid.

Figured it might be useful for my living room.

Cheap enough that I'll give it a shot .

What do people that have them think  ?

TWS

In reply to The Wild Scallion:

I don't have smart bulbs, but I do have a load of Echo Dots (one in the bedroom, one in the office and two in the lounge, you can connect them together for stereo) and I think they're great, though mostly just as voice-controlled radio sets.

 dread-i 20 Nov 2020
In reply to The Wild Scallion:

I've a Smartthings hub and some smart bulbs. It uses zigbee, like the alexa does.

Its nice to be able to dim the lights for a film, or change colour to suit mood. I've also got a smart button, which you can use to control any sort of function. My lad likes that as he can turn the light on and off from in bed, with a single press, or change to a preset colour, with a double press. I've got a smart thermometer on the water tank, so I can see the exact temperature. Its not linked to the Tado controlled heating and hot water, yet.

There is a lot of automation you can do. I read about a chap in Alaska, who doesn't get daylight for months on end. He had his bulbs come on at 06:00 as a dim orange, slowly getting brighter and whiter. Then in the evening, he had it go in reverse, yellow to orange, to purple, to stimulate his circadian rhythms. Another chap linked them to his home alarm. When the alarm triggers, the entire houses lights flash red and blue!

Sadly, I've not got that far with automation. I have some lights that come on at sunset and go off at sunrise. Check out 'if this then that', which is a simple programming framework for automation. There is an entire world of geeky automation to explore.

In reply to Neil Williams:

> I don't have smart bulbs, but I do have a load of Echo Dots (one in the bedroom, one in the office and two in the lounge, you can connect them together for stereo) and I think they're great, though mostly just as voice-controlled radio sets.

Cool . 

The echo dot is only £12.61 at the moment so thinking of buying another for my mum and more for the house while they are so cheap

In reply to The Wild Scallion:

As long as you're not concerned about the possibility of someone listening into your conversations, which they could via your mobile phone anyway, go for it.  At that price they're an incredibly cheap way of "Star Trek"-ising your house.  They are slightly buggy at times but for the price they're amazing.

FWIW they don't cause me to consume any more actual paid Amazon services.  The main thing I use them for is a quick Google of something (shop opening times, weather etc) and listening to the radio.

Adding lighting control would be cool, but as my house is all GU10 spots, with 3, 4 or 6 bulbs per room, that would be costly.

(Edit: Philips Hue bulbs for roughly £10 each now...maybe I will be tempted...when I swapped them all to LED it was £10 a pop for dumb bulbs! )

Post edited at 10:01
In reply to Neil Williams:

> As long as you're not concerned about the possibility of someone listening into your conversations, which they could via your mobile phone anyway, go for it.  At that price they're an incredibly cheap way of "Star Trek"-ising your house.  They are slightly buggy at times but for the price they're amazing.

Nah I'm hardly a master criminal,  just small fry.

> FWIW they don't cause me to consume any more actual paid Amazon services.  The main thing I use them for is a quick Google of something (shop opening times, weather etc) and listening to the radio.

That's my main use I think so far 

 Agar Jelly 20 Nov 2020
In reply to The Wild Scallion:

I'm being facetious here but I use something known as 'a switch'.

It has two settings and I think of it as something of a timeless classic.

I don't want my fridge to sing at me or for my toilet rolls to reorder themselves when they're getting low - call me old fashioned.

 Hardonicus 20 Nov 2020
In reply to Agar Jelly:

Plus the time spent tw*tting about trying to get/keep it all working far outweighs any saved through the actual automation...

In reply to Hardonicus:

> Plus the time spent tw*tting about trying to get/keep it all working far outweighs any saved through the actual automation...

I think there are two mindsets there.  A non-techie says that, whereas a techie actually enjoys such things.  Usually if there's a big data update to do, a techie will write a script even if it takes longer, whereas a non-techie will just do it manually.

Give it 5 years, though, and it'll be as reliable as your washing machine.

Post edited at 10:09
 hokkyokusei 20 Nov 2020
In reply to dread-i:

> I've a Smartthings hub and some smart bulbs. It uses zigbee, like the alexa does.

I don't think Alexa talks to ZigBee directly, I think that it uses wifi to talk to the hub that talks to the bulbs via ZigBee. You can get cheap wifi bulbs that can directly talk with Alexa, Google Home etc. 

My house is slowly becoming voice-activated, lights, central heating, speakers, TV. My preference is google home. I have a couple of standalone devices plus it's bult into my sonos sound system and TV

Need to automate my washing machine next so that I can take advantage of cheap electricity via Octopus agile. My car charger already does that. Makes my day when I wake up to find that I've been paid to charge my car.

 rockcatch 20 Nov 2020
In reply to The Wild Scallion:

I use smart heating and have smart bulbs in most of my rooms. It is controlled using Alexa by voice but I can also control it from my Apple Watch or phone. An advantage is that the lights can be dimmed without having a dimming switch. Lights and heating can also turn off automatically when I leave the house if I forget to do it. The hall and landing lights also turn on automatically if it is dark when I get home.

The main down side is if there is a problem with the service that runs the lights - it is frustrating to talk to it and wait for the system to tell you there is a problem.

It's definitely not for everyone, but I am a techie and like this sort of thing. My parents don't like using it when they come to visit.

In reply to Neil Williams:

Does that mean if you have 1 in two different rooms they're linked? If we play a radio station, they are often out of sync so what you heard in one room you hear again in the other. Was told it's WiFi delay. 

In reply to cwarby:

You can specifically link two (and set which is left and which is right) to have them play in stereo, though bizarrely the BBC Sounds skill doesn't support it, so you have to ask for the BBC station "on TuneIn" to take advantage of it.  They sync up perfectly in that case, though occasionally (and this is a bit of a bug) when you ask it to stop playing one stops and the other doesn't.  I find it best to mute the mic on one of the two if you do this to stop them confusing each other.

Post edited at 11:12
 SDM 20 Nov 2020
In reply to hokkyokusei:

I can see the advantage of wanting it automated, especially if the rest of your appliances are automated already, but most washing machines have a timer function even if they aren't smart machines.

My tariff is a flat rate at all times but I use the timer so that the machine is not running when I'm in the kitchen (which now doubles as my office) but so that I will be at home and awake when it finishes so I can put the clothes out to dry immediately. It takes 2 seconds to set the timer.

 dread-i 20 Nov 2020
In reply to hokkyokusei:

>I don't think Alexa talks to ZigBee directly

I thought it was all models, but it appears to be the echo show and echo plus. But as you mention, others can talk to bridges.

I have some concerns about wifi enabled lights etc. What happens when the cheapo Chinese manufacturer turns off the cloud service that enables them? What about security - a wifi enabled bulb is a small server that talks to the internet and acts on commands received. Zigbee, is just a control channel (on, off, up, down etc), I think the risk of it being abused is limited to someone turning my lights off, rather than pwning my home network.

I think the way things are going with google, amazon, apple, zigbee, etc, is that most things are interoperable or becoming so.

 Jenny C 20 Nov 2020
In reply to Agar Jelly:

> I'm being facetious here but I use something known as 'a switch'.

> It has two settings and I think of it as something of a timeless classic.

> I don't want my fridge to sing at me or for my toilet rolls to reorder themselves when they're getting low - call me old fashioned.

It also worries me just how energy these smart devices, that are presumably constantly running in the background use.

Yes I get that controlled lights and heating should reduce your power useage. But can I  really justify having yet another device running 24/7, just let me listen to music or do a quick goggle search "hands free"?

As you say for the majority of us, is walking across the room and using the switch really that arduous? (Maybe for the elderly, or disabled yes absolutely)

In reply to Neil Williams:

Cheers, will give it a go. Didn't know about muting 1 mic.

In reply to The Wild Scallion:

I have multiple Echo devices but I don't use the dot any more.  I prefer the ones with screens.

I have smart bulbs in most rooms now, started out with Philips Hue but switched to other brands which were half the price and just as good.  Also have a small number of Philips remote controls and a couple of sensors.   The sensors are great for a hallway when you just want the light to come on when you walk through it and then go off after a while.   

The remotes go on moulded covers which go over the old fashioned lightswitches.  This is really important because if you don't cover the old lighswitches people will press it and power down the circuit which means the smart bulb has no power and can't respond to the Hue hub.  The neat thing is the remote is only held in place by a magnet so you can take it out and use it from anywhere in the room.

When you need new lights, like in a cupboard, this system needs a lot less cabling than the old fashioned way because there's no mechanical switches needed.  So if you are DIY lazy it is the way to go.

Another neat feature is you can say things like "Computer turn off all the lights" when you go out or go to sleep and get everything at once.

In reply to Jenny C:

> It also worries me just how energy these smart devices, that are presumably constantly running in the background use.

Next to nothing.

 hokkyokusei 20 Nov 2020
In reply to SDM:

> I can see the advantage of wanting it automated, especially if the rest of your appliances are automated already, but most washing machines have a timer function even if they aren't smart machines.

Yes, that's what I do now, but it would be nice, if I could set it to just start when the electricity is cheapest, without me having to go and look at a graph and then set the timer. 

 hokkyokusei 20 Nov 2020
In reply to dread-i:

...

> I have some concerns about wifi enabled lights etc. What happens when the cheapo Chinese manufacturer turns off the cloud service that enables them? What about security - a wifi enabled bulb is a small server that talks to the internet and acts on commands received. Zigbee, is just a control channel (on, off, up, down etc), I think the risk of it being abused is limited to someone turning my lights off, rather than pwning my home network.

There isn't a cloud service for the Chinese manufacturer to turn off. You can access them with any app that speaks the same language, doesn't have to be the manufacturer's app. You need to be on the same wifi network to set them up and then associate them with the home automation of your choice, Alexa, Google etc. You can't access the bulb directly from outside of your home network, unless your home network is weirdly unsecure. 

In reply to tom_in_edinburgh:

> I have multiple Echo devices but I don't use the dot any more.  I prefer the ones with screens.

> I have smart bulbs in most rooms now, started out with Philips Hue but switched to other brands which were half the price and just as good.  Also have a small number of Philips remote controls and a couple of sensors.   The sensors are great for a hallway when you just want the light to come on when you walk through it and then go off after a while.   

> The remotes go on moulded covers which go over the old fashioned lightswitches.  This is really important because if you don't cover the old lighswitches people will press it and power down the circuit which means the smart bulb has no power and can't respond to the Hue hub.  The neat thing is the remote is only held in place by a magnet so you can take it out and use it from anywhere in the room.

> When you need new lights, like in a cupboard, this system needs a lot less cabling than the old fashioned way because there's no mechanical switches needed.  So if you are DIY lazy it is the way to go.

> Another neat feature is you can say things like "Computer turn off all the lights" when you go out or go to sleep and get everything at once.

Cheers,

Already purchased a second one and 2 more bulbs already.

So damn cheap I can't not . 

12.61 for the dot and 16 quid for 2 bulbs.

 Rob Kelly 20 Nov 2020
In reply to The Wild Scallion:

Am I missing something here? Showing up as £18.99 for me. Still pretty cheap but £12 would obviously be better!

 Jenny C 20 Nov 2020
In reply to Neil Williams:

> Next to nothing.

Per device, but multiplied across how many homes in the uk?

In reply to Rob Kelly:

> Am I missing something here? Showing up as £18.99 for me. Still pretty cheap but £12 would obviously be better!

I thought that but when you buy the dot and lights together they get reduced further.

It's only when you buy a package of either lights of smart plugs with the dot from what I can see.

TWS

Post edited at 14:36

In reply to Jenny C:

> Per device, but multiplied across how many homes in the uk?

To give you an idea, my Tado smart thermostat, which works on this sort of basis, uses a set of 3 AAA batteries which last about 6 months.  It's genuinely next to nothing.

 tjdodd 20 Nov 2020
In reply to Agar Jelly:

> I don't want my fridge to sing at me or for my toilet rolls to reorder themselves when they're getting low - call me old fashioned.

Surely allowing your toilet rolls to have a bit of a dance when they are getting depressed is a good thing.

 Jenny C 20 Nov 2020
In reply to Neil Williams:

Oh but then batteries and all those nasty metals that go into them - another environmental  argument against...

1
In reply to Jenny C:

You can always use rechargeables.  Recharge them with a solar charger if you really want!  But zinc-manganese batteries (what you'd commonly know as Duracells) are not particularly bad for the environment, anyway.

It's genuinely completely negligible.  Turn your heating down a degree and that'll make more difference to carbon emissions.

Post edited at 16:43
 Philip 20 Nov 2020
In reply to Jenny C:

> Oh but then batteries and all those nasty metals that go into them - another environmental  argument against...

What nasty metals in AAA batteries? MnO2, Zn, C, KOH. Maybe you're think of NiCd rechargable or the cobalt used in some Li-ION

 Dave the Rave 20 Nov 2020
In reply to The Wild Scallion:

Lights come in two forms for me. On or off. Mainly, I choose off

 freeflyer 20 Nov 2020
In reply to Dave the Rave:

> Lights come in two forms for me. On or off. Mainly, I choose off

This is my latest lockdown game - no lights on in the hall or upstairs. It's amazing how disoriented you can get in pitch black (after the street lights have gone out).

I may have to get the 'all the house lights flash' option though, so I can enable it when the OAPs in the street are having yet another house party.

Weird Science is a particularly good film to mention at this point.

In reply to Neil Williams:

> Give it 5 years, though, and it'll be as reliable as your washing machine.

My lights are going to catch fire?

 Dave the Rave 20 Nov 2020
In reply to freeflyer:

Strangely, the lights are on more when I’m out in order to tell burglars that I’m in. Why don’t they try and break in when I’m home and my lights are off?


This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.