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Smart Home: A Fun Journey…

by Behrad
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So in case you’re wondering where the hell I’ve been… I’m doing some adjustments at home and therefore lost track of time and blogging.

So I’ve been busy at home, changing and re-decorating things and one things which I wanted to do at the same time, is making my home as smart as possible but without spending tons on money on it.

Demands / Plans…

One of the things which was crucial for me was the fact that whatever option, manufacture I would go for, it should be controlled with an old fashion remote control. Why? Because I have kids and turning on/off the devices should be kept simple for now. At first I also wanted to control and host them myself using Zigbee2MQTT, but in the end I decided not to do that anyway. I also wanted to be flexible as possible and to make sure that the system should be easily expansible as well for future usage as well.

The Search…

A smart home sounds simple and these days there are a lot of different products which you can choose. Each marketed at their own specific level and prices. If you just take a smart lamp; you can control it using Zigbee, Z-Wave, WiFi or Bluetooth protocols. Or a combination of them. After going into details and pros and cons of them, I decided to go for Zigbee.

Zigbee Protocol

Zigbee is a low-power, low data rate, and close proximity wireless network. One of the things which I liked about Zigbee is that it can transmit data over long distances by passing it’s data though a mesh network of intermediate devices to reach more distant ones. However it uses the 2.4Ghz frequency.

As mentioned, there are a lot of companies who are offering Smart Home products such as IKEA, LG and Samsung Smart Things. Perhaps the most premium and highly known is Philips and it’s Hue system. However they’re also priced as such. Luckily they have some other competitors as well which are better priced such as IKEA’s Trådfri and while doing my search I also noticed that Lidl has their own set of products as well.

Which brand should I go for?

Since this is the start of my Smart Home project I decided not to start with the premium brands but rather go for some other brands. After some careful thoughts, I wanted to go for IKEA’s Trådfri but since they didn’t have their hub at stock and the IKEA lady whom I spoke, told me that this not come on stock till November-ish, I needed to go for a different plan.

So this is why I started to think of giving Lidl’s products a try. I mean, they’re also priced in the same range as IKEA. After a bit of Investigation I found that they’re using Tuya’s platform for their products. (If you haven’t heard of Tuya, this is a Chinese company specialized in AI and IoT devices.) So with this in mind I was quite confident that I couldn’t go wrong on this.

Results

Since I wanted to replace some lamp fixtures already as part of my redecorating project, I started with a bunch of smart lamps and I must say I love it already. In the meantime I have now 12 smart lamps, a couple of proximity sensors, a couple of remotes and some smart plugs. So yeah, it’s a fun journey but a very addictive one! 😉 I still have some other plans and need to go for some automations etc, but hey, that will come later!

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