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Home Automation & Internet of Things (IOT)>Philips Hue FAQ
bk 18:26 09-11-2016 (35 Thanks)
What is Philips Hue?

Philips Hue is an ecosystem of smart lighting products. It consists of over a hundred products including multiple styles and sizes of smart LED bulbs, lamps, light strips and light fittings and accessories to control them including switches, remotes and motion sensors.

Spending on the lights you purchase, they usually come in white only, where you can control the brightness and colour saturation or lights that in addition also allow you to change the colour of the bulb to one of 16 million colours.

Philips Hue lights can be controlled by phone apps, voice control, switches, remotes, motion sensors and timers and integrate with many other home automation systems such as Logitech Harmony, Nest Protect, etc.

Are Philips Hue lights energy saving bulbs?

Yes, all Philips Hue lights use LED technology, which means they use significantly less energy compared to traditional bulbs and even compared to CFL "energy savings bulbs"

For instance while a traditional bulb might use 100watts, the equivalent Philips Hue bulbs use just 9 watt.

Will these bulbs take time to warm up to full brightness like CFL "energy saving" bulbs?

No, Philips Hue uses LED for all it's lighting which is far superior then the rubbish CFL "energy saving" light bulbs.

LED bulbs turn on immediately like traditional bulbs and even use less energy then CFL's, thus making CFL's completely redundant.

Will I be able to use Philip Hue bulbs in my existing light fittings?

In most cases yes, Philips makes a variety of bulb sizes and styles that should fit the majority of existing light fittings, including both screw in and bayonet style standard bulbs and GU10 spot light style bulbs.

The above should cover the majority of cases, however some unusual and unique bulb sizes and styles exist out there and Hue lights might not fit those. However it is often possible to replace the light fitting with a style that will work. For instance I was able to easily replace my old MR10 spot light fittings with more standard GU10 fittings and thus use the Philips Hue GU10's spot lights in my home.

Will I still be able to use my standard light switch?

Yes, you will still be able to switch Philips Hue light bulbs on and off using a standard light switch.

However there is one catch with this. If you turn the bulb off with the light switch then you won't be able to turn it back on with the app or otherwise control it, at least until you switch it back on at the wall.

As a result, most people who use Philips Hue bulbs, simply leave them switched on at the wall and use other means to switch "virtually" switch them off, which I'll describe below.

If I leave the Hue bulbs switched on at the wall all the time, won't that mean they use power all the time.

Yes, but very little. In this "standby mode" of the light switch on, but the light off, these bulbs use 0.4w in standby in order to power the wireless network that allows you to control these bulbs.

However 0.4w is incredible small amount of power. Remember if you are moving from a standard light bulb you are typically going from 100w to 9w LED, so 0.4w by comparison is incredibly.

In most cases you should still see a significant drop in power use. Only people switching from a standard LED to a smart LED will see a very tiny increase and that is a trade off for far greater control and smart features.

Is there a physical switch I can use to control these lights without really switching them off?

Yes, Philips makes a fantastic Hue smart switch which can control their lights. This switch can simply be stuck on your wall using sticky backs next to your old light switch.

Yet the switch itself can detach from it's frame where it is held by magnets and carried around the room and used as a remote control. The switch has four buttons, on/off/dimmer up/dimmer down, however using the Philips Hue apps each button can be "programmed" to show different scenes on each button press, up to 5 different actions for each button!

This makes for a highly effective, yet easy to use device.

But might people not accidentally turn off the light via the old light switch? Any way to protect against this?

Yes this can happen, specially when family and friends are visiting and aren't use to it. People use a variety of methods to protect against this.

- Sticky tape over the old light switch. Not very nice looking, but super cheap and easy to do.

- Child safety cover over the light switch. Stops people from just turning off the light switch without putting a lot of effort in, yet still allows you to use the light switch in an emergency. Pretty easy to fit and also to remove in future if you want to return to traditional, non smart lights.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/BabySecurit...dp/B000X1DNIM/

I use one of these over a double dimmer switch in the main room.

- Similar to above, the following are more discrete version of the above for a standard UK switch. Very easy to install and still allow you to use the light switch in an emergency using a paper clip, etc.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/SwitchSafe-...456Z1G9YN2XCRS

- Remove the switches and plaster over the hole in the wall. While this might be nicer looking, I don't recommend it. It requires a lot of work, depending on your skills maybe even an electrician and plasterer and what happens if you decide to move house later and you want to take your expensive Philips Hue light bulbs with you?

- A less drastic version of the above is to remove the switch, rewire the cables, but cover the old switch hole with a blank faceplate. Makes it easier to undo in future.

Personally I'd recommend living with the Philips Hue for a few months before deciding to go with either of the latter two options.

Does Philips Hue require a hub?

Yes, it does. However the Philips Hue hub can usually be gotten for free in a bundle with a few Hue light bulbs. There is really no disadvantage to getting the hub other then having yet another hub to plug in. However it is very dependable and just works.

Note there are two hubs v1.0 and v2.0, see the next question for more info.

What is the difference between the v1.0 and v2.0 hub?

THe updated v2.0 hub includes support for Apple Siri. It is also rumured that the v2.0 hub is a bit more stable, but no confirmation on this. However as you can usually pick up the v2.0 hub for free as part of a bundle with a bulbs, there is no reason to get one.

How can you tell the difference between the v1.0 and v2.0 hub.

The v1.0 hub is round, while the v2.0 hub is square.

Lots more to come on this massive topic........
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drunkmonkey 00:00 10-11-2016
bk some good info there, currently have to order some lighting and thinking about Hue. Is this thread for all Hue questions?
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Stoner 00:00 10-11-2016 (1 Thanks)
Originally Posted by drunkmonkey:
BK some good info there, currently have to order some lighting and thinking about Hue. Is this thread for all Hue questions?
Yes
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J.pilkington 00:01 10-11-2016
Some great informative threads posted by BK lately, cheers for taking the time to do so
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bk 00:29 10-11-2016 (1 Thanks)
Originally Posted by drunkmonkey:
bk some good info there, currently have to order some lighting and thinking about Hue. Is this thread for all Hue questions?
Sure, fire away, I can adjust the original post with further info based on the questions people might ask. Develop it into a useful resource for all.
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drunkmonkey 01:31 10-11-2016
What i'm looking at is 7 x gu10 bulbs, 4 white and 3 colour, a hue bridge.

My intention is to light the top of landing with recessed spots, 1 colour in the middle and 2 whites either side. I'm assuming I can turn off(ish) the 2 whites at either side via the app and just have the colour on. Another colour one at bottom of the landing recessed and one more white and colour in another room.

I'd like 2 flush mounted ceiling lights but think I might need 3, There both attic rooms with the sloped ceiling, one is 4.1 x 3.6m and the other 7 x 4.1m.
Philips have some new Hue ceiling lights (40w) available at amazon in 5 days that look good.
I'd way prefer colour changing lights for the flush lights but can't see any Hue ones that don't cost 400+
l was thinking of recessing the living colour Iris's I have only after figuring out they work with the Hue once paired with the Hue bridge. Not so sure how safe it would be cocooned in kingspan. Would do the job nicely though.

Was also thinking of making my own LED mirror for the bathroom using a Hue Led Strip and a standard mirror, led mirrors seem quite expensive for that they are.

Price wise amazon seeming to be the best i'm seeing or is there some other places to buy.
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bk 06:47 10-11-2016
drunkmonkey yes that is all good.

BTW you know that the colour GU10's can also do white perfectly? The only reason to mix the colour and white GU10's like this is to safe money on the more expensive colour bulbs. I assume that is your reason but just want to double check.

I have four colour GU10's in my living room, but they get used as just white bulbs 95% of the time.

Yes, the new light fittings look great and I've already pre-ordered one for my kitchen. I agree a pity they are white only.

living colour Iris's are easy to add to the bridge, jsut use the Pjilips Hue app and add them via search or serial number. However I'd be very slow to put them in the ceiling, I'm not sure that would be safe. It might be better to put GU10's in there or maybe the flat hue colour bulb instead.

Amazon is by far the cheapest IME and I'd also recommend waiting for the upcoming cyber monday, black friday prime sales, usually you get good deals on Philips Hue bulbs then.
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Optimus Prime 07:48 10-11-2016 (4 Thanks)
Might be worth mentioning they don't do e14 style bulbs, the small screw connection that mostly look like candles. This is a big pain in the ass for me because I have five light fixtures that take these.

Yes I know you can get adapters, but this is increases the length of the bulbs and they don't look like candles. The bulky size of the other bulbs mean they look stupid in chadlier type fixings.

A LOT of people are asking for them on their facebook page , but they just keep saying they will pass the info onto their development team.
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Uriel. 08:10 10-11-2016
I'm interested in the true energy savings calculations on these.

In the op it says there's a saving because you might be going from 100w to a 9w consumption. That by itself is simple enough to understand from an energy saving perspective. Obviously in some instances you might be going from 75 or 60w down to 9 which is less of a saving but still a significant saving obviously.

However the always on nature of the bulbs is claimed to consume 0.4w. But what time period is that over?

Depending on the circumstances most bulbs are on for a few hours per night. So with the hue your saving on consumption over those few hours versus "normal" bulbs. But outside of those few hours the hue bulb is consuming. 0.4w 24/7 in its always on state.

I'd wonder what the true savings are over the course of one year...?

Personally, energy consumption is important for me, but it is not top of my list and would only effect my purchasing decision if the true consumption was considerably higher than standard set ups
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bk 09:49 10-11-2016 (12 Thanks)
Originally Posted by Uriel.:
I'm interested in the true energy savings calculations on these.

In the op it says there's a saving because you might be going from 100w to a 9w consumption. That by itself is simple enough to understand from an energy saving perspective. Obviously in some instances you might be going from 75 or 60w down to 9 which is less of a saving but still a significant saving obviously.

However the always on nature of the bulbs is claimed to consume 0.4w. But what time period is that over?

Depending on the circumstances most bulbs are on for a few hours per night. So with the hue your saving on consumption over those few hours versus "normal" bulbs. But outside of those few hours the hue bulb is consuming. 0.4w 24/7 in its always on state.

I'd wonder what the true savings are over the course of one year...?

Personally, energy consumption is important for me, but it is not top of my list and would only effect my purchasing decision if the true consumption was considerably higher than standard set ups
Good question.

0.4w is used whenever their is power going to the bulb but it is otherwise "off", really in standby mode. This means the old light switch is on, but the bulb is turned "off" by the app, voice, etc.

If you switch off the bulb at the wall switch then obviously it won't use any power, however you also won't be able to control it then.

The way I and most people use Philips Hue lights, we don't turn them off at the wall switch at all and thus they use 0.4w all day long in "standby" off mode.

Sticking this number in a calculator, you will thus find that a bulb will use 3.5kWh per year, which at .14 per kWh that I pay, works out at 49 cent per year.

Now by comparison a 100 watt light bulb running for 4 hours a night uses 146 kWh over a year and thus costs €20.44 a year to run.

A 9W LED running for the same 4 hours a night uses 13.14 kWh per year or €1.83 per year.

So combining the standby .04w and the 9W LED for 4 hours from above, you are looking at a combined 16.64 kWh per year or about €2.32 per year.

That is almost a 10 times reduction in energy use and cost versus a traditional bulb!

Sure people might have 60w or 75w bulbs instead, but it wouldn't change the maths significantly, a 60w bulb running 4 hours a night would cost €12 per year, still almost 5 times more then a Hue bulb.

So yes, while a HUE bulb will use a very small amount more power then a non-smart LED bulb, it will still use WAY less energy then any standard bulb. And of course you gain lots of cool functionality in return for a very minor cost.

BTW This also shows how even expensive Hue bulbs can actually save you money.

Lets take a 9w Hue, white only bulb that costs about €25 to buy replacing a 100w traditional bulb. The Hue bulb will cost €18 per year less to run, thus it will pay back it's purchase cost in less then a year and a half of use.

Of course a non-smart LED with a much lower purchase price will have an even quicker payback time, but at least it somewhat helps to justify the high cost of Hue bulbs.
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Uriel. 09:58 10-11-2016 (1 Thanks)
Originally Posted by bk:
Good question.

0.4w is used whenever their is power going to the bulb but it is otherwise "off", really in standby mode. This means the old light switch is on, but the bulb is turned "off" by the app, voice, etc.

If you switch off the bulb at the wall switch then obviously it won't use any power, however you also won't be able to control it then.

The way I and most people use Philips Hue lights, we don't turn them off at the wall switch at all and thus they use 0.4w all day long in "standby" off mode.

Sticking this number in a calculator, you will thus find that a bulb will use 3.5kWh per year, which at .14 per kWh that I pay, works out at 49 cent per year.

Now by comparison a 100 watt light bulb running for 4 hours a night uses 146 kWh over a year and thus costs €20.44 a year to run.

A 9W LED running for the same 4 hours a night uses 13.14 kWh per year or €1.83 per year.

So combining the standby .04w and the 9W LED for 4 hours from above, you are looking at a combined 16.64 kWh per year or about €2.32 per year.

That is almost a 10 times reduction in energy use and cost versus a traditional bulb!

Sure people might have 60w or 75w bulbs instead, but it wouldn't change the maths significantly, a 60w bulb running 4 hours a night would cost €12 per year, still almost 5 times more then a Hue bulb.

So yes, while a HUE bulb will use a very small amount more power then a non-smart LED bulb, it will still use WAY less energy then any standard bulb. And of course you gain lots of cool functionality in return for a very minor cost.

BTW This also shows how even expensive Hue bulbs can actually save you money.

Lets take a 9w Hue, white only bulb that costs about €25 to buy replacing a 100w traditional bulb. The Hue bulb will cost €18 per year less to run, thus it will pay back it's purchase cost in less then a year and a half of use.

Of course a non-smart LED with a much lower purchase price will have an even quicker payback time, but at least it somewhat helps to justify the high cost of Hue bulbs.
Great answer, thanks for that. :D
To be honest, it seems like a no brainer when you have all of the calculations laid out there like that.
Annual cost savings, ROI in less than a year AND all of the extra cool functionality...
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Stoner 10:38 10-11-2016
Originally Posted by Uriel.:
Great answer, thanks for that. To be honest, it seems like a no brainer when you have all of the calculations laid out there like that. Annual cost savings, ROI in less than a year AND all of the extra cool functionality...
I guess very few people will be jumping from 60 incandescent lamps straight to hue.

We've had CFL and regular LEDs for a while now.
The equivalent Philips dimmable led lamp in white is 5 euro versus 25 for the hue. So you are paying 20 euro for the functionality per lamp.
The vampire loads on these lamps is not very high but ten lamps is like having one light on all the time.

One poster last week had 18 GU10s in his kitchen. That is about 10watts when everything is off, approximately I think that's under 16 euro a year to juice the electrics, disregarding when they are on.

It's a fairly low vampire load and if you have your light switches as override then you can turn them off all together
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bk 11:01 10-11-2016
Originally Posted by Stoner:
We've had CFL and regular LEDs for a while now.
CFL's yes, regular LED's not so much. LED's have really only matured and come down in price over the last two years IMO. I think a lot of people are yet to get them.

CFL's use about 25w for a 100w equivalent, versus a 9w LED.

So running a 25w CFL for 4 hours a day, will use 36.5 kWh per year or €5.11.

So that is almost twice the cost per year of running a HUE LED, even with it's vampire draw. Not as big a difference, but still reasonable. Plus keep in mind how truly terrible CFL's are with their slow start up time and terrible colour temperature.

Really CFL's are an atrocity that should have been skipped over IMO.
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TheTubes 12:21 10-11-2016
Originally Posted by drunkmonkey:
Was also thinking of making my own LED mirror for the bathroom using a Hue Led Strip and a standard mirror, led mirrors seem quite expensive for that they are.
This is interesting, I was thinking about this too.
I read up and it seems like its only 12v that is allowed in a bathroom, not a regular plug? And Philips have the hue rated at IP20, they say its not suitable for bathroom.
I'm meeting an electrician soon to wire up a new build, has anyone got any suggestion on how to get a hue setup in a bathroom?
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bk 12:50 10-11-2016 (2 Thanks)
Originally Posted by TheTubes:
I'm meeting an electrician soon to wire up a new build, has anyone got any suggestion on how to get a hue setup in a bathroom?
I believe that you can get IP44 rated enclosed light fittings (as in the fitting itself keeps water out) and you can then put IP20 rated light bulbs in those fittings just fine. I might be wrong about that, but your electrician should be able to confirm this.

Can you let us know what he says, will be interested in the answer myself.

I don't think there is any safety danger to using IP20 bulbs in an IP44 rated enclosed fitting, the issue would be water getting in and damaging your expensive Hue bulbs. The other potential issue is that an enclosed fitting like this will trap more heat near the bulb, which might damage the electronics in it and shorten it's lifespan.
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