Smart Bulbs and lighting continued…

Hi All,

Apologises for the lack of updates on the home automation front, been looking at purchasing a new property to put my experiments on hold.

I’m really interested in restarting this and would love to know your thoughts on any other solutions that don’t require fully replacing the light switches similar to my previous post on the switch covers. Would love to know what you and others have done.

My next experiment will be with Ikea bulbs and the gateway so watch this space

MiHome – A good choice?

In my quest for a simplified automated home without multiple hubs or locked into a walled garden, I was saddened looking for a light switch or plug socket (Not adapter) that was compatible with the Amazon Echo Plus without the need for a second hub.

I found some suggestions on some dodgy Chinese websites (Wish) which I have purchased one, but I’ll review that when I’ve had chance to install it.

So I only found a handful of companies that were doing light switches and plug sockets, one which is called LightwaveRF and the other MiHome. LightwaveRF are very expensive but their switches definitely look the part and since this is just a pet project I found a sale on in Sainsbury for the MiHome gateway and 2 plugs adapters for £30 it was a bargain!

Got the hub installed it, It was a bit of a faff getting it to see the internet and registered and the app itself is really simple, not sure if it’s good or not at this point! I plugged one of the adapters in no more than 5 metres from the router and it didn’t pair, tried allsorts didn’t work. Put it in a different plug socket closer to the router and this time it paired…When reading the reviews and guides there is a suggestion it doesn’t like certain sockets and certain locations, especially if next to existing paired adapters. Which is a bit of a twat especially if you’ve gone through the effort of doing your entire house, I’m assuming they are suggesting you turn everything off in your house whilst you pair a new device…MMM NO!

Paired it to my Alexa and Echo Plus quite easily, it added nicely into the Alexa Smart home app and quite easy on the MiHome app itself…Here’s where the problems come. So it’s all in my apps and I’m quite impressed with myself so far, A few voice commands and it works, it’s turning my TV on and off…Get a bit cocky and show the other half…it’s now not working. Nothing is working voice and either app. So restart the gateway…It’s working again. Unfortunately this is a common occurrence and it constantly needs restarting and the latency sometimes is more than 30 seconds. Really poor and really unstable, Not sure if I’ll be investing in anymore of the MiHome kit.

Does anyone have any experiences on the LightwaveRF kit ?

Philips Hue Dimmer Switch


Continuing on my lighting home automation project, I’m now left with a handful of smart bulbs only I am utilising correctly…Now how to get the house involved or not.

After researching options, I found either I had to replace the light switch itself (See my next blog!) or some clever people with 3D printers have created a cradle of sorts for the Philips Hue Dimmer Switch

I found two types of covers both with their pros and cons, Out of this I probably prefer the larger one simply because the Dimmer switch itself sits more securely in there.

Option 1 – Philips Hue Dimmer cover / adapter 

So here’s the cover, really simply and goes over your existing light switch really well.  Got to say it’s fine just probably needs stronger magnets to the actual switch in place better

Option 2 – Philips Hue Dimmer cover for the entire cradle

This cover came and this one is different as this one takes the entire Philips Hue Cradle and not the switch, whilst it’s a lot larger and bulkier it does hold the switch perfectly.

My next blog is on actual switch replacements

Philips Hue Bulbs


Having recently bought an Amazon Echo Plus primarily for use as a smart speaker, not an AI assistant or a centre piece to home automation, simply as a speaker.

A bulb failed at home and I thought out of curiosity that I’ll replace it with the Philips Hue Bulb that came free with my Echo Plus. First impressions was that it was a warm colour rather than the bright white colour I’m assumed to.

Quickly went to the Amazon Alexa App and searched for a new device, was quite surprised when it came up straight away, I renamed it and added it to my living room group. Through it the app it works flawlessly was really impressed! The voice commands for make it dim or brighter are a bit clunky and I’m still not really sure what to say! But a simple on and off works well.

Rather impressed by this I decided to purchase another 2 bulb from Philips Hue and also 2 lamp bulbs from Innr, with the intention of adding these to my bedroom and landing upstairs. Here’s where it becomes interesting

Innr – I couldn’t get them to pair or to be seen by the Echo so I ended up sending them back

Philip Hue – Paired lovely to the Echo as previously really simple

The dilemma now comes with the mechanics of using these…If you are the only one in the household willing to make voice commands or use the smart app then you are in trouble…The light switch always has to be ‘ON’ if it’s not you cannot control your smart bulb, so what’s quite annoying is that your wife walks past presses the switch leaving me the home automation superstar the only option to get up put the switch back to on and then dim it…Obviously this doesn’t work. See my next post on my next adventure