I’ve a Raspberry Pi that has sat somewhat dormant on my desk at work. My original use case was to run a key project at work, but I found that some of our post-2038 date calculations rely on 64-bit timestamps, and at the time of my tinkering, the Pi only had 32-bit operating systems available. Interestingly though, I have just noticed that situation has now changed!
Anyway, one of my alternative projects I have in mind is a “gentle wake” light-based alarm clock for the bedroom. Rather than my usual angry buzzer, I thought it would be nice to try an alarm that slowly warms up a ceiling lamp and a table lamp over a slow period.
The big name in the area of “smart lighting” is Phillips, and they seem to offer a kit, though this is rather expensive, and I am not looking to set up the whole house with smart lighting anyway. I am therefore thinking of going for stand-alone bulbs that contain either BlueTooth or Wifi chips (advice on which is better e.g. in terms of range is welcome).
There are a range of them here, and since that is a UK site, those devices should be available here. (Some are said to be available from Amazon UK, but I don’t use Amazon - hopefully they will be available elsewhere).
Has anyone paired smart lighting with a Raspberry Pi and found their bulb to be friendly to Linux? I won’t be using a phone-based app or proprietary software - I’ll probably create a simple web app on the Pi plus whatever is needed in the background to control the device. I am leaning towards Bluetooth for its simplicity (no router/hub required) despite its limited range.
I like this Bluetooth bulb, £30 for full colour control.
This range of Chinese devices look OK, and are developer friendly, but UK availability or quality is not clear. Their website does not really inspire trust and although they have a UK subsidiary office, no UK address is listed.
Has anyone tried both colour and white smart lighting and found there to be a difference in practical brightness? I like the idea of playing around with RGB units, but wonder if “boring white” will have a better ability to light up a room. I want the lamps to have a reasonable chance of waking me, and if they are too weak they may not do that.
One thing that worries me is the replacement cost of LED bulbs that fail - the price range looks to be between £20 and £70. Ideally I’d like a Wifi/Bluetooth module that a bulb plugs into, so if the bulb fails I don’t need to replace the whole thing. However, no manufacturers seem to do this.
Belkin gave up with their Wemo SDK, but of course enterprising hackers have fixed that with a Python API. I would expect Belkin to be of good quality, so may be less risk than a no-name cheapie import. However, reviewers have given them a right kicking on the Maplin website… hmm.
I like the look of this open source home-automation-in-a-box package, and it seems to support quite a lot of lighting systems. Once I have bought a lamp I may try this.
Another approach would be to see if I can obtain CREE surface-mount high-power LED devices and pair them with a driver/dimmer module that might be controllable via USB. One dimmer option is here, though it still needs a low-voltage input, so the Pi would need some sort of hardware controller, and it needs soldering. These devices may be better as they appear to be supplied assembled. I expect I’d have to forego RGB capability with this option.
Does anyone have any recommendations or warnings of what not to buy? I’ve read of some devices requiring association with an internet account, which of course I’ll be happy to avoid.