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Smartest Light Bulbs Ever, Dumbest Idea Ever?

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the slave-to-flashim' dept.

Technology 235

An anonymous reader writes "A spate of smart LED bulbs and light sockets are coming to market and seeking crowdfunding, following the (apparent) success of Philips Hue. But do they really make sense for lighting control? Here's a comprehensive roundup of 13 products and the pros and cons of the category." I like the idea of controllable, long-lasting light bulbs, but I haven't yet been tempted enough to pay $50 apiece.

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Dumbest story title, ever? (4, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189107)

No, not by a large margin. Also not "dumbest idea ever", but putting this in the title _is_ pretty dumb. Seems somebody is craving attention at any cost.

Re:Dumbest story title, ever? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43189237)

Women are such insolent sex objects; they cry and whine about us men all the time, and even have something called a 'feminist movement' or something such as that. A bunch of nonsense is what it is. Women need to realize that they're mere sex objects that us men can derive pleasure from, and nothing more than that. Women's pussy holes belong to men, and don't you worthless women forget it!

Re:Dumbest story title, ever? (1, Troll)

pla (258480) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189833)

Seems somebody is craving attention at any cost.

Nah, just the stock Slashdot "we hate energy efficiency" rant applied to the next generation of products.

CFLs? Every Slashdotter needs to walk into a room and instantly have 6500K light or people... will... die !
Solar panels? Take more energy to make than they'll ever produce, and it lowers property values to have free electricity.
IGPs? Sure, I only play cheesy online Flash solitaire, but I NEED A quad 7990 and an external 3KW PSU just to feed it.
Electric cars? They "had to" push it home on that show with the car guys. And Elon Musk eats Christian babies.

And LED bulbs? Still new enough that you have the uninformed Luddites bitching that they cost $60 each, despite the fact that you can now buy them for under $20 regularly and around $10 on sale - Still pretty damned expensive, but in the "worth it" range for the handful of lights you use the most.

Re:Dumbest story title, ever? (3, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189915)

CFLs? Every Slashdotter needs to walk into a room and instantly have 6500K light or people... will... die !

Fluorescent lights give me a headache. I don't care if this is supposed to be medically possible, since it happens to me. They all do it, though some are substantially worse than others. So-called "daylight" fluorescents are the worst, e.g. ott-lite. Those give me a headache in record time.

Solar panels? Take more energy to make than they'll ever produce, and it lowers property values to have free electricity.

Only idiots believe that solar panels take more energy to make than they will produce, which has been false since the 1970s.

IGPs? Sure, I only play cheesy online Flash solitaire, but I NEED A quad 7990 and an external 3KW PSU just to feed it.

My problem with IGPs is that they are from intel in which case they really are shit (I actually play games in 3d, this is no longer a corner case since the majority of the population of the USA plays video games) or from AMD in which case the drivers are shit. I've owned several systems with embedded nVidia graphics. That's in the chipset, though.

Electric cars? They "had to" push it home on that show with the car guys. And Elon Musk eats Christian babies.

There's at least as much support for EVs here as against.

And LED bulbs? Still new enough that you have the uninformed Luddites bitching that they cost $60 each, despite the fact that you can now buy them for under $20 regularly and around $10 on sale

How many $20 LED lamps have you bought? How many $10 ones? ALL SHIT. You must spend real money on an LED lamp to get one that even has current limiting, let alone power regulation.

Re:Dumbest story title, ever? (2)

gweihir (88907) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189971)

Sounds plausible. As I am using mainly CFLs and beginning to replace them with LED bulbs, I am just not really equipped to understand that stance.

There are quite a few people complaining about CFLs that never bothered to find out anything about them. Like "too white","too yellow": Use a different color temperature? Take some time to get to full intensity: So what? Cannot be dimmend: Wrong, just buy those that can be. Etc.

Or my favorite: Will poison you with a lot of mercury when dropped! Unfortunately, there is almost no mercury in a modern CFL. I have several that lists the amount and it is something in the 1...5mg range. Just air out the room after dropping one and remove the shards not with a vacuum cleaner but an old-fashioned brush and shovel and you are fine. In fact, do nothing and you are very likely still fine and will get less mercury exposure than from one sushi-dinner.

Re:Dumbest story title, ever? (1)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | about a year and a half ago | (#43190047)

I have not found any LEDs that I have liked yet. CRI is way off even the cheapest CFLs, in the mid 70%. They also haven't figured out quality control, one bulb will have a green tint the other yellow. LED also gets very inefficient when you get to high powers.

I've even tried fixtures worth thousands of £'s in photography. The discontinuous spectra is a massive problem, and CRI values cannot really be used. Give this a look, the Academy of Motion Picture and Sciences did some tests on LEDs: http://www.oscars.org/science-technology/council/projects/ssl/index.html [oscars.org]

CFLs are good now. Good ones are difficult to find on the high street though, and I think that this is the problem that people buy crap bulbs. High CRI (95%+), instant on, dimable, efficient. I just wish more came in 4000K rather than 3200K.

Temperatures (2)

overshoot (39700) | about a year and a half ago | (#43190279)

I just wish more came in 4000K rather than 3200K.

Most people use lighting at night, before going to bed. There's a fair bit of research to the effect that high-temperature light before sleep interferes with sleep quality.

Office lighting is another matter entirely -- there, high temperature light is not only good for vision but increases alertness.

Re:Dumbest story title, ever? (1)

Simulant (528590) | about a year and a half ago | (#43190345)

My anecdotal experience:

I've been replacing my (highly unreliable) CFLs with LED bulbs as I find deals, starting about a year and a half ago. I've seen decent, non dimmable bubs for as low as $10 and dimmables by Phillips for as low as $14. I've yet to have an LED bulb fail whereas there was always a flaky CFL or three, somewhere in the house. The light quality does vary a bit but none of the LEDs I've used are worse than CFLs in that regard. I've seen no flickering or significant turn on delays.

I love the colored bulbs idea but will never pay $50/bulb. I suspect cheap LEDs will be ubiquitous in 2-4 years though.

Re:Dumbest story title, ever? (1)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | about a year and a half ago | (#43190055)

I don't see that much power savings between LED and CFL for a large increment in cost. Is there something else I'm missing, or is it just about the life of the bulb?

Re:Dumbest story title, ever? (1, Interesting)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about a year and a half ago | (#43190363)

CFLs? Every Slashdotter needs to walk into a room and instantly have 6500K light or people... will... die !

I find the five minutes or so they take to "warm up" a bit annoying, but what I can't live with is the poor colour rendering and unbelievable amounts of RF noise they put out. The fact that they draw slightly more power than comparable incandescents (as measured by the fuel flow meter on the generator) just puts the icing on the cake, for me.

Solar panels? Take more energy to make than they'll ever produce, and it lowers property values to have free electricity.

I'd prefer an RTG, but no-one seriously cares that they take more energy to produce than they make. What they do is they make it possible to produce energy quietly a long way from existing energy sources. In any case, the "more energy to make than they produce" thing hasn't really been true for a couple of decades.

IGPs? Sure, I only play cheesy online Flash solitaire, but I NEED A quad 7990 and an external 3KW PSU just to feed it.

Some people do need fairly hefty machines that run all the time. I suspect that most of the properly geeky people on here have a couple of machines at home that run 24/7 and are always doing *something* - rendering, compiling, encoding video or audio or even just running Folding@Home.

Electric cars? They "had to" push it home on that show with the car guys. And Elon Musk eats Christian babies.

I'm coming round to the idea of electric cars. They still need to charge more quickly, and once we work out some way of breaking the laws of physics that will come. I actually *do* use 600 miles tank range quite often, and I can easily get through a couple of tanks of diesel in a week. If I'm driving a long distance I stop every couple of hours for a break, so if I could get roughly 200 miles at normal motorway speeds out of about 20 minutes of charging (time for a cup of tea, a bit of food and a pish) then that would work pretty well for me.

LED bulbs rock, but they have the same poor colour rendering problem as CFLs. If they could get flatter spectrum phosphors they would be excellent. As it is, I keep incandescents around for working on electronic stuff because it's very hard to read the markings on tiny surface-mount components by CFL or LED.

Re:Dumbest story title, ever? (1)

flyneye (84093) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189871)

No doubt about the attention seeking, it's always something. Either daddy touched them too much or not enough.
Buncha whining about nothing I found a bulb half that price immediately. http://www.walmart.com/ip/21618983?wmlspartner=wlpa&adid=22222222227000000000&wl0=&wl1=g&wl2=&wl3=21486607510&wl4=&wl5=pla&veh=sem [walmart.com]

Damn I can even get LED freaking grow lights for less than $50.
Where is this guy, on the moon?

Smartest Light Bulbs Ever (0)

rachelle66321 (2867105) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189129)

Great Content.. Thank you for sharing

Yeah, let's do that... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43189161)

*facepalm*

I can't think of anything worse than a bulb that's at the mercy of your WiFi router. My router falls over roughly twice a week and needs rebooting.
Congratulations, you just took one of the most reliable appliances in the home and made it grotesquely unreliable.
That's real progress...right there.

Re:Yeah, let's do that... (1, Insightful)

Flozzin (626330) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189177)

No idea why you got downvoted. But.. It's going to be a cold day in hell before I get this crap. Just because you can hook it to the net should it be? Do you want it hacked? Do you need another wifi signal degrading signal in your home? Taking up bandwidth? Wake up and want to piss at night, fumble for your phone or hit a switch? It boggles my mind why they think people want this.

Re:Yeah, let's do that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43189189)

I don't think smart light bulbs are a good idea because that puts the smarts in the wrong place. Smart wall sockets are a good idea and being able to put light switches anywhere and tell them which socket or sockets to control is pretty cool. Turning things on and off with a remote, cellphone, tablet or your laptop is cool too. Let's not forget about the thermostats and home alarms! Image a house where if you don't like the way things are wired together, you can change it all around. Very flexible, indeed. Bandwidth will not be a problem. Hope we can say the same about security.

Re:Yeah, let's do that... (4, Interesting)

Flozzin (626330) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189211)

Ok. Slightly better. But why wireless? Why internet? If you are not home do you need to control lights? If you are that bad about not turning off lights when you leave are you really going to remember once your gone? You need more than a dimmer switch? Really? Why? Why not wire all the lights to a central keypad in the home(think dedicated tablet computer). Can't wait for these to be wide spread enough to where you can drive down the street at christmas time, hack the entire blocks house lights and turn it into a spectacular light show for yourself set to music.

Re:Yeah, let's do that... (2)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189425)

Wireless is just the easiest way of networking them. As for "internet" why not? Once you are on a network, it is only marginally more complicated for internet control on top of the already implemented intranet control.

Programmable lighting in general is great stuff. Especially for RGB bulbs. If the risk of hacking was so over-whelming, we wouldn't put anything on the net at all. You've assumed the worst-case scenario is the baseline scenario, and that isn't a particularly useful way to do risk evaluation.

Re:Yeah, let's do that... (2)

aurispector (530273) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189727)

What we need is a system whereby simple consumer products can made "smart ready". Clearly every light bulb does not need to be on the internet, at least at present; it's a waste of bandwidth and merely another source of interference for existing wifi networks. A better place to start might be smart sockets that use existing wiring to network the house.. That would be modular allowing homeowners only to change the sockets that they really need. It would also avoid the boondoggle of expensive whole house systems.

Re:Yeah, let's do that... (2)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189771)

Clearly every light bulb does not need to be on the internet, at least at present; it's a waste of bandwidth and merely another source of interference for existing wifi networks.

Your premise is silly. It isn't like these bulbs are chattering away - other than the occasional "I'm here" broadcast packet like once a minute or so they won't be generating any traffic unless explicitly polled.

Re:Yeah, let's do that... (2)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year and a half ago | (#43190231)

It isn't like these bulbs are chattering away - other than the occasional "I'm here" broadcast packet like once a minute or so

If you are to presume that light bulbs are to be "smart", then surely everything in the home will eventually be "smart" too. If everything each transmits one packet per minute, that turns out to be hundreds of packets per minute in total.

If I ever build my own home then this wont be much of a problem because all 4 walls of every room will have an RJ45 jack that runs to one of the front corners of the structure.

Re:Yeah, let's do that... (1)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | about a year and a half ago | (#43190275)

If everything each transmits one packet per minute, that turns out to be hundreds of packets per minute in total.

It appears that you lack a sense of scale here.

At a conservative throughput of 20mbps, you've got enough bandwidth to do over 2000 1K packets per SECOND. A couple of hundred packets per minute is so small as to barely even register.

Re:Yeah, let's do that... (1)

peragrin (659227) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189795)

Ah your thinking like an engineer and not a consumer.

You don't get smart sockets until you get a device that can be put into smart sockets. You build wireless bulbs today. You build wireless switches today. in a couple of years you introduce a low bandwidth intent over powerline for light bulbs. That way you can renovate and build new your home with such things already in place and know they work.

I don't know about you but the average person doesn't rip their walls down every 10 years to upgrade the wiring inside. You have to be able to trust the tech your installing to last. the internet itself is barely legal to drink in the USA.

Also at least with the philips bulbs they are very much usable from regular switches right now. you just get fancier features if you use a fancier remote.

Re:Yeah, let's do that... (1)

pla (258480) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189869)

Clearly every light bulb does not need to be on the internet, at least at present

You've overlooked the real driver for these.

Consider: Utilities around the world have made a massive push for "smart" meters, despite massive customer resistance. They can spend billions deploying these easily hackable pieces of crap, yet can't upgrade their infrastructure to properly handle truly distributed generation. Now that you have a smartmeter, they offer discounts if you install major appliances the meter can communicate with - So when it hits 110F, the utility can shut off your AC and refrigerator and send that electricity to cubicle farms that really need it to power floor after floor of garish fluorescent lights.

This takes the logical next step - Until now, the utilities had no convenient way to tell you how much of that electricity you pay for can go toward your lighting - Did you know some people still insist on using halogen lights??? But with this, the power company can just keep dialing the brightness down as needed, you damned flat-rate residential parasites! ;)

Re:Yeah, let's do that... (4, Interesting)

nblender (741424) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189707)

Admittedly not a lot of people want this but .... We have a place out in the forest... Sometimes when we arrive, it's late at night and it's _dark_ out there... I mean, if it's overcast and the middle of the winter, you can't see _anything_... So we have a yard light that I control remotely via crappy unreliable X-10.. The house is already internet connected via cellphone so I have various scripts on my webserver to let me control things like the thermostat and the X10 yard light. yeah; you could keep the car headlights on until you can get up to the door, unlock it, and turn the lights on.. The remotely controllable yard light also works well in conjunction with the security camera.. Infrared mode doesn't work all that well.

No, not life changing but a small matter of convenience.

Re:Yeah, let's do that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43190191)

I am deeply concerned by your story. To have to enter your vacation home in the dark must be horrifying. I am considering setting up a charity to buy flashlights for people in your situation. Plases contact me if you would like to be involved.

Re:Yeah, let's do that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43189845)

No one would ever need more than 1 dimmer

Re:Yeah, let's do that... (4, Insightful)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189235)

While getting into 'smart lightbulbs' is probably going to be a highly personal choice...

Do you want it hacked?

It's fairly unlikely that the light (I say light because some are bulbs, some are sockets) itself would be hacked, but rather your router - and although pranksters making your house look haunted would probably get old real quick, and e.g. flicker-induced epilepsy would be pretty bad, you'd probably have other issues at that point.

Do you need another wifi signal degrading signal in your home?

That makes very little sense.

Taking up bandwidth?

As does this. Are you suspecting these lightbulbs of serving up Linux torrents 24/7?

Wake up and want to piss at night, fumble for your phone or hit a switch?

I'd have to ask at what point you removed the switch. There's nothing preventing you from having a switch, and even a dimmer (depending on bulb being okay with it), in addition to the 'smart' application.

It boggles my mind why they think people want this.

Maybe they want their smartphone to slowly increasing lighting levels based on the time of day. Perhaps they want the light to come on automatically when they enter a room (having the smartphone on them). They may want mood lighting control outside of the expensive brand names and better than the $15 ebay solution.
You could probably waste a few minutes searching the web for what people do with these and find dozens of applications.

Just because you and I don't find them all that appealing (hey, I have the $15 ebay solutions.. they work well enough for what I want out of RGB lights), doesn't mean your mind need boggle.

My main complaints with these are that they're almost exclusively bulbs which are going to be expensive to replace. I'd prefer them to be sockets. Unfortunately this would require a new standard in order to deal with RGB (and beyond) bulbs - and more likely than not, this would be proprietary solutions at first; why make a simple set of connector rings when you can use a serial interface with a proprietary encoding so that only your bulbs work with your sockets, right?
Similarly, they all disagree on what wireless standard to use - even if they use the same wireless standard, the actual protocols or specifics of implementation may differ.

I'll wait for some level of standardization, let the early adopters deal with the growing pains, and enjoy the cheapo ebay things for now. If I really wanted them to be 'smart' right now, I'd throw an Arduino or something at the problem.

Re:Yeah, let's do that... (2, Informative)

Sqr(twg) (2126054) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189547)

There's nothing preventing you from having a switch, and even a dimmer (depending on bulb being okay with it), in addition to the 'smart' application.

Yes there is. Unless the "switch" has been replaced with something smarter, or the bulb has a second source of electric power, turning the ligth off at the switch means you cannot turn it back on again wirelessly.

Re:Yeah, let's do that... (4, Funny)

tbird81 (946205) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189385)

Wake up and want to piss at night, fumble for your phone or hit a switch?

That problem is easily solved. You just buy old iPhones, keep the app running, and mount them permanently with a power supply onto your wall. This way you've got a convenient way of switching the light on and off from a known location.

Re:Yeah, let's do that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43189705)

The problem with lighting... or hell everything...

Is all the damn stupid power supply bricks.

Lighting is the last item in the house that can be made energy efficient, but the way we're doing it isn't by throwing away all the cheap sockets, no we're doing it the inefficient way by adding stuff to the sockets so that there is both a AC to DC conversion at every socket, plus the wireless has to stay awake to accept signals. So this goes from replacing a 60 watt bulb with a 6 watt LED to a 15 watt device that 6 watts are sucked away by the LED light and 9 are by the loss induced by the power conversion and the wireless bits.

Ask yourself why your WiFi router sucks away 20 watts. Just what the hell is it doing when idle?

Re:Yeah, let's do that... (5, Insightful)

Knuckles (8964) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189179)

*facepalm*

I can't think of anything worse than a bulb that's at the mercy of your WiFi router. My router falls over roughly twice a week and needs rebooting.
Congratulations, you just took one of the most reliable appliances in the home and made it grotesquely unreliable.
That's real progress...right there.

Fix your router?

Re:Yeah, let's do that... (1)

wbr1 (2538558) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189827)

Fix your router?

A thousand times this. I have a 20 dollar belkin router on a ups running tomatousb. Uptime, well over a year. Runs fine.

Re:Yeah, let's do that... (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189197)

You're doing something wrong. I regularly get 6 month uptimes before I have to reboot my router.

LK

Re:Yeah, let's do that... (4, Insightful)

Ultra64 (318705) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189327)

> My router falls over roughly twice a week and needs rebooting.

Then it's broken and needs to be replaced.

Cut the guy some slack (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | about a year and a half ago | (#43190377)

he lives on a fault line.

Re:Yeah, let's do that... (5, Insightful)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189587)

You're blaming a broken router on these bulbs. It's not their fault that you're unable to fix your shit.

Re:Yeah, let's do that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43189881)

Not at all. He is justifying his disinterest in a gadget by providing an example of a possible problem and a relatively common one at that. I made a picture for you. [quickmeme.com]

Ever lived in an apartment? With so many transmitters wifi is horrible. Ever been to a concert and been unable to get Facebook to load? Same thing. try living in a place like Chicago or New York. It's also possible he just has a router that is beyond fixing with tomato or openwrt. I own two that fall into that category.

What if these were Ethernet bulbs instead? Would you cat 5 your light switches, sockets and entire house for this? If there's a pressing need for networked light bulbs I haven't noticed. I think he has a pretty valid reason beyond his router, he was just using it as an example.

Re:Yeah, let's do that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43189599)

Dude, your router is either a piece of crap, or it's been pwned. You should replace it as soon as possible--yesterday, perhaps.

Re:Yeah, let's do that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43189701)

Wifi isn't the best idea, a central physically connected network would be best. Perhaps everything should have a USB connection? Just a thought.... But Your wifi problem is likely that your router isn't fetching the new IP address correctly. So try release / renew from your router's terminal. It may not fix it but doesn't hurt to throw that idea

Re:Yeah, let's do that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43189831)

>My router falls over roughly twice a week and needs rebooting.

Dude, what? How, why?
I have a BELKIN router and even mines dies less than that does, what router do you have that is worse than a BELKIN?!
I'd be lucky if mines dies once in a month. And even then, the thing RESTARTS when it does if anything hangs for any unreasonable amount of time. (I know because I tested this by DOSing the router page, which was enough to hang one part for long enough to restart it, as you can tell I try not to piss off angry russians or chinese, they have it bad enough as it is)

Re:Yeah, let's do that... (1)

SolemnLord (775377) | about a year and a half ago | (#43190091)

I can't think of anything worse than a bulb that's at the mercy of your WiFi router. My router falls over roughly twice a week and needs rebooting. Congratulations, you just took one of the most reliable appliances in the home and made it grotesquely unreliable.

I have a set of the Philips Hue bulbs, and just to clear things up, they're not "at the mercy" of my router- sort of.

By default, all the lights are designed to "turn on" when the power is restored to the bulb. It's a full-brightness, slightly-warm light, about as close to an incandescent 60W as it can manage. Right now my lights are "off", but the power's still flowing. They revert to the default state whenever the power is turned off and then back on, meaning even if the router is down you still get "dumb" functionality. It also means you don't get a bulb stuck in a less-than-useful state (for example, I have a low red setting for when I watch movies. Great then, not at all useful anytime else).

Obviously, that's a lot of money to spend on a dumb bulb. If the router's down you lose the more useful features, like scheduling or colours, but the bulbs aren't rendered useless. The bulbs don't revert to the default state if the router goes down but power remains consistent, meaning no sudden colour changes.

I've been using the bulbs since their release, and I haven't had any issue with the router being a problem. My biggest complaint is that the default app is pretty crap. Fortunately, Philips has freely released the API [meethue.com] , so hopefully a better app will get out soon.

Yeah, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43189171)

What if they were 3D printed in space by colonists?

Meh. (1)

VzXzV (755541) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189201)

I don't need all this crap, just give me one that works like f.lux.

Why so expensive in the US? (3, Interesting)

rebelwarlock (1319465) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189217)

We've had LED bulbs for a while in Taiwan, and I've never seen them go above about $30usd (and even that is on the high side). I'm constantly hearing about $50 and even $80 bulbs in the states. Do you all have special tariffs on LEDs there?

Re:Why so expensive in the US? (4, Interesting)

jonbryce (703250) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189225)

In the UK, normal LED bulbs designed as plug-in replacements for incandescent and CLF bulbs typically cost about £13. The Philips Hue bulb, which can change colour with a remote control costs about £50.

Re:Why so expensive in the US? (1)

baobrien (2672743) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189241)

You can get normal LED bulbs for $30 or less here. It's just these fancy RGB Color-changing bulbs that are expensive.

Re:Why so expensive in the US? (2)

Mashiki (184564) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189283)

You can get normal LED bulbs for $30 or less here

Well I was down in florida back oh two months ago, and I didn't see them priced under $45/pop. Up here in Canadaland, they're running anywhere between $38-72 a pop just as standard replacements. I don't like CFL's, the odd LED bulb looks okay, but incandescent are still the big winner up here, especially in the winter. Probably shouldn't get started on the brilliance of switching to LED lighting for street lamps either, especially when you have any type of moderate snowfall they start getting covered up. Gets more interesting with street lights and no one can figure out who has the green(love that snow cover).

Re:Why so expensive in the US? (3, Informative)

adolf (21054) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189303)

Down here in Ohio, I've also seen incandescent stop lights clogged with snow.

*shrug*

It depends on the snow and the wind and the temperature and the duty-cycle of that particular light bulb.

Meanwhile, contrary to what everyone seems to assume: LEDs can get pretty toasty. This is why pre-packaged bulbs and fixtures tend to be mostly heatsink.

IIRC, they're only still about 40% efficient. This is more than an order of magnitude better than an incandescent, but it still means that substantial heat can be generated with use.

Re:Why so expensive in the US? (4, Informative)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189335)

Two reasons for the heatsink. Firstly, they can get pretty toasty, yes. Secondly, high temperatures greatly shorten the lifespan of a LED. Incandescents or CFLs can take the heat, LEDs can't, so even if the heat dissipated isn't that great they still need large heatsinks.

Re:Why so expensive in the US? (4, Interesting)

anubi (640541) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189569)

I have noted some MR16 LED's I bought run hot. The "Shoe Palace" at the local mall installed this same kind of lighting and I notice about 10% of their emitters are now dead. It is my belief that the LED's were sold on their initial appearance of being very bright, not for their longevity. So the marketers overdrive them to make the specs look good for a quick sale.

I bought mine for outdoor illumination, but after examining them, it appears they are very poorly sealed against moisture. Not the LED, rather its the inverter electronics that appears quite vulnerable to condensation which would be expected in an outdoor application, much like you would expect same in a bathroom application.

I have been looking at those 10-watt LED chip arrays from China, which look like they would survive outdoors as long as I ran them substantially below their rated power due to not having them heat sunk very well. They still need a driver, but in this case, I will put up with the inefficiency of using a ballast resistor in order to get the reliability and robustness against moisture that I do not believe I can get from a buck ( switching ) converter.in a wet environment.

I definitely wanted the outside lighting to run on 12 volts ( DC, full wave rectified, minimal filtering for voltage spikes that would destroy the LED ), I considered the 12 volt 20 watt MR16 halogens unsuitable because their current draw demanded heavy expensive wire, I wanted to run my lights with repurposed CAT5 cable ( which I have lots of) snaked in old garden hose as a direct burial conduit. Obviously, the ends are exposed to water, kids and pets, so line voltage is definitely out. I can get 10 ohm 25 watt ( 1 volt per 100 mA ) ballast resistors pretty cheap, and run them way under rating so they barely run warm. They are well sealed, so if they get wet, no big deal.

You may have seen a lot of indicator type LED's and small flashlights and think these things are the ideal cold light source. When I played with higher powered LED's ( 1 watt and up ), I was quite dismayed with how much heat I was going to have to deal with. Incandescents make even more heat, but the heat does not destruct the lamp like heat will shorten the lifetime of a LED.

I have several UltraFire WF-502B flashlights I bought so I could re-use the lithium 18650 style cells I recovered from "spent" power tool and laptop battery packs. I was doing some research on how to build charge equalizers with the cells and later fell in love with the lithium cell technology. These are quite nice high powered flashlights which deliver an unusual amount of light. The flashlights are made from machined aluminum, and they are the first flashlight I have ever had that ran noticeably warm after it has been turned on for a few minutes. They have about a 5 watt LED in them, on a massive block of aluminum heat sunk to the aluminum body of the flashlight. Yes, a beautiful design, and it also illustrates well that high power LED's will heat up.

I know our Government is doing all they can do to ram Fluorescent and LED technology down our collective throats. It is still my firm belief that those technologies are downright dangerous in the bathroom, where condensation wets the innards of the thing, then when you turn it on, ka-blooie! By their construction, incandescent bulbs are extremely resistant to condensation ( and if they are on, no condensation will happen because of the heat ).

Yes, there are some good bulbs out there. There is also a lot of junk. I do not want to diss the new stuff, but in my book, its too early to retire the legacy incandescent.

I have seen the color changing ones where one can custom mix red, green, blue, white LED outputs to make almost any desired hue, and they have their application. I do not know if I really want it all that bad, but maybe it would be good for things like mood lighting. I know I highly prefer my light around 2700K, ( quite yellowish ), but others may want the higher temperature 6000K ( downright cold bluish ) light.

Re:Why so expensive in the US? (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189423)

Streetlights covered up? Humour me here, since I'm in a place with no snow and streetlights with the bulbs on the underside facing down, but how does that happen? What sort of strange design is it where stuff on top can block the light or am I missing something here?

Re:"Streetlights" covered up. (1)

leftover (210560) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189469)

Poster was talking about traffic signal lights and they can get covered by wind-driven snow.

Re:"Streetlights" covered up. (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189491)

Ah - "who has the green" makes sense now.

Re:Why so expensive in the US? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189929)

You're not missing anything, it's a design problem. The light has a round shield around it, mostly to cut glare. The shield generally has a slot in the bottom, but snow sticks to snow, so snow can easily fill the gap. It's a crap design. Instead, the shield should be square regardless of the shape of the light, the entire bottom of the square should be open, and the light should slope back from top to bottom so that each light's shield is effectively tucked back from the one before it. This would cost slightly more and probably require expensive usability studies or something before governments would buy them, so we just stick with the same shitty lights.

Learn to Shop (2)

cirby (2599) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189459)

Home Depot has them for under $10 now.

In Florida.

Oh christ, don't tell me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43189607)

You think you're heating your house with your lighting, right?

Tell me, are your radiators at ground level or STUCK ON THE FUCKING CEILING???? And do you have 1kW lighting in each room? If so, do you wear welders' goggles in the house or do you use ordinary sunglasses and squint occasionally?

Re:Why so expensive in the US? (3, Informative)

jpatters (883) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189275)

I'm in the US and I just got a bunch of LED bulbs from Costco for $5 each. Not the color changing ones though.

Re:Why so expensive in the US? (3, Interesting)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189397)

In Germany, they cost 10€-20€: http://www.amazon.de/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?__mk_de_DE=%C3%85M%C3%85Z%C3%95%C3%91&url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=farbwechsel+birne&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Afarbwechsel+birne [amazon.de]

I personally like the volleyball sized ones: http://www.amazon.de/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?__mk_de_DE=%C3%85M%C3%85Z%C3%95%C3%91&url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=farbwechsel+kugel&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Afarbwechsel+kugel [amazon.de]

They are great for nights outside on the balcony with the laptop and a cigar. I also have one that is waterproof for the pool. I find them in the junk bins in discount supermarkets.

Ugh, why would you link to a slideshow? (1)

guises (2423402) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189221)

All this junk and doesn't even mention the LuminAR bulb (I assume, I wasn't about to click through a slideshow to find out):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XV5V-dQW8CI [youtube.com]

It's not an awful idea to use a light socket as a standardized power source for more interesting things, but we can do better than some remote controlled colored lights. (Which is what I assume the article was about, I'm never going to know for sure.)

Re:Ugh, why would you link to a slideshow? (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189337)

The light socket was a standardised power source, for a time. The first electric appliance to make it into the home was the electric light - and no others were anticipated, so there were no sockets. This meant that for a time the light bulb socket was the only available source of electricity for appliances in many homes, and became a de facto standard. If you look at many early appliances, such as the first electric vacuum cleaners and toasters, their power cords terminate in an Edison screw* connector to fit a light bulb socket. The user would take the bulb out, plug the cleaner into the ceiling, and swap back when done.

*Guess who invented it.

Re:Ugh, why would you link to a slideshow? (2)

tbird81 (946205) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189401)

That's quite cool, I didn't know that. It reminds me of how the cigarette lighter is a de facto power source for the car - are people wanting to change this?

In answer to you question, Tesla?

Re:Ugh, why would you link to a slideshow? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43189765)

My car has 5 of those electrical outlets, and a lot of newer cars have like a dozen usb plugs. I have even seen a few trucks come with built in inverters for normal plugs.

Re:Ugh, why would you link to a slideshow? (2)

Rob_Bryerton (606093) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189809)

>>*Guess who invented it.

Tesla?

X10 (4, Informative)

Animats (122034) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189223)

X10! X10! X10! X10! X10! X10! X10! X10!

"Home control" has been around since the 1990s. It was once promoted with some really annoying blinking pop-up ads [geek.com] for the X10 wireless control system. Around 2001, X10 was the fourth most popular property on the web. You can still buy X10 gear. It works fine. Nobody cares.

Then there was Echelon LonWorks. [echelon.com] This was a technically better system than X10 (which was mostly one-way), and it's widely used in commercial buildings. It has really good noise immunity, which has resulted in it being used to control auxiliary systems (lights, HVAC, destination signs, etc.) in subway trains. As a home control system, which was the original plan, it went nowhere.

There's no problem doing this, and plenty of products are available. Remote off/on control of home lights and appliances just isn't that useful.

Re:X10 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43189227)

LOL in ten years that's where 3D printing will be. "Remember in 2013 when 3D printing was everywhere? You can still make plastic trinkets but nobody cares." LOLORS

Re:X10 (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189265)

X10! X10! X10! X10! X10! X10! X10! X10!

"Home control" has been around since the 1990s. It was once promoted with some really annoying blinking pop-up ads [geek.com] for the X10 wireless control system. Around 2001, X10 was the fourth most popular property on the web. You can still buy X10 gear. It works fine. Nobody cares.

X10 has a few problems that come to mind:
1. It's *really* slow. The protocol sends 1 bit per zero-crossing event, which gives you a grand total of 100bps. You may not think you need much bandwidth for lighting control, but with such a slow data rate, doing things like "turn devices A, B and C on at the same time" become noticably "turn device A on, then B, then C".
2. It's really expensive - Not too bad if you just want one or 2 controllable devices, but replacing every light switch/socket in your house with an X10 module really will cost a lot.
3. Pretty much all the X10 modules are bulky and ugly as sin.

Remote off/on control of home lights and appliances just isn't that useful.

I think remove control of lights would be quite useful, but not useful enough to justify the high cost of doing it (with X10). Other appliances would benefit from remote control too, but that would usually be something more than on/off - i.e. I don't just want to turn my heating on/off, I want to be able to set the temperature and stuff too.

Re:X10 (1)

Pallas Athena (2855215) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189379)

X10 is a REALLY old protocol. Which happens to be still around and still quite popular, but newer technologies such as z-wave or zigbee are probably taking over. And there are modules available which can be built-in, so your house looks just as nicely designed as any other - but smarter. You find X10 expensive? Compared to the 50 dollar a piece LED bulbs we're talking about here? Look again then.

Re:X10 (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189741)

X10 is a REALLY old protocol. Which happens to be still around and still quite popular, but newer technologies such as z-wave or zigbee are probably taking over. And there are modules available which can be built-in, so your house looks just as nicely designed as any other - but smarter.

Yes, but the post I was replying to was specifically talking about X10.

That said, the zigbee, etc. devices seem to be similarly priced as X10 stuff and still not especially widely available.

You find X10 expensive? Compared to the 50 dollar a piece LED bulbs we're talking about here? Look again then.

No, I wasn't comparing it to a $50 LED bulb. I was saying that X10 is too expensive for all but the most dedicated geek to use... the same happens to apply to pretty much *all* the home automation technologies, which is why you haven't seen home automation take off. And frankly there's no especially good reason for it - you can get a smartphone for $50, WTF does it cost that much to turn a bulb on and off?

Re:X10 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43189905)

1. It's *really* slow. The protocol sends 1 bit per zero-crossing event, which gives you a grand total of 100bps. You may not think you need much bandwidth for lighting control, but with such a slow data rate, doing things like "turn devices A, B and C on at the same time" become noticably "turn device A on, then B, then C".

It's not that bad. As long as they're on the same house code it's more like "select A, B, C, turn on". It's a noticeable delay, but usually endurable. Not like things are going to be bouncing up and down all day.

I have a number of rooms and the thermostat wired for X-10. In my office, it keeps me from sitting in the dark and sweating when I'm working and don't want to interrupt myself to get up and turn things on and off as the day/night progresses. X-10 also manages the Xmas lights in season. When I commuted, it made sure that in winter, I came home to a house with the lights on.

The biggest problem with X10 at the moment is that support is waning. The SmartHome controller with built-in webserver is non-functional trash whose UI actually makes X10 seem jet-propelled. Few other options exist short of shopping eBay for extinct controllers.

I'd like something more modern - preferably zigBee based, but the more modern stuff rarely covers all the bases and it's all proprietary.

Re:X10 (3, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189285)

Remote off/on control of home lights and appliances just isn't that useful.

Yeah it is... it's extremely useful; when combined with programming capabilities, it can save electricity, reduce human effort, and improve security.

However, while it's useful... it's usually not useful enough to justify the price that manufacturers charge for it, and the total cost of refitting existing buildings and appliances with remote control features

The automation people need is available through alternative methods that don't require remote control; timer on the coffee pot; outdoor lights with built-in day-night/motion sensor (instead of remote controller using the system time).

When the technology is as cheap as the extra cost you pay for a coffee pot to get the timer feature; when the technology is as cheap as the extra percentage cost you pay for your car to get the "cruise control" feature or the "radio feature".... when the technology is as easy to use as those, and is as inexpensive to get setup and up and running as those;

Then the technology will start to be adopted. Get it down to $5 - $10 per lightbulb, and if it's reliable and easy to use, it will become ubiquitous.

It provides a benefit.... that benefit is just worth less than $200 for a bridge to run it plus the ~$300 or so in terms of cost for additional building surge protection (to prevent all the components getting fried next time there's a power storm), plus $50 per switched light, plus $50 per controller, plus probably ~$70 per circuit average, to get the electrician installation of the required components,; amounting to probably ~$4000+ for true whole-home remote control of just the lights

Re:X10 (2)

jcupitt65 (68879) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189863)

Your figures are a bit high. The hue is $199 for three bulbs plus bridge, $60 for each extra bulb thereafter. Each bridge can control 50 bulbs, enough for most houses. You don't need an electrician.

It's not cheap, sadly :-( but less than you suggested.

I've made a disco lighting system for my kitchen for 'only' a few hundred, it's been fun. I'm not sure I'd do the whole house though.

Re:X10 (1)

Pete (big-pete) (253496) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189719)

It was once promoted with some really annoying blinking pop-up ads for the X10 wireless control system. Around 2001, X10 was the fourth most popular property on the web. You can still buy X10 gear. It works fine. Nobody cares.

Thanks to those ads back in the day X10 made it onto my "never ever buy" list. Whenever I hear about X10 (even now) those ads are the first thing that jump into my mind, and I suddenly become highly disinterested in purchasing.

-- Pete.

Re:X10 (2)

nblender (741424) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189733)

X10 does sort of work, but I have a _lot_ of X10 stuff, almost all of it sitting in a closet... Despite what you might think, range is a problem... Plus there's bridging across your two 120VAC sides, limited unit numbers, and bi-directional doesn't work all that well. I inherited all this X-10 stuff including a thermostat, water sensors, motion sensors, handheld remotes, key fobs, repeaters, bridges, filters, telephone voice interface, lamp modules, appliance modules, socket modules, and best of all, an LCD based protocol analyzer (tcpdump for X-10) ... The latter item is what I base my opinion on that X-10 is not truly meant to be relied on... The reason I inherited it was the previous owner finally got fed up and bought real home automation. I've been using the X10 stuff sparingly, to solve specific small non-critical problems.

Re:X10 (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189919)

X10 is shit. It's ALL one-way (X10 Pro is two-way... I've never seen it advertised, let alone sold) and it also doesn't work worth a shit. If you want to turn something on you'd better turn it on at least twice.

There's no problem doing this, and plenty of products are available. Remote off/on control of home lights and appliances just isn't that useful.

It's useful, but it's not as useful as it is expensive.

50$ for a single bulb? Are they mad? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43189253)

Not sure about the quality, but I think the price of the Phillips Hue is just insanely high.

Just for comparison:
http://www.limitlessled.com/

Re:50$ for a single bulb? Are they mad? (1)

Incadenza (560402) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189563)

Not sure about the quality, but I think the price of the Phillips Hue is just insanely high.

That is because Philips is a top brand. We (used to) deal a lot with fluorescent tube lighting at work, and Philips always was the brand of choice, because of the long lifespan, high energy efficiency, and good color reproduction (high CRI value). But, being a top brand, they also have far higher margins.
Whether the extra quality is worth the double or triple price, is a personal decision.

DSPS and N24 People (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43189301)

For those of us with circadian rhythm disorders, these new color changing bulbs could potentially be very useful. I wear orange safety goggles to block out as much blue light as possible during later hours and I have one orange bulb in a lamp (blue light tells your body it's daytime). My bathroom lights are an issue. They're very bright when I brush my teeth and they wake me up a bit (not good when you're already struggling to get to sleep by 4am). However I can't just remove the bulbs because then it'll be too dark to take a shower during the day. Right now I screw/unscrew the lights as I need them, but that's really annoying and sometimes I forget.

I also need good kitchen lightening, but don't want everything to look orange during the day. I only have one orange bulb, it's not bright enough and I can't move it everywhere. It'll have to do for now. $40 lights are too expensive for people on disability income.

inexpensive leds with nice color balance (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43189367)

Right after the holidays there are loads of xmas strings of lamps.

The color balance can range from nice to awful.
A small string can be wound around a foil covered cardboard tube with a lamp adapter at the end.

The whole thing only draws a few watts.

How long will it last (4, Insightful)

Pallas Athena (2855215) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189417)

There are a couple of problems that I see with this: - price. With all LED-solutions that I've seen so far, you need quite a few of them just to light one room. At 50 a piece, that will turn into a quite expensive toy. - usefullness. While there is quite a geek-factor if you can light up your room in blue or red, I very much doubt if it will be used for anything else but 'dimmer/brighter' after a few weeks. Which can be had with a single dimmer and a few standard spots as well. - lifetime. Yes, LED-spots do have a very long lifetime. Now how about the router? Or the protocol itself? I can see in the not-so-far future a number of people with lots of smart LED-spots that can't be used any more because the router is broken and can't be replaced because the marked has moved on.

They aren't talking about toy lights, idiot. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43189637)

LED lights are available as bright or brighter than any standard incandescent light for the home.

Where you get the bullshit idea that "you need quite a few of them just to light one room" is anybody's guess. It's 100% impossible for you to ahve seen it. Because it's bullshit.

Re:They aren't talking about toy lights, idiot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43189721)

"Where you get the bullshit idea that "you need quite a few of them just to light one room" is anybody's guess. It's 100% impossible for you to ahve seen it. Because it's bullshit."

Oh come now, why so harsh on the guy. I am of the same opinion so there are a unlimited supply of zombies for you to shake a stick at.

Here' the problem for ME was, complaints that the light was too directional. The potential for what you thought was a straight swap into anywhere from 2 to 4 bulbs pointing in four directions, for the one being replaced (curly cue bulb.) I personally love the shit, but others don't like the DIRECTIONALITY. Maybe a REAL problem in say a large two car garage. You can't see into the dark corners. It may be the best place in the house to read a magazine on the HOOD of your car, but good luck finding that broom in the dark corner. To ignore this problem is to ignore reality itself. You find out really fast, WHEN OTHER PEOPLE BITCH ABOUT IT. So I ended up buying the bulb (I love it really) and sticking that 12 Watt curley cue back in. Now people can find the broom, and it's that nice fuggley orange again.

Re:They aren't talking about toy lights, idiot. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43190261)

Sounds like you have a habit if buying cheap light bulbs. Go figure.

I laughed at the fugly orange glow bit, but the reason that happens is because it's an old cheap one. Look into color temperatures. The brighter white ones are highly suggested.

As for your led problem, again...do not buy cheap bulbs. find a company that uses a prism on top of the LEDs to spread the light source.

Re:They aren't talking about toy lights, idiot. (1, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189943)

Where you get the bullshit idea that "you need quite a few of them just to light one room" is anybody's guess.

They probably get it from reality. You can rarely sufficiently light a full room with a single incandescent. LED lamps which aren't directional are lossy and wasteful. GE has a design for incandescents which are twice as efficient as normal, I'd rather use them. Every LED lamp which isn't fifty bucks that I've seen has agonizing flicker, as well. They give me headaches just like CFLs.

Nope, that's not reality at all. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43190311)

A 12W LED will be AS BRIGHT as a 100W or slightly brighter incandescent. Incandescents run at ~3000K which is quite red compared to the sun at 5600K, and the LED can match the 5600K a lot better, hence even where the total lumens is no better, the LED is brighter to the human eye.

No, you're NOT talking about reality.

You're talking BOLLOCKS.

And flicker? BULLSHIT. You may as well complain about flicker from the LCD TV you have or the LCD monitor.

You're making shit up.

Or, possibly, just repeating the same bullshit story you've heard and, having heard it, then decided that any change that you can see with an LED bulb MUST be because the bulb is flickering and dim.

BULLSHIT, kid.

BULL.
SHIT.

Open Standardised Building Protocol KNX (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43189429)

A system I've been trained in is KNX. An open communications protocol for intelligent buildings. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KNX_%28standard%29
http://knx.org

There's currently 300 manufacturers of equipment for this system and 144 qualified partners in Australia.

From the website:
"In order to transfer control data to all building management components, a system is required that does away with the problems of isolated devices by ensuring that all components communicate via one common language: in short, a system such as the manufacturer and application domains independent KNX Bus. This standard is based upon more than 20 years of experience in the market, amongst others with predecessor systems to KNX: EIB, EHS and BatiBUS. Via the KNX medium to which all bus devices are connected (twisted pair, radio frequency, power line or IP/Ethernet), they are able to exchange information. Bus devices can either be sensors or actuators needed for the control of building management equipment such as: lighting, blinds / shutters, security systems, energy management, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems, signaling and monitoring systems, interfaces to service and building control systems, remote control, metering, audio / video control, white goods, etc. All these functions can be controlled, monitored and signaled via a uniform system without the need for extra control centers."

long time reader... first time poster...

I'm paying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43189445)

DKK59 to DKK89 (USD7 to USD13) in IKEA in Denmark. Those LED's are not smart but they do have very good light temperature, which we value far more than smartness (especially when you have IHC).

Article: -100Troll. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43189565)

" I like the idea of controllable, long-lasting light bulbs, but I haven't yet been tempted enough to pay $50 apiece."

Really?

But you also like the idea of slightly more fluid FPS gameplay and are willing to pay £450 for a graphics card that gives a 50% increase in the 3DMark score and a 8fps increase in your latest game.

Or an iPhone for $599 to make phone calls on rather than a $50 featurephone.

If you're not tempted by it, WHY THE FUCK DID YOU WRITE THIS PIECE OF SHIT TROLLBAIT?????

Are standard bulbs/sockets really enough? (1)

Alkonaut (604183) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189625)

This would be great if it wasn't for the fact that during the last decade(s) people have been fitting multi-socket halogen fixtures instead of single bulb standard socket fixtures in their homes. I'd definitely love having an app-controlled lighting system, but it would have to be much more flexible than just a bulb or single socket solution. For light fixtures with several low power halogen lights I'd have to hide the control unit somewhere before the power is split to the individual halogens, i.e. somewhere in the fixture or as a special lightswitch (essenially then a controllable dimmner switch). All the light fixtures that already have dimmers would have to go the same way: the wheel dimmer would have to be replaced by one that can be controlled by the app.

As long as I can dim 3 out of 4 lights but still have to get off my ass to go turn down the fourth light (at the same place where I could dim them all), there is very little gain. As soon as someone offers a simple solution that is expandable to existing switches, multi-socket fixtures and so on, i.e. beyond standard bulb/socket then I'm in.

Smartest Light Bulbs : Dumbest Idea Ever !!!! (1)

stooo (2202012) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189631)

>> Smartest Light Bulbs Ever, Dumbest Idea Ever?

Yes, it's not a good idea. A traditional light bulb must be hot to work properly, so a sphere is the best form factor.
Trying to put high power leds and their controller in this form factor is a big mistake.
All these leds "bulbs" will fail prematurely because they simply are too hot. And the expensive ones with better thermal properties do not improve much this design mistake.

The right form factor or leds is strips, plates, or similar.

WTF? (1)

Cornwallis (1188489) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189643)

FTA: What could be a simpler approach to home automation? Just replace your existing bulb with a fancy new one, and it’s at your command with a simple app.

A simple app? Jeezum crow, what the hell is wrong with an on/off switch?

Smart Bulbs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43189653)

I have to draw the line "personally" at adding an RF radio to a light-bulb no offense to those who love their X10 systems, but when I turn power on to a light, I simply want it to light, I don't want automated meddling or the potential to have a hacked light. I just never personally found a use for all that. However, I was early adopter of LED bulb "Phillips" it was about $80 with it all said and done-on the label it said something about going for 25-30 years. I've tested this bulb out on my SOLAR panel/inverter which gives me much more control over watching the amount of juice/watts/amps being used. These bulbs kick butt although there are some who do not like the light produced. Coming down off my 500 watt halogens, these are a nice fix without all that HEAT. The price is a little high still. If all everyone is trying to do is SAVE electricity I would have to say right now the way forward is 12v DC leds. My reasoning is it can run off battery, and so no CONVERSION to AC loss, (you know thru the inverter.). If you are trying to run a LIGHT all night long off a SOLAR array, you are going to find out FAST that that one little light sucks an immense amount juice (drain the shit out of your batteries.) So the less of a DRAW on the system (e.g. 3 VDC led's) . Another problem is LED's have circuits, and these circuits do NOT like winter or fall. We are talking RUST, we are talking push switches which internally disintegrate to rust. SO any LED array your planning on building up from scratch needs to be Weatherproofed better than your "best" otherwise I give it one Winter and come spring your gadget will be trashed. Of all the tests DC did better than AC, however out of ALL the AC bulbs, the expensive phillips LED bulb did the best with the curley cue second best.

Now if only the inverter manufacturers would put screens over the fucking vent holes so earwigs don't get in and jam the fans.

dmx512 (2)

soundguy (415780) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189695)

What pisses me off about the current crop of devices is that everyone is reinventing the wheel with a bunch of proprietary bullshit and unnecessary new protocols. The DMX512 lighting control protocol has been around for decades and is used by hundreds of existing stage and commercial lighting device manufacturers. I want RGB bulbs that talk to a bridge device that I can control with existing lighting control boards or any computerized system. I can already buy the devices for residential outdoor applications. Why the hell can't these indoor bulb idiots use what everyone else in the world is already using?

Of course not your a broke dick no money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43189791)

Having mohter fucker. when your rich and silly you can pay 50 bucks no problemo.
And after a few years production gains let someone like you afford them too.
At 5 bucks you will get them telling everyone they use to 50. then when they are a buck you will no long talk about them after all it just a light right.

Switch King? (2)

uberbrainchild (2860711) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189855)

I use switch king for my home and I think it works great, works with the X10 stuff as well but there are many more adapters available and they only cost around $20-$30. Some mount behind switches and communicate wirelessly with a server, I use a cheap netbook for $300. I have probably spent about $700 total to get 5 rooms controlled wirelessly. I can control my lights with the switch king app on my iphone, any computer, or any switch on the wall. I can also schedule when lights should turn on and off if I want to. It's a nice and cool setup but is it still worth it, probably not :)

Security (1)

fa2k (881632) | about a year and a half ago | (#43189989)

If these lights or their controllers are publicly adressable on the Internet, they will be hacked. Fortunately the tech is still in its infancy and the people who install these things probably know how to maintain and update them. The damage that a hacked light or a central heater can do mostly amounts to an annoyance and increased power use, assuming that it has proper hardware protections and manual overrides.

Another safety issue is if burglars are armed with RF jammers; they could prevent the house owner from turning on the lights and even calling the emergency number. This is not as bad as it seems though, because burglars prefer empty houses and many are junkies and may not even be armed with proper clothes, much less a jammer

smart lights (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#43190063)

My company has a smart building. A few years ago their lighting server had issues. some of the lights worked fine, other sections turned off, others were so bright you had to wear sun glasses. There was nothing that could be done but wait until IT fixed it, which took a few days.

Smart my foot.

certain conditions (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year and a half ago | (#43190167)

I'll pay $50 for a light bulb, but only if it's manufactured locally by union workers. And it better last a long time, not like these "5 year" fluorescent bulbs that I'm replacing every year.

Fortunately, the fluorescent have gotten really cheap.

Soon you will add it into your home sale price (2)

gelfling (6534) | about a year and a half ago | (#43190361)

These bulbs are so expensive that soon you will either remove them all when you move or you will add them into the sale price of your home. It could easily reach a thousand dollars if every bulb were replaced.

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