LIFX Developer Zone

Just a Light Switch?

Perhaps I’ve missed this thread, and if so I apologize and hope someone will point me to the right place.

Strangely as much as I enjoy my 15 lifx bulbs and the automation using Ruby to turn on and off and change colors based on the circadium rhythm article posted by LIFX some time ago, there are just times when someone wants to turn on or off (or perhaps a scene) with a regularish light switch.

The new Harmony Remote looks close and promising, but it’s not where you’d expect a light switch and we have kids…so, might lost it at some point.

I just ordered the Particle IO INternet Button and will try to rewire my current light switch to always on and put the switch on top, which will give me 4 combinations and probably a non-lifx indicator with the LED’s…the potential here looks pretty good, but a lot of custom work and still not sure it’ll be a great replacement for the old fashioned light switch.

Other issues surround people actually turning off the light switch (mostly guests at this point), which messes with the automation of course and causes the process to be, 1. turn on, 2. wait 10 seconds, 3. hope they are all reasponding from phone and set them…rather than just, 1. turn on

Anyway, wanted to throw it out there…I’ll try to hop over to the other forum if/when I get anything useful happening with the Internet Button.

Thanks!
Erickson

I hear you on that one, it is an issue. When I have time and can get the parts I want I am going to get myself a touch screen for my Raspberri Pi 2. The screen will mount onto the Pi and that will all be embedded into the light switch area with a power supply and small usb wifi.
This way it is a touch screen light switch and controller for the lights, it can run ruby or whatever I want. I just have to find the right touch screen now and write the code which means learning a lot but hey it’s fun.

I figure with this no light switch for guests to screw up and complete control over the lights etc. whilst looking good, when not in use it could run a slide show.

This is the main headache I have as well i.e how to stop family and guests flicking the physical switch and killing power to the bulbs. I’m interested in the options suggested above how you plan to deal with providing power to the switch replacements (especially the Pi) from the existing lighting circuit. Certainly in the UK there is no neutral wire at the switch and the lighting circuit is only rated at 5 amps. So a raspberry Pi per room all connected to the lighting circuit isn’t really a workable solution. I did briefly consider blanking off the existing light switches and having iPod touches wall mounted running the standard LiFX app as a way forward but ran into the same power supply problem. What’s needed is a swap in replacement switch that is capable of running for some considerable time (months?) on battery power.

in my research I did come across a year old article where allegedly LiFX themselves were working on a switch.

read about it here.

https://gigaom.com/2014/08/05/lifx-plans-to-move-beyond-lightbulbs-with-plans-for-a-switch/#comments

I really love the idea of the Internet button. I have two of the Photon Dev kits. I’ve had a look at building a dimmer out of them using the analogue inputs and a variable resistor. I’ll admit though that I haven’t looked into how I would power it.

Unfortunately I cannot comment on products that LIFX may or may not produce in the future.

I haven’t used it myself, but one product which sounds interesting is the Lightning Switch, a wireless switch with no power supply. The power to send the wireless signal is provided by the mechanical energy of pressing the switch itself! It appears relatively expensive (as much as a LIFX bulb itself), but could be interesting depending on your budget. They make a low-voltage receiver for 12-volt lighting, so you could hook several of those receivers up to the GPIO of a centrally-located Raspberry Pi, which could then act as a relay between the Lightning Switch system and the LIFX wifi protocol.

There are also more conventional, battery-operated wireless switches, such as Z-wave or Insteon. Again, you could relay the signal through a centrally-located Raspberry Pi.

If you want to go a more do-it-yourself sort of route, you might be better off with a microcontroller rather than a full-blown raspberry pi. Using physical buttons, and a small, non-backlit LCD, or no LCD, you might be able to run it off batteries for a reasonable period of time. Something like the ESP8266 might be an interesting microcontroller to base such a project on. Or, of course, the Photon, already mentioned in this thread.

This is all just informed speculation on my part, though; I haven’t tried any of these things.

Looks like everyones (or a lot anyways) are thinking the same thing, I’am working on a DIY switch using a Teensy3.1, ESP8266 and a 5" capacitive touch panel (no LCD at this time).

5" is just about the same size as the normal house light switch and is a good candidate for replacing once packaged up.

This is how I am thinking it would work:
Tap: On/Off
Swipe Down/Up: Dimmer
Swipe Left/Right: Toggle between White and Colour
Two Finger Swipe Down/Up: Change Colour or White temperature

as I progress I’ll start a topic but for now it’s just wires in a beadboard :smile:
Photo Link: https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipMOF9asSX5DwkdNxwfSuK6bWLg-mC_HRMSyWpyA

1 Like

I’m going to be trying out Flic:

1 Like

do anyone think capacitive projected it would be a good feature to good switch?

I would like to hear a follow up on this!

More switch ideas over in this thread.

The best way that I have found currently is to use a Belkin WeMo Wi-Fi wall switch. You can use IFTTT to turn the lights on/off, and dim with a long press.

Hi all, I’m new to this forum and am just completing a renovation where we’ve put 28 Lifx bulbs into our apartment as downlights. Every light in every room will be Lifx. In most rooms I’m happy using the Lifx app and/or mains switch for control. However, the kitchen has the room lights and some pendants on the same circuit and I’d like a physical button to control them separately. I have read through the different suggestions on here but don’t have the skills or time to build something. I had planned on using some flic buttons but have just realized that they need a device running the apps as opposed to communicating directly with the lights. I’ve since had the idea of using a wall-mounted/charged iPod touch as the base for the flic buttons. Any thoughts or experience on this? I’m sure I’ll have more experiences to share as we finish the renovations, move in and start using the lights on a daily basis, hopefully from mid-January.

Has anyone tried (and had luck with) controlling Lifx bulbs by a wall switch? I know that I could get the Belkin WeMo WiFi switch to work using IFTTT, however since the Lifx bulbs are officially compatible with the Samsung SmartThings hub (Z-Wave), has anyone tried controlling the bulbs with a Z-Wave switch (preferably one with dimming capabilities)?

I wanted to update this thread with another project thread since it will be used in what I’m hoping will be a reasonable solution to the original question: Lightsd: a daemon with a JSON-RPC API to control your bulbs

Basically, using a raspberry pi, the lightsd daemon from the thread link above, razberry to talk to zwave scene controllers or whatever I can get to work and have the razberry send commands to lightsd rather than to other zwave devices (there seems to be an extensive javascript environment for razberry)

I also wanted to link this here to ask if anyone has used zwave more as something to send signals and not just control the power level of other zwave devices? I’d prefer to use dimmer switches in some places and not just scene controllers. Anyway I’ve ordered the razberry and a controller for now so hopefully another update soon!

1 Like

Hey Trevell, I’ve start a thread @ https://community.lifx.com/t/touch-screen-controllor/896, thing we be a bit slow but I’m hoping to get back into this in the next few months.

If someone would make this for me I’d buy it :slight_smile: Uses gestures to control your lights.

Hey guys, saw this post today and figured it would be really simple to make in conjunction with my Home Remote app. The latest version (out shortly, waiting for review) provides a web server so actions can be accessed easily from a query string, and then Home Remote will do the heavy lifting.

In my office I have milight, Hue and LIFX and have a Home Remote action to control all of them. I put a Spark Core in a light housing and get it to call one of 2 URLs depending on the switch position. All in, it took me around 20 minutes to write the Spark Core software and put in the housing. Here is the result:

1 Like

I’m also keen a solution for this. There will always be people in a household who aren’t quite as enthusiastic as others…
I already run a RPI with z-wave for some heating control. I was considering z-wave.me wall controllers which are battery powered (2 year life). My main concern is latency. If it takes more than 2 seconds, people will just mash the buttons… I fear that once the message has negotiated the various systems it will be way more than 2 seconds. Has anyone tried anything similar?

I think I’ve been updating a different thread, so quick reply here that I do have my RPi, Razberry and 2 zwave controllers, controlling my 20 LIFX lights. Latency is typically less than half a second, although sometimes a few lights take longer, but lightsd handles that communication. The only real issue I have is that I am only scanning for zwave communications and not actually using the zwave controllers change the line voltage, and I also cannot set the zwave controllers (i.e. say I wanted to flash a light or something…not a big deal).

In all, RPi changes the lights HSBKs each hour as well as on/off states and then the zwave controllers also have the ability to override and given some time I’ll probably tweak the functions based on usage (i.e. when a zwave controller is clicked, what SHOULD happen"…currently just toggling lights)

Once everything was setup, working very smooth…

What type of controller setup are you using on your RPi? I’m considering openHAB, with a z-wave stick, and various z-wave wall switches. Is this similar to what you’re using? I noticed you’re using lightsd, how does this fit into your topology?