Posts with tag: samsung smart things

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I've been using the samsumg smart things hub for 1 year. It's a great home automation tool and during this year I have grown quite fond of it. I now take the things it does for granted and it makes my life just a little bit easier.

What I've done with it.  

  • Lights throughout the house that are turned on 10 minutes before I get up in the morning (separate schedule for workdays and weekends).
  • Lights are automatically turned off again after I go to work or the outside light is bright enough.
  • Lights are turned on 30 minutes before sunset.
  • Lights are turned off at 1 am.

  • Can turn lights on and off using one of 3 google homes located throughout the house.
  • Grouped lights into categories such as outside, upstairs, downstairs for easy use when talking to google home.

  • Connected a strobe light to a switch in the garage that my wife can use to call my attention when I'm working in the garage.
  • Connected a heater to a switch in the garage so that I can turn it on before I go out
  • Turn heater off automatically 2 hours after it was turned on (so I cant forget it).

Both me and my wife have gotten so used to the automatic lights always being on, you never have to worry about it being dark, I cant even remember when I last turned on a light manually in the morning like a caveman. And if you get up at an odd hour, you can just say "hey google, turn on the lights" and the problem is solved.

My biggest grief with it are the "hidden" cost. But the parts are slowly getting cheaper. For it to be any good at all you need a lot of connected parts such as the wall socket switches. I have some where around 12 of these switches throughout the house. As of right now they costs around 25 USD each. They started at around 35-40 USD a year ago. These work great if you want to and can connect an entire light fixture with these. 

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If you however want to automate a regular ceiling light (that dosen't plug into the wall) then you need to buy lights that work with the z-wave or zigbee protocol (that the smart things hub uses to communicate with the things). Ikea has come to the rescue here.

It was actually when Ikea started to make the automated lights that I got into this and bought the hub as before then I saw this as simply too expensive. But now with them entering into the market you can get a connected light for as little as 10 USD. Which is massively cheaper than the Phillips hue or similar lights cost. The only downside is that you cant set the entire RGB scale of colors.. But I think thats mostly a gimmick you get tired of anyways. The below light costs 9 Eur from Ikea. I have 20 of these around the house both inside and outside. They work GREAT.

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If not for these lights and ikea producing them so cheaply my excitement and the result of my home automation would not have been positive at all. The only downside to these lights is that they are not officially supported. But they none the less work perfectly.

So, all in all. One year later. I have bought lots of "things", and that is something you need to understand before getting into this. The hub is the small part. You will need to buy LOTS of additional things before this is usefull or fun at all.

As for the app itself (the only way to control the hub). It is good. I would wish there were a few more options but it covers almost all of my use cases exceot a few odd ones. The light blinker that my wife uses to call my attention that turns of 10 seconds after being turned on took me a while to configure. But all the standard turn something on at a certain time or trigger something based on another event are really easy to configure.

'All in all, I would buy this hub again.. and if you have been thinking about doing so you can now safely jump in to home automation and not worry too much about costs and compatability since prices have dropped significantly and most things just work.

Just rememer once you start, there's no way to stop yourself.

If you want to read more about the hub you can follow this link

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I bought a Samsung Smartthings home automation hub a while back (link). Since then I have added several lights to the setup. The smartthings hub is compatible with many different types of lights and as of recent IKEA got themselves into the market and literally turned it upside down in matters of price.

Up untill a few months ago the best light you could get was a Philips Hue and those things cost 3-4x more than the equivalent IKEA Trådfri light bulb.

The best thing about the Trådfri bulbs is that they can connect directly to the Smart things hub. No other hardware required. So for less than 10 USD you can get a dimmable smart light compatible with the best hub on the market (right now). And if you want to be able to set the color temperature IKEA has you covered there too. For 15USD you can get a dimmable bulb with custom color temperature. Setting them up can however be a bit tricky. It's easier with the 1000lm light bulbs but not much hard for the color temperature bulbs either, you just need to add a handler for them before you proceeed (see end of post).

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 To set up (or pair) the 1000lm bulbs with your hub do the following.

  1. Set your hub to start discovering "Things" in the app.

  2. Connect the light bulb to a socket and hold it against the hub (yes touching it).

  3. Next comes the tricky part. You have to blink the bulb in a special rythm.
    • To get the bulb into pairing mode you need to turn it on and off 6 times in a row.
    • You must also keep to a rythm of on for .5 seconds and off for 1 second. It won't be discovered if you don't do it this way.
    • Go to fast or to slow and nothing happens. I know because I spent several hours trying to pair them before finding this thread explaining it. 
    • When it works the bulb should make a very fast blink after its turned on the 6th time (more like a slight dimming).

  4. Once they are discovered they will be listed as "Thing" in the app when you are discovering devices. When you see it in the app, give it a name, and Add it.

  5. The hub does not know it's a light bulb yet. To change this you need to load up the SmartThings IDE, located HERE.

  6. Once logged in go to you devices list. If you don't see any devices try clicking on "My locations" and select your hub (it should be listed there). Sometimes devices won't be shown untill you do this (I think it's a bug).

  7. Click on your newly added Thing (should be called what ever you named it), and select Edit at the bottom.

  8. Now pick "Zigbee White Color Temperature Bulb". It should look something like the picture below (with different IDs and names).

  9. That's it you should now be able to use the Trådfri 1000lm 12.5w E27 led bulb from the phone app.

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If you wan't to add the bulbs with custom color temperature you must first add the Custom Device handled for them from here. Once that is done you do exactly as for the 1000lm bulbs with the one difference that you select the custom device handler "IKEA-Tradfri" in the "Type" field instead of "Zigbee White Color Temperature Bulb".

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As of now I have replaced all my outdoor lights with the 1000lm lights and made them turn on and off with the sunrise and sunset. I have also connected around 10 of the color temperature bulbs indoors and set them to turn on in the morning before I get up.

It works beautifully.

I've been wanting to get into home automation for a while but for me the price barrier and number of different and incompatible solutions never made it seem worth my time. Recently I had another look at it and found two different systems that met my different criteria and so I jumped onboard.

Basically I wanted most of these criteria met:

  • Compatible with multiple communication protocols (such as z-wave & zigbee).
  • Easy to use (so that I don't have to be involved when a light needs to be turned on or off by someone other than me).
  • Easy to program and add events such as when X happens do Y.

After searching for a bit and reading many forum posts the two candidates that emerged was the Wink Hub 2 and Samsung Smart things hub 2.

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Both of these systems satisfy all my criteria and have pretty much the same price tag (around 100 USD). In fact the more I read about them the more similar and equal both systems seemed to be.

What however lead me to a decision was the insight that the Wink hub is simpler in its interface in terms of it being slightly easier to use but in the process also having a little less functionality for its power users. The Samsung on the other hand might have a little steeper learning curve but in the and allow you to do more with it. The samsung also seems to have a larger community of followers who help add functionality and compatability for new devices.

I chose the Samsung Smart things for these reasons, for me it is a better system to grow with. This might however not be the best choice if you just want something that works and don't like fiddling with technology.

I have now been using the hub for about four weeks and have automated all my outdoor lights as well as several "night" lights that come on just before sunset. I'll go into detail on how to set those up and lessons learned about that in the next post.

Just remember that if you are going to order one make sure that you get the one that is compatible with your regions frequencies. There is an EU version and a US version. The US version will not work with z-wave or zigbee devices bought in EU and vice versa. 

Also, as far as I can tell, here in the Europe the Smart Things hub is only available in the UK, but since all of Europe uses the same power (220 volt) all you need is a cheap adapter to plug it in.

Here is a link to the EU version of Smarth things (the one I bought): https://www.amazon.co.uk