WIFI lamp module recommendations

My needs right now are for a non dimmable, non colour changing simple on / off wifi lamp module. Looked at several different ones but thought I'd see if anyone has an opinion about what was best or worst or experiences using one. Requirements are must stay inside my network, no cloud based or other shenanigans across the web. Money is no object (yea, right). Any life experiences using one appreciated.
Thanks

The "Shelly One" modules have MQTT capability (and two way lighting if required) built in.

Agree. The Shelly modules are small enough to hide in 'back boxes', 'lighting fittings' etc, and have great connectivity, including programmable phone apps.

You do need to be aware though, that they do need a - negative supply, which isn't always readily available in home lighting circuits...

Although a little more expensive, I use the Shelly 1PM's which provide additional metrics such as energy & power usage, so you can determine if the lamp is actually lit or not, and what it's consumption is.

I'm exploring that world myself just now.

Look at the Tasmota page and get a bulb which it compatible.
You have to flash it - RasPi is better for this - and you can have 100% local control of it.

Link:
Tasmota compatible bulbs

What about a plain old wifi enabled plug (switch)?

1 Like

There are Tasmota plugs/switches too.

A bigger list of compatible devices

Some notes out of my experience over the last years when it comes to domestic lights.

  1. always install a physical human interface (i.e. wall switch) even decorative lights render “useless” when you first have to pull out your phone open an app find the right contol ... only to light a room. Minimal lighting should work wenn all networks are down and software freezes (even the firmware in your switch module can fail)
  2. Multiple lights in a room should be able to “talk to each other” and the physical switches without a server running
  3. Every Programmed logic is optional and a nice to have.
  4. If you need a cloud service it is only optional too (HomeKit, Google home, Alexa ...) Do not use cloud services from the manufacturer a) you cannot trust them b) they can crash or have bugs and b) they can go out of service sooner than you think. Think twice before using a cloud service (what is the business model, what data do you share ...)
  5. Wifi is not the only nor the best option. Wifi is not intended for that: star architektur: all devices have to reach the one access point, a huge protocol overhead. Currently it could be the one you like to go for but there are others that solve many problems i.e. zigbee able to build a mesh network
  6. Make a “master plan” even if you start small. It is certainly a good plan to have all switching and dimming in your switchboard but this comes with a great effort in cabling. If dimming is not necessary today perhaps it is in the future.
  7. Documentation: even if you are not hit by a bus somebody has to be able to service your installation in the future. Scratching your own head how you wired, configured, programmed flashed your device after a few years means to start over again only because a relay failed. I collect pictures, docs, sources, bin and configuration files for each device. Your device will fail sooner than you expect or the lifetime of your house (my home is already 140 years old)

But first start small, yes a shelly is a great option (easy to flash and the original firmware comes with mqtt out of the box) or a wifi wall plug like the sonoff s20 if you are able to solder in a pin header to flash your favorite firmware with an usb to serial converter. Sonoff minis you can flash over the air but you have only one shot. If this fails it gets painfully soldering wires on small pads.
If you need more information you have to provide more informations what your goal is.

3 Likes

Excellent write-up that should be tattooed on the backs of all of our hands :grinning:

One slight thing - while I agree that Zigbee is certainly better than WiFi in some ways, the main advantage of WiFi is that everyone has it and it is very easily set up. Zigbee still seems more complex to set up and most people will not have a suitable hub that will let their Zigbee devices talk to Node-RED and MQTT. For some, the cost of a ready-made hub that will do that will be offputting and the complexity of the DIY entries also offputting.

So zigbee is good if you have the appropriate hub or are happy to create one. It is also best for battery operation and for meshing.

WiFi is pretty ubiquitous. Also, WiFi meshing is now much more common so it is easier and cheaper than ever to make sure that good signals get to the whole house.

1 Like

I heard this is the current hot thing:

Ordered the stuff needed from china for 7,5€ and see what I can do with it.

Wifi based home automation will probably be the future. Have a look here:
https://www.connectedhomeip.com/

The “new” approach to implement a standard protocol for home automation should be based on IP. But this not saying that it is based on wifi. The IP is and will be implemented on top of many network technologies like ethernet, wifi, utms, gsm, lte, powerline, Bluetooth (planned), dali, knx and many other. So wifi is only one option- the first and preferred option perhaps because it is available normally in every household and easy to setup (better to say the people learned who to setup wifi than this is easy) This is appealing for the industry because it is difficult to sell another hub were people have no clue what this strange box is good for and why they have to pay for.
And don’t forget all the existing devices. These can be easily updated to a “standard” when no new hardware is involved.
With every new standard the “early adopters” problem or the problem who is first the chicken or the egg (the device the controller)
BTW: the egg was first but the animal who laid the err was not a chicken.

Right, but I would first search for a wifi solution. All my actuators are based on esp8266/tasmota and my sensors on zigbee (these may be replaced in the future as soon as low energy wifi sensors are availabel).

1 Like

Yes, it looks good as long as you are happy to roll-your-own.

You can also get the Conbee or RaspBee for about £30-35 I think which are pre-built and possibly slightly more evolved.

1 Like

I’m running a conbee ii here, set up on Deconz rather than zigbee2mqtt and works fine too, with the deconz node-red nodes to hook it to mqtt if needed as well. Developers of the company behind deconz/conbee are currently working with the zigbee2mqtt dev to make the conbee a supported option for his platform too. There’s a github issue mentioning this but I can’t find it so quickly, it could be on the herdsman repo.

1 Like

I hope I'm not being too cynical, but...

While it's good to see these companies trying to get their act together, what is the problem they are trying to solve?

The goal of the Connected Home over IP project is to simplify development for manufacturers and increase compatibility for consumers.

Notice the order (priority?) in this statement. Having created a bunch of incompatible "standards" but failing to lock in their customers to any one of them, they (and third-party developers) are discovering how difficult and expensive it can be to support Alexa and Google Home and HomeKit alongside a device-specific API. It will certainly be a good thing if this group can build the interoperability layer once and for all, but initially restricting the network and physical parts to IP and WiFi and BLE makes me doubt that I'll get much benefit. My home automation "system" is a pile of junk accumulated over the years, including WiFi, X10, Zigbee, IR, 433 MHz, and probably stuff I can't remember. Node-RED and MQTT are the glue that holds it together (thank you!), and no data leaves the dedicated LAN where they run. If this project succeeds, its protocol might (or might not) become just one more ingredient in my stew. I realize that my priorities have little to do with what might work in the marketplace, so I'll just wait and see whether this effort delivers any pleasant surprises.

4 Likes

Well yes! That’s true.

What can happen when you trust the “companys” and well known brands

But not only this case. There was a case in 2018 were they rendered a complete product (the CR100) useless “to protect the customers”

This is happening continuously. From bricking books, music and video that you thought you "owned" (yes Amazon, we are looking at you!) to companies getting bored with or not enough profit from services and arbitrarily closing them with little warning (Google, Nest, another recent one can't remember the name of who have just turned off their home security service, ...).

That's why, like others, I will never buy anything that I might want to keep a long time that relies solely on a web service.

Especially if it is one that I don't have to pay for. "Follow the money" people always say. If you aren't paying a reasonable rate for a service, the profit has to come from somewhere else, most commonly from information about you been sold.

2 Likes

OK, this discussion has steam coming out of my ears. Apologizing in advance for a rant, I think we are living at the intersection of (at least) three really destructive trends.

  • Planned obsolescence (hardware mostly, but also software):
    "We will no longer repair the product." Not a problem until the maker refuses to provide spare parts, repair manuals, schematics, etc. (See Apple.)

  • Software licensing model (software of course, but increasingly hardware):
    "You don't actually own the product." You just license its use for an undetermined length of time, with paid upgrades at intervals and costs not specified at purchase. (See Adobe.)

  • Cloud service model (both hardware and software):
    "Yes, there is a free lunch." The hardware, if any, is cheap, and the software is "free." As @TotallyInformation says, the profit has to come from somewhere, if not from selling your information then from getting you hooked on the service and then converting it to a paid subscription (See Google and Amazon).

As people gradually accept these ideas, companies will become more creative at combining them into really toxic forms of exploitation.

3 Likes

... though we are now well off-topic to the original question :grinning:

Still, a useful background to that question about lamp recommendations:

  • Chose something that doesn't force you to use an Internet-facing 3rd-party service
  • WiFi is good when: you have power; you have decent WiFi in the right locations.
  • Zigbee is good when: you only have battery power; when you want to keep your WiFi free of IoT devices; if you have limited control over WiFi (e.g. communal flats) or other WiFi issues.
2 Likes

Also good in other circumstances, I’ve zigbee bulbs (innr smart candle white) in regular E14 fittings doing great work :slight_smile: