LIFX Developer Zone

Feature Request: Allow ChowMain & Control 4 Direct Access

All of our LIFX lamps are controlled by Control 4 using the Chowmain driver. We’ve had a lot of growing pains. Currently I believe every problem we’re experiencing is due to everything having to go through the LIFX servers. This causes response delays, mis-cues, inaccurate settings and more.

Please allow Chowmain and others to interact directly with the lamps.

I’m not sure what Control 4/Chowmain are. The usual problem with connectivity is your network setup. The subreddit is a great place for getting advice on setting that up.

Control 4 is the most installed integrated home automation system in the world.

Chowmain writes drivers for numerous home automation systems including C4, Crestron, Savant, etc.

This is not a network problem. This is a problem of every single request & response having to travel through the LIFX servers because that is the only API you offer. Some actions require numerous request/response conversations and this is horribly error producing.

And is also an exceptionally antiquated way of doing things. If some bit of network (my internet link, yours, your servers, etc.) isn’t functioning then we have no normal control of LIFX lamps. We can control every other type of lamp in our house but not LIFX.

Control of our lamps should not be traveling outside of our house unless we are away from home.

If Control 4 is controlling the lights over the local network, then it doesn’t interact with LIFX servers. If it’s using the HTTP API then it is.

When you set up Chowmain, do you have to do an OAuth flow to get credentials to change your lights? If you do then it’s using the API and it will indeed be a bit slower.

If this system doesn’t provide a local LAN option, then you may be interested in something like https://www.home-assistant.io/

Thanks. My understanding is that they cannot talk to the lamps directly and MUST use the API and that this is a LIFX issue.

Control 4 and home-assistant are two different worlds. Home-assistant is not an option.

LIFX are a good product with a lot of potential. If all you want to do is play in the hobby world (and that does seem the case sometimes) then that’s fine but if that’s the case then we’ll look elsewhere for solutions that are reliable and can be depended on by people who want to use them for real everyday life.

Talking to the HTTP API is very much not mandatory. If control 4 sits on your network, then it’s entirely possible to make an integration that uses the local network. Someone does have to write one though for that to happen!

Thanks. We’ll go back to C4 and Chowmain.

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It’s probably worth pointing out to C4 and Chowmain that the LIFX LAN Protocol specs have been available on GitHub since 2015: https://github.com/LIFX/lifx-protocol-docs

There is likely an implementation in of the protocol as a library in every language with Python and Node.js having several implementations from which to chose: https://github.com/topics/lifx

Having direct LAN access to the bulbs is why the LIFX Kickstarter was so popular in the first place.

Reading between the lines here it looks like ChowMain have done a little more than the bare minimum to add LIFX support to the Control4 ecosystem, and scanning through the setup process, they’re using the HTTP API.

Given that Control4 is a dealer-based “managed” system, I think your best bet is to kick up a fuss there, armed with the links @Djelibeybi provided above.